Endres said that other than certification for organic food, the United States does not have widespread experience with certifying commodities. "European calls for biofuels certification are pushing efforts in the U.S. to figure out how to certify an agricultural supply chain. It's something we've never done here at a large scale," she said.
She stressed that international harmonization is vital for the aviation industry because of looming compliance mandates for carbon reductions in Europe. "To land a plane in Europe, U.S. carriers will have to prove that they have reduced their carbon footprint below a certain level. If not, they will have to buy credits within the European Emissions Trading System.
Although the requirement has been postponed until January 2014, the aviation sector is actively seeking ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through biofuels. The challenge is not only how to convert cellulosics into jet fuel, but also how to certify that they are grown, refined, and distributed in a sustainable manner," Endres said.
Endres said that there are still a lot of questions about how to implement standards for biomass. "It's important to match the goal of regulation with what actually can and does occur on the ground. We can put any requirement into writing, but will it really work on the ground or is it just 'green washing?'
"In the war of words and in the public media, biofuels have had to face more accusations than any other renewable energy source, such as solar power and wind," Endres said. "So, even though we think we're achieving rural development, receiving carbon reductions or climate mitigation benefits, or that we're having increased energy security, peo
|Contact: Debra Levey Larson|
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences