Political framework conditions in the EU and in Germany

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is only one advantage of using renewable ethanol. In addition, security of supply is increased by using domestic energy sources and the development of a new industry sector. This is why the EU already set the course for the establishment of an efficient domestic ethanol industry in 2003. This also benefits CropEnergies.

Promoting through EU directives

In 2003, the EU initially created the political framework for the establishment of an industry for sustainably produced ethanol. At the moment, the use of biofuels in the EU is regulated by the following directives:
In the transport sector, the proportion of renewable energies is to rise to 10% of total fuel consumption by 2020. Up to 7 percentage points can be accounted for by renewable fuels from arable crops.
Renewable fuels must fulfil strict sustainability requirements. This also includes that biofuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 wt.-% compared to fossil fuels. The origin of the biomass has to be completely documented, too. Thus, raw materials for biofuel production must not be grown on areas with high levels of carbon, for example, forests and areas with high biodiversity. Regular inspections and certifications systems guarantee the sustainable production of biofuels.
The new version of the “Renewable Energy Directive” came into force on 24 December 2018. It stipulates that the proportion of renewable energies in the EU must increase to at least 32% by 2030. In the transport sector, a share of at least 14 % is envisaged. Renewable fuels from arable crops can continue to contribute to this. Their contribution should be able to remain up to one percentage point above the level reached in 2020. Thus, sustainably produced renewable fuels can contribute to climate protection on Europe’s roads after 2020. This also requires a nationwide introduction of E10 in all EU member states.At the same time, the use of biofuels whose raw material extraction has resulted in a loss of high-carbon areas (e.g., rain forest) is to be gradually reduced from 2023 onwards and stopped by 2030.
The proportion of fuels from wastes and residues is to rise from 0.2% in 2022 to at least 3.5% in 2030. The multiple counting of these fuels and of renewable electricity should be evaluated critically. This virtual increase in the share of renewable energy will lower neither the consumption of fossil fuels nor their emissions.
The EU member states have until mid-2021 to implement the European requirements in such a way that the consumption of fossil fuels is actually reduced and the climate balance improved.
  • Fuel Quality Directive
It stipulates that, by the year 2020, there needs to be a reduction in greenhouse gases of 6 wt.-%, calculated in terms of overall fuel consumption. The reduction must be achieved in relation to the average greenhouse gas intensity of fuels consumed in 2010. The directive contributes to the emissions of the current car fleet being decreased and enables the introduction of E10 fuel in the EU.

Paris Climate Agreement

In 2015, the EU and its Member States committed themselves on taking the necessary actions to restrict global warming to less than 2 °C. The reduction of burning fossil carbon sources and decreasing the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere are important pillars in this regard. Therefore, renewable fuels based on renewable plants, which bind the atmosphere's CO2 by photosynthesis, make an indispensable contribution.


Since 2015, biofuel quotas have no longer been calculated on the basis of calorific value but on the basis of greenhouse gas reduction instead. Since 2017, a greenhouse gas reduction target for fuels of 4 wt.-% has applied. This was raised to 6 wt.-% on 1 January 2020. In 2017, the fuel ethanol used in Germany reduced greenhouse gases by 85% compared to fossil oil - across the entire value chain, from well to wheel.
According to the Biofuel Sustainability Regulation (Biokraft-NachV), fuels made of biomass are only promoted if they comply with certain sustainability criteria. Since 1 January 2011, all companies producing biofuels have to prove in a certification process that their production is sustainable.

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