EU’s biofuel sustainability ‘questionable’

German researchers claim they have found evidence the sustainability of European-produced biodiesel set by the EU could be “questionable”. Two researchers from Friedrich Schiller University claim eight out of their […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

German researchers claim they have found evidence the sustainability of European-produced biodiesel set by the EU could be “questionable”.

Two researchers from Friedrich Schiller University claim eight out of their 12 tests on locally produced rapeseed biodiesel failed to show the 35% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings value. In most cases, the research showed it was under 30%.

Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED), introduced three years ago, demands greenhouse gas emissions from production and use of biofuels for transport must be at least 35% lower than those from fossil fuels and is expected to rise to 50% in 2017.

The researchers Gernot Pehnelt and Christoph Vietze said: “Our results indicate that the ‘sustainability’ of rapeseed biodiesel in the interpretation of RED is at best very questionable and in most scenarios simply unjustifiable. We are not able to reproduce the GHG emissions saving values published in RED for rapeseed biodiesel.”

Plans drawn up by EU member states predict that bio-energy, including biomass for power generation and biofuel for transport, will provide more than 50% of the EU share of renewable energy as part of 2020 climate targets.

The UN has claimed biofuels push up world food prices and worsens the effect of the most severe drought in the US.