Associations & Federations Biofuels Politics & Legislation

NL Biomass Lobby Sends Letter to Politics (FREE)

Advocacy for sensible and high-quality use of biomass by broad coalition.

Friday 9 April a letter was sent to the Informateur and the VVD, D66, CDA, CU, PvdA, GL and SP Group Chairs, calling for a number of points regarding biomass to be embedded in the Coalition Agreement.

The letter is signed by a broad coalition working on sensible and high-quality application of biofuels (biomass).

Together we advocate a transition to a sustainable and circular bio-economy, in which bio-materials are used on the basis of value maximisation.

The letter offers four tools to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and to strengthen the Dutch economy. Biobased raw materials are necessary to achieve the climate objectives.

Moreover, they contribute to the construction of a new sustainable manufacturing economy.

Biomaterials store the CO2 absorbed by plants during growth.

Agriculture and forestry can make a positive contribution to the climate objectives.

This builds on the SER advisory report ‘Biomass in Balance’, in which sustainability is a precondition for the production and use of bio-based raw materials.

The following guidelines can be used to put the controversy surrounding biomass behind us (although there will always be points for discussion) and to energetically pursue the transition to an emission-free economy:

Recognise agriculture and forestry as the foundation for the Dutch circular bio-economy.

Value sustainable biobased raw materials as a serious and indispensable option to achieve climate objectives and as an impulse for a new sustainable manufacturing industry.

Stimulate high-quality application of biobased raw materials and at the same time make clear which applications are necessary in the energy and fuel sectors in order to realise the agreed CO2 reduction.

Work on a broad support base by continuously improving the assurance of sustainable sourcing and application of biobased raw materials and explicitly exclude non-sustainable production and applications.

Where possible, link the (decreasing) stimulation of energy applications to high-quality applications in the chemical and building materials industries.

Take the lead and ensure that the ministries concerned pursue a coordinated policy.

Brief

Dear Informateur and the Party Chairmen of VVD, D66, CDA, CU, PvdA, GL and SP

With regard to the formation of a Coalition, we request that you take the following points with you and ultimately embed them in the Coalition Agreement.

• Recognize agriculture and forestry as the foundation for the Dutch circular bio-economy. Appreciate sustainable organic raw materials as a serious and indispensable option to achieve climate goals and as an impulse for a new sustainable manufacturing economy.

• Encourage high-quality use of bio-based raw materials and at the same time make it clear which applications are necessary in the energy and fuel sectors to achieve the agreed CO2 reduction.

• Work on widespread support by continuing to improve the guarantee of sustainable sourcing and use of biobased raw materials and by explicitly excluding unsustainable production and applications. Where possible, link the (declining) stimulation of energy applications to high-value applications in chemistry and building materials.

• Take control and ensure that the relevant ministries pursue a coordinated policy

Explanation

The signatories of this letter form a broad coalition that is working on the sensible and high-quality application of biobased raw materials (biomass).

We advocate a transition to a sustainable and circular bio-economy, in which bio-raw materials are utilized on the basis of value maximization.

We hereby offer you four tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to strengthen the Dutch economy.

Bio raw materials are needed to achieve the climate goals.

They also contribute to building a new sustainable manufacturing economy. 

The CO2 that plants have absorbed during growth is stored in biomaterials.

Agriculture and forestry can make a positive contribution to climate objectives.

We are building on the SER’s advice ‘Biomass in Balance’, in which sustainability is a precondition for the production and use of biobased raw materials.

With this approach we can take steps to leave the controversy around ‘biomass’ behind us (although there will always be points for discussion) and to tackle the transition to an emission-free economy energetically.

Our four handles:

  • Recognize agriculture and forestry as the foundation of the Dutch circular bio-economy.

Agriculture and forestry produce food, animal feed and biobased raw materials for materials and chemistry. Residual flows can also be applied energetically. 

According to the National Biological Raw Materials Roadmap, it is possible to produce about 10Mton more biobased raw materials by 2030, without this being at the expense of the availability of food and with a positive influence on biodiversity and soil management.

 Sustainable agriculture is an indispensable link in the reduction of our global ecological footprint.

Sustainable agriculture contributes to the improvement of landscape quality and to the development of a thriving manufacturing industry based on sustainable materials. 

Less monoculture in agriculture, more forestry and good management / management contribute to more biodiversity. 

Good management of agricultural soils contributes to resilience and carbon storage. 

Strip cultivation and more herb-rich grass can generate more yields. 

Producing more proteins yourself helps to close cycles and reduces the pressure on valuable nature elsewhere in the world.

A good relationship with the manufacturing industry leads to more income security for farmers through the diversity of sales opportunities. 

After all, products and residual flows that are not needed on the food market will receive profitable sales. 

The Netherlands cannot be self-sufficient, especially if the use of biobased raw materials for building materials and chemistry increases. 

But Dutch agriculture and forestry can be an impulse for making our economy more sustainable.

  • Commit to better use of biobased raw materials.

The SER is in favor of the use of biobased raw materials in energy applications because this is necessary to achieve the climate objectives. 

The SER distinguishes the phases construction, conversion and dismantling. We believe that considerably more attention to the structure is necessary. 

The new cabinet should actively promote that sustainable bio-based raw materials are necessary for the transition to an emission-free economy and that the materials sector and chemistry can contribute to the sequestration of CO2. 

And that the use of good fertilizers in agriculture can fix carbon in soils. 

