April 22, 2015

A Committee of MEPs voted to introduce a cap on crop-based biofuels on Tuesday. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted to endorse a hotly contested cap of 7 percent on ‘first generation’ biofuels.

Interestingly, Rix Petroleum was the first organisation to produce and distribute bio diesel on a large scale in the UK, nearly 15 years ago. Rix BioDiesel was a renewable and sustainable form of energy produced from recycled vegetable oils from the food industry as well as harvested oilseed crops. With its lower emissions Rix BioDiesel was kinder to the environment reducing harmful greenhouse gasses.

A lot has changed since Rix first worked on bringing biodiesel to the market in mass, dues to legislation changed here in the UK as well as Europe.

Moves to prevent the proportion of biofuels in Europe’s transport fuel from rising above 7 percent are intended to prevent more virgin crops being used to produce fuel. There are widespread concerns that the increased production of biofuel feedstocks means land will have to be converted elsewhere to maintain food production. It is suggested that, once this indirect land use change (ILUC) has been factored into production, many biofuels are just as bad for the climate as the fossil fuels they are intended to replace - in some cases, they could be even worse.

The cap is also intended to support production of ‘second generation’ biofuels, made from agricultural waste products, algae and other materials. However, many of these fuels are still in the early stages of development.

Proposed action on crop-based biofuels has been opposed by industry lobbies, including the major farm groups, who urged MEPs against endorsing the cap.

The measures will be discussed and voted on for a final time by the EU Parliament as a whole on 29th April, and the NFU is already increasing pressure on MEPs to reject the cap.

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