Discussion on changes to the EU’s biofuel legislation continues
The European Parliament voted 11 September, on updates proposed for the EU’s biofuel directive linked to limiting the use of field crops as a raw material for these fuels and encouraging producers to use waste and residues as feedstocks. The Parliament decided to schedule a further debate on the subject after member states clarified their position on the matter at the Council of Ministers. Member states currently lack a unanimous view on how best to update the biofuel directive.
Given the complicated nature of the EU’s biofuel directive, Neste Oil believes that it warrants extensive discussion by the Community’s various legislative bodies, as this will help create a legislative framework offering sufficient incentives for increasing the use of waste and residues as biofuel feedstocks.
The risks associated with indirect land use change (ILUC) are one of the concerns behind the ongoing discussion. The fear is that the use of existing farmland for producing raw materials for biofuels would lead to new farmland being cleared elsewhere, generating additional CO2 as a result. The European Parliament voted in favor of limiting field crops to 6% of the energy content of traffic fuels, and requested the Commission to re-evaluate ILUC factors in the light of the latest scientific data in 2016. The plan is that these figures would then be taken into account in the fuel quality directive from 2020 onwards.
Neste Oil has steadily extended its range of raw materials in recent years, and increased the amount of waste and residues that it uses to produce renewable diesel significantly. Waste and residue-based raw materials currently account for approximately 50% of the company’s renewable inputs today. In fact, the NExBTL renewable diesel units at Neste Oil’s Porvoo site in Finland have used solely waste and residues as their feedstock for some time.
Neste Oil currently invests around EUR 40 million in R&D annually, the bulk of which goes on research into renewable feedstocks and renewable refining technology. This includes research into completely new types of inputs, such as microbial oil, algae oil, and straw, for use as future inputs for its renewable fuel.
Ilkka Räsänen, Director, Public Affairs, tel. +358 (0)50 458 5123