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Bio Fuel Policies

Directives: FAQ



Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC

Renewable Energy Directive

  • Approval by European Parliament on 17 Dec 2008

  • By 2020, 20 % share of RES in final energy consumption, 20 % increase in energy efficiency

  • 10 % target for RES in transport in each Member State

  • National Renewable Energy Action Plans required by June 2010

  • Burden sharing for RES targets except transport

  • Harmonised approach with Fuel Quality Directive

  • No biofuel feedstock from carbon rich or biodiverse land

  • EC has to report on compliance with environmental and social sustainability criteria of major biofuel exporting countries

  • Minimum GHG reduction for biofuels 35% and 50% from 2017 on; 60% for new installations from 2017 on; for plants operating in Jan 2008 GHG requirement will start in Apr 2013 (amended in Directive (EU) 2015/1513)

  • Bonus of 29 g CO2/MJ for biofuels from degraded/contaminated land

  • EC proposal for incorporating indirect land use changes by the end of 2010; special clauses for plants built before 2013 (see Directive (EU) 2015/1513)

  • Biofuels from waste, residues, non food cellulosic material, and lignocellulosic material will count twice for RES transport target

  • Mass balance approach for certification of sustainability

  • EC will negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements

  • Establishment of a committee for sustainability of biofuels

The main (current) sustainability criteria

  • To be considered sustainable, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% in comparison to fossil fuels. This savings requirement rises to 50% in 2017. In 2018, it rises again to 60% but only for new production plants. All life cycle emissions are taken into account when calculating greenhouse gas savings. This includes emissions from cultivation, processing, and transport.


By 2030, EU should boost energy efficiency by 35%
•    Renewable energy sources should account for 35% of total consumption
•    MEPs vote to ban palm oil in biofuels from 2021

The European Parliament endorsed committee proposals for binding EU-level targets of an 35% improvement in energy efficiency, a minimum 35% share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, and a 12% share of energy from renewable sources in transport, by 2030. EU member states (MS) are asked to set their national targets, to be monitored and achieved in line with a draft law on the governance of the EU.  On energy efficiency, Parliament voted for a minimum 35% binding EU target and indicative national ones. This target should be considered on the basis of the projected energy consumption in 2030 according to the PRIMES model.
A binding 35% renewable energy target: Voting on a separate piece of legislation Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said that the share of RE should be of 35% of the energy consumption in the EU in 2030. National targets should also be set.
Transport: more advanced biofuels: In 2030, each MS will have to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources. The contribution of “first generation” biofuels should be capped to 2017 levels, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport. MEPs also want a ban on the use of palm oil from 2021. The share of advanced biofuels, renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030.

In October 2017, European Parliament committee ENVI, which is in lead for sustainability aspects, has voted on the proposed revised Renewable Energy Directive, RED II. A total phase out of crop-based biofuels by 2030 and the use of biomass for electricity production were endorsed, although by a very small majority. Palm oil biodiesel shall already be banned by 2021 under the revised RED.
Furthermore, the ENVI committee proposed that the European Union shall provide 35% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, set nationally binding targets for renewable energy and set biomass sustainability standards (the first Commission proposal set 27% renewables without national subtargets). Draft legislation proposed by the MEPs on November 13 2017 also calls for the share of biofuels from food and feed crops to be no more than 7 percent of final consumption of energy in road and rail transport.

Regarding biomass, the proposal sets updated sustainability criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass. According to information released by the European Parliament, the sustainability criteria aim to minimize the risk allowing unsustainable forest biomass to benefit from support schemes. Companies can show they comply with the sustainability criteria through national systems or so-called voluntary schemes recognized by the European Commission.

The Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament (ITRE), which has the general lead for the RED2 proposal, has voted on 28 Nov 2017.

As a next step a full European Parliament vote in the plenary is needed. It is expected that the European Council gives a final decision on the matter in December, 2017.

Source and more information on latest RED II developments: European Parliament News.

  • Biofuels cannot be grown in areas converted from land with previously high carbon stock such as wetlands or forests.

