Biofuels get a very mixed press. On the one hand, they're not petrol. On the other, growing the plants that power our vehicles often means slashing and burning huge areas of natural carbon sinks in highly prized environments. Now a new web tool will let you know if your biofuel choice is good or bad.
Researchers at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, have together with their colleagues at the Swiss Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB) and the HTW Berlin, Germany, developed the tool which claims to rate biofuels on their sustainability.
The tool, which is free to use at Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels Tool, uses 12 measures including the greenhouse gas emitted during production and social costs such as human rights abuses associated with production.
By using a variety of measures of greenhouse gas emission, including Californian and European Union certification standards, the tool is a first step in getting to market for producers.
"As such, the tool is targeted at all stakeholders in the biofuels sector, ranging from energy crop farmers and biofuel producers to traders who want to demonstrate the sustainability of their products", explains Empa researcher Rainer Zah, who was heading the project.
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