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Investing in sustainable bioenergy

Investing in sustainable bioenergy - 2 May 2013. Wavebreak Media. Thinkstock

Recent reports on biofuels have questioned their ability to provide sustainable solutions for future energy demand. One recently published report by Chatham House (The Trouble with Biofuels: Costs and Consequences of Expanding Biofuel Use in the United Kingdom) reports that growing agriculturally produced liquid fuels will increase food prices. This led to media reports stating that biofules were irrational and worse than fossil fuels.

Bioenergy Champion, Duncan Eggar, said: "The report is not in tune with current research with the main focus only on some first generation biofuels; many others already deliver real GHG savings compared to fossil fuels and numerous other agricultural/social/environmental/economic benefits. Modern second generation solutions are looking at alternatives to using valuable agricultural land, such as maximising the efficiency of biobutanol producing bacteria. Effective advanced solutions for the future rely on an established biofuels industry today based on the best of first generation fuels; and the best will not compete with food.

"Through initiatives like the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC), scientists are working to achieve advanced, sustainable bioenergy solutions. These solutions aim to be economically competitive with fossil fuels, will have benefits to the economy, such as new jobs and growth, will have significant benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gasses, and will not compete with land needed for food production."

ENDS