Levelling the playing field for EU biomass usage
The threats of climate change, food security, resource depletion and energy security are driving society towards a sustainable lowcarbon future. Within this paradigm, biomass plays an invaluable role in meeting the food, feed, energy and material needs of future generations. Current EU thinking advocates biomass for high-value materials, which is not aligned with EU public policy support for ‘lower value’ bioenergy applications. ‘High-technology’ and ‘no bioenergy mandate’ pathways explore market conditions that generate a more equitable distribution between competing biomass conversion technologies and competing biomass and fossil technologies. In achieving greater equity, these pathways ease biomass market tensions; enhance EU food security; improve EU biobased trade balances; accelerate biomaterial sectors’ output performance and favour macroeconomic growth. Moreover, an additional 80% increase in the oil price signals a tipping point in favour of first generation biofuels, whilst simultaneously boosting output in advanced material conversion technologies even more than the high-technology pathway.
George Philippidisa,c, Heleen Bartelingsb, John Helmingb, Robert M’barekc, Edward Smeetsb and Hans van Meijlb
a Aragonese Agency for Research and Development (ARAID), Centre for Agro-Food Research and Technology (CITA), Government of Aragón, Zaragoza, Spain;
b Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR), Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Hague, The Netherlands;
c European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Seville, Spain