New report: Advanced biofuels could grow to at least 20% of the biofuels market in Europe in 2030

Daimler Headquarter in Stuttgart, Germany
Daimler Headquarter in Stuttgart, Germany

A new report from sustainable energy consultancy E4tech, commissioned by Auto-Fuel Coalition, a group of international vehicle and fuel companies (Daimler, Honda, Volkswagen, Neste Oil, OMV and Shell), has outlined the first harmonised 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 decarbonisation targets.

The proposed Roadmap examines in detail what the fuels industry could achieve in terms of sustainable biofuels supply (including advanced biofuels) and how this could be integrated into the vehicle fleet by 2030.

The Roadmap also highlights that advanced biofuels could grow to at least 20% of the biofuels market in Europe in 2030 if the right policy framework is put in place. A range of biofuels could deliver: at least 8% of the EU’s 2020 10% Renewable Fuels target; 4% of GHG emissions savings required to meet the 6% Fuel Quality Directive target in 2020; 12-15% of energy to the transport sector by 2030, representing overall greenhouse gas emission savings of around 8%; advanced biofuels, which could grow to at least 20% of the biofuels market in Europe in 2030 if the right policy incentives are put in place.

Matthew Tipper, vice president Alternative Energies at Shell, said that 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.”

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.

The report calls for the development of a sustainable biofuel-vehicle roadmap to 2030 based on sound evidence and a joint Auto-Fuel vision. In turn this would help the future development of mutually-compatible vehicle-fuel technologies to decarbonise the European transport sector on a grand scale.

According to 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 harmonized 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.”

In order to meet emissions reduction targets, European industry requires a policy framework that encourages sophisticated technology and higher quality fuels. Advanced biofuels have a major role to play – particularly drop in fuels – which improve the quality of fuels, better integrate them into the vehicle fleet and decrease tailpipe and CO2 emissions. Specific proposals to encourage advanced biofuels could include a funding programme building on the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative and a public outreach programme to ensure consumers have timely, full and accurate information on the benefits of advanced biofuels.

Speaking ahead of the launch event in Brussels, Ausilio Bauen, director of E4tech and author of the report said that “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.”

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