Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment of Stationary and Mobile Energetic Use of Imported Biofuels: The Case of Palm Oil

  • Project no.1127
  • Duration 11/2006 - 04/2007

In Germany and other EU Member Countries, discussions on stationary and mobile energetic use of plant oils are on the rise. Those are not confined to domestic plant oils but increasingly address imported palm oil. The primary causes are a growing interest in the energetic use of plant oil as well as concerns that in case of palm oil this might contribute to an additional clear cutting of remaining tropical forests, mainly in Asia. While non-energetic use of palm oil is still by far dominant in Germany and the EU, relatively cheap palm oil is eyed on by operators of power stations, cogeneration and heating plants as well as by producers of biodiesel. The project will take stock of the production, trade, current and potential energetic use of palm oil. Moreover, the political framework and potentials for producing plant oils in Germany and the EU will be explored.
Likely environmental, economic and social consequences of energetic use of palm oil will be analysed. Complementary to this, examples of best practice as well as approaches for certification of sustainably produced palm oil will be described. Finally, political measures that may allow to ban the energetic use of unsustainably produced palm oil will be evaluated. This will include international legal barriers that may preclude taking such action. Based on the analysis and a workshop with stakeholders, the project partners will provide recommendations for the client and other actors.