The fixation of CO2 or the avoidance of emissions deserves a financial reward, which improves the business case compared to ‘fossil’. 

In the biofuels sector, steps have already been taken on the basis of European directives. However, financial incentives are lacking in the materials sector. 

The European Green Deal offers – again by analogy with the fuel sector – opportunities to contribute to market development by stimulating or making an increasing share of ‘bio’ (for example in large product flows such as packaging and building materials). 

The fair trade principle can also be leading here. 

`The cabinet can itself contribute to the development of sustainable new chains, for example between the agricultural and chemical sectors, by creating space for this in the SDE ++ scheme. 

Or by setting up a comparable scheme for sustainable materials. 

Finally, the remaining residual flows – as recommended by the SER – can still be used for heat supply to industry, greenhouse horticulture and the built environment.

  • Connect completion with construction

For the time being, bioenergy is needed to meet climate targets, according to a recent report by the PBL. 

Bio raw materials are also needed in the long term for high-temperature heat in industry and for the production of green gas, because electrification cannot be applied everywhere. 

Nevertheless, the parties are concerned about the sustainability of bio-based raw materials, in particular about the actual CO2 reduction, biodiversity, nature and soil management. 

But these are either addressed within existing sustainability certification or are part of further tightening. It is desirable to strengthen public safeguards. 

Do not burn bio-based raw materials that have better options for application, and certainly not when combustion displaces better options. 

Adjust the support regime or policy in such a way that (partial) flows that currently have a better but no profitable application still find their way to building materials or other sustainable organic products. 

For example, lignin from the flows of wood residues can be used elsewhere (for example in asphalt). 

This also means that support can grow for bioenergy from residual flows that have no other application. Therefore – in line with the PBL report – work simultaneously with the phasing out of subsidies for the burning of wood residues on the construction and application of affordable new technologies. 

This can be done by extra stimulation of the utilization of valuable ingredients. 

This also means that support can grow for bioenergy from residual flows that have no other application. 

Therefore – in line with the PBL report – work simultaneously with the phasing out of subsidies for burning wood residues on the construction and application of affordable new technologies. This can be done by extra stimulation of the utilization of valuable ingredients. 

This also means that support can grow for bioenergy from residual flows that have no other application. 

Therefore – in line with the PBL report – work simultaneously with the phasing out of subsidies for the burning of wood residues on the construction and application of affordable new technologies. 

This can be done by extra stimulation of the utilization of valuable ingredients.

  • Take control from a point of contact.

The Netherlands has the right cards for creating a thriving and sustainable circular bio-economy. 

We have a powerful agricultural sector, knowledge, logistics, infrastructure, innovation power and a knowledge-intensive chemical cluster that subscribes to the need to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. 

However, we note that our qualities remain underused. 

This is partly due to the fragmentation of policy. The ministries of BZK, EZK, LNV, I&W and BuZa are all responsible for a specific area, so there is no clear line. 

A dynamic policy, aimed at long-term investment security and managed from a single point of contact, would help. That also allows for consistent funding. This can be a subsidy, but also mandatory market shares of sustainable bio raw materials,

The new cabinet holds an important key. We trust that the new cabinet will use the key to both stimulate a new manufacturing industry and significantly reduce our CO2 emissions. For this it is necessary to have an eye for all input into the debate and for all aspects of sustainability. 

We are prepared to put our shoulders to the wheel. A major effort is required to make the transition from linear fossil systems to a circular biobased economy. 

It is high time now to work together on innovation so that the sustainability of our economy can take off. 

We would like to work together with the new Cabinet. We are prepared to explain our four guidelines in more detail and to continue to provide the cabinet with a coordinated approach to insights from the practice of the transition in the coming years.

The coalition behind the letter consists of:

Federatie Bio-economie Nederland, Dorette Corbey

Platform Bio-Economie (PBE), Luuk van der Wielen

TKI BBE, Kees de Gooijer

Rotterdam Biomass Commodoties Network (RBCN), Peter-Paul Schouwenberg

Nederlandse Vereniging van bioketel leveranciers (NBKL), Eppo Bolhuis

Energie Nederland (ENL), Medy van der Laan

Branche Vereniging Organische Reststoffen (BVOR), Arjen Brinkmann

Stichting Be-Basic, Bram Brouwer

U.S. Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA), Seth Ginther

Stichting Agrodome, Jaap van de Linde

De Koninklijke Vereniging van de Nederlandse Chemische Industrie (VNCI), Bernard Wientjes

Platform Duurzame Brandstoffen, Eric van den Heuvel

Nederlandse Vereniging Duurzame Energie (NVDE), Teun van Bokhoven

Chemport Europe, Errit Bekkering

Circular Biobased Delta, Willem Sederel

Download the Dutch Letter

Refs

Advocacy for sensible and high-quality use of biomass by broad coalition

Personal Remarks

It’s a mistake to place (1) biomaterials / bioplastics, and (2) bioenergy / biofuels in the same “category”.

These are two different applications with different kinds of consequences for the environment.

Many people believe Bioenergy / Biofuels is a no go! This point of view is shared by the EU institution.

A recent example concerns the “biomass pellets”. These have been promoted in the past but are now banned because they have accelerated deforestation.

The US government has been one of the most important promoter of biofuels in the past. The real motivation of this policy was to support US farmers; it was never done from an “environmental” point of view

Some people believe it’s a monumental mistake from the bioplastics sector to link themselves with the biofuels industry.


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