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Everything for generalizing conclusions on biofuels

the Searchinger and Wirsenius (SW) discusses klimatgasutsläpp from biofuels, under certain specific assumptions, prerequisites, and assessment methods. We question not primarily in the direct research results, but rather how these, as we believe incorrectly, have been used to draw generalized conclusions for a whole area of development, biofuels in the transport sector. Such a generalization gives a significant underestimate of the potential for biofuels in the transition to a more climate-neutral society.

Our main objections against SW's argument is this:

the Authors make a hearty tankevurpa when they generalize the results from its study of the biofuels that emanates from arable crops or plantations that apply to other types of fuels with completely different conditions. Each of the production systems must be assessed based on its specific conditions, which may differ greatly depending on local conditions, production volumes and time horizons. In order to understand the biodrivmedels carbon footprint, therefore, must the whole value chain, including raw materials, transport, localization, production, use, by-products, etc. specifically included in the analysis.

Simply put, there are ”fin-ethanol” and ”ugly-ethanol”. The same applies to all other biofuels. However, this is nothing new, and in Sweden we have significant research which aims to create and make available knowledge in this area. We want to stress that there are more good examples than bad, which most of the research papers and investigations show a large number of existing and future biodrivmedelskedjor.

SW acknowledges that biofuels made from residues and by - products, can have low emissions. These are dismissed, however, with the argument that råvarupotentialen is marginal. Here we would like to object. The authors ' statement is true only for the two types of by-products which are mentioned explicitly: tall oil and slaughterhouse waste. However, if one includes the bi - products from agriculture and forestry as well as food waste is råvarupotentialen significant.

as regards forest-based raw materials for the SW summarily reasoning that is not, so far as we understand, based on the underlying publication in Nature that the article in general is based on. The arguments contained in it are thus the authors ' own opinions rather than scientific arguments. There is no scientific basis for increased utilization of forest residues as branches and tops, and sawdust would drive a deforestation either in the tropics or elsewhere. The techniques today are developed aiming to utilise the residues that occurs in a bio-economy, where we increasingly effective use of our agricultural and forestry operations, and, among other things, sequester carbon from the forest, for example through increased production of wood for timber or cellulose for renewable textile.

We agree with the authors that biomass, in the form of residues from agriculture and forestry, in the long term is going to be a limited resource and therefore must be used where it does the most good. But to only consider the biomass as a way to sequester carbon is not the most effective because it does not provide the opportunity to reduce the large consumption of fossil energy carriers in the transport sector. In addition, we want to stress that the replanting of the forest on the Swedish arable land can hardly be considered to be realistic alternatives for a variety of reasons. The study draws thus conclusions on the basis of the coarse and highly questionable assumptions.

SW in front of the electricity and biofuels as alternative, competing solutions. A number of studies show that we will have both solutions in parallel, if we at all should have a chance to ask about the transport sector at the rate required. In addition, a variety of other actions that lead to greater efficiency.

On biofuels and electricity must be compared should be an equivalent time horizon used. The comparison that SW makes limping heavily. For biofuels, construction of the current time horizon, while for electricity and elektrobränslen construction of a future perspective. The worst performing grödebaserade, biofuels pitted against the best performing electricity generation in the form of 100 per cent renewable electricity, and with capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It says itself how such a comparison turns out.

Therefore their conclusions about the biodrivmedels environmental performance total misleading. We argue strongly that biofuels have an important role to play in the transformation of the transport sector.

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