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Germany – more UCOME than RME a cause of concern says UFOP

In the quota year 2016, the total consumption of waste oil derived biodiesel (UCOME) in Germany (0.87 million tonnes) exceeded the consumption of biodiesel made from rapeseed oil (RME) by around 0.87 million tonnes for the first time. Compared to 2015, this fell from just under 1.30 million tonnes to 0.86 million tonnes. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) views this as a worrying finding.

According to the Evaluation and Progress Report for 2016 published by the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung: BLE), while the use of biodiesel made from rapeseed oil has been stagnating at around 1.2 million tonnes in recent years and the proportion of palm oil, in particular, has been declining, the proportion of biodiesel made from used cooking oils (Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester – UCOME) has been steadily increasing.

UFOP considers the primary cause of this to be the German obligation to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), which was legally introduced in 2015, together with the race for GHG reduction efficiency this creates. The report of the BLE confirms savings of 77 percent GHG emission savings through biofuels.

UFOP had fundamentally welcomed this changeover as a unique selling point in the bioeconomy for using renewable resources and as a means of paving the way to decarbonise the economy as a whole.

However, as a result, German oilseed millers are increasingly having to rely on the export of rapeseed oil which is why Germany’s rapeseed oil exports reached a record high in the financial year 2016/17. With around 1.2 million tonnes, just under 13 percent more was exported compared to 2015/16. Almost 92 percent of the exports went to other EU member states.

UFOP notes that even waste oils are finite resources and therefore high demands would have to be laid upon the quality of the certification, so that waste oils and fats are not withdrawn from use anywhere else and, in turn, fossil fuels would have to be used.

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