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Committed to strengthening the transition towards a circular economy.

The European biofuels market was born out of the need to reduce GHG emissions in the road transport sector. To support this shift, the European Commission introduced the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) (2009/28/EC) establishing an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU.

The importance of biodiesel was quickly recognized by the EU and the revised REDII (2018/2001/EU) entered into force, aimed at keeping the EU a global leader in renewables and helping the EU to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.

In this section you will be able to read more on legislative documents that formed the waste biofuels market as well as reports or position papers prepared by EWABA or other industry stakeholders.

The European biofuels market was born out of the need to reduce GHG emissions in the road transport sector

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Bioledger Blockchain Database for Sustainable Biofuels a Case Study March 2021

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Joint-Statement The Renewable & Low-Carbon Liquid Fuels Platform, towards Transport Fuels’ Transformation May 2021

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Waste-based biodiesel plants in the EU: June 2021

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Waste-based biodiesel plants in the EU: EWABA/MVaK/ABA: June 2021

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WASTED project - Europe's untapped resource - an assessment of advanced biofuels from wastes & residues

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EWABA MVaK study by SGU Options for the deployment of UCO

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Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive 2014 94 EU

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Directive (2018-2001-EU) of the European parliament and of the council: use of energy from renewable sources

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Zemo Partnership - Market opportunities to decarbonise HDVs using HBRF March 2021

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Joint-Statement A Taxonomy Delivering Sustainable Growth in Europe March 2020

FAQs

What is a waste-derived biofuel?

Biofuel is a biomass-based fuel rather than a fossil-based one. Unlike conventional biofuels produced from food crops grown on arable land, second-generation waste biofuels are primarily produced from waste oils, animal fats, agricultural residues and other wastes and residues. Waste biofuels offer a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of up to 90% compared with petroleum diesel. 

How is waste biodiesel produced and where is it used?

The waste biodiesel supply chain is a long one but not particularly complex. Used cooking oils (UCOs) and animal fats (tallow) are collected from restaurants, food factories, slaughterhouses, and households. Following collection, these are all processed and cleaned in special processing units to remove impurities and water. Filtered waste oils are then fed into biodiesel plants to produce waste-based and advanced biodiesel, depending on the feedstock used. The final renewable waste fuel can be used in passenger vehicles, heavy duty vehicles (trucks, buses, etc.) and vessels.

By-products deriving from the biodiesel production such as fertilizer is sold to the farming industry, while glycerine is largely used in biogas plants for the generation of electricity or on the oleochemicals sector.

How is waste-based biodiesel better than normal diesel?

Waste-derived biodiesel reduces overall environmental pollution by lowering GHG emissions and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It prevents used cooking oil, animal fats and other waste oils from polluting the environment by taking up space in landfills, and clogging drains that increases the costs of maintaining drainage & water treatment networks.

Finally, Waste and advanced biodiesel enhances the performance of an engine as it contains higher cetane than petroleum diesel and provides added lubricity to your engine.

Why should I recycle UCO?

Used cooking oils (UCO) and fats are the ideal feedstock to refine into biodiesel. And, because they cannot be recycled into either the human or the animal food supply chains, due to the food safety risks they pose, this is by far the most sustainable way to dispose of them.

The disposal of UCO and waste fat oils are a growing concern, especially in urban areas, as they often cause blockages in the sewer systems. Water companies end up spending millions each year to clean blocked sewage systems and these costs could be reflected in household bills that affect all of us. These costs could be significantly lower if UCO were properly disposed of and recycled for other uses. Further it is estimated that one litre of UCO can contaminate up to one million litres of water, adding a large cost to an already diminishing resource like water.

How can you recycle used cooking oil (UCO) at home?

The used cooking oils you have at home can be used and valued in the production of waste biofuels. Pouring them directly into the sink not only pollutes and damages wastewater treatment systems, but also represents a waste of raw material with the potential to be reused.

UCO recycling from the HORECA sector, e.g. restaurants, hotels, etc., is already well developed in most EU Member States, but household collection systems are only in early development stages.

A few countries, notably Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, have managed to introduce successful nationwide collection systems and others like Sweden, Italy and Portugal have set up successful regional collection systems.

To recycle your oil, you can contact your municipality to find out if there is a waste oil collection system in place, and if not, you can reach out to recycling companies operating in your area.

What is the role of waste and advanced biodiesel under the RED II?

The revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) contains the Annex IX which lists the feedstocks that are incentivized for the purposes of the EU’s transport emission reduction targets. Waste and advanced biofuels are made from materials listed in Part A and Part B of the Annex IX.

The majority of waste biodiesel currently produced in the EU comes from part B feedstocks, i.e. used cooking oil and animal fats and it is subject to a cap at 1.7% of transport energy. Advanced biofuels produced from Annex IX Part A feedstocks have a specific sub-target starting at 0.2% in 2022, at least 1% in 2025, and increasing to at least 3.5% in 2030.

The Annex IX feedstock list will be reviewed every two years with a view to add new materials and expand the feedstocks incentivized to produce sustainable biofuels under REDII.

What does double counting mean?

All biofuels produced from the Annex IX list (both parts) can count twice their energy content towards the transport renewable targets under an incentive called double counting. Multipliers are seen as a tool to strengthen support to alternative fuels that are not food and feed-based biofuels, with a view of bringing new fuel technologies to the market.

What is the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) effect?

The Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) directive came into effect in 2015 in response to concerns that emissions associated with indirect changes in land-use were not included in the original Renewable Energy Directive when introduced in 2009.

The main message behind ILUC is that in the case that biofuels production is realized through the use of additional land, its conversion could lead to substantial GHG emissions being released if high carbon stock areas such as forests are affected as a result.

In June 2018, the EU decided that so-called ‘high ILUC risk’ biofuels should no longer be counted towards its 2030 renewable energy target. The maximum share of these biofuels will be frozen until 2023, based on their 2019 levels and then progressively phased out of the renewable targets.

What is a circular economy and why is it important?

A circular economy is based on a model that operates in an (almost) closed loop where products and the materials they contain are highly valued and can be reused.

The circular economy breaks the cycle of the traditional linear economic of production-consumption-throw away phases. This means that circularity is based on sharing, reusing, repairing, recycling and recovering. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum and allowing to produce products with added value for the economy and the environment. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible.

Our industry produces waste-derived biodiesel from wastes and residues that would otherwise end up in landfill or sewages. The biodiesel produced achieves high GHG emissions savings and generates by-products that supply the biogas, electricity and fertilizers sectors, minimizing any further waste from the production process.

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