Biofuels study “Implications of political decisions on biofuels and raw materials markets”

Climate change, related environmental disasters and the results of the climate negotiations in Paris have increased concern, public awareness and the pressure to act with regard to climate protection measures. Renewable energies play a key role in this. Almost without exception, renewable energies markets today are characterised by complex regulatory and funding policy framework conditions. more...

Evaluation and Progress Report 2014

The Federal Office of Agriculture and Food (BLE) is the competent authority for the control of the biofuel chain concerning the transposition of the legal requirements of the RED (2009/28/EC) in Germany. Annualy the BLE has to report about the progress of the implementation. Especially the economic operators are obliged to deliver distinct data of the biofuels which are credited against the quota commitments. more...

Rapeseed – Opportunity or risk for the future!?

From the start until the middle of May, the yellow blossoms of rapeseed stamp the agricultural landscape unmistakably across many regions of Germany. The crop was actually sown before winter, at the end of August, and the harvest will begin in July. The vegetation cycle comes to a close in 11 months. more...

”indirect Land Use Change” (iLUC) – A critical inventory for objective political decision-making

With this article, advice is offered for the second round of legislation on the complex of ”Land Use Change” (LUC). It will be shown how the European Commission has derived factors for EU legislation for indirect land use change (so-called iLUC) using econometric model calculations. These factors do not possess adequate legal certainty and would make no contribution to solving the problem of world-wide land use change if they were to be introduced. Current legislation has not offered an adequate approach for providing a solution to the problem of land use change. It is therefore recommended that the Council and the European Parliament should task the Commission once again with developing a proposal for constructive regulations. This article will point out the aspects which must be fulfilled by any new regulatory proposals. In this respect, reference will be made to the fundamental principle of Good Governance. And it will be shown how, by means of regionally orientated regulations, the environmental policy pledges on ”Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions” (NAMAs) and ”Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD+) could be supported in the relevant countries. more...

Study: Determinants for the level and volatility of agricultural commodity prices on international markets

With the world-wide explosion in prices for agricultural commodities and basic foodstuffs in the period 2007 to 2008 and the subsequent collapse in 2009 caused by the recession, an intensive discussion has begun on the possible negative consequences of high and volatile prices for world food security. Especially in countries that import foodstuffs, violent protests and revolts have erupted in this respect against the drastic inflation of food prices affecting, above all, the urban population. And the recurring price high in 2010/11, which with minor fluctuations is still on-going, has revived this discussion, meanwhile also triggering world-wide political reactions. Export restrictions have thus been imposed in many exporting developing and emerging countries, which has in principle intensified the price rise even further, at the expense of the importing nations. more...

UFOP Filling Station Study: Rapeseed oil determines the raw material mix in the winter

At 89 %, rapeseed oil is, as expected, the most important raw material of the biodiesel component in diesel fuel, followed by palm kernel oil at 6 percent and palm and soya oil at 4 and 1 percent, respectively. This is the result of the renewed investigation of the raw material composition of diesel fuel at public filling stations commissioned by the UFOP. more...

DBFZ: Influence of the re-evaluation of residual and waste materials on the GHG balance of first generation biofuels

The Deutsche Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ) in Leipzig comes to the conclusion in its report "Determinants for the re-evaluation of residual and waste materials on the GHG balance of first generation biofuels" that a re-evaluation and correction is called for in regard to the methodology and values specified in the biofuel directives for calculation of the GHG balance for biofuels from residual and waste materials. more...

DBFZ: Revision needed regarding the GHG standard values for biodiesel from animal fats and vegetable waste oils

The German Biomass Research Center (DBFZ) has studied the effect of different transport expenditures involved in the collection of animal fats and vegetable waste oils on the greenhouse gas balance of biofuels produced from these. The DBFZ comes to the conclusion that the standard values specified in Renewable Energies Directive (2009/28/EC) have to be revised. The regulations of the Renewable Energies Directive envisage an option for the double crediting of biofuels from waste and residual materials to the fulfilment of biofuel quotas. The market development acknowledges the UFOP in its misgivings that double crediting, especially regarding biodiesel from waste food oils and fats, leads to considerable crowding-out effects in the market. Consequently, this comes at the expense of previous raw material sources for biodiesel. As a result, the competitive pressure surrounding raw materials has increased enormously, not least on the way the biofuel industry itself is operated. more...

Indirect Land Use Change (iLUC ) within Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – scientific robustness and consistency with international standards

Speaking today at the European Parliament on the evaluation of Indirect Land Use Change (iLUC) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Prof Finkbeiner, Chair of Sustainable Engineering and Vice-Director of Environmental Technology at Technical University of Berlin, warned against strong uncertainty surrounding economic modelling, highlighting that “there is broad consensus in the scientific community that the current iLUC estimations are misleading”. In his recent study, comparing scientific robustness of iLUC models and their consistency with international GHG emission calculation standards, Prof. Finkbeiner provides a broad overview of loopholes and weaknesses that put reliance on estimated iLUC factors’ use for policy-making into question. more...

Comments and summary of the European Commission’s proposal to modify the EU biofuel policies of 17th October 2012

The Deutsche Biomasseforschungszentrum (German Research Centre for Biomass – DBFZ) was commissioned by the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP) to explain the proposals by the EU 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. more...

An Analysis of iLUC and Biofuels

Regional quantification of climate-relevant land use change and options for combating it. The reason for this study is the EU Commission’s report on the impact of the EU biofuels policy which must be submitted by the end of 2010. To fight climate change, the EU has set its sights on further expanding the use of biomass in its policies – not just for the transport sector. In terms of the effects of EU biofuel policy, the question arises as to whether indirect land use change associated with biofuels should be combated through regulation and, if so, how. Direct land use change brought about by biofuels has already been addressed in the Renewable Energies Directive (2009/28). This study concludes that land use change (LUC) – or converting natural forest, grazing land or fallow land to cropland – continues to be a major problem in some regions of the world, not only for climate protection. The effects of land use change can be direct (dLUC) or indirect (iLUC). If the original use of the land was carbon-rich in the vegetation or in the soil (for example, forest) and the subsequent use is carbon-poor (pastures or crops), LUC increases the amount of carbon dioxide released and thus adversely affects the climate. more...

Approaches for optimising the greenhouse gas balance of biodiesel produced from rapeseed

With the enactment of the EU Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RES-D) and its enactment under German federal law in the form of the Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance (BioKraft-NachV), a number of binding sustainability criteria for the production and use of biofuels have been introduced. Amongst other criteria, the EU Directive as well as the German Ordinance includes specifications with regard to the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) by means of biofuel use. Meeting these reduction targets will in future be a mandatory condition for the recognition of a fuel as part of the national biofuel quota.

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Obligation of GHG reduction is a formidable challenge to producers of biofuel

The target of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from biofuels at least by 35% at present and by 50% from 2017 cannot, in most cases, be met by the standard levels defined in the Renewable Energies Directive (2009/28/EC) alone. What is needed is the individual optimisation of GHG emissions of each raw material and during processing along the whole conversion chain.

Crop farming is also affected if maximum 41.9 gCO2eq/MJ are not to be exceeded latest from 2017 and the limit for new plants is 33.5 gCO2eq/MJ from 2018. At a standard 52 g CO2eq/MJ , the emissions from rapeseed-based biodiesel is just below the limit of 54.5 g CO2eq/MJ for the present reduction target of 35 % in comparison with fossil fuel. So, to reach the reduction target of 50 % from 2017 and 60 % for new plants from 2018, additional efforts of reducing GHG emissions are an absolute necessity also on the part of crop farmers.

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