How can the EU support European farmers? Try a more consistent EU biofuels policy


With European elections approaching and focusing attention on how to make the EU’s important fight against climate change work for all segments of society, it’s clear that more needs to be done to address the economic concerns of the EU agricultural sector and the processing industries directly connected to it. A more consistent EU biofuels policy would be a good place to start.

As part of the circular economy, renewable ethanol production in the EU is an important source of income and markets for European farmers. EU biorefineries turn multi-purpose crops and agricultural waste from these farmers into renewable fuel, high-quality animal feed and food and other valuable by-products such as biogenic CO2.

The synergies at play support Europe’s feed independence: since the EU currently depends on imports of high-protein animal feed, it would benefit from greater production of domestic feed from these ethanol biorefineries. This production would in turn help ensure robust markets and stable income for European farmers, support sugar and grain markets, and boost EU energy independence and food security.

Due to a misunderstanding (specific to the EU) of the food and fuel/fuel and food dynamics, the use of crop-based biofuels such as renewable ethanol is limited in transport and banned from ReFuelEU Aviation and FuelEU Maritime, an unjustified decision likely to deprive the EU from investing in and developing its own competitive SAF industry.

If EU countries had more leeway to meet transport emissions-reduction targets using crop-based biofuels – as is the case in other countries around the world such as the US and Brazil – this would not only generate additional revenue streams for European farmers but also speed up our ability to decarbonize transport and reduce our fossil oil imports.

The EU rightfully wants to boost its strategic autonomy and decarbonize its economy. These intertwined objectives can be achieved by adopting consistent policies that better understand and support its agriculture sector and the necessity to diversify agricultural raw materials outlets to better handle market fluctuations and strengthen its competitiveness.

Find out more about how the EU can realise the potential of renewable ethanol biorefineries for a stronger Europe and a more competitive and productive farming sector.

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