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Politics Material use

Politics Material use first! Proposals for a Reform of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) to a Renewable Energy and Materials Directive (REMD) The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) of the European Union supports the energy use (bio-fuels, wood-pellets etc) of biomass. But according to the authors, the incentive scheme should also integrate biobased materials and chemicals. nova-paper #4, which can be downloaded in full free of charge is titled: “Proposals for a Reform of the Renewable Energy Directive to a Renewable Energy and Materials Directive (REMD)”. It aims at creating a level playing field for biobased chemicals and materials with bioenergy and biofuels in Europe. It is fundamentally different from other reforms of the Directive being currently discussed because it opens the perspective to not only look at energy, but also at biobased materials. The proposal is based on the insights that the support system for bioenergy and biofuels created by the RED and the corresponding national legislations is one of the main reasons hindering the biobased material sector from developing – and therefore the whole biobased economy. It is time to understand that the RED stems from a time when biomass was available in abundance and it made sense to create the framework, but that today biomass is a highly valuable raw material that should be allocated in the most efficient way possible. At the moment, the legislation causes serious market distortions for biobased feedstocks that have been reported by a multitude of companies. Unfavourable framework conditions combined with high biomass prices and uncertain biomass supplies deter investors from putting money into biobased chemistry and materials 1 . Furthermore, several problems with the current framework have been become apparent over the last few years, as for example the fact that some Member States are not on track with meeting their quotas or that feedstock bottlenecks have appeared due to the increased and unbalanced demand for biomass. This reform proposal aims to offer solutions to all these issues, while improving the generation of value added, employment, innovation and investment in Europe. All of these criteria can be better fulfilled by industrial material use than by energy use (of the same amount of biomass). The strengthening of the biobased material sector will contribute to the desired industrial renaissance recently communicated by the European Commission, while still reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a strong climate policy of the EU. Furthermore, it aims at lessening the dependence on public subsidies while still using, preserving and expanding the existing structures in place for bioenergy and biofuels. The revolutionary proposal calls for an opening of the support system to also make biobased chemicals and materials accountable for the renewables quota of each Member State. The basic idea is to transform the RED into a REMD – a “Renewable Energy and Materials Directive”. It does not intend to establish a new quota for the chemical industry. Instead, it proposes that the material use of a biobased building block such as bioethanol or biomethane should be accounted for in the renewables quota the same way as it counts for the energy use of the same building block, e.g. fuel. The competition triangle: No level playing field for bio-based chemicals and products Petrochemical Industry 90 % Energy Tax Fuels, Electricity and Heat Artificial competitiveness Bioenergy Biofuels Fig 1: The competition triangle: Petrochemicals – Bioenergy/ biofuels – Material use of biomass (Carus et al. 2014) 10 % No Energy Tax, no import duties Energy Shift (with Solar and Wind) Easy, subsidised access to biomass 48 % Integration into Emissions Trading System Comprehensive support system at EU and national levels National Implementations , Biofuel Quota Act, Tax reductions Raw Material Shift 3. Industral Revolution Products Low competitiveness to petrochemical productes Biomass 52 % (D 2008) Difficult access to domestic biomass, barriers in trading, import taxes Renewable Energy Directive (RED) Uncertainty on sustainable feedstock supply, R&D, biotech processes, performance, competitiveness, markets and political framework are the main hurdles for investment in Europe. Industrial Material Use of Biomass Complete lack of a support system for the material use – support only for R&D, sporadic and limited to certain applications. Difficult situation on the market, with laws and regulations as well as in politics and publics. Advantages and benefits for Bioenergy/Biofuels leading to hurdles for other sectors Hurdles and barriers for Industrial Material Use 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/14] Vol. 9

