Driven by the concerns about how an ever-growing population livelihood can be preserved, a number of initiatives to ensure sustainable growth of biomass for biofuel production have been developed, including the European Union's Directive on Renewable Energy (2009/28/EC) (EU RED), which requires sustainability certification for all biofuels sold in the EU from 2012 onwards.
The sustainability criteria are primarily focused on conservation of biodiversity, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, conservation of carbon, land rights, and socio-economical impacts. These criteria vary according to how the feedstock is produced, converted into biofuel, and eventually distributed and used. Buyers and sellers of biofuels in the EU market have the obligation to undergo regular independent audits of its suppliers to ensure that these sustainability criteria are met.
In accordance with this framework, liquid and gaseous biofuels used in the EU and electricity produced from bioliquids must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for remuneration, tax reductions and crediting to the biofuel quota:
- Biofuel crop must be cultivated and managed in a sustainable manner
- Protection of high conservation value areas
- Establishment of an effective chain of custody (CoC)
- Ensuring a minimum GHG saving threshold of 35 % (50 % from 2017 onwards and 60 % from 2018) compared to fossil energy carriers
As a matter of principle, the sustainability criteria apply to all companies and operating facilities along the value chain. The compliance with these criteria must be confirmed by an approved certification body. Certification comprises:
- Assessment of production processes and management requirements
- Verification of mass balancing and trace ability
- Verification of the produced emissions of greenhouse gases on the basis of standard values
The steps towards certification are:
- Selection of the right certification system and registration
- System set up
- GHG calculation
- Pre-audit (optional)
- Certification audit
- Conformity assessment
SUSTCHEM Engineering having years of experience in terms of biofuels quality, Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Certification Systems, supports companies towards Biofuels Sustainability Certification.