  • Biofuels cannot be produced from raw materials obtained from land with high biodiversity such as primary forests or highly biodiverse grasslands.



In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard program today for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, and final volume requirements for biomass-based diesel for 2014 to 2017. This rule finalizes higher volumes of renewable fuel than the levels EPA proposed in June, boosting renewable production and providing support for robust, achievable growth of the biofuels industry.

The final 2016 standard for cellulosic biofuel — the fuel with the lowest carbon emissions — is nearly 200 million gallons, or 7 times more, than the market produced in 2014. The final 2016 standard for advanced biofuel is nearly 1 billion gallons, or 35 percent, higher than the actual 2014 volumes; the total renewable standard requires growth from 2014 to 2016 of more than 1.8 billion gallons of biofuel, which is 11 percent higher than 2014 actual volumes. Biodiesel standards grow steadily over the next several years, increasing every year to reach 2 billion gallons by 2017.

The RFS, established by Congress, requires EPA to set annual volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. The final rule considered more than 670,000 public comments, and relied on the latest, most accurate data available. EPA finalized 2014 and 2015 standards at levels that reflect the actual amount of domestic biofuel used in those years, and standards for 2016 (and 2017 for biodiesel) that represent significant growth over historical levels.

US state mandates

In Pennsylvania, we reported in Srptember that the state House approved House Bill 471 to eliminate ethanol blending in the state, with the bill’s proponents saying that though an E10 was mandated since 2008, only 350 million gallons are produced annually in the state. The legislation was meant to promote production in the state but it didn’t work as intended, so they seek to eliminate the mandate they as an unnecessary and ineffective mandate. The state Senate will consider the bill soon.

In Ohio, we reported in April that the state’s department of transport vehicles are no longer required to use alternative fuels after the new budget signed last week made the change. The policy was put in place in 2006 but filling stations remain limited around the state, with just 125 offering E85 and only 7 offering biodiesel. Now that gas prices have fallen, using gas rather than biofuels is cheaper for the state.

In Hawaii, we reported in May that the state’s legislature has voted to end the E10 blend, a bill which is awaiting the governor’s signature. The policy was mean to boost demand for locally-produced ethanol but as no companies are producing it, blended fuel is imported to the islands.

In New York state, we reported last January that New York City Council is looking at legislation that would require city-owned vessels including Staten Island Ferry to use B5 and later work up to higher biodiesel blends, but the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection are pushing back saying blending with biodiesel would cause a host of operational problems. The city’s vehicle fleet already runs on B10.

In Iowa, we reported in June that the state’s 3 cents per gallon tax exemption on biodiesel blends of 11% and higher is set to come into force on July 1 and be in effect for the next five years. The legislation was signed into law in February and hailed by the state’s biodiesel board as being a major boon for the industry.



In November 2013, we reported that the government boosted the mandatory biodiesel blend to 10% from the current 8% to help offset a slump in exports resulting from anti-dumping duties in Europe. In addition to transport use, the government has also required thermal electric plants running on diesel to comply with the B10 mandate. The move is also expected to save the country $50 million in foreign exchange annually.

But turning to hard data, we reported in March 2014 that the government has set the price of biodiesel at $576.5 per metric ton, a price which producers say is too high for blenders to buy. As such, less than 5% of total diesel consumption is biodiesel, less than half of the 10% blending mandate. Tariffs on exports to the European Union were expected to drop volumes to just 750,000 tons this year, down from more than 1.15 million tonnes in 2013.

Argentina also has an E5 ethanol mandate in place – never filled.


Mandates a minimum ethanol content — currently 27 percent, although the government is looking at 27.5 percent and the percentage was as a low as 20 percent last year when ethanol supplies tightened on rising global prices for sugar.

Last March, we reported that the country will implement the 27% ethanol blend on March 16 following official publication. Kingsman estimates ethanol demand will increase by 60 million liters as a result of boosting the blend from 25%. Ethanol prices are suffering from a glut currently and aren’t expected to react much to the policy change.

