Statistics from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) show a much lower rate of production growth in the year 2007 compared to previous years, which the EBB attributes to market conditions and competition from US B99 imports (earlier post). Production increased 16.8% in 2007 to 5.7 million tonnes, from 4.9 million tonnes in 2006.
|European biodiesel annual production by country, 2006 and 2007. Capacity for 2008. Click to enlarge. Data: EBB.|
The yearly growth of 16.8% in 2007 is in contrast to 54% in 2006 and 65% in 2005. Biodiesel production has decreased in 6 of 26 Member States since 2006, and has stagnated in many other countries.
The EBB says that this negative change shows the difficulty for EU producers to compete with B99 imports from the US. Against this background, EBB welcomes the Commission’s decision of last June 13th to initiate antidumping and antisubsidy investigations.
In the framework of the US policy adopted in 2004, biodiesel can be subsidized up to $264 per m3 (US$300/tonne, approximately €200/tonne) with the addition of only a drop of mineral diesel to biodiesel. US producers can therefore claim the maximum subsidy for a “B99.9” blend. Such a blend can then be exported to Europe where it is also eligible to European subsidy schemes.
Installed plant capacity in Europe increased by 55% in 2007, to 16 million tonnes capacity in 2008. The number of plants as of July 2008 is 214. EBB statistics for 2008 however show that 3 million tonnes of installed capacity remains idle due to the lack of a viable market for biodiesel in Member States.
To create a viable market for European biodiesel producers, the EBB calls for:
The 10% binding target for biofuels to be reached by 2020 should be secured in the framework of the future Renewable Energy Directive. Most importantly, the new Directive should ensure that Member States implement effective policies to achieve the 10% binding target for biofuels by creating binding interim targets of 7% in 2012 and 8,5% in 2015 (expressed in energy content).
A fair and balanced assessment of the greenhouse gas saving potential of different biofuels pathways.
Amending the ceiling of 5% FAME content in fossil diesel specification EN590 to permit 10% and 15% content without labeling to ensure EU targets are capable of being reached.
In 2007, biodiesel accounted for 76% of the biofuels consumed in the EU (EU bioethanol production for 2007 was 1.4 million tonnes). Germany remained the top producer in 2007 with 2,890 tonnes, followed by France (872 tonnes) and Italy (363 tonnes).