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Germany rules out soy and palm biodiesel

By Kris Bevill | October 14, 2008
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Web exclusive posted Nov. 5, 2008 at 11:24 a.m. CST

Germany's Environment Ministry ruled in late October that the 2009 biofuel production mandates for the country will be reduced by one percent, down to 5.25 percent overall, and biodiesel derived from soy and palm oils will be eliminated from the list of qualified biofuels. The new regulations will become effective in early 2009, however, they will be retroactive to Sept. 26, 2008.

The ministry stated its decision to rule out biodiesel made either wholly or partially from soy or palm oils is in line with an attempt to use more sustainable raw materials in the country's biofuel production.

Germany-based Petrotec AG, a biodiesel producer currently operating two waste grease-to-biodiesel facilities with a total capacity of approximately 55 million gallons, issued a statement in support of the ministry's new policy. "The federal government is taking an initial step towards the sustainability of biofuels," chief executive officer Roger Bing said. "What it also needs to do, however, with immediate effect, is finally permit again in Germany those raw materials with the best sustainability and climate value, such as used cooking oils and animal fats and oils, for blending purposes! Bans and exclusions alone are not enough domestic, environmentally-friendly raw materials and technology are the order of the day."

Although the new regulations have not addressed the issue of no subsidies for biodiesel produced from waste materials, Petrotec was encouraged by recent comments made by the ministry's leader, Sigmar Gabriel, signaling the government's support for biofuels produced in that fashion. Falk von Kriegsheim, head of investor and media relations at Petrotec, told Biodiesel Magazine the company is "quite confident" the government will take action soon and change the law to foster biodiesel based on waste products.

The new regulations also include greenhouse gas reduction quotas for fuel beginning with a reduction percentage requirement of three percent in 2015, and up to seven percent by 2020.

A review for possible adjustment of quotas was set for Dec. 31, 2011.
 

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