In August, we reported that the national congress would begin deliberating whether or not to extend the president’s executive order this year to boost the biodiesel blend to 7%. The executive order had a 60-day sunset period but was extended by the president of the congress until September. Now the mixed group of congressional deputies must deliberate the proposal before it is voted upon by the two houses in order to become permanent.

But the biodiesel mandate could go even higher. In October we reported that a bumper soy crop is supporting the domestic biodiesel industry’s push for a higher biodiesel blend to 10% from the current 7%. Both the soy industry and the biodiesel industry have come together to encourage the government to go ahead and approve higher blends, arguing that the soy oil supply is sufficient and available to sustainably provide 10% of diesel demand over the long term. The 2016 soy harvest is estimated to reach a record of 100 million metric tons.


Canada has a Renewable Fuel Standard featuring E5 ethanol, and RD2 renewable diesel (Biodiesel or HVO).

Canada introduced the 2 percent RD mandate as of July 2011, and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association and the Canadian Truckers Alliance are locked in a tit-for-tat debate over it. The CTA is claiming that the mandate will push diesel prices higher and that biodiesel is bad for some engines. On the other hand, the CRFA claims price increases would be unnoticeable over a 25-year period and that engines have shown better performance under state testing than with fossil diesel.

Five provinces have individual provincial mandates, up to E8.5.

Renewable Fuels Standards, by Province

British Columbia 5% ethanol 4 percent RD. BC also has an LCFS (10% carbon intensity reduction by 2010 a la California, with projected ethanol and RD increases to approx. 10% and 10% by 2020 respectively)

Alberta 5% ethanol 2% RD.

Saskatchewan 7.5% ethanol, 2% RD

Manitoba 8.5% ethanol 2% RD

Ontario 5% ethanol, 2% RD en route to RD3 in 2016, RD4 in 2017. Physical volume requirements are reduced if average carbon intensity of RD exceeds minimum reduction requirements. Most biodiesel and HVO exceed the minimum GHG reduction requirements, which go from 30% in 2015 to 70% for 2017 and onward.

Ontario implemented its B2 blending mandate as of April 1, with the plan set to raise the mandate to B3 on Jan. 1, 2016 and B4 on Jan. 1, 2017. Biofuels to be blended with diesel must have a 30% GHG reduction this year, gradually rising to 50% and then 70% by 2017.


Has an E8 ethanol mandate in place since 2008, with discussions underway to increase the mandate to 10 percent.


Has an E5 ethanol and B5 biodiesel target in place, no mandates.

Costa Rica

Has an E7 ethanol and B20 biodiesel mandate in place.


In March, we reported that the government has mandated a B5 blend beginning in May 2013 that will over time increase to B10. Local biodiesel production is predominantly from palm oil. Petroecuador expects demand to be about 5.96 million metric tons of biodiesel monthly as a result of B5. Previously the biodiesel had been exported to countries including the US, Peru and Italy.

In May, we reported that the country will use the Platts US Gulf Coast ethanol pricing index plus delivery and a K factor of 18 cents per liter as it rolls out an E10 blending policy through 2018. The country is looking for nearly $1 billion to invest in sugarcane ethanol production to supply the mandate. Production to supply a 5% mandate would be 180 million liters, up from 35 million liters produced currently.


Has an E10 ethanol mandate that took effect in 2011.


Has an E2 ethanol mandate in place in Guadalajara, and will ultimately expand the blending mandate to Mexico City and Monterrey.


In Panama, the country introduced a 2% ethanol mandate in April 2013, rising to 5% from April 2014, hitting 7% in April 2015 and reaching 10% by April 2016.


In July 2014 we reported that discussions are underway to boost the ethanol mandate to 27.5% to match what Brazil is potentially doing. Currently the local blend is at 25%, mirroring its neighbor market. On the biodiesel side, the government has convened a working group to study how to promote the fuel’s use. At the moment, oil companies aren’t even reaching the meager 1% blending mandate.


Has an E7.8 ethanol, and B2 biodiesel mandate in place. Expected to move towards B5 biodiesel.


