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Opinion A new

Opinion A new political-economic framework is needed to rebalance the financial support for energy and industrial material use of biomass. This new framework should be linked for all applications to climate protection, resource efficiency, employment and innovation. Principle of equal treatment and product parity! Risks of the existing policy framework With the existing policy framework, Europe will not be able to realize the huge potential of the bio-based economy – probably in contrast to Asia and the US. The region, which is balancing and optimising the support between energy and material use first, will have the best starting point to high added value, green jobs and bringing innovation to the market. Another risk is to drive out the existing wood pulp & paper and board industry from Europe. European high-level wood industry will switch to low-level energy pellet industry with the lowest added value and employment. In the last decade, the share of biomass used for material use has already decreased compared to bioenergy as a result of the existing framework in several member states. This unbalanced support could lead to less innovation, less resource efficiency, less climate protection, less investment and fewer jobs. 1 Bio-based products – chemicals and materials (pre-norm CEN/BT/WG 209: ‘biobased product = product wholly or partly bio-based (=’derived from biomass’)’) include all kind of bio-based chemicals, bio-based plastics and additives – biodegradable and durable, bio-composites like wood plastics composites and natural fibres reinforced plastics and insulation material, and also the traditional products of the timber industry. Bio-based products are used in construction & insulation, packaging, automotive and consumer goods. From a technical point of view almost all industrial materials made from fossil resources could be substituted by their bio-based counterparts. 2 The complete policy paper including a list of all quoted references can downloaded from 3 The EU has targeted that 20% of energy should be renewably sourced by 2020. This will direct member states to increased support for bioenergy. New policy – Principle of equal treatment In principle, the applied policy on bioenergy and especially biofuels was appropriate and a success story. But the global framework changed, biomass is now more limited than several years ago and new technologies have been developed. For the future we need a new policy to be able to use the potential of biomass most efficiently and most productively. The European Union needs a new agricultural raw material policy to rebalance the support of bioenergy and biofuels versus industrial material use. This means to search, screen, develop and evaluate (new) political instruments, which could secure access to sustainable renewable feedstock, well balanced between bioenergy and bio-based products. (LMI 2011) This new framework should cover all industrial applications and should be based on climate protection, resource efficiency, employment (‘green jobs’) and innovation. A higher focus should be put on resource efficiency and climate protection regarding the use of land and the biomass flow. ‘Cascading utilization’ (the sequential utilization of biogenic raw materials for material and energy uses) could be one option for future support (LMI 2011). Priority should be given to using biomass for biobased materials, followed by recycling and later its use for biofuel and bioenergy. For a new policy and new strategies, a comprehensive study is urgently needed to get sufficient, adequate, detailed and solid data about the industrial material use of biomass in the EU, incl. a periodic update. (See side note 2: Only very limited data on industrial material use of biomass in the EU) Instruments that could provide a level playing field for bio-based products Currently, mainly necessary, but weak instruments like R&D support, standardization and information tools are discussed for bio-based 54 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6

chemistry and materials – whereas bioenergy receives a strong ongoing support during commercial production via quotas, tax incentives, green electricity regulations and more. Bio-based chemicals and materials will only thrive, if strong instruments are implemented in a new political framework to rebalance the support of energy and material use. Bio-based products need at least a level playing field in order to get started. During the last ten years no political instruments have been developed to support bio-based chemistry and materials during commercial production. This is strongly needed. The list in the appendix is a summary of instruments that have been discussed in different workshops over the last years and that could be theoretically implemented – the most important will be to realize a binding political framework to support the bio-based economy in a long lasting manner. Outlook The new policy framework for the EU has to be coordinated by European Commission, European Parliament, member states and regions – incl. all involved sectors like agricultural, enterprise, energy, environment and R&D – to find the most efficient instruments to support the industrial material use until a level playing field with bioenergy, esp. biofuels is reached. To identify the most efficient instruments, extensive consultations of stakeholders from the wide field of industrial material use of biomass, from SMEs to multinational companies, is required. The same political discussions are taking place in North America and Asia, since the phenomena of a non-level playing field for both sectors is a worldwide phenomena occurring over the last 10 – 20 years. Now, with visibly limited biomass resources the most efficient use of land and biomass is a crucial challenge. The region in the world which will optimize and balance the support of the use of biomass for energy and material first, will profit from a considerable growth, investments, green jobs, innovation, increased resource efficiency and additional climate protection. Let Europe be the region to profit! Limited biomass should be used most efficiently: Do more value added and create more employment – with less biomass: Bio-based Products. Register now! 22/23 November 2011 Maritim proArte Hotel Berlin Conference contact: ✆ +49 .30 28 48 23 50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6 55

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