Other than certification for organic food, the U.S. does not have widespread experience with certifying commodities.
"European calls for biofuels certification are pushing efforts in the U.S. to figure out how to certify an agricultural supply chain," she says. "It's something we've never done here at a large scale."
She stresses that international harmonization is vital for the aviation industry because of looming compliance mandates for carbon reductions in Europe.
"To land a plane in Europe, U.S. carriers will have to prove that they have reduced their carbon footprint below a certain level," Endres explains. "The challenge is not only how to convert cellulosics into jet fuel, but also how to certify that they are grown, refined, and distributed in a sustainable manner."
Endres adds that there are still a lot of questions about how to implement standards for biomass.
"In the war of words and in the public media, biofuels have had to face more accusations than any other renewable energy source, such as solar power and wind," Endres says. "So, even though we think we're achieving rural development, receiving carbon reductions or climate mitigation benefits, or that we're having increased energy security, people may still be suspicious of biomass fuels unless there is a certification that we can operationalize."
Legitimacy, Innovation, and Harmonization: Precursors to Operationalizing Biofuels Sustainability Standards was published in an issue of the Southern Illinois University Law Review. The full document is available online.
Source: University of Illinois