Requirements rise for qualified certification of biofuel greenhouse gas balances

UFOP emphasises the leading role of biofuels in the bioeconomy

Berlin, 8th April 2015. With the introduction of the obligation to reduce greenhouse gases on 1st January 2015, companies in the mineral oil sector which are obligated to provide evidence of this will request the most cost-efficient and, in particular, greenhouse gas-efficient biofuels. In order to prevent misuse, certification offices now face the challenge of certifying the CO2 reductions documented by the biofuels sector in a qualified manner. This requires a more intensive examination of the process technologies for raw material processing and biofuel production. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) therefore welcomes the research into the related need for qualifications as part of a project funded by the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR).

The aim of this project is to investigate the need for qualifications in coordination with the biofuels sector, certification systems and certification offices and ultimately to make this information available in the form of a recommendation document. The German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum) is the coordinator of this project. UFOP emphasises the related continuous need for the evaluation of process technologies for the production of biofules from recyclable materials. This need exists both for currently available technologies and those in development. This project will create a basis for testing the greenhouse gas efficiency of new process technologies as well. In essence, the greenhouse gas balance of biofuels from recyclable materials is not better than that of conventional fuels.

With the recommendation document, which will also be available in English at the end of the project, UFOP will also ensure that an option is created for calculating greenhouse gases in the area of vegetable oil extraction for rapeseed, soya or palm oil, regardless of final use. With the importance of renewable raw materials for the bioeconomy set to grow in the future, UFOP is of the opinion that biofuels will once again take another step forward in the competition to optimise greenhouse gas balances and raw materials efficiency.

UFOP points out that in the field of biofuel sustainability certification, both social and environmental standards are a component of the certification process and that the systems approved by the EU Commission are currently being evaluated. UFOP urges that the systems must be qualitatively further developed accordingly in order to ultimately prevent competitive disadvantages. By doing this, certification systems will be prepared for the utilisation of sustainable raw materials and constitute an important element of the bioeconomy.