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EU biofuel consumption 2016 increased marginally to 14.4 Mtoe

Biofuel consumption for transport in the European Union (EU) increased slightly in 2016. EurObserv’ER’s preliminary estimates suggest the figure of 14.4 Mtoe, which equates to 1.3 percent year-on-year growth. This increase was entirely driven by biodiesel consumption which rose 2.4 percent to 11.6 Mtoe whereas bioethanol consumption slipped 3.1 percent to 2.6 Mtoe.

Over 16 percent of all fuel used on Swedish roads during the first half of 2016 were renewable.

According to the latest Biofuels Barometer, EU ethanol consumption contracted whereas biodiesel increased in 2016 although total biofuel consumption grew only marginally, 1.3 percent year-on-year. The consumption of pure vegetable oil based biodiesel such as RME is less than o.1 percent.

According to the latest “Biofuels Barometer” published July 27 by EurObserv’ER and released on social media, European Union (EU) biofuels consumption has essentially flattened out. Preliminary estimates suggest that consumption increased marginally in 2016 to reach 14.4 million tonnes oil equivalents (Mtoe).

This represents 1.3 percent year-on-year growth after stabilising between 2014 and 2015 at around 14.2 Mtoe. The only reason for this increase, expressed as energy content as opposed to metric volume, is the 2.4 percent increase in biodiesel consumption whereas bioethanol consumption contracted by 3.1 percent.

By energy content, the distribution between the different types of biofuel is largely dominated by the biodiesel sector reflecting the size of the EU diesel vehicle fleet. The breakdown of biofuel sources for 2016 is as follows:

  • Biodiesel: 80.6 % (79.8% in 2015), 11 603 ktoe (includes the <0.1% consumption of pure vegetable oil as fuel)
  • Bioethanol: 18.4% (19.2% in 2015), 2 646 ktoe (directly blended with petrol or converted beforehand into ETBE)
  • Biogas: 1% (1% in 2015), 138 ktoe

The EurObserv’ER survey also examined the consumption of biofuel certified as sustainable according to the criteria set down in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Only certified fuel can be included in the national targets. First estimates show that the consumption certified by the Member States (MS) stood at around 13.3 Mtoe or 92.5 percent of EU biofuel consumption, compared to 92.2 percent in 2015.

As in previous years, the explanation for the main difference is that Spain has still not implemented the official mechanism to account for sustainably certified biofuel consumption. However, as EurObserv’ER notes that this does not mean that biofuel used in Spain is not certified, but that the administrative system enabling it to be accounted for and made eligible towards its 2020 renewable energy targets, has not been rolled out.

Furthermore, the Institute for Energy Diversification and Savings (IDAE) points out that the certified biofuel volume data for 2016 could be available at the end of the year. If this happens, Spain could include its 2016 biofuel consumption figure in its 2020 renewable energy target.

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