Policy updates for the bio-economy by Pierre-Alain Schieb

Main policy issues highlighted in the 2003 report on Bio-economy in Europe are still around but being gradually addressed by BBI JU and the fostering of R&D expenses beyond the health sector which used to capture 83% of them.

10th International Conference on Bio-bases Marerials – Köln, Germany- May 10-11, 2017

Bio-economy Roadmaps have been published by most member states. Italy and France lately (2017).

Today there are around 37 bio-refineries in the EU to be compared to 280 in the US! 400 is a reasonable target for both regions but EU is grossly lagging behind.

Prices of sugar and oil have totally de-correlated themselves from one another in the last 15 years which is adverse to the development of a sugar based bio-economy. Stability and predictability are paramount to attract the massive investments needed.

Competition between fossil energy sources and biomass is likely to continue well into the middle of the century with LNG being the likely absolute winner over the next 30-40 years. In parallel, primary energy consumption in Europe will continue to decline to reach 350 M toe around 2050 ( Ref Schieb and Chelly study 2016) Sugar crop production in Europe is also predicted in decline in the same study which is contradictory with the vision of Deloitte-Nova-Delta ( see point 2 above)

Game changers could be a carbon tax implementation if > 50$ per ton plus a critical mass money injection for bio-refineries in the EU (reportedly around 200 bn €) , and/or a strong impulse from OECD or G20, similar to what we have seen against the tax heavens in the last 8 years.