Biodiesel Won't Help Global Warming: New Study
04/24/2007 -- Press Release -- Biodiesel could increase rather than
reduce greenhouse emissions compared to conventional diesel EU
legislation to promote the uptake of biodiesel will not make any
difference to global warming, and could potentially result in greater
emissions of greenhouse gases than from conventional petroleum-derived
diesel. This is the conclusion of a new study reported today in
Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.
Analysts at SRI Consulting compared the emissions of greenhouse gases by
the two fuels across their overall life cycles from production to
combustion in cars.
The results show that biodiesel derived from rapeseed grown on dedicated
farmland emits nearly the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions
(defined as CO2 equivalents) per km driven as does conventional diesel.
However, if the land used to grow rapeseed was instead used to grow
trees, petroleum diesel would emit only a third of the CO2 equivalent
emissions as biodiesel.
Petroleum diesel emits 85% of its greenhouse gases at the final stage,
when burnt in the engine. By contrast, two-thirds of the emissions
produced by rapeseed derived biodiesel (RME) occur during farming of the
crop, when cropland emits nitrous oxide (N2O), otherwise known as
laughing gas, that is 200-300x as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2.
The results of this analysis should have big implications for
policymakers. The 2003 EU Biofuels Directive aims to increase the levels
of biofuels to 5.75% of all transport fuels by 2010, up from roughly 2%
currently. This will be further increased to a 10% share in 2010, the
Commission announced in January this year.
Transportation currently accounts for more than a fifth of all
greenhouse gas emissions emitted in the EU. Rapeseed-derived biodiesel
is the major renewables-derived biofuel used across Europe and, as well
as helping to improve energy security, is expected to play an important
role in helping to meet the EU's Kyoto commitment to reduce levels of
greenhouse gas emissions by 8% by 2012 relative to 1990 levels, and by
20% by 2020.
Lisa Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org, 44-020-759-81524, Society of Chemical