Isn’t BioMass Sustainable For Renewable Energy?
3 scientists criticize the ecological benefits of bio-mass in the energy production. Bio-fuels doesn’t decrease Greenhouse gas emissions.
This is the conclusion in the vision document ‘Biofuel and wood as energy sources‘ (in Dutch) published today at the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).
The vision document can be read as a summary of the findings of the most renowned independent experts. Questionable assumptions that underlie the policies of both the Dutch government and the European Commission, have been revisited.
- The burning of wood in power stations and bio-ethanol and biodiesel in cars seems hardly contribute to saving CO2 emissions.
- It is doubtful whether the climate benefits from biofuels or co-firing of wood coal plants.
That doubt proposes subsidizing these supposed alternatives to fossil fuels. The Academy concludes that biomass – which includes cooking oil and agricultural waste – should be considered as feedstock instead as a fuel fuel.
BioMass for raw materials
BioMass is going to have to replace the raw materials currently made from fossil sources if we are to sustainably satisfy the demand for plastics, solvents, paints and adhesives.
The trick is to keep the useful molecular structures in the biomass or to find a simple way of transforming them into useful components to replace the crude oil alternatives
It is already possible to fish certain components out of the biomass to convert into useful ingredients, such as lactic acid. Chains of lactic acid units form poly lactic acid, from which biodegradable plastics can be made. Another example is a nylon-like material made from biomass that is already used in flexible petrol pump hoses.
Ultimately we need to use 100% of the biomass. Therefore we need to work out exactly which molecules in the biomass we want to use for which purpose.
- Reduce the obligations for biofuel
In the meanwhile, demand extra durability demands on the origin of biomass and be transparent on this
- Reduce the co-firing subsidy for wood in power plants
- Increase the costs for emitting greenhouse gasses
- Speed up fermentation processes and research using molecules from biomass as raw material for high-quality materials
- Only burn remnants that ain’t useful any more
- Promote energy efficiency and a sustainable fuel use
- Promote innovation in the direct use of solar energy (solar, bio-organic)