Biofuels play a key role in decarbonizing the transport sector. Current policies to expand production and use on a global scale, however, are not ambitious enough, says the International Energy Agency.
In order to overcome this obstacle, the IEA will evaluate the effectiveness of policies implemented by leading countries in the production of low carbon fuels for transportation, such as Brazil. The objectives are to help them identify bottlenecks, point out the necessary actions and share best practices to help other nations move forward on the bioenergy agenda.
The initiative was presented by representatives of the institution during the fourth Brazilian Bioenergy Science and Technology Conference (BBEST), which took place online between November 30 and December 2.
The event is part of the activities of the FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN) and took place in parallel to the second edition of the Biofuture Summit, promoted by the Biofuture Platform - consortium formed by 20 countries, including Brazil, with the objective of promoting transport solutions low carbon and bioeconomics.
"We are confident that the sharing of best practices, evaluated with rigorous methodologies, will cause more countries to adopt effective policies to implement bioenergy in a sustainable manner, create jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in order to achieve energy goals. and global climate, "said Faith Birol, executive director of the IEA, at the opening of the event.
In a pilot phase, the project will have policies aimed at the development of biofuels for transportation and will initially cover five countries. The policies implemented by Brazil, the United States and the Netherlands are currently being analyzed.
"The idea is to characterize the bioenergy scenario in these countries, which have differences in terms of market maturity and access to technologies, for example, to describe and analyze their bioenergy policies", explained Paolo Frankl, leader of the renewable energy division of the IEA.
"This work will result in the production of indicators of the evolution of the production and use of biofuels in these countries and an analysis of their bioenergy policy portfolios," said Frankl.
The contribution of bioenergy to final energy consumption and the share of low carbon fuels in the total energy used by the countries' transport sector will be some of the metrics for the construction of the indicators.
The growth rates of biofuels in these countries and their alignment with sustainable bioenergy development scenarios projected by the IEA will also be analyzed, in addition to the amount of greenhouse gases that the country ceases to emit with the use of biofuels.
The six criteria for evaluating the policies implemented by the countries will be: degree of priority of bioenergy in energy planning, security and clarity of policies, market access, financial support, governance and stimulating innovation in the sector.
"We assume that policies need to be adapted to the specific context of each country and that there are no silver bullets, that is, solutions that work for everyone. There are also different policies through which it is possible to obtain similar effective results", assessed Frankl.
In relation to policies to guarantee bioenergy access to the market, Brazil, for example, established the mandatory mixing of 27% ethanol in gasoline. The Netherlands followed a similar line in establishing the mandatory mixing of ethanol and biodiesel.
"We have discussed how to implement a series of policies aimed at stimulating the use of biofuels in the transport, aviation and maritime sectors," said Kees Kwant, Netherlands Minister for Economic and Climate Relations.
The economic mechanisms used by the Netherlands and Brazil to expand the production and use of biofuels are also similar: they are based on the issue of decarbonization certificates by ethanol and biodiesel producers and the purchase of these papers by companies that sell oil products. oil in proportions equivalent to the volumes sold.
In Brazil, distributors already hold about 60% of the decarbonisation certificates instituted by the Renovabio program, necessary to reach the commercialization target set for this year, of more than 20 million certificates of the so-called Biofuel Decarbonization Credits (CBios), said Danielle Machado e Silva Conde, deputy superintendent of biofuels and product quality at the National Petroleum Agency (ANP).
"More than 200 bioenergy producers have already been certified and more than 15 million CBios - equivalent to 15 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions - were registered this year," said Bento Albuquerque, Minister of Mines and Energy.
According to IEA data, the production and use of biofuels, which represent 50% of the total bioenergy consumed in the world today, has been growing, but at a much slower pace than necessary to achieve the sustainable development goals of the energy sector. In addition, the sector was severely hit by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a 12% drop in production - the first after two decades of growth (read more at https://agencia.fapesp.br / 34472 /).
To reverse this decline and promote the resumption of biofuel growth, Biofuture representatives are calling on nations to adopt the principles to encourage the implementation of policies and programs for recovery and acceleration of the post-COVID-19 bioeconomy proposed by the 20 member countries the Platform.
One of these principles is that countries should not fall back on targets set before the pandemic for the promotion of biofuels and the bioeconomy. Another principle is the revaluation of fossil fuel subsidies.
"The Biofuture Platform has been instrumental in filling a gap in the international environmental and energy debate, in which the role and the need for sustainable bioenergy has been largely ignored. Since the launch of the Platform, member countries have announced and worked on new policies and important programs for bioenergy, biofuels and bioeconomics ", said Ernesto Araújo, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As a prominent position in the development of the bioeconomy, Brazil can lead the global response to the current situation by fostering international partnerships on key topics such as responsible land use and harvesting technology, evaluated the participants of the event, which brought together 450 participants, from 34 countries.
"O Brasil é referência em bioenergia por ter desenvolvido matriz energética amplamente renovável, em grande parte devido ao sucesso de sua indústria de biocombustíveis. Um dos fatores que contribuíram para isso é a existência no país de uma comunidade de pesquisa robusta que tem ajudado a resolver diversos desafios de ciência e tecnologia na área", avaliou Glaucia Mendes Souza, professora do Instituto de Química da Universidade de São Paulo (IQ-USP) e membro da coordenação do Programa BIOEN.
FAPESP President Marco Antônio Zago (photo) highlighted that the BIOEN Program, which aims to advance basic and applied knowledge in areas related to bioenergy production, is part of the Foundation's mission to support research that contributes to the development of State of São Paulo.
"Since the beginning of the BIOEN Program, which has been very successful, one of the researchers' concerns has been the protection of the environment, promoting, for example, the reduction of water consumption by the sugar-energy industry", said Zago