Emmanuel Desplechin is the Secretary-General of ePURE, the industry body for European ethanol producers. A former Senior Manager for Public Affairs at Novozymes, Emmanuel has played a prominent role putting the case for biofuels to policy makers in the European Union. In our interview with him, we discussed the impact of policy on the industry’s prospects, and the place of biofuels in the energy mix.
How do you see the European ethanol industry developing post 2020?
Well I think the European ethanol industry’s development is very much linked to what the policy framework will be. We’ve seen a policy development over the last 15 years building on a policy call that was made by the European Commission and the likes, and I think we would want to see that commitment renewed. That would help not only the investment that would exist today in the conventional ethanol sector to remain in place, and then we would see more investment also coming along in the advanced ethanol industry.
What needs to be done to convince policy makers, MEPs and National Governments of the vital role ethanol can play in greening transport?
Well ironically I think most policy makers actually agree on the urgency of decarbonising transport. And once we have agreed on what the level of ambitions for decarbonising transport should be, we just have to put the means in place. And the big question I have for policy makers is can we really afford to dismiss any solution to decarbonise transport? Once they have realised that, once you have put all the safeguards in place to ensure the sustainability of biofuels production, ethanol is necessarily part of the energy mix going forward.
As a regular, can you tell us about the importance of this event?
Well, the F.O. Licht World Ethanol & Biofuels conference is actually an important conference for us. The industry gets there to first receive an update on the policy which is after all governing our industry. But it is also the occasion to get an update on all the trade dynamics that will affect the market at least for the 12 to 15 months to come. It’s also a place where we actually get together, exchange on good practices in our industry and in our jurisdiction, but also exchange with other countries. So it’s a must attend conference every year.