EU feed sector gratified door not closed on crop-based biofuels

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/baloon111
© GettyImages/baloon111

Related tags European union

FEFAC said it welcomes the fact that the European Parliament (EP) did not follow “the radical path" of completely phasing out crop-based biofuels.

The EP backed the RED II (Renewable Energy Directive) draft proposal in a plenary session last week – January 17. They endorsed the view that, in 2030, each country in the EU-28 will have to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources.

The MEPs said the contribution of ‘first generation’ biofuels, those made from food and feed crops, should be capped to 2017 levels, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport; FEFAC has long supported​ continued use of food crop biofuels but with capping in place.

We are assured now of the contribution of protein-rich feed materials from the bioenergy sector to 2030, which is crucial for the European protein supply,”​ Nicolas Martin, policy advisor, FEFAC, told us.

The EP said the share of advanced biofuels such as renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030.

In terms of those advanced biofuels, Martin said the feed sector recently managed to get molasses removed as a biofuels feedstock through the joint industry lobby​ group.

“We also welcome the call of the Parliament for the importance of taking into account the cascading principle and waste hierarchy in the production and promotion of advanced biofuels, [a move] which may provide more certainty that feed materials are not excessively diverted to bioenergy use due to financial incentives,” ​he said.

Palm oil ban

The EP also voted to remove biodiesel made from palm oil from its list of biofuels that can count towards the EU's renewables target from 2021.

A large percentage of European palm oil imports are used to make biofuels, so the EP vote has incurred the wrath of the palm oil sector; producers are concerned for overall demand if such a measure goes through.

Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, called the EP’s  endorsement of a ban on the use of palm oil in biofuels as a "potential violation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules"​.

In a statement today​, the minister said the move by the EU was a "deliberate attempt"​ to block the access of palm oil into their market. He said that Malaysia would raise the issue at WTO committees in March and April this year.

In terms of the final legislation on RED II, the EU Commission’s proposals, the Parliament's amendments and the Council's position will now be considered in a trialogue meeting.

“Those negotiations are expected to be quite fraught given that the EU institutions have all taken diverging positions,”​ said Martin.

Feed event 

Nicolas Martin will explore the implications of the EU biofuels policy and the EU Commission’s protein strategy, due to be published some time this year, at our inaugural face-to-face event in Amsterdam on 6-7 March – Feed Protein Vision​. 

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