Bioethanol production in Europe last year provided more animal feed than fuel. This phenomenon provides further evidence that biofuels can also make an important contribution to food stability. That condition is a report from ePure, the European association of ethanol producers.
The study showed that in the past year, for the first time in history, members of ePure have produced more feed by-products than renewable fuels. This is about 4.48 million protein-rich animal feed, which made it possible to avoid importing additional crops, especially from Latin America.
Many environmental groups identify the production of biofuels from agricultural crops as a problematic activity. Opponents point to both environmental problems and the threat to food security.
This includes the war in Ukraine. “This conflict has further pushed up global food prices and increasingly undermined food security,” stressed Laura Buffet, director of energy at the Transport & Environment think tank.
“In a situation of food insecurity, therefore, there can be no role for biofuels made from agricultural raw materials – such as vegetable oils or grains.”
However, the ethanol industry rejects these claims, arguing that biofuels not only reduce the need for imported fossil fuels, but also increase food safety as an ingredient in animal feed.
“The combination of food and fuel provides industrial, agricultural and economic added value,” Valérie Corre, President of ePure, recently emphasized. “If the market for biofuels is undermined, food production is also at stake.”
“Biofuels also serve to increase farmers’ incomes,” Corre said. “This will encourage them to continue producing food in Europe. It is a very complex issue. It cannot be solved with a choice between food and fuel.”
“I hope decision makers will follow rational policies and realize that the combination of these two activities is the right option.”
“Compared to fossil fuels, ethanol in the EU achieved a 76.9 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions last year,” said David Carpintero, CEO of ePure.
“It is a new record. The data therefore confirm that renewable ethanol is the most cost-effective solution to reduce greenhouse gases in the EU.”
“Limiting biofuel production is a political mistake,” Carpintero stressed. “Despite the advent of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, vehicles with internal combustion engines will continue to be on European roads for decades to come.”
“Phasing out sustainable biofuels such as renewable ethanol – as some politicians want to do – not only runs counter to common sense, but also opens the door to greater dependence on fossil fuels. Nobody wants that.”
Agricultural fuels are the most cost-effective way to decarbonize road transport, according to ePure. When emissions through the life cycle of a vehicle are taken into account, high-ethanol internal combustion engines have a less negative impact on the environment than hybrid or electric cars.
‘After all, it must not be forgotten that electricity in the EU is mainly produced using fossil fuels. This means that an electric car will emit more greenhouse gases throughout its life cycle than a car that runs on fuels with a high ethanol content. ”