Panel Webinar: Can Biofuels Drive Our Future?

22 June 2020

Panel Webinar (Zoom) | Monday, 22 June 2020 | 10:30 - 12:00 CEST | EUSEW 2020 Energy Day |

In March 2020, the European Commission committed to enshrining the 2050 climate-neutrality objective—set out in the European Green Deal—into EU law.  At the same time, the covid-19 pandemic tipped the European Union into a volatile new phase, with a looming world-wide economic recession stirring geopolitical tensions. A critical appraisal of our dependence on imported fossil fuels is, therefore, timelier than ever. In this webinar, we take a critical look at the potential of biofuels to contribute to achieving climate neutrality through the substitution of fossil fuels in the transport sector.

Since the implementation of the first regulatory framework (Biofuel Directive) in 2003, attempts to enforce a minimum supply of biofuels to replace fossil fuels in the transport sector have revealed environmental and social uncertainties about the biofuel solution. Some of the unintended negative impacts of the EU biofuels policies include:

  • A shift from dependence on imported fossil fuels to dependence on imported biomass associated with the deforestation of tropical forests and loss of biodiversity;
  • Higher than expected greenhouse gas emissions resulting from indirect land-use change;
  • A significant dependence on fossil energy for the production and transportation of feed-stocks;
  • A significant requirement of land and water for biofuel production some of which competing with food production.

In spite of this growing uncomfortable knowledge, the RED-2 proposed even more ambitious short-medium terms targets for biofuels, while shifting the focus from agro-biofuels to advanced biofuels with (still) low levels of technological readiness.

Purpose: The purpose of this webinar is to discuss the expectations about the role that biofuels can play in a radical decarbonization of the EU economy, with a focus on the (in)compatibility between what is desirable (desirability criteria) and what is possible (viability and feasibility constraints). 

Format: The webinar consists of three presentations of 10 min each, followed by a moderated expert panel debate with public interaction. Presentations will be made available in advance through the MAGIC website (download at the bottom of this page!). Any questions arising from these presentations or suggestions for panel discussion points can be sent to mario.giampietro[at] or posted in our MAGIC forum.

Speakers: Mario Giampietro (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Coordinator MAGIC); Nico Polman (Wageningen Economic Research, representing SIM4NEXUS)

Panelists: Zoltan Rakonczay (European Commission, DG-RTD.C.3 Climate & Planetary Boundaries); Lotte Asveld (Delft University of Technology); Zsolt Lengyel (Chairman, Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy)

Moderator: Maddalena Ripa (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, MAGIC)

Date: Join us on Monday, 22 June 2020 at 10:30 CEST.

Registration: Prior registration is required.

Organizers: This webinar is organized by the Horizon2020 MAGIC project and is part of the Energy Days of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW 2020).


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