EU’s biofuel transport consumption on the increase

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Biofuel consumption for transport in the European Union increased by 9.2% between 2016 and 2017, according to new data in EurObserv’ER’s 2018 Biofuels Barometer.

Between 2014 and 2016 biofuel usage remained relatively stable in the EU, something EurObserver’ER puts down to ‘a period of uncertainty’ surrounding the future of the biofuels sector. In 2017 however, consumption in terms of energy content rose to 15.5 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent).

Interestingly, the EurObserv’ER report suggests this growth was the result of ‘agreements on the broad lines of the future Renewable Energy Directive’, i.e. REDII. Although an outline of the form this key legislation would take became apparent in 2017, the European Parliament, Commission and Council only reached a preliminary agreement on its main components in June 2018.  

According to the EurObserv’ER data, biodiesel made up the vast majority of biofuel used in Europe between 2016 and 2017, standing at 80.7% of the total.


Country by country

Of the EU member states, France had the highest biofuel consumption in 2017, 3,335,000 toe, of which 539,000 toe was bioethanol, and 2,796,000 toe biodiesel. According to the report, 100% of this biofuel capacity was certified sustainable.

Next up was Germany with 2,608,197 toe of total biofuel consumption, and Sweden with 1,646,436 toe. Spain and Italy rounded out the top five EU biofuel consumers.

The lowest consumption was found in Croatia, with just 324 toe of biofuel consumed, all biodiesel, and then Estonia, with 2,600 toe of biofuel consumed, in this case all bioethanol.

In terms of companies, Germany’s Crop Energies was the EU’s biggest bioethanol producer, with 1,300 million litres of capacity, followed by France’s Tereos and Cristanol.

Finland’s Neste Oil was the biggest biodiesel producer, at 2,600,000 tonnes of capacity, followed by France’s Avril and Spain’s Infinita.

The full EurObserv’ER Biofuels Barometer is available here.