As a response to energy security and worries about climate change, the market for biofuels has seen an increase due to its users in the transport sector. The growing understanding of environmental issues has increased the degree of focus on the production of biofuels and enabled them to become a new source of energy. In this context, it must be noted that Europe has been listed as one of the leading biodiesel producers. This specific type of fuel represents a large portion of the European biofuels industry (The European Association for Bioindustries, 2007). Europe, with the aid of various strategies followed by several action plans, has been found to promote further use and development related to biofuels.
The Raison for Biofuel Production in Europe
The prices associated with oil that appeared to scale escalating heights of volatility and the climatic alterations were the grave problems that needed immediate attention and solution both nationally and internationally. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ developed by Japan, made it mandatory for the member countries included in the European Union (EU) to bring down the level of greenhouse gas releases by 8 per cent. This made the EU focus on biofuel production (Gross & et al., 2003).
The production about the biofuel was found to experience a sharp increase in Europe in the last few years due to trimming down releases of greenhouse gases. It was stated by Hammond & et al. (2008) that the transport segment of Europe involved significant emission rates. It was further mentioned that spreading and enhancing the protection related to fuel supply was proficient of being attained by bringing down the immense dependency of transport on the fossil fuels (Hammond & et al., 2008).
The increase in the production was attributed to the development and application of the different policies undertaken and implemented by the European Union (EU). The EU had indulged in developing an assortment of directives to encourage the European market related to biofuel. The EU was found to be aggressively engaged in structuring guiding principles which would aid in supporting and prompting in the market of Europe the usage of biofuel (European Commission, 2006).
Therefore, the need for biofuel production in Europe was identified from the ‘Kyoto Protocol’. This made Europe embark on specific policies which were considered to prove encouraging for the production of biofuel.
Biofuels of the Second Generation & its Advantages for Europe
The EU Commission was found to recommend at the beginning of 2007 an overall strategic aim which focused on restricting the boost in the global average temperature. This proposed plan was mentioned to be accomplished with the help of specific strategies. The definite set of processes entailed the practice about renewable energy to 20 per cent in the year 2020, bringing down the degree of greenhouse gas releases by 20 per cent and reducing the consumption of energy by 20 per cent. The most important strategy on which the proposed plan was based was mentioned to increase biofuels by 10 per cent by the year 2020. In this regard, the 10 per cent increase of biofuels even entailed a net boost by 120, 000 in the field of employment, which further entails the increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the EU 0.17 per cent. These objectives were made based on the supposition that biofuels’ entire production would be done domestically with European feedstock’s assistance (The European Association for Bioindustries, 2007).
The chief purpose of the EU Commission identified in the suggested plan was to encourage the ‘second generation’ biofuels’ growth. This form of biofuel was observed to be produced from ‘woody’ or lingo-cellulosic raw materials. These raw materials included timber, manure, straw and even woodchips. In this regard, these form of raw materials were recognised to be more approving and constructive compared to the present way of producing biofuels that were done from crops like rapeseed and sugar beet. The current method of producing biofuels in Europe has been referred to as the “first generation”. The way biofuels are generated proposed in the EU Commission’s proposed plan has been referred to as the “second generation.” Because of the lower level of expenses associated with the necessary raw materials, the ‘second generation’ of biofuels was chosen. Because of the positive greenhouse gas (GHG) balance, superior fuel efficiency, and their level of energy production, the “second generation” was also given priority over the previous one. The competence about the “second generation” of biofuels to use a wider variety of raw resources implies a lesser degree of struggle about food production. However, it needs to be stated in this context that the technology associated with the “second generation” remains at the initial stage of development and thus calls for the requirement of political encouragement along with intensive investment (The European Association for Bioindustries, 2007).
Therefore, it could be inferred that Europe needs to focus on the production of biofuels for trimming down the level of greenhouse gas discharges along with controlling the climatic alterations owing to the releases of carbon dioxide. However, it also needs to alter its procedure of production along with the entailed raw materials. This implies that the EU needs to undertake appropriate actions to support and facilitate the production of “second generation” biofuels.
The Usefulness of Biotechnology as an Essential Technology to Produce Biofuel
A boost in the presently accessible biomass was identified in Europe to attain the ambitious objectives ascertained by the EU, which was to increase the production and utilisation of the biofuel. The output of the determined level of biofuel was believed to be made possible to a particular extent with the help of farming of energy crops on reserve lands. However, to attain the desired level of production, the land output of biomass was also required to be augmented and enhance the underlying quality of the crops. The attainment of the mentioned factors was possible with plant science or biotechnology, accompanied by high-tech functions related to crop protection (International Energy Agency, 2011).
