Obligation to reduce greenhouse gases reduces biodiesel sales

UFOP sees confirmation of the expected efficiency competition

Berlin, 3rd February 2016. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) sees its expectations regarding the obligation to reduce greenhouse gases, which was introduced in Germany on 1 January 2015, confirmed though the sales trend for biodiesel. Despite record consumption of around 37 million tons of diesel fuel, in 2015, biodiesel sales fell by 0.165 million tons compared with 2014. The admixture proportion of biodiesel fell by 6.5 percent in 2014 to 5.8 percent, according to information provided by the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA: Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle).

If, with record diesel sales as in 2014, an admixture proportion of 6.5 percent had been achieved, the demand for biofuels would have been around 0.250 million tons higher than the current sales volumes. This clearly shows the effect of the efficiency competition amongst biofuel raw materials, which was triggered in Germany by the new regulation. The reason for this effect, which is welcomed on the grounds of environmental and resource policy, was provided by the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE: Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft) following an evaluation of the sustainability certificates for the first quarter of 2015. According to this, the greenhouse gas reductions compared with fossil fuels was, on average, 60 percent, instead of the target of 35 percent stipulated by law at that time. With significantly less biodiesel, the mineral oil industry was therefore able to meet the the climate change obligation of 3.5 percent.

Referring to the greenhouse gas efficiency competition, which is so far unique in the bioecomony sector, UFOP reiterates that the full potential of greenhouse gas reduction has not been utilised with the current sales volumes. This is because, in accordance with the standards, biodiesel can be added to diesel fuel up to a proportion of 7 percent. UFOP therefore calls for the necessary obligation to reduce greenhouse gases to be oriented around this admixture limit. The union is therefore in favour of increasing the savings targets that currently apply.

UFOP points out that biofuel production is by far the most important sales market for rapeseed oil and therefore makes a considerable contribution to the stabilisation of producer prices. The union regrets that, in the area of non-food or food usage, the dramatic reduction in plant oil prices has not resulted in an increase in sales.

The GMO-free rapeseed protein produced here in Germany and in the European Union as a by-product from the production of biodiesel is increasingly replacing imported soya in feed rations. Furthermore UFOP has intensified recently the promotion of research activities to use rapeseed protein as an additional protein source for human nutrition. This favourable developments, also in terms of the circular economy, can, however, only be continued if the energetic use of sustainably certified rapeseed oil is also possible in future. These aspects must be incorporated into the federal government's decarbonisation strategy in the 2050 climate protection plan.