The EU demands that 10% of the energy used in the transport sector comes from renewable resources by 2020. However, only biofuels which are proven to be sustainably produced may be used.
In the Renewable Energies Directive, the EU has passed regulations accordingly, to ensure that biofuels such as bioethanol save sufficient greenhouse gases. These sustainability criteria stipulate that biofuels used in the member states have to prove that they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35% compared to fossil fuels from 2011 on. From 2018 on, greenhouse gases will have to be reduced by 50%.
The greenhouse gas balance of biofuels is calculated across the entire value chain. All steps of the production are taken into account: From sowing and fertilizing the energy plants to transporting the raw materials and processing them in bioethanol plants as well as the actual utilization of the finished fuel in motors are included in this calculation. In addition to the minimum greenhouse gas savings, a number of social and environmental standards have to be met. It is, for instance, prohibited to plant raw materials for the production of bioethanol on areas of high ecological value, such as forests, grassed areas or moors.
The German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) estimates that bioethanol produced in Germany already today reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70%. The highly efficient production facilities of CropEnergies also reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 70% on average across the whole value-added chain compared to fossil fuel.
Bioethanol producers are certified by an independent expert according to a governmentally approved certification system. Experts examine the origins of the raw materials and the way they are processed in each bioethanol plant in regular, independent checks. The calculation of the greenhouse gas savings are examined at the same time.
The farmers have to document the sustainability of the raw materials they produce because only biomass which is verifiably sustainably produced can be processed to certifiably sustainable bioethanol. There are, for example, regulations about the amount of fertilizer and plant protection allowed to be used per hectare as well as the protection of green spaces.
Fact Sheet bioethanol
Benefits of European bioethanol
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