The UK’s biofuel industry will have to deliver “substantial improvements” if it is to comply with new EU-wide sustainability standards that are due to come into effect by the end of the year.
Late last week the European Commission released two communication documents clarifying how member states should implement the biofuel components of the Renewable Energy Directive when they come into effect at the end of this year.
The communications call on governments to set up independently verified certification schemes designed to ensure biofuels are produced in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The new certification schemes are being billed as voluntary, but the European Commission signalled that only biofuels that carry sustainability labels will be allowed to count towards national targets requiring 10 per cent of EU road fuels to come from renewable sources by 2020. The condition means that the sustainability certification will, to all intents and purposes, become mandatory for biofuels produced in the EU or imported into the bloc.
The proposed “Recognised by the European Union” label will only be awarded to biofuels that can demonstrate that they deliver greenhouse gas savings of at least 35 per cent compared with petrol and diesel. The target, which covers methane and di-nitrous oxide as well as carbon dioxide, will rise to 50 per cent in 2017.
Biofuel firms carrying the label will have to submit to regular independent audits of their entire supply chain, from farmer through to fuel supplier. They will also have to demonstrate that the fuel has not been produced in environmentally sensitive areas, including protected areas, natural forests, wetlands and peatlands. Significantly, biofuels made from palm oil grown in converted forest plantations will not be able to qualify for the label.
Source: EU sets out sustainable biofuel criteria – businessGreen
Date: 14 June, 2010