Biofuels International 2018: Q&A session with ePure’s Emmanuel Desplechin

news item image

Emmanuel Desplechin is ePure’s Secretary General and will be at the Biofuels International Conference discussing the revised renewable energy directive (REDII) as well as reforms to the bioethanol market post 2020.

The Biofuels International Conference, a world leading biofuels event, will be held for the first time in Berlin, Germany, on the 10th and 11th of October 2018. The conference will cover the whole biofuels supply chain, showcase engaging talks by industry experts and will also provide attendees with fantastic networking opportunities.

Major names in the industry including ePure, Shell, GoodFuels and Neste will be attending the conference. 

Speaker Emmanuel Desplechin has answered a few questions in the lead up to the event.


 1.       What will be your main points of discussion at the conference?

After giving an introduction to the current market state-of-play for European ethanol – including new statistics on production, end use, feedstock, greenhouse-gas savings – I’ll look at the main policy challenges ahead for our industry. This includes the current EU policy framework until 2020, especially how EU member states are implementing biofuels policy and the roll out of E10 (or lack thereof). It will also include the fallout from the EU’s agreement in June on the Renewable Energy Directive for the 2020-2030 period, as well as the next big challenges: the Clean Mobility Package and the coming Mid-Century Roadmap for Emissions Reduction. Ethanol is not currently foreseen as a major player in those pieces of legislation, but we aim to fix that.


 2.       How do you think the agreement on renewable energy policy for the post-2020 period will affect the bioethanol market?

The agreement is a clear statement from EU policymakers confirming the importance of sustainable crop-based and advanced biofuels in the fight against climate change. It shows they know there’s a difference between so-called bad biofuels and good biofuels. European Ethanol is in the good column, and we’ll continue to be a market player in the coming decades. But it is important to remember that the agreement still caps the contribution of crop-based biofuels at 7% of transport energy in 2030. And allowing Member States to undermine the transport target by lowering the crop cap or relying on artificial multipliers gives the illusion of progress and puts Europe’s commitment to decarbonising transport into question. Between now and 2020, it will be crucial for Member States to maximise their use of sustainable crop-based biofuels as they aim to reach their renewables targets. That will help preserve a solid crop-based ethanol industry – which will in turn spur investment in advanced ethanol.


 3.       To what extent do you think that E10 will affect the bioethanol industry?

Europeans rightly are concerned about climate change and air quality. Everybody wants to reduce emissions and there are a lot of exciting technologies – efficient engines, hybrid power trains, electric vehicles – that can deliver on this. But we can’t rely only on one technology and then wait for it to develop. We can make a difference right now. Blending ethanol in petrol is an immediate solution to reducing emissions: it works in today’s cars, at scale, with an average GHG savings of more than 70% over fossil fuels. That’s why going to E10 across Europe is a no-brainer. We could see the results immediately, and build on the success with even lower emissions every year. Plus, member states would find it easier to meet their renewable energy targets. 


 4.       What will people be taking away from your talk at the conference?

I hope they will leave with a clearer perspective on European ethanol as an important factor in transport decarbonisation – not just today but in the coming decades. Current EU policy is about betting on one solution: today it’s electric cars, just like 10 years ago it was biofuels. But it’s clear we need a wide range of solutions. I also hope people will have a more realistic picture of the challenges the ethanol industry will face in convincing legislators to acknowledge this fact and then act on it.