EU approves EPFL's criteria for sustainable biofuels

Producing biofuel from sugar cane can be sustainable. © istockphoto / Andrew Wood

Producing biofuel from sugar cane can be sustainable. © istockphoto / Andrew Wood

The standard established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) at EPFL has recently been recognized as proof of compliance with the EU biofuel’s mandate.

Four years after getting started, now comes the recognition. The European Union has this week officially recognized the standards established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), an international organization with some 120 partners (fuel producers, industrialists, NGOs…) hosted by the Energy Center at EPFL.

In the perspective of a world after fossil fuels, sustainable and alternative fuel production needs to be developed. The production of fuels from biomass — sure to play an important role as a viable energy source for the future — should not, however, compete with food production and ought to lead to a truly environmentally friendly alternative to oil: protect biodiversity, ensure the durability of water resources and reduce green-house gas emissions. It is along these lines that the RSB defines its criteria in order to maintain the long-term sustainability of biofuel production and commercialization to provide a viable solution to the problems related to fossil fuel use.

The European Commission (EC) officially recognized on Tuesday, the 19th of July, seven different voluntary schemes, including RSB proposal. For Brussels it is necessary to preserve tropical forests and peat bogs and to prevent their replacement with sugar cane or palm oil plantations. “In addition,” the EC states in their press release, “the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole production chain need to be at least 35% lower compared to fossil fuels.”
Such are the criteria, among others, that were laid out in the RSB’s “Principles and Criteria” version 2.0. As of Tuesday, a biofuel producer can decide to adhere to these criteria and thus obtain a European recognized RSB certification, allowing them to sell their fuel in the European market.

Source: EPFL