EU bioethanol producers see rising output to 2020
May 5, 2009
Reuters reports that Europe is likely to pump out increasing amounts of bioethanol over the next 10 years, posting gradual annual output rises as an EU-imposed deadline nears for boosting renewable energy, according to an industry official. While wide discrepancies remain among the European Union''s 27 countries in terms of their bioethanol industries, overall production has jumped exponentially since the EU launched its first biofuels directive with renewables targets in 2003. Last year, EU producers turned out 2.82 billion liters of bioethanol, up from 1.80 billion in 2007. France has become the EU''s top producer, followed by Germany and Spain and then, much further behind, by Poland and Hungary. Grains, usually wheat, are the dominant raw materials used in Europe to make bioethanol, providing starch to be broken down for fermentation. In 2007, EU leaders agreed a binding target of 10 percent for renewable energy in transport, as part of an overall 20 percent renewable energy target by 2020. Then, last year, the European Commission published a draft renewable energy directive to put the political agreement into legal form, which includes a set of sustainability criteria that biofuels must meet to be counted toward the target. The directive is still being assessed and reviewed by the European Parliament and EU member states. All countries must now roll out detailed road maps to show to the European Commission how they plan to reach their national targets for green energy.