Sustainable biofuels could replace oil in EU


The EU could effectively replace oil with renewable energy in transport “without resorting to harmful biofuels”, according to a report by Dutch research institute CE Delft, commissioned by environmental groups.

Sustainable Alternatives for Land-based Biofuels in the European Union recommends a major policy shift, prioritising energy efficiency, renewable electricity and sustainable biofuels produced from waste and residues.

Under current EU obligations, 10 per cent of the European transport sector should be powered by renewable sources by 2020, while fuel suppliers are also required to reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels by 6 per cent.


Member states plan to meet these targets through extensive use of biofuels made from agricultural crops, ignoring their environmental and social impact, including the displacement of food production and resulting carbon emissions.

According to a European Commission study published last year, most biofuels marketed in the EU offer only limited carbon emission savings compared to conventional fuels when emissions from land use change are taken into account.

The CE Delft report – commissioned by Greenpeace, BirdLife Europe, the European Environmental Bureau and Transport and Environment – says the commission’s latest proposal would still rely on destructive biofuels to meet the target.

Greenpeace EU forest policy director Sebastien Risso said the report “shows just how wrongheaded current EU policy is” is and how transport can become cleaner without using harmful biofuels by “accelerating the electrification of our transport system”.

The environmental groups urged the European Parliament and member states to focus on alternative solutions that would lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions in 2020 while supporting the development of innovative industries.

The commission’s “compromise” proposal is to be discussed by EU ministers at the energy and environment councils to be held in February and March, during the Irish presidency, and by the European Parliament in the coming months.