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2017 another record year for biofuels in Sweden

Biofuels accounted for 20.8 percent of all transportation fuel supplied to vehicles operating in Sweden in 2017. Based on energy content, a total of 19.5 TWh of biofuels was used which is an increase of 2.3 TWh or 13.3 percent compared to 2016, according to preliminary statistics from Statistics Sweden (SCB) and compiled by the Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio).

On an energy basis, biofuels accounted for one-fifth of all fuels supplied to the Swedish transportation market in 2017. Combined, HVO and biodiesel account for over one-quarter of all diesel fuel supplied (source SCB and Svebio).

On an energy basis, a total of 93.9 TWh of transportation fuel was supplied in 2017, an increase of 1.2 TWh compared to 2016. Biofuels grew by 2.3 TWh implying that, in energy terms, the total amount of fossil fuels used in transportation actually decreased.

The figures show that Sweden is Europe’s leading country when it comes to switching from fossil fuels to biofuels. Sweden has managed to double the share of biofuels in transportation in just three years. It is also encouraging to see that the use of fossil fuel, which had increased in 2016, decreased in 2017 to below the 2015 level, said Gustav Melin, CEO of Svebio.

The rapid growth of biofuels in recent years is mainly attributed to the increased use of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) renewable diesel fuels, which are produced from various bio-based raw materials. HVO is now Sweden’s leading transportation biofuel with pure HVO, HVO100, seeing the most growth. Combined, HVO renewable diesel and biodiesel such as rapeseed derived rape methyl-ester (RME) accounted for 26.6 percent of all diesel fuel supplied.

Deliveries of diesel fuel for transportation 2017

Fuel type Volume (m3)
Fossil diesel 5 820 683
Low blend FAME     260 027
Pure FAME (B100)       70 820
Low blend HVO    876 893
Pure HVO (HVO100)    564 887
Total HVO & Biodiesel 1 772 627
Total diesel fuels 7 593 310

 

HVO is also used as a bio-component in gasoline, and HVO petrol, also called “green gasoline” has shown a strong growth during the year. Supplies of RME, ethanol and vehicle gas were all on par with 2016 levels, with a slight drop noted for ethanol and an increase for biomethane, making the latter the second largest renewable transportation fuel.

A biogas to biomethane upgrading facility at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Sweden complete with a refuelling station for natural gas vehicles (NGV’s). The biomethane share in vehicle gas increased to 87 percent in 2017.

The share of biomethane in vehicle gas has reached a record 87 percent, up 4 percent on 2016 figures.

Sweden has had a fantastic increase in biofuels. But we have not exhausted all the possibilities yet. Taxation on ethanol and rapeseed biodiesel in recent years has held back the use of these fuels. Sweden has not introduced E10 gasoline that the EU standard allows. Thus there are good opportunities to further increase the share of biofuels and reduce the climate impact from the transport sector, commented Tomas Ekbom, Svebio’s biofuel expert.

Ekbom added that the reduction quota decided by Parliament (Riksdag) for gasoline and diesel and due to be introduced on July 1, 2018, seems set to slow rather than accelerate the development of biofuels.

This is due to the low ambition levels. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the authorities take into consideration the most recent statistics and adjust the levels accordingly and as soon as possible, said Tomas Ekbom.

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