April 20, Ireland’s Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment published a policy statement confirming its intention to increase the biofuel obligation to 10% from 1 January 2019 and to 11% in 2020. Ireland’s Biofuels Obligation Scheme requires suppliers of road transport fuel to ensure a certain proportion of the fuel that they place on the market is biofuel.
Because the biofuel obligation in Ireland is certificate-based, and two certificates are issued per litre of biofuel produced from waste, residues, non-food cellulosic material, and lignocellulosic material, the actual volume of biofuel in fossil fuels that are used for road transport will be lower than the obligated percentages.
At the current obligation of 8.695%, 8,695 certificates must be held by suppliers for every 100,000 litres of fossil fuel placed on the market in order to show compliance with the scheme.
The Department reports that a key theme of the responses from public consultation on the increase (which opened in December 2017) was the need to provide certainty to industry and stakeholders to facilitate longer term planning of future biofuel obligation rates.
The Department said that it will work with industry to increase the use of biofuels further, post 2020. This will require overcoming the current ‘blend wall’ (the blending rates at which some car engines experience technical difficulty).
Public consultation on a 12% obligation and the introduction of an advanced biofuels obligation after 2022 will be opened in 2019. Compressed natural gas (CNG), liquid natural gas (LNG) and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO, a drop-in biodiesel) are also being considered as alternative fuels to increase the penetration of biofuels in the transport sector.
This article was corrected 03/05/2018. It was previously stated that Ireland was increasing its biofuel blend to E10 and that petrol in the country is 8% ethanol, this is incorrect. It was also stated that EU members are required to obligate E10 by 2020, this is also incorrect.