Biomass-based energy on the move – The geographical expansion of the European Union’s liquid biofuel regulation

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Abstract

The growth of biomass-based markets for transport fuel is an expanding geographical process driven by regulation in the European Union (EU). Based on a certification scheme that illustrates the regulatory mechanisms in the EU’s liquid biofuel market, this article explains how larger processes of territorialisation and uneven development interact with specific processes of commodity production and flexing in this expansion. The study combines a content analysis of certification standards with a spatio-temporal analysis of data from certificates distributed 2010–2017. It shows that certification standards mirror EU regulation and, importantly, how the activities of firms extend EU rule beyond its territory. It suggests that the regulatory mechanisms seem to promote vertical integration, encourage large-scale production via horizontal integration of several different industries, and exclude small-scale production. Hence, it argues that the EU-based territorialisation re-produces historical patterns of territorial accumulation of land-based resources, wherein agro-industrial economic clusters in the global North accumulate value by exploiting biomass producers in the global South.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Renewable Bioenergy Research
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Keywords

  • agrofuel, biofuel, energy geography, regulation, territorialisation, International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC)
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoforum
Volume98
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes