During May 20-21, 2015 more than 100 representatives of the biofuel industry and bioenergy experts gathered in Sevilla at the ABENGOA - WORLD BIOENERGY LEADERSHIP FORUM to discuss the future of biofuels – in particular bioethanol. The industry succeeded in the last years in starting cellulosic ethanol production in commercial scale – in Brazil, Italy and USA. Cellulosic ethanol offers huge potentials for the future in some parts of the world. In combination with ethanol from starch and sugar, the industry is optimistic to get new regulations for an increased use of ethanol in the transport sector.
Brazil is taking the lead again - the government announced a blending mandate of 27% ethanol in gasoline recently. The industry hopes that the USA will follow in the same direction. Dr Heinz Kopetz, president of WBA, declared in one of the panel discussions: “The industry needs far reaching targets and stable framework conditions not only for 2020 but for 2030 and beyond. These targets should be in line with the climate mitigation requirements and ensure a sufficient contribution of the transport sector to the reduction of fossil fuel emissions in the future. They also should be consistent with the bioenergy targets for heat and electricity. A coordinated effort of the bioenergy industry to develop a strategy for 2030 would help to create more security for future investment decisions.”
Another important aspect of the discussion can be summarized under the slogan: “Biofuels for Protein”. First generation biofuels and protein production go hand in hand. A cap on first generation fuels means also a cap on protein production. As one representative of the industry put it: “We see us as important protein suppliers, biofuels are the by-product of our protein business.” Regions that set a cap on 1st generation biofuels below their potential also limit the protein production and become more dependent on protein imports from other parts of the world. Doing so they increase the pressure on land abroad. This will be a consequence of the recent decisions in Europe. In many parts of the world, scarcity of food means a scarcity of protein. Dr Kopetz emphasizes: “If countries set land aside instead of using it for cultivating crops for protein and biofuels, the global gap in protein supply will aggravate.”
Concerning the competition with fossil fuels and the on going climate debate, participants in Sevilla urged higher taxes on fossil CO2 emissions and approved as guiding principle the slogan: “Let fossil fuels in the ground” similar to the LINGO initiative (LINGO = leave it in the ground!)
Access the WBA press release by clicking here.