Is Biofuel the future for Airlines?

14/02/2012

The European Commission has requested that Airlines begin to report on the amount of biomass, this is in an effort to account Biofuels as a zero emission product, which will be documented in the Greenhouse gas emissions report.

The Greenhouse gas emissions report is produced every year, under the EU’s carbon scheme for the aviation sector.

The plan has been detailed in a set of two EU regulation drafts on the verification of greenhouse gases. Biofuels have long been debated for their use as there is concern they could potentially harm the environment.

The draft compromises of information that gives European Industries details on how reporting should be handled when documenting greenhouse gas emissions which is covered by the EU’s flagship emissions trading scheme for greenhouse gases.

The draft expects Airlines to list the amount of biomass used as fuel, and this should be broken down on a yearly basis. The Biofuel report should be included within the annual emission report.

The EU member states are still in discussions for approving the plans and will need to be passed by European parliament before they become law.

A European Commission spokesperson for climate change issues said,

‘Under the EU ETS we provide a financial incentive for the use of Biofuels in aviation, as use of Biofuels has a zero-emissions factor, which means that no allowances need to be surrendered,” Ladron told EurActiv in e-mailed comments’.

Adding,

‘This means the Biofuels have a subsidy equivalent to the prevailing carbon price,” he explained, describing the scheme as “a cost-effective incentive as the subsidy for biofuels is equivalent to the cost of reducing emissions in other sectors’.

As part of the Carbon reduction pledge, which aims for major reduction by 2020 many airlines see Biofuels as a crucial part of their commitment to achieving ‘carbon- neutral growth’.  The International transport association set targets to increase the usage of Biofuels by 10% by the year 2017.

The President of Airplane maker, Boeing said in a recent interview,

‘Without Biofuels we cannot get there, it is a vital contribution’.

One of the greatest aspects and challenges to providing Biofuels for the Airline Industry is to ensure mass production can sustainably be provided.

According to one expert speaking on the subject,

‘Sustainable biofuels are fuels which achieve higher greenhouse gas savings compared to the average fossil fuel, and are not be cultivated on the land with high biodiversity value or on the peatland which has a high carbon stock’.

Green Activists have been long campaigning against the use of certain Biofuel productions due to some sources having a counterproductive reaction to their original use through culviation of natural forests for example would produce more carbon then the Biofuels could decrease by percentage.

Dudley Curtis, from Transport & Environment, a green NGO explained,

‘It’s good that the sustainability criteria have been extended to cover the ETS, but as long as ILUC is not included there is no guarantee of actual emissions reductions’.

Issac Lardon, spokesperson for the European Commission added that the EU noted that this area would be tackled in respect to concerns.