Under its proposal for a recast of the Renewable Energy Directive for 2021-2030, the European Commission cut the limit for crop-based (first generation) biofuels in Europe’s transport energy mix from 7% to 3.8%.
Behind this decision were concerns that biofuels had not delivered the environmental benefits they had promised, compared to fossil fuels, and heavy criticism of the policy’s impact on land use and food prices.
While the bioethanol industry, which uses crops such as beets, wheat and sugar cane, claims its fuels do not compete for agricultural land with food production and bring more than 65% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to petrol, the impact of biodiesel is more controversial.
Biodiesel accounts for around 80% of the EU biofuels market. Around one-third of this is made from palm oil, with the remainder made from crops such as rapeseed and soy.