CONVERTING by-products to biofuel, particularly residues from agriculture, forestry and food processing, can deliver a significant jobs boost, but only if the right policies are put in place now, according to An Taisce.
James Nix, policy director of An Taisce notes that “the better use of by-products could create up to 300,000 jobs across the EU and supply some 16% of road transport demand – but only if this sector is maximised,” he said in commenting on a new report, Wasted: Europe’s untapped resource.
The report, backed by a range of industries and environment organisations, found that provided the right safeguards are put in place significant volumes of wastes and residues could be converted to biofuels without creating sustainability problems.
Key by-products highlighted by the study include residues from timber-processing as well as residues from harvesting certain food crops. The report draws particular attention to the recovery of increased volumes of used cooking oil, something it pinpoints as having the potential to increase. Currently, some 1.1m tonnes of used cooking oil is converted to transport fuel in the EU.
Taking the by-products sector as a whole, new permanent jobs would be created in transport, processing and ancillary services, while the construction of new plants to recover by-products will create short-term jobs.
Calling for a more pro-active approach from Government, Mr Nix said that “policy uncertainty was the main stumbling block holding back investment, something made very clear by the report”.