The other significant endeavour to raise the level of biofuel production was considered the aggressive creation of biofuels with the help of organic and cellulose form of agricultural wastes rather than with the use of starch, sugar and oils. The production of biofuels from the mentioned sources would entail the innovation related to industrial biotechnology and plant science. This implies the particular requirement degrading the cellulose enzymes with enhanced competence (Durant & et al., 1998).
It was stated by Zinoviev & et al. (2007) and Murphy (2011) that biotechnology was regarded to be the amongst the most productive as well as innovative implementation about the present times with the help of which the intentions about the biofuel application and production could be achieved in Europe.
Biotechnology was identified as the required technology for the production of “second generation” biofuels, but it also entails enormous investments for its development. Therefore, Europe is needed to take the necessary steps to attract investments.
Assessment of Biofuels’ Current Role in Europe
The biotech industry of Europe was observed to display strong encouragement towards the EU’s endeavours to heighten the usage or the application of biofuels. The sector also considers the anxiety about the European leaders about the augmented consumption of energy sourced with fossil resources, which is deemed unsustainable in the coming days. The problems posed due to the rising carbon dioxide releases, escalating reliance on imports, climate alterations and the increased prices of energy send apparent indications regarding the fact that Europe requires to take immediate measures to produce sustainable, competitive and secure forms of energy (Carriquiry & et al., 2010).
The industry further believed that biotechnology is thought to contribute to a great extent in making sure of a form of energy supply, especially in the segment of transportation that would not be reliant on oil and which would also help bring down the degree of carbon dioxide releases significantly. The most significant benefit associated with the biofuels has been the competence of being combined with accessible transport fuels and being compatible with the current vehicles (Carriquiry & et al., 2010).
The various evaluations made regarding the vehicles point out that the usage of biofuels in the cars is undoubtedly beneficial about the releases of greenhouse gases compared to the automotive fuels based on petroleum. The biotech industry also believes of Europe that the “second generation” of biofuels possesses the competence of acting as a productive and striking replacement about the fossil fuels that are used for transportation. It has been regarded as an adequate replacement due to the positive economic and environmental reasons and owing to its probability of creating employment opportunities in the rural areas of Europe (The European Association for Bioindustries, 2007).
The accomplishment of the ascertained target of 10 per cent regarding the production and usage of biofuels needs to be attained with the help of developing a broad and logical structure by the EU which would entail the pertinent policies. The EU also needs to undertake practical measures for a reason for implementing the various procedures. The production of “second generation” of biofuels has been identified as beneficial for Europe, but to attain this, the country needs to encourage investment about the relevant technologies. Europe also needs to ensure a suitable market for biofuels with proper distribution and infrastructure for facilitating the production of “second generation” biofuels.
From the above discussion, the need for producing biofuels in Europe could be identified. It could be inferred from the above-made discussion that the usage of biofuels would not only bring down the degree of greenhouse gas discharges but the process of creating “second generation” biofuels would give rise to employment opportunities in Europe as well. However, Europe needs to undertake immediate steps to trigger the production of “second generation” biofuels as it is still stated to be in the initial stage of development.
- Carriquiry, M. A. & et. al., 2010. Second-Generation Biofuels: Economics and Policies. The Policy Research Working Paper, pp. 1-55.
- Durant, J. & et. al., 1998. Biotechnology in the Public Sphere: A European Sourcebook. NMSI Trading Ltd.
- European Commission, 2006. Biofuels in the European Union: A Vision for 2030 and Beyond. Biofuels Research Advisory Council, pp. 1-32.
- Gross, R. & et. al., 2003. Progress in Renewable Energy. Environmental International, Vol. 29, pp. 105-122.
- Hammond, G. & et. al., 2008. Development of Biofuels for the UK Automotive Market. Applied Energy, Vol. 85, pp. 506-515.
- International Energy Agency, 2011. Technology Roadmap: Biofuels for Transport. The European Commission, pp.1-52.
- Murphy, D., 2011. Plants, Biotechnology and Agriculture. CABI.
- The European Association for Bioindustries, 2007. Biofuels in Europe. EuropaBio position and specific recommendations, pp. 1-8.
- Zinoviev, S. & et. al., 2007. Biofuel Production on Technologies. International Centre for Science and High Technology, pp. 1-106.
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