Study identifies benefits of biodiesel from animal fat

A recent study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg, Germany, found that biodiesel made from animal fat reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 85% compared to fossil fuels.

The EU institutions have recognised that biodiesel made from animal fat is highly sustainable and offers significant potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Accordingly, the Renewable Energy Directive rates this type of biodiesel as particularly worthy of support. Until now, the actual saving on GHG emissions achieved by biofuels was only relevant with regard to the legal minimum saving requirement. In view of the GHG quota set out in the Fuel Quality Directive, it is now no longer just a case of complying with minimum requirements – the actual achievable level is also becoming increasingly important.

The latest calculations carried out in the context of the ISCC sustainability certification process reveal that producing biodiesel from animal fat achieves an85% saving in GHG emissions compared to fossil diesel fuel.

The methodology underlying this calculation was examined by the IFEU as part of a study commissioned by the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA). It specifically looked at how the GHG emissions resulting from the processing of animal by-products should be allocated.

The study confirms the accuracy of the calculation methods used. Public health restrictions mean that animal by-products are subject to special disposal regulations and as a consequence have a negative market value. Therefore, according to the IFEU, all emissions relating to treatment necessary for compliance with public health requirements in sterilised preliminary products should not count towards the total amount of GHG emissions generated during production of the associated biofuel.

Niels Leth Nielsen, EFPRA president, says: 'Biodiesel made from animal fat not only conserves resources, it also achieves very high savings in terms of GHG emissions. That means we already have access to an advanced biofuel.'

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