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Bellona Europe calls on European Commission to promote marine bioenergy

Bellona Europe, a non-profit green organisation, has called on the European Commission to promote marine bioenergy for heat and power and biofuels.

The group made the call in its response to the EC’s consultation on a sustainable bioenergy policy after 2020.

In a statement, Bellona Europe said: “While micro algae have benefited from more attention and research, the biofuel potential of seaweed is not yet as well understood, but may be significant. With their high water content of 85-90% seaweeds are particularly suitable for established wet fuel conversion methods such as anaerobic digestion (AD) and fermentation.

"(Hydrothermal) gasification and/or a mix of pathways, may further improve yields. The high carbohydrate content renders seaweeds highly suitable for bioethanol and biobutanol production, where the sugars are fermented. Meanwhile, the low lignin content eliminates many of the challenges currently faced by wood-based bioethanol producers."

Land-based biomass

Elsewhere, the group said that the EU should introduce a cap to limit the use of land-based biomass for energy production to levels that can be sustainably supplied.

It said that “studies have shown that the EU is already starting to reach the limits of wood and land resources available for the various growing needs of different sectors, including the policy-driven energy demand”.

Bellona added: “The EU should therefore evaluate the sustainable potential of land-based domestic biomass supply for energy use, taking into consideration competing uses in other sectors and environmental protection, and cap the use of land-based biomass for energy accordingly.”

This article was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight