Ecofys reports shows wide ranging ILUC values for biofuel feedstocks

March 14, 2016 |

In the Netherlands, Land Use Change effects differ significantly for various types of biofuels consumed in the EU. The European Commission has published a report by Ecofys, IIASA and E4tech that quantifies the ILUC emissions from EU biofuel consumption. ILUC, or Indirect Land Use Change, is the net global expansion of agricultural land at the expense of natural land to accommodate for biofuel feedstock cultivation. The effect leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The study now published estimates Land Use Change impacts of both conventional and advanced biofuels consumed in the EU. The modelling approach and input parameters are based on the best available science and literature, and involved the participation of many stakeholders to improve the quality of the model and underlying data. However, as in any modelling study, a number relies on many assumptions and uncertainties remain. One assumption is that biofuels are always the last entrant to the market.

The results show that Land Use Change effects vary significantly depending on the type of biofuel. The EU consumption of biodiesel produced from vegetable oils has a very large Land Use Change emission impact, which is mainly due to the considerable emission effect of peatland drainage for palm oil plantations in South East Asia. Conventional ethanol consumption has moderate LUC emission effects, while some advanced biofuels can even lead to negative LUC emissions.

The study also shows that overall LUC emissions can be mitigated via several routes, most effectively ending deforestation and peatland drainage in Southeast Asia, which would almost nullify the LUC emission impact.

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Category: Fuels

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