In a joint statement on March 16, the German Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen (UFOP - Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants) and the Fédération Française des Producteurs d’Oléagineux et de Protéagineux (FOP - French Federation of Growers of Oilseed and Protein Plants) appeal to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) trialogue negotiation parties to find an appropriate compromise that protects existing biofuel investments while encouraging future investment.
Both associations see that this willingness to invest will be threatened if the biofuels that are currently available on the market, especially sustainable biodiesel from rapeseed, are no longer to be used in the future. As a result, the requirements for sustainability of raw materials and for greenhouse gas reduction, with which the EU has set standards worldwide, would also cease.
The associations recall that many states are obliged in the Paris climate agreement to submit national climate protection plans. Biofuels from cultivated biomass can make a “significant contribution” to climate protection and therefore must occupy an important role in the transport sector.
When evaluating the possible contribution of biofuels made from residual materials, for example, made from cereal straw, UFOP and FOP advocate for analysing the available biomass potential very precisely and warn against overestimating the amounts available. Other alternatives such as electric mobility or fuels from renewable power are in development and will only be an appreciable alternative in a few years.
At least until 2030 biofuels, especially made from domestic raw materials, will occupy a significant position in the future renewable energy mix. These domestic raw materials from cultivated biomass also make an important contribution to the European supply of GMO-free animal feed. Rapeseed meal is replacing soya imports from South America to a great extent.
The associations also point out that the transport sector has, with the exception of the use of sustainable biofuels, contributed practically nothing to date to the fulfilment of climate protection goals. And little about this will change even before 2030, as alternative propulsion concepts are not yet available to a sufficient extent.
They emphasise that sustainable biofuels make an important contribution to decarbonising the transport sector. In order that the full potential can be reached, UFOP and FOP call for the following from the negotiating partners in their trialogue:
- retention of the 7 percent cap for first-generation biofuels, as the member states specified in 2015;
- forward projection of the mandatory goal for renewable energy in the transport sector for all member states of 10 percent in 2020 to 15 percent in 2030;
- specification of the share of renewable energy in the full end-use energy consumption at 35 percent, as has also been proposed by the European Parliament;
- review of the envisaged minimum share of renewable fuels from residual and waste materials
- drop the multipliers proposed for any alternative fuels, especially for renewable electricity in the transport sector, so that the development of advanced biofuels is not impaired and conventional biofuels are not displaced – multipliers up to five times only form virtual climate protection.
Moreover, UFOP and FOP support the demand of the European Parliament for an end to the subsidy of palm oil-based biofuels on the greenhouse gas (GHG) balance. Instead, cultivation types that make a significant contribution to animal feed, especially protein supply, shall be promoted.
With this, the biofuel sector could continue to be a crucial part of a European protein strategy, just as it is currently being prepared to be by the EU Commission.