An amended version of the Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive has been issued by the European Union and will enter into force on October 5 2015. The amended directive creates new and stronger incentives for production and use of renewable methanol from non-biological sources and from carbon capture. The energy used contributed by renewable methanol will be given double weight in the calculation of the share of energy in transport fuels from renewable sources. This increases the market value of renewable methanol. Growth potential for incumbent biofuels will also be restricted.
The 28 EU member states in addition to Norway and Iceland must transpose the directive into laws, regulations and administrative provisions by September 10 2017.
The new directive defines the term renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin, which are liquid or gaseous fuels whose energy content comes from renewable energy sources other than biomass. It also places special emphasis on renewable fuels from carbon capture where the energy source is renewable.
The directive is the result of a prolonged debate in the European Parliament and Council of Ministers based on a proposal from the European Commission. The main purpose of the amendment was to limit the use of crop based biofuels due to their adverse impact on use of natural resources, set stricter standards for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the life-cycle of renewable transport fuels and to provide stronger incentives for production of fuels from waste products, carbon capture and non-biological energy sources.
The EU also introduces a quota for advanced renewable transport fuels, which should be adopted by Member States on a voluntary basis. Included under the definition of advanced renewable transport fuels are renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin and fuels from carbon capture, as well as fuels from waste biomass with the exception of fuels from used cooking oil and animal fats.
No crop based fuels are given advanced renewable transport fuel status and their contribution to the mandatory target of 10% share of energy in transportation from renewable sources, which must be reached by 2020, is limited to 7%.