Has a B2 biodiesel policy in place, but isn’t obligatory, and requires the use of domestic biodiesel. Expected to move to E5 ethanol in 2015. A plan is underway to develop a biodiesel plant in Montevideo and an ethanol plant in Paysandú for a total investment of $130 million. The B5 policy should be obligatory by 2015.



In January, we reported that Zarya is investing $59 million in a 30 million metric ton per year ethanol plant along the Russian border. The facility that will use cereals including corn and rye as feedstocks is expected to come online in 2015. Only 133,000 tons of ethanol is expected to be produced this year, short of the 250,000 tons required for the E5 blend that was meant to come into force this month. As a result of the shortage, the mandate may be postponed by six months.


The current mandate is for B3.5 biodiesel, upped in 2012 from the previous B2.5, and B5 biodiesel blends are generally the standard, and there are B7 blends available on the market.



The state of New South Wales has an E7 ethanol blending mandate and a B2 biodiesel mandate in place. However, despite having the 7% ethanol blend in New South Wales, actual consumption is only about 32.7% because of market exceptions available to oil companies. Ethanol sales only hit 14.6 million liters in November rather than the 28.21 million liters that should have been sold if the mandate had been enforced. The state pledged to impose a 10% blend as of 2011 but that has yet to materialize. An investigation into the failed policy was launched in January but the results haven’t been released yet.

In Australia, biofuel use is expected to fall in Queensland despite a recent move to mandate a 3% ethanol blend that will require about 30% of the state’s gasoline to be blended with E10 due to a crash in biodiesel imports. Biodiesel imports have slowed to a trickle as a result of an excise tax on imported bio-based diesel. Interstate biodiesel production is more than adequate to supply the 0.5% blending mandate introduced at the same time as the ethanol blending requirement. Taking both biodiesel and ethanol into account, APAC Biofuel Consultants expect the state’s overall biofuel use in 2016 to revert to pre-2010 levels of 360,000 kiloliters.

In June 2013, we reported that MP Bob Katter has proposed a bill that would mandate E5 nationally by 2017 and E10 by 2020. The outspoken legislator sees the mandate as a way to bring the country in line with other developed countries who already have a blending mandate as well as to diversify the diversify the grain, wheat and sugar industries. No action was taken on the bill.

Meanwhile, the Queensland state government has released the Towards a clean energy economy: achieving a biofuel mandate for Queensland discussion paper, which outlines key issues associated with the proposed mandate and provides details on the Government’s approach. The Government is committed to ensuring all stakeholders have the opportunity to comment on the discussion paper and raise any concerns that they have with the issues discussed in the paper.

Public forums are being held around Queensland to provide the community with information about the Government’s biofuel policy and allow people to ask questions and raise issues and concerns.   Public forums will be held in the following locations throughout June. If you are interested in attending a public forum, please register your interest by emailing


Overall, the country seeks to move to a 10 percent biofuels mandate by 2020, and currently has a 15 percent overall target for 2020. Nine Chinese provinces have required 10% ethanol blends to date, including – Heilongjian, Jilin, Liaoning, Anhui, and Henan.


The government approved in 2011 a voluntary blend of 5% biodiesel and 10% ethanol with an eye on a mandate by the end of 2012, but action on the mandate has not been forthcoming.


In India, the government has announced an E10 blending mandate from October’s start of the 2015/16 cane crop in an effort to boost the economic viability of sugar mills that are currently drowning in debt due to high sugarcane prices, also mandated by the government. Demand will double to 2.3 billion liters from the current E5 level. As a result, sugar production should fall by around 1.5 million metric tons. McKinsey estimates that the policy could lead to savings of $1.7 billion a year of forex from avoided oil imports.

Ultimately India has set a goal of 20 percent for all biofuels content by 2017 – it is highly doubtful that they will reach the target. It’s been a rocky road all along for ethanol.

Last month, we reported that the government had called a meeting of biodiesel producers to look at how the 2009 biofuel law could be amended, especially in the case of biodiesel. A potential mandatory blend for biodiesel was to be part of the discussion. The country has installed demand of 1.2 million metric tons of production annually at 25 plants but only five are currently operating due to low demand. The 2009 law aims to have 20% biofuel blending by 2017 but only ethanol has a specific mandate, at 5%.

