Friday, April 9, 2010

French Study Says Land Use May Cut Biofuel Benefits

French Study Says Land Use May Cut Biofuel Benefits

Biofuel Bacteria

Date: 09-Apr-10
Country: FRANCE
Author: Gus Trompiz

Changes in land use linked to the growing of crops like soybeans and palm oil may cancel out the benefits of biofuels in terms of emissions savings, according to an official French study released on Thursday.

Biofuels may even have a worse emissions profile than traditional fossil fuels, said the authors of the study commissioned by French energy and environment agency Ademe.

Factors such as the clearing of forests to grow crops could cut the emissions benefits of both non-European biofuel production, and also output in Europe through the indirect effect of importing biofuel components, they said.

Critics of the current generation of biofuels, made using grains, sugar or oilseeds, say they encourage environmentally damaging land clearance. This issue has also been raised by the European Commission in its own analysis.

"The significance of these effects ... warrants further work in order to establish how to take into account land use changes in the (emissions) balances of products made with agricultural raw materials," the French study said.

In an updated version of a study first released in October, the authors reiterated substantial emissions savings from biofuels versus standard fuels when land-use changes are not measured, with savings ranging from 24 percent to 91 percent.

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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

Your idea?