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Towards a sustainable and climate-friendly transport sector in Europe

SUNLIQUID intends to make a substantial contribution to the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade, Europe 2020. This strategic initiative has defined various priority goals on employment, R&D/innovation and climate/energy for the EU in order to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The SUNLIQUID project aims to demonstrate that the sunliquid® technology allows to sustainably and competitively produce cellulosic ethanol on a large scale basis with maximum greenhouse gas emission savings. The EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) asks for at least 6 % greenhouse gas savings in transportation fuels until 2020. sunliquid® cellulosic ethanol saves up to 95 % of greenhouse gas emissions compared with fossil fuels.

About 240 million tons of cereal straw are produced each year as an agricultural by-product in the EU alone. Only a small part of this is currently utilized. Long term studies have shown that up to 60 % could be taken of the field and are thus available for further uses (Source: Eurostat). By processing this amount of straw, about 25 % of the predicted EU demand for petrol could be replaced by cellulosic ethanol in 2020, solely out of surplus material. This means that cellulosic ethanol can play a key role along Europe´s path towards a sustainable and climate-friendly road transport.

Independence from oil imports

In the long term, local production of liquid energy sources could reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the form of imports from oil-exporting countries. As a matter of fact, as much as 94 % of the energy required today in the European transport sector currently comes from oil, of which 84 % is imported from politically unstable regions.*

By combining advanced conversion technology and renewable resources, reallocating pasture for arable land and activating fallow farmland, it seems possible to gradually replace fossil fuel with cellulosic ethanol in the medium to long term and thus decrease the dependence on oil-exporting countries.

Spurring economic growth

To meet the world’s requirements and to produce the globally required amounts of biofuels (mainly bioethanol), more than 2,000 commercial scale cellulosic ethanol facilities (annual capacity: 50,000t), at least 350 of them located in Europe, are needed. This demand creates great opportunities for Europe´s economy and job sector. The commercial scale implementation of the sunliquid® technology has the potential to deliver benefits for Bavaria, Germany, and Europe and beyond and increases the competitiveness of Europe’s industries. Moreover, cellulosic ethanol production offers diversification of farmers’ income and generates new, green jobs, predominantly in rural areas.

*EurActiv.com: The rural route to a more energy-secure Europe