The Global Challenge of Climate Protection in the Transport Sector - Are Biofuels and Synthetic Fuels Compatible?
16th International Conference discusses biofuels in the context of synthetic fuel development
Berlin, 17/12/2018: Biofuels from cultivated biomass are becoming increasingly important worldwide. This is reflected in legal obligations to blend biofuels that are now being introduced in numerous countries and gradually rendered more stringent. The importance of biofuels will grow as measures are adopted to comply with the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. Signatory states must present their national climate and energy strategies at the latest by 2020. In future however the European Union will de facto disconnect from this development.
The recast Renewable Energies Directive (REDII) essentially maintains the 7 percent ceiling for biofuels from cultivated biomass. At the same time, however, until 2030 the annual volume of biofuel eligible to be counted as such will be limited to the sales volume achieved in the Member States in 2019. In addition, lower national ceilings may be set for biofuels from cultivated biomass, supplemented by the additional "incentive" of a reduction in the national 14-percent renewable energy target for transport. Does that really reflect ambitious climate protection in the transport sector?
RED II provides for greater promotion of biofuels from waste and residues via mandatory quotas for the mineral oil industry that will increase in the run-up to 2030. The biofuel industry must consider which additional options could be significant in future, particularly if Europe also seeks to maintain its technological leadership in this area.
This is where synthetic fuels from renewable electricity come into play. The petroleum and automotive industries have triggered high political expectations. In Germany, for example, discussions are underway on available quantities and funding concepts to enable these alternative fuels to count towards attaining CO2 fleet limits for the automotive industry or to foster market access through a separate quota obligation. The European Union's very ambitious planned schedule for gradual reduction of CO2 fleet limits for passenger cars, as well as for light and heavy commercial vehicles make it essential to adopt a changed strategy that includes drive technology and fuels. While this does not break new ground technologically, it raises the question of whether and when related investments in new alternative fuels will be realised and whether the requisite level of renewable electricity can be provided reliably for these production facilities.
Viewed against this backdrop, isn't it fair to say that biofuels from cultivated biomass as well as from waste and residues are important to meet the 2030 targets?
These complex questions form the background to debate on the first day of the conference, 21st January 2019, in the forum "Biofuels in the context of synthetic fuels - is defossilisation of fuels being displaced into the future?"
Dr. Franziska Müller-Langer, Head of Department at the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ), will be examining the importance of biomass-based biofuels in the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) as a contribution to climate protection in the transport sector.
Professor Dr. Christian Küchen, Managing Director of the German Petroleum Industry Association (MWV), addresses the need to act to achieve climate objectives from the German and European petroleum industry perspective in his lecture "Climate Protection in the Transport Sector – The 2050 Vision".
Andreas Kuhlmann, Managing Director of the German Energy Agency (dena), presents the results of dena's pilot study for an integrated energy transition. The results are used to derive framework conditions and recommendations for action for the transport sector energy transition.
Christof Timpe and Peter Kasten from Öko-Institut e.V. explain in their lecture how synthetic fuels can effectively support climate protection and examine the regulatory measures the Institute believes are essential to ensure ecologically sound use of these fuels.