Mobilising Cereal Straw in the EU to Feed Advanced Biofuel Production

The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) calls for a 10 per cent share of renewable energy in transport by 2020. Member States’ renewable action plans foresee that over 90 per cent of the target will be met using conventional biofuels, while advanced biofuels derived from waste, residues and lignocellulosic material are given little consideration. The sustainable mobilisation of agricultural residues and processing into advanced biofuels offers both risks and opportunities for the environment. It offers the opportunity to reduce the dependence of conventional biofuels, which are associated with certain environmental risks, and offers farmers an opportunity to diversify their income, whilst contributing to the realisation of the bioeconomy. At the same time, the increased use of straw is not without (potential) environmental costs, the most problematic aspect being its impact on soil carbon.

IEEP’s report, commissioned by Danish enzyme producer Novozymes, examines the potentials and barriers associated with using cereal straw for advanced biofuel production. It considers:

  • the (energy) potential of agricultural residues in the form of cereal straw;
  • the competing uses of cereal straw and associated environmental impact of using straw for biofuel production;
  • the opportunities and barriers in increasing the use of cereal straw; and
  • the role and need for public support through EU funding instruments, such as the CAP and Cohesion Policy.

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