The EU’s Misallocation Of Biomass

Taylor Scott International News

Monday, 09 September 2013 The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is hindering the development of materials use and consequently the entire creation of a bio-based European economy, according to Michael Carus, managing director of Germany’s Nova Institute.    As a consequence, companies like DSM and BASF are choosing to make investments in other countries such as the USA and Brazil, as well as Asia.      “The EU’s bioenergy and biofuel policy, as embodied in the ambitious objectives fixed by RED, leads to the systematic allocation of biomass to energy to the disadvantage of material use,” Carus told Il Bioeconomista . “RED has triggered the development of national action plans and support systems for bioenergy and biofuels and this in turn has driven up biomass prices and agricultural leases, making it far more difficult for other sectors to get their hands on biomass and distorting prices. “The ‘misallocation of biomass’ is the right phrase here, since this is blocking higher value material uses like chemicals and plastics from coming to fruition. RED-linked developments on the ground will have a considerable impact on the future availability of biomass for the materials industry.” Bioenergy and biofuels are expected to make up roughly 60% of the overall EU’s RED quota and about 90% of the transport quota by 2020.       “We urgently need a new political framework for the most efficient and sustainable utilisation of biomass,” Carus said. “This means especially a level playing field between material and energy use. Five years ago this was a worldwide problem – today it is mainly a problem for Europe. In America and Asia the political framework for bio-based chemicals and plastics is now much more favorable than in Europe. Accordingly, most of the new investments are going to the US, Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia and China.” Taylor Scott International

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