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Sales of advanced biofuels in Norway increased during 2018

In Norway, almost 40 percent more biofuel produced from residues and waste was sold in 2018 than the previous year. However, the total volume of biofuel sales declined, according to the 2018 figures compiled by the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet).

According to figures from the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet), advanced biofuels have increased while palm-derived biofuels decreased rapidly in 2018 in Norway (graphic courtesy Miljødirektoratet).

According to the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet), a total of 497 million liters of biofuel was sold in 2018, which is a decrease of about 160 million liters, or 25 percent, from 2017. The decrease is primarily due to a sharp reduction in imports of palm oil from 317 million liters in 2017 to 93 million liters in 2018.

Almost 40 percent advanced

The share of advanced biofuels, on the other hand, made a sharp jump last year. A total of 190 million liters of advanced biofuels, almost 40 percent, were sold, compared with 138 million liters (21 percent) in 2017. Slaughterhouse waste from the United States (US) and used cooking oil (UCO) from Europe and China were the most commonly used feedstocks in the advanced biofuel sold in Norway during 2018.

It is positive that biofuels produced by waste and residues increase, rather than raw materials that can be used as food or animal feed, said Ellen Hambro, Director of the Norwegian Environment Agency.

More Norwegian feedstock, less palm oil

The Agency notes that most of the biofuel used in Norway, both conventional and advanced, is imported. Furthermore, that the share of biofuels made from Norwegian raw materials is still small, but increased – from 2.6 million liters (0.4 percent) in 2017 to 5.2 million liters (1.1 percent) in 2018.

The Norwegian feedstock primarily consists of forest and forest industry waste but for the first time also Norwegian UCO.

Norwegian diesel powered motorists had much less palm oil in the tank in 2018 than the year before. The import of palm oil was about 93 million litres in 2018 compared to 317 million litres in 2017. The most commonly used raw material in 2018 was rapeseed, followed by palm oil and UCO.

The type of raw materials biofuels used in Norway in 2018 was produced from, and the feedstock's share of the total amount of biofuels. Conventional feedstock in green, advanced in orange (graphic courtesy Miljødirektoratet).

The type of raw materials biofuels used in Norway in 2018 was produced from, and the feedstock’s share of the total amount of biofuels. Conventional feedstock in green, advanced in orange (graphic courtesy Miljødirektoratet).

The biofuels market in Norway is dominated by four major companies, Esso, Circle K, Uno X, and St1. The Ministry of Climate and Environment has tasked the Norwegian Environment Agency to make an overview of what the biofuel the various companies sell, is made of.

This is in addition to the annual sales volume reporting by biofuel producers and/or distributors in Norway are obliged to do to the Norwegian Environment Agency to demonstrate that they are meeting the 10 percent biofuel blend target.

Openness about what products contain gives consumers choice. This also applies to biofuels, said Ellen Hambro.

The overview shows that two of the large companies, Uno-X and Circle K, did not sell biofuels made from palm oil in 2018.

Double counting and greenhouse gas emissions reduction

In total, 4.1 billion litres of fuel were sold in Norway last year, where the proportion of liquid biofuels accounted for approximately 12 percent of total volume. Of all fuel sold, 4.6 percent was advanced. As advanced biofuels count double towards Norway’s 10 percent biofuels in transportation by 2018 target, the total volume of biofuels reported against the target is 16.9 percent.

This means that more biofuels were sold 2018 than the minimum Norwegian requirement of 10 percent and more advanced biofuels were sold in 2018 than the 1.75 percent sub-target. Only liquid biofuels can be used to meet the requirement thus biomethane does not count.

A Norwegian renewable diesel pump

A renewable diesel pump at the Silva Green Fuel site in Tofte, Norway. Owned by Statkraft (51%) and Södra (49%) Silva Green Fuel is to build an advanced biofuels demonstration plant with forest feedstock at Statkraft’s biomass hub in Tofte.

The Agency notes that biofuel used in 2018 had on average 72 percent lower life-cycle emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) than fossil gasoline and diesel. The use of biofuels has also reduced Norwegian GHG emissions and the Agency calculates that Norway’s GHG accounts would have exceeded 1.17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) in 2018 if biofuels were not part of the fuel mix.

In a global perspective, if life-cycle emissions from the production of the biofuel, the biofuel used in Norway 2018 led to a reduction of almost 970 000 tonnes of CO2eq. However, as the Agency points out, if average values for emissions from indirect land-use change (ILUC) of conventional biofuels given in the regulations, the emission reduction over the life cycle is in excess of 500 000 tonnes of CO2eq.

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