Biofuels cut Germany’s 2021 CO2 emissions by 11.1 million tons compared to just 25,000 tons from EVs
Updated: Dec 12, 2022
For the time being, sustainably certified biofuels remain the most important option for decarbonizing the transport sector.
This was emphasized by the Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) after the German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) announced its evaluation of the sustainability certificates for offsetting against the greenhouse-gas (GHG) quota obligation.
The average GHG reduction for the biofuels used was 84 percent, again confirming the successful efficiency competition within the GHG-quota system, according to UFOP.
According to the BLE, a total of more than 3.9 million metric tons of biofuels were used in 2021, of which approximately 2.72 million tons were biofuels replacing fossil diesel such as biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), compared to nearly 3.5 million tons in the 2020 quota year.
In terms of raw materials, palm oil was the most important source of raw materials in 2021 with a total of nearly 1.1 million tons, followed by used cooking oils and fats with 772,000 tons and rapeseed oil with approximately 591,000 tons.
Compared to the quota year 2020, the share of HVO from palm oil in particular decreased by 520,000 tons, from 800,000 tons in 2020 to just 300,000 tons in 2021. According to UFOP, this is due to the fuel standard for diesel, which allows a maximum of 7 percent of biodiesel by volume to be blended, above which HVO is added.
The higher total quantity in 2020 is due to the fact that the GHG quota of 6 percent had to be fulfilled exclusively through the physical use of biofuels in the year in question. The option of GHG-quota transfer was not possible again until 2021 with the same quota level. Therefore, the UFOP expects a total demand for the diesel market of approximately 2.5 million tons of biodiesel and HVO for the 2022 quota year, with the GHG quota increased to 7 percent.
UFOP pointed out that the share of biofuels from palm oil to be counted towards the GHG quota is limited to 0.9 percent of final energy consumption in road transport in the 2022 quota year. From 2023 onwards, crediting is no longer possible in Germany.
The UFOP notes that sustainably certified biofuels can not only make a measurable contribution to climate protection in transport, but it must do so because of the still-small contribution of e-mobility. This is confirmed by the evaluation recently published by the Directorate General of Customs on the fulfilment of the GHG quota: A share of only 25,000 tons of CO2-equivalent was shown for e-mobility while biofuels contributed 11.1 million tons of CO2 savings.
Basically, the 2021 quota year also confirms the importance of biofuels from cultivated biomass in their bridging function for the fulfilment of the GHG-reduction targets in the transport sector according to the current Climate Protection Act.
The UFOP therefore once again firmly rejects a lowering of the cap for biofuels from cultivated biomass below the compromise of 4.4 percent of final energy consumption in road and rail transport.