Foto: Harzimprägnierung

Sustainable energy supply: Production and import of biomass and bio fuels

The project gives an overview of the supply and demand for biofuels specifically dealing with the situation in Europe and that in threshold and developing countries using case studies as examples. Cases: Sweden and France as importing countries in the EU, and Senegal as a (potential) exporting nation.

Short Description

Status

completed

Summary

The constantly growing demand for energy on a global scale has caused two problems which the production and use of biofuels may help solve:

  • The production and use of fossil energy has undoubtedly contributed to climate change; and
  • the dependence on imports reduces the security of energy supply.

The existing production in Austria, but also throughout the EU, of biomass as a pre-product for manufacturing first-generation biofuels is not sufficient to reach the objectives. Work is already in progress in making second- and third-generation biofuels ready for the market, but experts assume that this will take some time.

For this reason, imports are necessary from countries outside the EU, and at first glance this would seem to enable a win-win situation in terms of development co-operation. The project is intended to give an overview of the supply and demand for biofuels specifically dealing with the situation in Europe and that in threshold and developing countries using case studies as examples. The cases selected were Sweden and France as importing countries in the EU, on the one hand, and Senegal as a (potential) exporting nation, on the other.

European documents frequently refer to the double effect of using biofuels in the struggle against climate change, which would mean a win-win situation as regards development co-operation. But this only applies under specific conditions.

Biogenic fuels differ markedly in terms of production and use. Apart from electricity, bio-diesel, bioethanol and biogas are being considered for vehicle propulsion. Electricity can also be generated from biomass. Whereas the ecological benefit of biodiesel is being questioned more and more, experts’ opinions on the use of bioethanol are divided. At any rate, the use of bioethanol for local needs seems to be harmless from an ecological point of view.

For exporting threshold and developing countries, numerous risks of ecological, social, eco-nomic and technical nature are involved with the orientation towards exports and greater affluence deriving from the greater share in world trade. They cause misgivings as to the successful foundation of an ‘OPEC verte’ and the achievement of a win-win perspective.

Austria’s role in development co-operation does not have the significance to enable it to participate in designing large-scale national development plans. In the context of the production and import of biofuels, this implies co-ordinating development co-operation with civil society and taking an active part in the European discussion.

Project Partners

Project management

Ronald J. Pohoryles
Interdisziplinäres Forschungszentrum Sozialwissenschaften

Project collaborator:

Michael Schmidt, Katharina Zwieauer, Alice Vadrot

Contact Address

Ronald J. Pohoryles
Interdisziplinäres Forschungszentrum Sozialwissenschaften
Schottenfeldgasse 69/1, 1070 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 524 1393 111
E-Mail: pohoryles@iccr-international.org

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