Energy

Bioethanol or Biodiesel: Europe Hesitates over Indirect Impact of Green Fuel

For years Europe has encouraged motorists to use diesel over petrol in its efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Now, as the focus switches to introducing renewable fuels, it is proving far easier to produce clean bioethanol to replace petrol than clean biodiesel, leaving Europe’s renewable fuel targets looking vulnerable.

When all carbon emissions are taken into account, feedstocks for “renewable” liquid automobile fuels are far from equal. Palm oil and some other crops used in biodiesel are more carbon-intensive to produce and consume than oil, according to some researchers. Meanwhile, the corn or sugar normally used for petrol-substitute ethanol appears to offer genuine carbon savings.

For Europe, these are crucial calculations. Unlike the U.S., which also backs biofuels for energy security reasons, Europe’s rationale for encouraging biofuel use is purely environmental, said European Commission (EC) energy spokeswoman Marlene Holzner. There is “no consideration of energy self-sufficiency” in this policy, she said. So, by fully accounting for carbon emissions, Europe could end up undermining its current biofuels policy.

via Bioethanol or Biodiesel: Europe Hesitates over Indirect Impact of Green Fuel | Renewable Energy World Magazine Article.

Categories: Energy, Policy, Transportation