Norway – Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer – wants to reduce its carbon footprint. A new government platform emphasises energy transition and investments in new technologies. Norway aims to increase the use of biofuels in the road transport sector by 20 per cent in 2020, and to 40 per cent by 2030.
“We need to decrease the use of fossil fuels fast. Using sustainable biofuels is an important part of the solution in the transport sector. The other parts are using electric vehicles that run on batteries or hydrogen. These alternatives should not compete with but support each other,” says Head of Policy and Research, Kåre Gunnar Fløystad from the Zero Emission Resource Organisation (ZERO).
ZERO is a Norwegian non-governmental organisation focusing on climate solutions. It has been active in promoting new technology that enables emission-free solutions in all sectors. Biofuels are one important alternative to fossil fuels.
Norway to favour sustainable advanced biofuels
Biofuels have had their ups and downs in Norway, but in 2015 an ambitious new policy promoted biofuels to reduce transport emissions, leading to an increase in biofuel usage. Fløystad says that Norway is expected to use more forest-based advanced biofuels. Norway has a lot of forests and he notes that this resource could be used more efficiently.
“There have been a lot of shutdowns in the paper and pulp business in Norway, so we’re exporting quite a lot of wood to Sweden, Germany and other countries. We should look into how we could use that feedstock to build a green industry and create more value out of it.”
Kåre Gunnar Fløystad predicts that the use of biofuels will increasingly be moving over to heavy-duty transport, shipping and aviation. At the moment, Norway is also looking at aviation and climate and considering the possibility of having small full-electric planes and hybrid engines that would also use liquid fuel, possibly biofuel, in planes.
“It looks quite promising although we are thinking many years ahead there. But biofuels have a strong position especially in heavier parts of the transport sector.”
ZERO and UPM for greener transport and petrochemical sectors
Fløystad notes that it is very important to see advanced biofuels as one part of the bioeconomy – as a solution that also supports development in other markets where bio-based products will replace fossil products. UPM and ZERO began their cooperation in 2018 to promote a green shift in the transport and petrochemicals sectors.
“I think it’s interesting that UPM has also taken a look at that part of the bioeconomy because there will be a strong push for replacing petrochemicals in the future, and that’s a fast-growing market. We need to have sustainable, renewable alternatives also on that side. Biofuels and other chemicals can go nicely hand in hand.”
Photography: UPM, courtesy of the interviewee