EU climate impact report casts shadow over biofuels

The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.

Results from an internal EU study on biofuels, recently leaked to the media, are casting a dark shadow over biofuels. Focused on biodiesel, used in far greater volumes in Europe due to the popularity of efficient diesel-powered vehicles, the report has biofuel supporters in a near state of panic.

According to this report from Reuters, “Europe’s world-leading $13 billion biodiesel industry, which has boomed in the wake of a decision by Brussels policymakers in 2003 to promote it, is now on the verge of being legislated out of existence after the studies revealed biodiesel’s indirect impact cancels out most of its benefits. ‘This study would pave the way for the demise of the European biodiesel sector,” Philippe Tillous-Borde, chief of French oilseed giant Sofiproteol, which owns Europe’s largest biodiesel producer, told Reuters.”

This news is relevant to aviation since biodiesel is similar in most respects to biofuel replacements for Jet-A which have been touted recently in numerous media reports. One expects similar studies to question the net environmental advantage of bio-based jet fuel, the only compelling reason to pursue a fuel that is not currently financially viable without massive taxpayer subsidies and production mandates, as is the case for ethanol.


  1. Bart R says

    Tthe problem with all GREEN initiatives is that they are a big picture problem, not simply a technical solution. In the big picture you must take into account ALL the aspects of alternative energy production, not just focus on the technical solution. Growing a crop, transporting to a conversion facility, energy produced and used in the conversion process, all aspects must be considered and included in the analysis of the benefits of a bio based combustible fuel. The truth is the numbers just don’t work unless and until the natural sources of combustible products are exhausted or so expensive that the bio derivative is competitive. In any case if it’s Global Warming you’re worried about CO2 is the same no matter what you burn to produce it.

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