Ecofys has developed a methodology that allows biofuel companies to demonstrate that biofuels are produced without indirect land use change (ILUC) effects. This will be especially relevant for conventional, land based biofuels which currently face limitations in the EU over concerns on their associated ILUC risks. The European Commission refers to the Ecofys study in its Impact Assessment for the updated Renewable Energy Directive, as part of its recently released winter package.
Several modelling studies have highlighted the risk that biofuel production on agricultural land can displace existing food and animal feed production, which can indirectly lead to the conversion of forests to new cropland elsewhere. Indirect land use change is heavily debated in the EU and led to limitations to the use of conventional biofuels.
Yet, Ecofys shows that it is possible to avoid indirect land use change by preventing that biofuel crop production displaces crops produced for the food and feed markets. Biofuel companies can do this by ensuring that biofuel feedstock production is additional to the business as usual production for food and feed. The methodology Ecofys developed focuses on crop cultivation on abandoned or unused land and increased crop yields.