Is Europe losing its leader status in next generation fuels?

Leading NGOs and companies have warned that the European Union is at risk of losing its competitive advantage in the development of advanced biofuels, highlighting a lack of investment and policy commitment as primary factors.


While countries such as the US and Brazil have been busy opening new plants, similar projects in the EU have been delayed or abandoned in the last couple of years the group claims, blaming policy makers for spooking investors.


“Europe risks losing its competitive position on innovating low-carbon transport fuels,” according to Chris Malins, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, “after several promising commercial-scale projects were kicked off in recent years, investment has slowed to a halt in Europe due to policy uncertainty.”


This could be addressed in forthcoming EU climate regulation for 2020-2030, which will include an update to the Renewable Energy Directive in December of this year. Strong support for advanced alternative fuels, including a binding target for biofuels, could yet provide the long term certainty needed to boost investor confidence.

Ambitious projects such as ButaNexT show that the technology is developing rapidly, and should help convince policy-makers that sustainable advanced biofuels are central to our future fuel needs.


The group’s report ‘Biofrontiers: Responsible innovation for tomorrow’s liquid fuels’ can be accessed here.