Germany saves 7.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by using biofuels, new report suggests

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The use of biodiesel and bioethanol in Germany avoided creating around 7.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in Germany in 2016, according to a new report from Federal Agency for Food and Agriculture (BLE).

Biofuels consumed in Germany emits on average 77% less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels or diesel.

The report highlighted that the share of waste and residual materials in the raw materials used for biodiesel production increased from 28% in the previous year to 44% in 2016. While the proportion of biodiesel from rapeseed in German production is around 62%, Germany consumes 43% of biodiesel made of rapeseed. 

This means that 87% of the biodiesel consumed in Germany was produced either from waste and residues or from rapeseed. In total, the BLE registered 3.3 million tonnes of biofuels, which were reported by the petroleum industry for consumption in Germany. 

"Despite enormous targets and binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the EU Commission wants to push the only larger-scale alternative to fossil fuel out of the market. This is climate policy blindness and industrial policy disaster, "said Elmar Baumann, managing director of the Association of the German Biofuel Industry (VDB). 

"We welcome the high proportion of biodiesel from waste and residual materials, which has an excellent greenhouse gas balance," said Baumann. Greenhouse gas savings through biodiesel and bioethanol would increase steadily. "

Biodiesel from rapeseed

Biofuels made from raw materials from the field also provide GM-free animal feed as a by-product and represent an important source of income for agriculture. Without biodiesel from rapeseed, there would be no milk" without genetic engineering "in the refrigerated section," said Baumann.

According to the report, 72% of the raw materials for biodiesel and bioethanol come from Germany and other European countries. The share of biodiesel from palm oil was 13% in German consumption.

According to the VDB, if agricultural commodities such as palm oil are to be processed into biodiesel, no rainforest can be cleared for this. In addition, biofuels must emit at least 50% less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels - measured from the cultivation of the raw material to delivery to the refinery.

While BLE's report on the report shows the actual 7.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas saved by biofuels used in Germany, the Renewable Energy Statistics Working Group (AGEE-Stat), published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), only reports 6 in its current publication "Renewables in numbers", 3 million tonnes of savings. 

Baumann said: “We urge the UBA working group to take note of the drastically improved greenhouse gas balance of biofuels used in Germany and to map them correctly in their statistics.”

He criticised the AGEE-Stat and said it had created its own calculation methodology for the greenhouse gas savings, which is not geared to the legal requirements. "The federal government does not give a good picture, if two federal authorities publish different numbers on the same facts. The AGEE-Stat should follow the rules set by the EU Directive and the German Sustainability Regulation. "