The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain: Bioenergy Use in the European Union

George Philippidis*, Heleen Bartelings, John Helming, Robert M'barek, Edward Smeets, Hans van Meijl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


As the EU is moving towards a low carbon economy and seeks to further develop its renewable energy policy, this paper quantitatively investigates the impact of plausible energy market reforms from the perspective of bio-renewables. Employing a state-of-the-art biobased variant of a computable general equilibrium model, this study assesses the perceived medium-term benefits, risks and trade-offs which arise from an advanced biofuels plan, two exploratory scenarios of a more 'sustainable' conventional biofuels plan and a 'no-mandate' scenario. Consistent with more recent studies, none of the scenarios considered present significant challenges to EU food-security or agricultural land usage. An illustrative advanced biofuels plan simulation requires non-trivial public support to implement whilst a degree of competition for biomass with (high-value) advanced biomass material industries is observed. On the other hand, it significantly alleviates land use pressures, whilst lignocellulose biomass prices are not expected to increase to unsustainable levels. Clearly, these observations are subject to assumptions on technological change, sustainable biomass limits, expected trends in fossil fuel prices and EU access to third-country trade. With these same caveats in mind, the switch to increased bioethanol production does not result in significant market tensions in biomass markets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2703
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2018


  • Advanced technologies
  • Agricultural production
  • Bio-chemicals
  • Bio-energy
  • Biomass
  • Economic modelling
  • Land use
  • MAGNET model
  • Trade

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