Ford is calling for the accreditation of biofuels to prevent the cultivation of environmentally damaging biofuel crops, as well as taxation incentives to encourage the more widespread use of the fuels. "Not all biofuels are good for the environment", says Richard Parry-Jones, Ford's head of global product development and chief technical officer. "There's a risk of a negative image emerging from the use of poor biofuels. We advocate the use of responsible biofuels, and we're developing a scheme for accredited fuels - like organic food."
Speaking at the recent Frankfurt motor show, Parry-Jones explained that, "the big problem is with damaging biofuels. There have already been demonstrations in Mexico over the price of tortillas, the country's staple food, and in Indonesia and Malaysia rainforest is being felled to for palm oil. Chopping forests down also causes the material on the floor to release CO2, further exacerbating the problems of irresponsible felling, and the food-chain can be affected too. So we need to isolate the biofuel negatives."
Parry-Jones is also pushing for incentives from governments to encourage biofuel usage. "They're more expensive than fossil fuels, and likely to remain so. So we need a price incentive." He's optimistic about the potential supply of biofuel feedstock. "With second-generation cellulosic crops (the fibre, as well as the crop itself, can be fermented into alcohol) you can use land not suitable for food." He cites switchgrass as an example in Britain, which can be grown on poor quality soil. Rather than high bio-content fuel blends such as E85 and E70, Parry-Jones advocates the use of E40, but on a widespread scale. "In the long-term the best way is not to have E85 or E70 for a dedicated fleet of vehicles, but to have a lower figure usable in nearly every car. This is more effective."