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From the 26th to the 28th of April, representatives of transport companies, blenders, politicians, environmentalists, car manufacturers, OEMs, HDV associations and manufacturers - all experts in the decarbonisation of road freight and passenger transport - gathered in Estoril, Portugal, for the Europe's first conference dedicated to higher biodiesel blends (B+). The ABA, EWABA, and EBB-organized event drew a large and enthusiastic audience for three days of engaging discussions about the current and future outlook of the field.
The first day of the conference was dedicated to the Portuguese national market, while the other two days focused more on the European scene, counting with renowned international speakers who presented case studies on the impact of B+ equipment, policies on B+, and other complementary green fuels to accelerate the transition away from high carbon fuels.
Biodiesel blends are an essential element in fulfilling the European Union's renewable energy goals. The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) III has set a target of at least 32% renewable energy in the EU by 2030, with a minimum of 14% for renewable energy in the transport sector. To achieve these targets, biodiesel blends are expected to play a critical role. However, REDIII also aims to reduce the maximum contribution of biofuels derived from crops grown on agricultural land from 7% in 2021 to 3.8% in 2030. Consequently, biodiesel blends made from first-generation feedstocks will gradually be supplanted by advanced biofuels derived from waste and residues, algae, and other non-food sources, expediting the transition towards more sustainable and low-carbon biofuels.
Representing diverse international organizations with current activities across various European countries, a panel of speakers demonstrated the vital role of biodiesel blends in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. The conversation encompassed a range of topics, including the distinctive features and uses of different advanced biofuels, as well as their market outlook, which highlighted noteworthy disparities among certain countries. Specifically, in countries with less supportive policy frameworks and concerns over the sustainability of feedstocks, the outlook is more uncertain. In addition, the availability of infrastructure and consumer acceptance have proven to play significant roles, potentially impeding further advancements and expansion of the industry in some regions.
Given the aforementioned, some of the conference’s presentations and panel discussions featured presentations on national best practices and existing and potential future incentives for higher blends in Europe. Others, portrayed how biodiesel production is creating employment opportunities and actively decarbonising heavy-duty vehicles by providing appropriate and personalised solutions to the clients. Diverse pilot projects are currently underway, exploring new technologies with a reduced carbon footprint and facilitating their transition to the energy market. ´
In conclusion, B+ Summit highlighted the urgent need to include biofuels in the energy mix in order to achieve a sustainable and low-carbon future. While challenges such as competition from other alternative fuel sources and technical hurdles remain, the diverse panel of speakers demonstrated the strength and potential of advanced biofuels in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. With continued innovation and investment, the outlook for biodiesel blends and other advanced biofuels is hopeful, offering a promising path toward a more sustainable and decarbonized future.
*Original author - Lízia Branco. Views expressed are those of the author