Publication

Biofuels – Opportunities and Limits

SATW | 

For various reasons, alternative energy carriers are currently the focus of intensive research. Biofuels are one example. There is some dispute as to whether and to what extent they should be encouraged: indeed, many open questions remain as to their energy efficiency, commercial viability, as well as environmental and social compatibility.

In principle, the SATW supports the encouragement of biofuels, as long as their production and trade result in a positive net energy balance; biofuels must further significantly improve the greenhouse gas balance and meet economic, social and environmental sustainability criteria. However, biofuels produced in Switzerland will at most be able to take on a niche role in future energy supply.

The SATW recommends limiting production in Switzerland to biofuels made from biological waste as well as plants unsuitable for human or animal consumption. Before Switzerland begins researching, developing, producing, importing and using biofuels more intensely, rules must be defined to minimise conflicts between food production, environmental protection and energy generation. The Swiss Federal Council is called upon to work towards an international agreement and join it, ensuring that the same principles apply in all countries.