Biofuels: Suspicion: China is said to have put biodiesel with a forged certificate into circulation in Germany

Petroleum companies must market advanced biofuels to compensate for the use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

Biofuels: Suspicion: China is said to have put biodiesel with a forged certificate into circulation in Germany

Petroleum companies must market advanced biofuels to compensate for the use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. This prescribes the so-called underquota. Advanced biofuels made from algae, liquid manure or organic waste, for example, should therefore contribute to reducing greenhouse gases and, as a result, to climate protection.

Fuels imported from China, which were incorrectly declared as advanced biofuels made from waste and residues, are said to have circulated in Germany. A spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment told stern that "market participants had received indications of possible cases of fraud". The responsible control authority for the Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance (Biokraft-NachV) "informed the EU Commission comprehensively immediately after the suspected cases became known. The national law enforcement authorities are also involved".

The incorrectly certified fuels are said to be biodiesel. The speaker did not want to comment on the places where they are said to have been circulated, nor on the quantities. "The investigations are still ongoing," it said. According to the British information service Argus Media, which reported on the alleged incident, the fuels have been imported in large quantities since the fourth quarter of 2022.

Accordingly, in January and February there was a doubling of imported biodiesel from China in Europe compared to the same period last year. In the first two months of the current year, 455,000 tons of the fuel were imported, most of which went to the Netherlands (395,000 tons), Belgium (33,000 tons) and Spain (16,000 tons). According to the Environment Ministry, around 40 percent of the biofuels imported into Germany in 2021 came from Asia.

A European producer told Argus Media that palm-based biodiesel was said to have been imported into the Chinese port of Yangpu despite the lack of certification. In addition, the manufacturer has shown offers of biodiesel from soap stocks. Biomass that can be proven to be sustainable must be used for biofuel production. In principle, such fuels must not be manufactured from raw materials obtained from land "with high biological diversity value" or with a "high carbon stock". For example, raw materials from rainforest areas may not be used. Also, no biomass from peat bogs may be used.

In addition to using green hydrogen and electricity for electric vehicles, biofuels can achieve the CO2 savings required by law for mineral companies. The greenhouse gas quota (GHG quota) obliges those who place fossil fuels on the market to provide evidence of greenhouse gas reductions to the biofuel quota office. This year the rate is eight percent; it is to be gradually increased annually.

Furthermore, the sub-quota introduced with the 38th Federal Emission Control Ordinance (38th BImSchV) has obligated mineral companies since 2020 to bring a certain proportion of advanced fuels onto the market every year. Since last year, advanced biofuels have to be used for this. If a company has placed at least two petajoules of fuel on the market in the past year, the proportion of advanced fuels must be 0.3 percent this year. If they exceed the prescribed minimum amount of advanced biofuels, these can be carried over to the following year. Alternatively, the amount can be applied twice to the current commitment year.

And so, the large import volumes of advanced biodiesel affect the prices of other biofuels that are blended into commercial fuels. Ultimately, this makes it easier to meet the GHG quota. The responsible control authority will discuss with the EU Commission how it can be more successfully guaranteed in the future that more really advanced biofuels will become available and that the emergence of those with forged certificates will be avoided.

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