ePure: Europe’s green transport strategy cannot afford to ignore ethanol’s high GHG savings

The European Commission has published its Communication on a European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility report that explores policy options to decarbonise transport beyond 2020.

The European renewable ethanol association (ePURE), representing conventional and advanced ethanol producers, welcomes the Commission’s commitment to assess the future role of low carbon fuels in Europe’s transport through a science-led approach.  

The association calls on the Commission to examine the implications of its proposed policy orientations through a proper and fully objective impact assessment, based on the latest available science and its correct reading.

Under the Commission’s better regulation agenda, such an impact assessment should objectively consider all low carbon fuel options available to decarbonise transport, not first define a policy objective and then develop an impact assessment around it, as was the case in 2012 with the proposed revision of the Renewable Energy Directive.

“A science-led approach to the impact assessment will show that renewable ethanol is an essential part of Europe’s low carbon mobility toolkit - its phasing out would work against the EU’s overall climate ambitions,” said Robert Wright, secretary-general of the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE).

Since the revised biofuels policy framework was adopted, there has been mounting evidence of the sustainability and climate benefits of ethanol, ePure states

The Commission’s Renewable Energy Progress Report 2015 debunked many of the myths about conventional ethanol and found that increased ethanol demand in Europe does not alter food prices or undermine food security, and this would still be the case if ethanol use was not restricted by a cap.

The study on the land use change impact of the EU biofuels policy, using the GLOBIOM model and commissioned by the European Commission, confirmed that both conventional and advanced ethanol have high net GHG savings and low risk of adverse land use change impacts.

A recent study by Ricardo Energy & Environment found that ethanol contributes the most to reducing GHG emissions in transport and its increased use could contribute to a 14.1% GHG emissions reduction in European transport by 2030.

An approach that treats all conventional biofuels equally neither takes account of these facts nor is aligned with the EU’s objective to decarbonise transport fuels for an existing and future vehicle fleet that will still mostly run on internal combustion engines by 2030, ePure claims.

“European transport policy cannot afford to ignore the significant climate contribution of ethanol, with its 63% savings compared to the fossil fuel it replaces,” Wright said.