New rules due to be signed could close down the Irish biofuels sector in favour of imported hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) and threaten the Irish meat processing sector and farmers.
Irish fuel suppliers have been required to blend in a proportion of biofuel into all road transport fuels since 2010.
However, new rules due to be introduced will put Irish biofuels producers at a distinct disadvantage over imported biofuels.
The proposal will give an enhanced multiplier to HVO over Irish-produced biodiesel with the potential to wipe out indigenous biofuel production in favour of imported HVO.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) CEO Seán Finan said: “Irish biodiesel producers use animal fats (tallow) from the meat processing sector and used cooking oil (UCO) to produce biodiesel.
“This sustainable biofuel production and its viability is threatened with the new proposals. This will collapse Irish biofuel production at the stroke of a pen. The market for Irish tallow will disappear overnight. This will cause interruptions to the rendering and meat processing sectors. This disruptive change will impact their ability to process fallen animals, specified risk materials and fats.”
Finan continued: “Over the last decade the vast majority of renewable transport diesel fuel has come from this sector. In 2020, Biofuel blending in Ireland avoided approximately 520,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”
“Biofuel producers have already reported demand dissipation for Irish biodiesel and biomethane and a fall in market prices, accelerated by anticipation of the implementation of the regulation.
“IrBEA appeals to Minister Ryan not to proceed with the signing of the regulation. Why would the government give an extra multiplier to imported HVO which would be detrimental, give unfair advantage and discriminate against Irish biodiesel production which promotes the Irish green circular bioeconomy and puts the development of an emerging biomethane sector at risk?
“If the new regulation is implemented, Ireland would be the first in Europe to discriminate against biodiesel in favour of imported fuels and would have massive negative repercussions for Ireland’s biofuels producers. How can Minister Ryan stand over the destruction of a sustainable and indigenous biofuel industry and is he fully aware of the implications of signing the regulations?”
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