(Repeats Tuesday story without change)
* New research underlines benefits of new generation biofuel
* Commission 2030 policy outline omits transport goals
* Research has questioned credentials of first-generation
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Feb 26 Projects to deliver a next
generation of green transport fuel, which new research says
could cut EU oil consumption by millions of tonnes per year, are
on hold because of an EU policy vacuum, representatives of the
Specific EU targets for low carbon transport fuel expire in
2020 and suggested EU climate and energy policy for 2030, to be
discussed by EU ministers in Brussels next week, includes only
an overall carbon-cutting goal for all energy.
Research, published on Wednesday, by the International
Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the NNFCC, a British
consultancy, found the next generation of sustainable biofuels
made from household, agricultural and forestry waste could
create 300,000 jobs and cut EU consumption of oil by 37 million
tonnes of oil annually by 2030.
The ICCT provides scientific research to guide regulators
such as the European Commission, the EU executive.
One of the pioneering firms in second generation fuels is
Finland's UPM, which uses a by-product of wood pulp
to make fuel. Later this year, it is scheduled to start output
at the world's first wood-based biodiesel refinery in
UPM was also granted 170 million euros ($233 million) in EU
funding for a biorefinery in France, but says it cannot use it
for now because of lack of policy certainty.
Another Finnish company Vapo Oy said last week it
was freezing project planning for a biodiesel plant using wood
It had been promised 88 million euros of EU money if the
project were realised, but in a statement said "increased
uncertainty concerning the legislation on renewable fuels" meant
it could not go ahead.
BEST CHANCE TO LOWER TRANSPORT EMISSIONS
UPM, however, says biofuels offer the greatest chance to
reduce transport emissions over the coming decade and it has
pressed on without any public grants with the Lappeenranta
refinery, which required investment of 150 million euros.
Marko Janhunen, a vice president at UPM Biorefining, told
Reuters technology improvements, plus gains from reduced oil
import bills, add to the economic viability of the next
generation of biofuel.
The biggest obstacle was lack of regulatory certainty.
"It is difficult to see investment decisions being taken due
to the uncertain situation," Janhunen said. "The EU's post 2020
energy and climate policy package unfortunately did not increase
the confidence in the markets."
Wednesday's report found some kinds of second-generation
biofuel needed short-term financial help, but said "others are
close to being competitive and require little more than policy
Debate on biofuels has been heated in Brussels as research
has revealed the problems with a first generation of biofuel
made from food crops, such as maize and palm oil.
Critics say the first generation does more harm than good
because it can inflate food prices and the extra demand for
acreage leads to clearance of rain forest or peat land, meaning
it can be worse in terms of emissions than conventional fuel.
Commission attempts to get the European Union to cap the
amount of first generation biofuel have foundered after
opposition from those that have invested in it.
Representing the first and second generation bio-ethanol
industry body ePURE said in a statement the Commission's
decision not to put forward post-2020 binding targets for
renewable energy use in transport ignored the "very pressing
need" to decarbonise the sector, which is responsible for a
quarter of EU greenhouse gas emissions.
($1 = 0.7285 euros)
(Editing by William Hardy)