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Algae – Solution for EU’s Hunger for Biofuel

April 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Energy-Investments
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Friends of the Earth is an international network of non-profit organisations campaigning for sustainable societies and Oxfam France is engaged in a global non-governmental movement working for a just world.

According to the coalition, the figures speak for themselves: 232 kilos of maize are needed to produce 50 litres of ethanol – roughly enough to fill an average car tank, or enough to provide the amount of calories a child needs in a year.

Part of the EU’s comprehensive ‘‘Climate and Energy Package’’ aimed at cutting greenhouse gases and cutting energy consumption, the directive requires all EU members to rely on biofuels for 10 percent of their transport fuel needs by 2020.

‘‘We have won the battle of ideas, but lost the legal battle,’’ Ambroise Mazal, who heads CCFD’s side of the campaign against biofuels, told IPS. ‘‘Many European officials have realised the adverse effects of biofuels but nobody dared amend the ‘Package’ the 27 EU member states had agreed to.

Responding to European hunger for biofuel, many African countries have expanded single-crop farming surfaces. But only large businesses have the resources and capital to reach the critical size that allows for economies of scale which make the venture profitable.

Smallholders, which in countries like Benin account for the majority of land use, and up to 80 percent of employment opportunities, do not benefit from the biofuel windfall. In addition, land, water and other limited resources are being diverted from scarce food-producing crops.

Several international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, have acknowledged in recent years that the increasing demand for biofuel crops has catastrophic social, economic and nutritional impacts on developing countries and their already tense food resources.

‘‘The next step announced by the EU is the commissioning of a study on the comprehensive impacts of biofuels in developing countries, to be handed in by 2014,’’ states Ambroise Mazal. ‘‘But it doesn’t seem like the European Commission has any corrective actions in mind, even by then.’’

I believe that algae will be the only solution for this problem. what do you people think?

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