Biofuels output falls 12 per cent

The Biofuture Platform, a global multi-stakeholder initiative, has today called for policymakers to urgently address a 11.6 per cent fall in biofuel output which has occurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Platform which is facilitated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has made this call following IEA’s Renewables 2020 report showing that as renewables are generally are experiencing growth, the biofuel industry must catch up following its first decline in two decades.

In addition, production of fuel ethanol has been adversely affected by the pandemic with the sector facing a 14.5 per cent contraction this year and a return to 2015 levels. Global biodiesel has also been subject to a 5 per cent fall with most of this reduction stemming from European markets.

A fall in crude oil prices at the start of the pandemic made biofuels less competitive than traditional fossil fuels, exacerbating the situation for renewable alternatives. With production of biodiesel across Europe anticipated to decrease by 13.5 per cent in 2020, the IEA believes that this decline would have been even greater were it not for the biofuel mandates of various EU member states linked to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) 2020 target of 10 per cent renewable energy in transport, reinforcing how imperative it is that policy makers view bioenergy as a cost-effective way to create employment in the energy sector and drive the green recovery.

Dr Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable energy division at the IEA, said: “Biofuels are critical to achieving successful global clean energy transitions. Decarbonising aviation and shipping – sectors that are particularly hard-to-abate – as we recover from the global pandemic will be key to ensuring that countries meet their net-zero targets in the decades to come. With the hope that the pandemic will subside at some point, 2021 is the time for decisive action to be taken.”

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