Sustainability criteria

Sustainability criteria

The EU has defined a set of sustainability criteria to ensure that the use of biofuels (used in transport) and bioliquids (used for electricity and heating) is done in a way that guarantees real carbon savings and protects biodiversity. Only biofuels and bioliquids that comply with the criteria can receive government support or count towards national renewable energy targets.

The main criteria

  • To be considered sustainable, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% in comparison to fossil fuels. This savings requirement rises to 50% in 2017. In 2018, it rises again to 60% but only for new production plants. All life cycle emissions are taken into account when calculating greenhouse gas savings. This includes emissions from cultivation, processing, and transport.
  • Biofuels cannot be grown in areas converted from land with previously high carbon stock such as wetlands or forests.
  • Biofuels cannot be produced from raw materials obtained from land with high biodiversity such as primary forests or highly biodiverse grasslands.

Practical implementation of the EU biofuels and bioliquids sustainability scheme and counting rules for biofuels

Annotated example of a GHG calculation

Annotated example of a land carbon stock calculation

Inventory of data sources and methodologies to help identify land status

Application of the sustainability criteria to the harvest of 2010

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