EU biofuel policies: DBFZ explains, comments on EC proposals

By UFOP | March 18, 2013

The German Research Center for Biomass (DBFZ) was commissioned by the German oilseed promotional council (UFOP) to explain the proposals by the European Commission regarding the amendment of the Renewable Energies Directive and the Fuel Quality Directive in a technical paper, with commentary on the most important key points.

In the technical paper, the DBFZ compares the proposals by the EC with the status quo of the existing legal framework. The comments along with the doubts formulated in the report by the DBFZ confirm the criticism, according to the viewpoint of the UFOP, that the current proposals conflict with attainment of the energy supply and climate protection objectives for the transport sector formulated with the year 2020 as their target. On the contrary, according to the DBFZ, after the introduction of weighting factors for biofuels produced from waste and residual materials, considerable distortions and displacement effects are to be expected at the raw material and biofuel sector.

According to the UFOP, the European Commission is overestimating the potential for residual and waste materials to serve as a basis for the further development of biofuel policies after 2020. The DBFZ asks the question in its report whether the “Roadmap for Biorefineries of the Federal Government” makes sense in the light of a fourfold weighting of straw, if the value added of these raw materials such as straw were to force its way into the fuel market.

The party gaining most from these proposals is the petroleum industry, as the physical demand for fossil fuels would rise proportionally with the multiple weigthing of biofuels from residual and waste materials, in order to be able to cover the actual fuel demand.

The DBFZ therefore comes to the conclusion that the actual potentials for a sustainable supply with residual and waste materials have to be clarified. The tremendous incentives created by these factors would require the introduction of strict control mechanisms for avoiding misuse. This already becomes apparent within the context of the double weighting of biofuels produced from used vegetable oils.

The DBFZ sees a risk that the discontinuation of traditional cultivated biomass for the production of biodiesel and ethanol by 2020 will lead to the loss of combined production also to be considered in the form of protein feedstuffs while, vice versa, the land demand for the cultivation of the soya imports then additionally required will rise.

The UFOP is therefore renewing its demand for an unlimited grandfathering protection for traditional biofuel production, so as to gain these companies for investments in the production of biofuels of the so-called second generation as well.

The report provides a 20-page overview about the proposals of the European Commission while, at the same time, raising doubts in regard to the fundamental target orientation and consequences of these proposals. The report is available as a download here


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