GLRPPR Sector Resource: Uncertainties about the GHG Emissions Saving of Rapeseed Biodiesel
Uncertainties about the GHG Emissions Saving of Rapeseed Biodiesel
During the last years, the renewable energy strategy of the European Union (EU) and the proposed policies and regulations, namely the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), have been heavily discussed among scientific circles and various interest groups. The sustainability of different biofuels and their contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the whole renewable strategy has become one of the most controversial issues.
RED requires that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and use of biofuels are at least 35% lower than those associated with the production and use of conventional fuels to be classified as 'sustainable and therefore eligible for the mandatory blending scheme applied within the EU.
In a recent working paper, we analyze the GHG emissions savings potential of rapeseed biodiesel. For this purpose, the we ran a life cycle assessment of rapeseed biodiesel using the same basic methodology and background data contained in RED by considering the whole production chain from cultivation of the feedstock up to use of the biofuels. Unlike other studies, we refer only to publicly available and published data in our calculations. In order to ensure full transparency -- again contrary to the vast majority of other studies -- we provide a detailed documentation of all data. We follow a rather conservative approach by using average values and assuming common conditions along the supply chain in their scenarios.
To summarize, we are not able to reproduce the GHG emissions saving values published in the annex of RED. Therefore, the GHG emissions saving values of rapeseed biodiesel stated by the EU are more than questionable.
Friedrich Schiller University, Max Planck Institute of Economics
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