Beginning in August 2015, Government of India controlled OMCs have issued tenders to purchase up to 225 million gallons per year of biodiesel as an important step toward implementing a 5% biodiesel blend policy.  The total available biodiesel market in India from a 5% biodiesel blend is 1.25 billion gallons. The current biodiesel production capacity in India is approximately 250 million gallons.


An on-and-off 5 percent biodiesel mandate — now heading for B10 — and an E3 ethanol mandate.

In November, we reported that  the country plans to continue rolling out its B10 policy despite the uptake having been slow during the first nine months of the year, when just 1.2 million kiloliters were blended, compared to the 4 million kiloliters required. The blend applies not just to transportation but also to electricity production and industrial use. The B10 policy was introduced in September 2014.

In November we reported that the national palm agency expects exports to fall by as much as 2.5 million metric tons next year as a result of levies on exports that are funding higher biodiesel blends as well as increased demand from the supplies required to achieve the B15 mandate. In addition to the increased demand, production is also like to remain stagnant or even contract slightly. Exports could reach around 25 million tons, with estimates of up to $600 per ton seen for the first quarter of 2016.


In January we reported that B7 biodiesel will be rolled out in the eastern part of the country by the end of the month at 336 filling stations. Doing so will create demand for 138,000 metric tons of palm oil biodiesel annually, bumping total biodiesel consumption to 576,000 tons nationwide. Meanwhile, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board is conducting tests on B10 and B20 blends.

Elsewhere. the country has a B5 blending mandate, but in August we reported that the country has delayed implementation of its B5 mandate to December rather than July due to slow implementation of 15 blending facilities in Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan. When the policy is implemented, national consumption of palm oil biodiesel will double to about 500,000 metric tons annually.

New Zealand

In 2013, we reported that the Labour Party began pushing for the government to reinstate the biofuel obligation that the party had introduced in 2008 when it was in power.

The National party replaced the Labour party’s Biofuels obligation with a biodiesel subsidy. Bioethanol enjoyed at the time and still does have an excise exemption. The subsidy scheme essentially levelled the playing field between the two biofuels. The biodiesel grants scheme was not extended beyond its original time frame of 30 June 2012.

The Philippines

Has an E10 ethanol and B2 biodiesel mandate, the latter scheduled for an increase to %5 in 2015.

In October, we reported that the ethanol blending mandate for the fourth quarter was boosted 7% by volume to 46,065 cubic meters of domestic product. The notice reached oil companies later than usual but even so, market players didn’t think they would be too impacted because of the availability of local ethanol supplies.

Last week, the government called for additional investment in biofuel production, recognizing that current production will have challenges to achieve the B5 planned for 2015, along with the E10 already in place that is supplied by significant volumes of imports,

As of July 2013, we reported that the mandated biofuels blend was scheduled to be raised to 5% from 2% after an announcement from the National Biofuels Board. Not only will the heightened blend requirements strengthen the country’s coconut industry as well as lowering air pollution, but the government will save billions of pesos because of petroleum import substitution, asserted Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. Consumers may see higher prices at the pump, depending on coconut oil prices.

However in November, we reported that coconut oil exports grew by nearly 50% in the last 9 months as the country failed to implement the shift to a B5 biofuel mandate. The current blending requirement is 2%, and the proposal to shift to B5 has yet to secure approval from the National Biofuels Board. Coconut oil export goals for 2013 have been raised from 900,000 to 1.1 million metric tons.

South Korea

Last month, we reported that the government has decided to boost the biodiesel blend to 2.5% in August 2015 from 2% currently. Plans are for the mandate to rise to 3% by 2018. The Korea Petroleum Association is complaining that complying with the mandate has cost $77.5 million in 2014, will cost $91.2 million in 2015 and $118.7 million in 2018. Most of the biodiesel produced in the country comes from imported palm oil. Production reached 420,000 metric tons last year, just shy of a third of total demand.


