Share of rapeseed oil-based biodiesel increases in Germany after sharp decline

Image: UFOP

In view of the debate on the use of biofuels from cultivated biomass, the Union zur Förderung von Oel-und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP) has urged politicians to differentiate between the various types of feedstocks and their origins. The negative image of palm oil should not lead to a situation where the sustained biomass potential available in Germany and the European Union is no longer fully utilized.

The contradiction could not be bigger. On the one hand, the regulatory requirements for biomass crop cultivation in the EU are significantly tightened as a result of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and stricter regulatory requirements for the use of fertilizers and crop protection products. On the other hand, the EU Commission also questions the use of biofuels from biomass, even if the biomass used is produced in the EU. For this reason, the UFOP has welcomed that the Federal Ministry for the Environment’s bill to implement the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) provides for phasing out the use of palm oil as a feedstock, because palm oil is associated with a high risk of generating indirect changes in land use.

At the same time, UFOP has pointed out the role of rapeseed as a pioneer renewable in Germany and Europe. Production and marketing of biodiesel have also been pushed forward with the aim of creating new income prospects for farms. At the same time, soybeans have been partially replaced in the feeding trough. As a consequence of the implementation of the quota on greenhouse gas emission in Germany, the share of rapeseed oil methyl ester in consumption declined from approximately 1.3 million metric tons in 2015 to 0.67 million tons in 2018. From UFOP’s point of view, it is gratifying that in 2019, the share rose back to approximately 0.8 million tons. According to UFOP, the reason was growing European competition for waste oils and fats resulting from the fact that many EU member states introduced double-counting towards renewable energy targets.

Demand for these waste feedstocks also comes from producers of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). The UFOP has pointed out that HVO producers’ processing capacity has increased to approximately 3.4 million tons. By contrast, soybean oil-based biodiesel only plays a secondary role in Germany, with production amounting to just less than 32,000 tons.

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