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Nov 2021

Full ban of crop biodiesel drafted for 2027

The Ministry of Economy has circulated a draft of law aimed at transposing several articles of the RED2 Directive. The text contains a detailed – not to say complex – plan to progressively increase the blending mandates, advanced sub-targets and caps from 2023 to 2030. It also contains a devastating plan for crop-based biodiesel, which has yet to be approved by the EU Commission. Note that the analysis concerns only the draft we saw; it will most probably evolve before being published as a law.

The Belgian government plans to create a new register for energy used in the transport sector (the “register”) that will allow obligated parties (= fuels distributors AND suppliers of gaseous fuels), together with providers of electricity to rail/road sectors, to generate energy units (1GJ per renewable fuel supplied to the market) after each quarter. Once a year, they will be obliged to detain enough energy units to comply with their renewable obligations. They will be allowed to cover a maximum of 5% of their annual obligation with units generated from the previous year.

On top of the three existing categories of fuels (A, B and C), three new ones (E, D and F) will be created, accordingly to the details found in the table beside. Each category will be delivering specific energy units that will allow to control the compliance with caps and sub-targets defined.

The draft mentions that from 2023, the minimum share of renewable within the fuels pools of obligated parties would increase to 10.5% e.c, including a 0.22% e.c advanced sub-target. From 2025, it would jump to 12.2%, including a 1.1% advanced sub-target. From 2027, it would increase further to 13.15% with a stable advanced sub-target, before it would reach, from 2030, a level of 13.9%, including a 4.2% e.c advanced sub-target.

It also specifies minimum content for specific forms of energy: from 2023, min. 5.7% e.c of biofuels in each of the gasoline and diesel pool (physical without any multiple count). From 2027, this minimum share decreases to 2.5% e.c for the diesel pool and to 4% e.c for the gasoline pool.

The following caps/bans would be enforced from 2023 to 2030:

  • Recycled fuels (category E) max 2% e.c of the pool.
  • 9B max 2% e.c (physical, before DC).
  • Palm and soy-based biofuels max 0%c, equal to a full ban. Details about the specific products (PFAD? Acids oil?) are not included in the text.

The cap of crop-based biofuels used in the diesel pool would be of 6% e.c from 2023, 3% e.c from 2025, and 0% (!!) from 2027 already. This is the first time such a radical proposal is put forward in the EU. It is especially astonishing for a country that has historically strongly limited waste-based biofuels and relied almost exclusively on crop-based ones.

The cap of crop-based biofuels used in the gasoline pool will be 6% from 2023, 3% from 2027 and 0% from 2030.

The penalty in case of non-compliance with the renewable obligations for transport would increase from 2022 at EUR 1’400 per 34 GJ of renewable energy missing. Moreover, the new text would specifically mention that no buyout options would be possible, the missing amounts of energies being debited from the next year’s account.