The debate onenvironmental impact gods biofuels go on. This time the question is raised by the European Commission which acts to limit the "side effects"Linked to the dissemination of the alleged green fuels. Before delving into the Brussels measure, we need to clarify a concept: when we talk about biofuels we refer to those derived from biomass such as bioethanol made from sugar cane and biodiesel obtained from vegetable oils. They have nothing to do with the biofuels of new generation such as those produced in the laboratory starting from algae, from the pyrolysis of plastic waste or other biological catalysts.
By 2020, i biofuels, should cover 10% of the energy needs of transport. To rebel are the same environmental associations. The problem is the so-called Indirect land use change. The cultivation necessary for the biofuels of the first generation are in competition with food crops, in other words, the "energy plantations " they occupy the land necessary for the production of food. Not to mention the problem of land grabbing!
L'agriculture linked to the production of biofuels is forced to move elsewhere and could damage ecosystems such as forests, peat bogs and pastures. A massive spread of biofuels it could be because of deforestation and increase the terrestrial overheating: ecosystems threatened by cultivation related to biofuels, absorb the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, if they disappear to make room for intensive cultivation, the overall balance of CO2 emissions it would be negative.
The analysis saw the sum of the CO2 emissions related to agricultural practices for the production of biofuels but also the emissions produced by the means of transport to get the raw material to its destination. Thus it turned out that a liter of biofuel it can be more polluting than a liter of gasoline because there would be no more plants to absorb the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere.
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard explained that "We must invest in biofuels that really cut polluting emissions without competing with food". So the Commission partially closed the door to bioethanol and first generation biodiesel, with a maximum cap of 5% in 2020.
THE biofuels which will have to cover 10% of the energy demand of transport, will have to be those of new type, coming from agricultural waste, organic waste and algae. That is why the European Commission has proposed to increase subsidies for biofuels of the new generation.
edited by Anna De Simone