Recently, regulatory measures announced by some EU member states indicate that palm oil and soybean oil may be phased out in advance by the EU biofuel industry, which helps to support the demand for biodiesel produced from EU domestic rapeseed oil. At present, the price of domestic rapeseed oil in EU is higher than that of imported products.
Last year, the European Union agreed to phase out biofuels based on palm oil by 2030, because palm oil has a high risk of indirectly causing land use change (iluc). The EU’s renewable fuel Act allows member states to reduce their share of biofuels with iluc risk (i.e., palm oil based biofuels) to zero in advance.
The EU countries that have recently chosen to phase out palm oil biofuels ahead of schedule include France, Germany, Italy and Denmark. Since this year, France has banned palm oil methyl ester biodiesel or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) from the national quota. France also plans to provide national support for soybean oil and palm oil products (including palm fatty acid distillate PFAD). It is not clear when this policy will be implemented.
The German government plans to reduce the EU’s share of iluc high-risk biofuels (i.e., palm oil) from the end of 2022 to 0.5%, from 2024 to 0.3% and to zero in 2026. Germany also plans to require fuel suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity of transport fuels to 7.25% from 2026, according to EU fuel quality regulations.
The Italian Senate has voted to end financial support for palm oil, PFAD and soybean oil from January 1, 2023.
Denmark has passed a law banning the inclusion of palm oil biofuels in its blending policy. From 2021, the blending rate of advanced biofuels will decrease from 0.75% to 0.3%, and the blending rate of sustainable biofuels will increase from 5.75% to 7.6%.
Any decline in the share of biodiesel based on soybean and palm oil will support demand for biodiesel based on rapeseed oil, which is produced in the European Union. Since the end of 2017, due to the EU’s reduction and eventual elimination of anti-dumping duties, the prices of Argentine soybean oil biodiesel and palm oil biodiesel from Indonesia are competitive. Subsequently, the EU implemented countervailing duties to restrict imports, but imports continued to increase in 2020. According to customs data, the EU imported nearly 818000 tons of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia in the first eight months of this year, compared with 65000 tons in the same period from 2014 to 2016.
The transport and Environment Association (T & E), a non-governmental organization, welcomed the early phasing out of palm oil biodiesel in major EU markets and the further ban on soybean oil biodiesel in France and Italy. Soybean oil biodiesel should also be banned in a revised version of the EU renewable energy law next year, the group said.