Legislative uncertainty impeding Europe biofuel adoption - producer

14 March 2012 17:41  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS)--Unclear biofuel legislation and a lack of dialogue between fuel producers and vehicle manufacturers is hampering the European transport fuel industry in its attempts to increase renewable fuel use, a producer said on Wednesday.

Christian Hoppe, Shell's downstream policy and advocacy manager for Europe, believes there is far too much uncertainty surrounding the various legislative directives issued by the European Commission that set targets and guidelines for renewable fuel use in the EU.

These include the renewable energy directive (RED); the fuel quality directive (FQD); and rules on indirect land use change (ILUC).

In addition to the confusion caused by unclear legislation, Hoppe, who was speaking at the European Fuels Conference in Paris, France, said there needs to be increased dialogue between fuel producers and engine manufacturers to facilitate a faster adoption of biofuels into the fuel pool.

German fuel producers introduced E10 (a gasoline blend containing up to 10% bioethanol) last year into the German market, but the move was widely seen as unsuccessful because of customer fears of ethanol-related engine damage. This is the kind of problem Hoppe believes will be avoided with better collaboration between vehicle makers and fuel producers.

“We need a consolidated approach to develop a biofuel vehicle environment,” he said.

The RED requires that in all EU states, 10% of transportation fuels will be renewable by 2020 (by energy content, as opposed to volume).

Ortwin Costenoble, senior standardisation consultant at NEN Energy Resources, also speaking at the event, said he did not think this target would be met in all member states, adding that the adoption of B7 (diesel with 7% bio content) was even further behind the roll out of E10.

Although there is a range of potentially viable renewable fuel sources, Hoppe said the only option currently available at commercial scale, and therefore the only realistic mechanism by which to meet the above target, is first-generation biofuels, such as bioethanol and biodiesel.

By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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