Advanced Biofuels, 12-15% of EU transport market by 2030: report

November 27, 2013 |

EU-globeWhat the EU really needs, says E4tech, is a 2030 policy for biofuels in Europe to unlock investment

While the United States shuts down for its annual Thanksgiving holiday, let’s look at the latest from the EU market, where E4tech has released a report finding that advanced biofuels could grow to 12-15% of energy to the transport sector by 2030, representing overall greenhouse gas emission savings of around 8%. And could reach at least 8% of the EU’s 2020 10% Renewable Fuels target.

That’s the finding from the first Auto-Fuel Biofuels Roadmap for the EU to 2030.  With future energy scenarios showing liquid fuels remaining important to the long-term energy mix, biofuels and vehicle efficiency will be essential if the European transport sector is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet its decarbonization targets.

Lack of clear 2030 roadmap holding back investment

According to the report’s authors, “at present there is no 2030 policy for biofuels in Europe, which is holding back investments, including in advanced biofuels. Furthermore, the lack of coherence between vehicle and fuel regulations and in the implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive could lead to a fragmented approach across the EU resulting in higher costs and confusion for drivers.”

Encouraging the use of advanced biofuels

The authors add, “In order to meet emissions reduction targets, European industry requires a policy framework that encourages sophisticated technology and higher quality fuels. Specific proposals to encourage advanced biofuels could include a funding program building on the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative and a public outreach program to ensure consumers have timely, full and accurate information on the benefits of advanced biofuels.”

Framework for decarbonizing fuels

The authors propose four steps towards a decarbonization framework

1. Based on sound evidence of what could be achieved through fuel and vehicle measures, taking into account factors such as evolving customer preferences towards new technologies, the importance of high quality fuels, efficiency and cost effectiveness.

2. Including supporting measures for the development of required fuel and vehicle technologies and related infrastructure. This should include robust CEN standards to ensure high quality fuels.

3. Built on a roadmap for biofuels deployment, and supported by an appropriate biofuels policy framework to ensure biofuels can be introduced in a timely and sustainable manner.

4. Including a policy framework for sustainable feedstocks, with certification of biofuels at least in line with the existing Renewable Energy Directive feedstock sustainability requirements and refined as evidence on sustainability evolves.

Policy should encourage positive practices such as the production and use of biofuels based on waste and residues. The risks of negative land use impacts should be tackled by introducing policies that incentivize the use of biofuels with low Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) risk and ILUC mitigation actions.

Comments from Shell, Volkswagen and the report’s authors

Matthew Tipper, Vice President Alternative Energies at Shell

“Shell believes this report accurately demonstrates the opportunities and challenges for biofuels in helping Europe decarbonise its transport sector. However, there is still not a policy framework in place to drive biofuels investments in the EU beyond 2020. While we support the European Commission’s push towards advanced biofuels, it is critical that Europe develops a framework within its 2030 climate and energy proposals that provides a level of incentives which stimulate the necessary investments in this important endeavour.”

Prof Dr-Ing Wolfgang Steiger, Director Future Technologies at the Volkswagen Group

“It’s clear that future transport must fulfil customer demands as well as sustainability criteria. For maximum efficiencies in this sector, powertrains and used energy should be developed in parallel. To achieve this, we need harmonised standards and qualities under a reliable regulatory framework. The Auto-Fuel biofuel roadmap sets out pathways for Europe to reach its ambitious targets beyond 2020. This is an approach we in the consortium fully support.”

Dr. Ausilio Bauen, Director of E4tech and author of the report

“There is a clear lack of understanding of what biofuels could accomplish in European road transport towards 2030. For the first time we have analysed in detail what can be achieved in terms of sustainable biofuels supply – and critically, how this can be integrated affordably and smoothly into the vehicle fleet. On this basis we have set out a vision and roadmap of how the auto and fuel industries can jointly achieve a 15% energy contribution from biofuels by 2030. This will now require broader stakeholder and policy buy-in.”

The complete report

The report is available here.

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