From Science Daily:

In its Renewable Energy Directive, the European Union has set a 10% goal for the use of renewable energy in transport by 2020. Only biofuels meeting certain sustainability criteria are included in the renewable energy goals and are allowed to take advantage of national support systems. In her doctoral dissertation, VTT’s Research Scientist Kati Koponen proposes several areas of development for the greenhouse gas assessment method of the criteria.

The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels is based on life cycle assessment. It is often used for defining the sustainability of biofuels. In her doctoral dissertation, Kati Koponen has studied how a tool, based on life cycle assessment, can be applied to policy-driven decision-making related to biofuels and what challenges the assessment entails.

While life cycle assessment has been widely used for assessing the environmental impacts of products, the method still entails challenges related to, for instance, system boundary setting, allocation of emissions between different products as well as the definition of calculation parameters. When life cycle assessment is used in political decision-making, the required simplifications may cause further method-related problems. The research results show that the current EU calculation method alone cannot ensure the climate benefits of biofuels.

In her dissertation, Kati Koponen proposes that the sustainability criteria should be developed as follows:

− The calculation method presented in the current sustainability criteria does not take into account emissions due to indirect market impacts that may result from an increase in biofuel production. These include, for instance, indirect…

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