Policy update

Advanced biofuel policies in select EU member states: 2018 update

Alternative fuels
Emissions control

This update provides details on the latest policy measures that six select European Union member states (Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom) are taking to support the deployment of advanced alternative fuels. Across these countries, currently between 4.8% and 31% of their transportation fuels are derived from biomass. Four of the member states have in place mandates based on energy content, while Sweden and Germany have recently switched to GHG reduction quotas. All countries except Denmark and Sweden have placed a cap on conventional or food-based biofuels for 2020, with caps ranging from 4% to 6.7%. All countries except for Sweden have defined mandates for advanced biofuels by 2020, although the ambition varies widely from 0.05% in Germany to 1% in the Netherlands. The prices for noncompliance range from €9 per gigajoule (GJ) for conventional biofuels in the UK up to €150 per GJ for advanced biofuels in Italy.

The six member states reviewed are actively implementing the EU ILUC directive provisions and are increasing their support for advanced biofuels, either through mandates or significant financial incentives. All of the countries except Denmark have already defined short-term mandates to 2020, both for conventional and for advanced biofuels, but only the UK has a mandate through 2032. These short-term mandates are, or are expected to be, fulfilled by technologically ready and commercially available products, such as biomethane from waste and HVO from used cooking oil. However, these technologies have a limited potential to achieve the minimum share of advanced biofuels of 3.5% in 2030 mandated by the EU REDII. We conclude that the longer-term goals of the EU strategy will require member states to step up their ambition and to stimulate long-term investment in new capacity for advanced technologies. Given the long lead time needed for planning, constructing and ramping up production at cellulosic biofuel facilities, introducing robust support measures for advanced technologies should be an urgent priority for these Member States over the next few years.