Statutory GHG reduction requirement for biofuels increases to 50 percent

19th January 2018. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. - UFOP) would like to remind that the increased greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction requirement for biofuels took effect on 1st January 2018 in accordance with the so-called “iLUC Directive” from 2015. In accordance with this, biofuels from cultivated biomass must demonstrate a reduction in greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels of at least 50 percent to be recognised as meeting national quota specifications or to be considered for tax relief.

Previously the statutory specification was only 35 percent. The union now proceeds on the assumption that all quantities of biofuel require an appropriate GHG certification as evidence. The UFOP notes that France even stipulates a GHG reduction of 60 percent for third-country imports in order to prevent imports of soy methyl ester from Argentina. By contrast, the requirement that applies to imports from EU member states is 50 percent, as per the law notified by the EU commission.

The UFOP notes that a comparable statutory requirement is not required for Germany. This is as a result of the GHG reduction obligation effective in Germany since 1st January 2015 which requires biodiesel from cultivated biomass to show a reduction of more than 60 percent. This development is further evidence that the greenhouse gas reduction obligation introduced in Germany did indeed lead to a shift in the raw material composition of biodiesel used within the country. On the other hand, however, it confirms that efficiency competition has an effect in terms of climate protection and the efficiency of biomass use.

The Union emphasises that waste oils are also finite and as a result welcomes the stricter regulations being drafted for rewriting the Renewable Energy Directive to prove the origin and waste characteristic. Naturally there is only a limited amount of this resource available. Unregulated authorisation to use biofuels ultimately leads to “fresh” plant oil having to be used elsewhere in turn. The EU Commission has also since recognised this and taken it into account in its proposal.