Politics 10 9 8 The factors state how much more gross employment and added value is created per unit of land (or tonne of biomass) by material use than energy use Solar powered electric car Photovoltaic Solar Electricity 0%: 3,600 GJ per ha and year Inverter (DV AC) 5%, Grid losses: 6% Reaching the battery: 3,215 GJ per ha and year Battery electric motor to the wheel: 0% 6.3% of original energy 2,250 GJ per ha and year 2,250 GJ 7 6 5 4 In Central Europe, the average solar radiation per hectare about 36,000 Gigajoule (GJ) per ha and year to the wheel The photovoltaic panel and electric car system is 50 times (BTL) to 125 times compared to the system of energy crops for a biofuel driven car. 3 2 1 Direct gross employment factor Direct gross added value factor 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Seven Studies Photosynthesis about 2% of 20,000 GJ (radiation share in growing period) per ha: 400 GJ per ha and year Biofuels (Biodiesel, Bioethanol, BTL) Mechanical & chemical processing Biofuels 50 - 135 GJ per ha and year Distribution and combustion engine (fuel wheel): 5% 0.1-0.2% of original energy 18 - 47 GJ per ha and year 18 - 47 GJ Fig 2: Comparison of gross macroeconomic effects of material and energy use of biomass (Carus et al. 2014) Notes: Shares of food an feed based on FAOSTAT; gap of animal feed demand from grazing not included (see Krausmann et al. 2008) Other building blocks, such as succinic acid, lactic acid, etc. could be accounted for based on a conversion into bio-ethanol equivalents according to their calorific value. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could also be the basis for such a conversion. Six more evolutionary proposals complement this comprehensive idea of a REMD. They focus especially on resource efficiency by restricting bioenergy’s share of the RED quotas, strengthening solar and wind power within the European renewables framework and by including more CO 2 -based fuels in the quota. It is proposed to abolish multiple counting within the quota, except for raw materials stemming from cascading or recycling processes. Furthermore, in the future representatives of the material sector should also be heard for any reform concerning energy won from biomass. Finally, the reform paper addresses the current debate about sustainability certifications for biomass used for any purpose. It points out that sustainability certifications for the energy sector were only implemented hand in hand with considerable incentives. This aspect is often forgotten in the discussion. The paper proposes installing the same sustainability criteria for biomass used for materials that are required for the use of energy, if the same incentives are applied. In such a context, an expansion of today’s sustainability schemes to cover more criteria would be welcome. The paper is completed by two Annexes: One includes statements of companies that feel the negative impacts of the distorted market for biomass caused by the RED; and the other presents comprehensive background information on all statements of the main paper as well as the specifics of industrial material use. MT Info: The complete paper (pdf) can be downloaded free of charge at By: Michael Carus, Lara Dammer, Roland Essel all: nova-Institut, Hürth, Germany Andreas Hermann Öko-Institut; Freiburg, Germany 1:“Whereas world capacity for biobased chemicals and materials is rapidly growing, Europe clearly lags behind. Lux Research, a Boston based company, expects a doubling of global biobased capacity in 2017 to 13.2 Mton. But Europe’s share will drop from 37% in 2005 to 14% in 2017.” ( Editor’s note Michael Thielen Two of many interesting aspects mentioned in the proposal are (i) macroeconomic effects (gross employment and added value) and (ii) energy efficiency of photovoltaic vs. biofuels. (i) In 2012, Fifo-Institute, Cologne (Germany) and nova-Institute, Hürth (Germany) conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of seven major studies on the economics of material use of biomass. This meta-analytical study of the macroeconomic effects focuses on the question: “How do we assess the economics of material use compared to energy use?” applying the same parameters of added value and the effects on employment. Fig 2 shows the recapitulation of the results. Overall, it is apparent that material use promises several advantages over energy use in terms of gross employment (Factors 5-10) and gross added value (Factors 4–9) – in both cases related to the same area of land or amount of biomass. This is largely due to the considerably longer process and value chains for material use – and the higher value of the products. (ii) Fig 3. shows the different grades of land efficiency for different biofuel systems (biodiesel from rapeseed, bioethanol from wheat or corn and BTL from lignocellulosic feedstock) compared to the land efficiency of powering an electric car with solar energy – from the field to the wheel. All assumptions are conservative and widely accepted by experts. The different biofuel systems need 50 to 125 times more land than a solar electric car system, taking only the direct effects into account (without the production of the PV system and without energy input (tractor, fertilizer, plant protection…) in the agricultural system). Especially if land is rare, the decision for a land-efficient solar electric mobility instead of far less efficient biofuels will free large arable areas for the agricultural production bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/14] Vol. 9 31

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