The EU strategy on biofuels: from field to fuel
This report considers whether the EU Biofuels Directive is proving effective as a means of increasing the biofuels content of road transport energy.
Development of biofuels in the EU can both reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve energy security. While there are a number of options for reducing carbon dioxide from power generation, biofuels represent the most significant and currently available fuelling method for reductions in the road transport sector. Also, a high price of oil (resulting from declining proven supplies in relation to demand) increases the strength of the case for biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. It is therefore considered a sensible option that there should be a viable biofuels industry in the EU with the capability to meet growing demand
However, biofuels are only part of the solution to the EU’s environmental and economic challenges and should be considered as only one element in a wider range of measures needed. Indeed, across the EU, different Member States will rightly determine what role biofuels should play in contributing to their national strategies. The extent to which biofuels can realistically contribute to environmental and economic objectives will vary according to national circumstances and judgements as to their validity should remain within the right of Member States.
Though some Member States have gone further and been more successful than others in promoting biofuel use, current EU targets are not being met and greater innovative efforts will be required if biofuels are to achieve a serious impact. There have been substantial and continuing improvements in engine technology which are complementary to, and compatible, with biofuels development. The House of Lords believes there is scope for second generation biofuels to become increasingly important and to bring greater economic and environmental advantages than those currently provided by the present sources of biodiesel and bioethanol.