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Different types of biofuels

Written by on | Modified 21 Jul, 2016 | Views 1665

This makes for a loophole worth almost 10% (8.4% + 1.4%) of transport GHG emissions, or more than 30 million cars’ worth of emissions.


Biofuels

In 2009 Europe decided in its Renewable Energy Directive (RED) that every member state should have at least 10% renewable energy in transport fuel by 2020. Subsequent ‘national renewable energy action plans’ (NREAPS) suggested that almost all (9.4%) of this renewable energy in 2020 would consist of biofuels. 

On average, biodiesels from virgin vegetable oil – which take almost 70% of the EU biofuel market – lead to around 80% higher emissions than the fossil diesel they replace. Palm and soy-based biodiesel is even three and two times worse respectively. 

On average biodiesel is almost three times worse than  bioethanol.

Biodiesel 2020: emissions of an additional 12 million cars

Even after ILUC reform, and obviously after subtracting fossil emissions, first-generation biodiesel will likely increase overall EU transport emissions by almost 4%. This is the equivalent of putting around 12 million additional cars on the road in 2020. It is a lot more than the emissions saved from all lorry road charging systems in Europe, for instance. 

Biofuels 2020: A loophole the size of 30 million cars 

To make matters worse, if we do not change the rules member states can count the emissions from these biofuels  as  zero  (0)  in  their  greenhouse  gas  reporting  towards  the  Paris agreement  (global  level)  and  the Effort Sharing Decision and the Emissions Trading System (EU level). 

In other words, member states can count the expected 8.4% of biofuels in 2020 as zero-emissions, i.e., a net 8.4% reduction compared with oil use. In reality though this note shows they will likely increase emissions compared with oil by 1.4% because of poorly-performing first-generation biofuels especially biodiesel. All in all, this makes for a loophole worth almost 10% (8.4% + 1.4%) of transport GHG emissions, or more than 30 million cars’ worth of emissions.

References

Transport & Environment



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