Can we meet targets for biofuels and renewable energy in transport given the constraints imposed by policy in agriculture and energy?

B.M. Smyth, B.P. Ó Gallachóir, N.E. Korres, J.D. Murphy

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62 Citations (Scopus)


The deployment of biofuels is significantly affected by policy in energy and agriculture. In the energy arena, concerns regarding the sustainability of biofuel systems and their impact on food prices led to a set of sustainability criteria in EU Directive 2009/28/EC on Renewable Energy. In addition, the 10% biofuels target by 2020 was replaced with a 10% renewable energy in transport target. This allows the share of renewable electricity used by electric vehicles to contribute to the mix in achieving the 2020 target. Furthermore, only biofuel systems that effect a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared with the fuel they replace are allowed to contribute to meeting the target. In the agricultural arena, cross-compliance (which is part of EU Common Agricultural Policy) dictates the allowable ratio of grassland to total agricultural land, and has a significant impact on which biofuels may be supported. This paper outlines the impact of these policy areas and their implications for the production and use of biofuels in terms of the 2020 target for 10% renewable transport energy, focusing on Ireland. The policies effectively impose constraints on many conventional energy crop biofuels and reinforce the merits of using biomethane, a gaseous biofuel. The analysis shows that Ireland can potentially satisfy 15% of renewable energy in transport by 2020 (allowing for double credit for biofuels from residues and ligno-cellulosic materials, as per Directive 2009/28/EC) through the use of indigenous biofuels: grass biomethane, waste and residue derived biofuels, electric vehicles and rapeseed biodiesel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1671-1685
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number16-17
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)


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