Had a B1 biodiesel mandate in place since 2008 and moved to B2, but is phasing it out. considering an E3 ethanol mandate.

Last May, we reported that the country will phase out its B2 mandate over the next three months afterlow sulfur level in diesel fuels mixed with the country’s humid weather led to microbes clogging fuel tanks. In October 2013 alone, 100 motorists complained about the clogged fuel tanks. The 2% biodiesel content was blamed for the microbes.


In August we reported that the new B7 mandate came into effect with palm oil demand seen increasing by 8,000 metric tons per month, or 84,000 tons per year, as a result. In the long term, hopes continue to be for blends to reach 10% and then 20%.The  Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is also experimenting with palm oil blending, having undertaken 10% trials that showed no damage to the generators, but prices will be a main factor for uptake in the power sector.


Has an E5 ethanol blending mandate.

Last month, w e reported that gas stations across Ho Chi Minh City began distributing E5 this week, blended with cassava-based ethanol, though some already began last week and had positive feedback from consumers. The government mandate expects Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Quang Ngai to also begin selling E5 in December. E5 is currently retailing at about even with non-ethanol gasoline, but the ministries are working to lower costs to boost demand for the fuel. The seven cities combined have a total demand of up to half a million metric tons of ethanol with the E5 blend.

In July 2013, we reported that seven cities and provinces would use an E5 blend beginning in December of 2014, with the entire country soon to follow. The country currently has six plants producing 535 million liters per year, but 80% of the fuel produced in 2012 was exported. Thus far, E5 sales have been lower than expected, with the Minster of Industry and Trade blaming high production costs, slow development of distribution systems, and customers’ preferences for traditional fuel as possible causes.

In July we reported that Ho Chi Minh City has decided to mandate all government vehicles and those belonging to state-owned companies to use E5 in an effort to encourage uptake of the fuel among the public. Barely more than 50 stations currently offer E5 despite plans to have more than 160 offering it by the end of June as retailers refuse to invest in new pumps they think won’t pay off.



Has an E10 ethanol blending mandate in place.


Has an E5 ethanol blending mandate in place. and E20 targets. We reported last January that the country can’t reach its E20 goals as planned for this year due to the lack of ethanol supplies following delays in upgrading sugar mills. As a result, the E10 policy will remain in place for now. The Ethiopian Sugar Corp. has 4 million liters of stock on hand, enough for almost four months supply. It’s still not clear if the country’s car fleet can handle E20.


Has an E10 mandate in place in Kisumu, the country’s third largest city.


Has an E10 ethanol mandate in place, but depends on availability.


In Uly, we reported that an E5 mandate is not expected to be implemented this year due to delays in implementing the infrastructure required to supply the blend across the island. Omnicane blames the government for not establishing a clear policy regarding the mandate.


Has an E10 ethanol mandate in place.


Has an E10 ethanol target in place, no mandate.

South Africa

At long last the country’s E2 and B5 mandates came into effect from Oct. 1, 2015. Tax incentives for both ethanol and biodiesel producers have been on the books since 2007 but that hasn’t been enough to encourage production. A Biofuels Pricing Framework will be released shortly.


Has an E5 ethanol mandate in place.


No mandate, but we reported in August that Zambia Sugar says that with a proper mandate in place, it could produce 10% of the country’s fuel needs from existing molasses supplies. The company also sees opportunity in expanding production to supply the growing vehicle market in the country. Sugar production during 2012/13 hit 404,000 metric tons, up from 374,000 the season before.


In 2014 we reported that the government has cut the ethanol blending mandate to 5% following a sugarcane shortage due to heavy rains. Earlier in the year the blend had been boosted to 15% from 10%. When the weather improves and ethanol production can resume again, the higher blend is likely to be restored.

Previously, the national target was 15% ethanol. The country had been successively boosting the amount of ethanol in gasoline since the summer, first with a 5% mandate and then a 10% mandate. The goal was to achieve 20% blending in 2014 which would have led to a reduction of $108 million in fuel imports annually.

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