Bio-fuels may not be the answer to fossil fuels: Experts

Finland's Neste Oil has converted a plot of land reclaimed from the sea into the largest biodiesel refinery in Europe. The refinery lies at the tip of the 30-mile-long peninsula that hosts one of the busiest ports in the world.

The €670-million investment by the state-controlled company in the plant, which is transforming vegetable oil and waste animal fat into diesel, will leverage from EU policies aimed at cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from cars and trucks.

However, this plant with a capacity of 800,000 MT a year, and others built by different companies could be hit by a possible shift in EU policy that could severely hurt their profitability.

According  to Matti Lievonen, Nest Oil's chief executive, in an interview on the day the company announced the start-up of production in September, Europe was the key in terms of market, in important part due to the EU regulation.

However, less than three years into the adoption of the new law under which 10 per cent of the total energy used in transport would come from renewable sources such as biofuels -  a tough debate has started in the EU over whether biofuels were really better for the climate than conventional fuels.

Yesterday, the environmental organisation Friends of the Earth Europe called on the EU to scrap its 2020 target, as consumers would pay €126 billion without helping the climate.