The Federal Government's FMD 2013 (mobility and fuel strategy) has long been expected by many bioenergy players. After all, it is one of the most important and promising sales markets for the Bioenergy: the fuel market. After a year, the Federal Cabinet decided on June 12th the strategy paper, which was developed by 300 actors in 20 working meetings. Contents of the MKS 2013 regarding bioenergy and reactions of the branch are presented in this article.
The recurring story of David and Goliath
First a few words about the starting situation for all readers who are not very involved in the biofuels debate.
Liquid bioenergy sources in particular are plagued by their severely tarnished image (keywords: World hunger, Palm oil, ILUC) and the direct comparison simply lacks the resources (money, personnel, experience) to prevail against the less squeamish and well-equipped competition. That alone Anti-agro fuel campaign on Twitter is huge. There is at least 10 tweets on a pro-biofuels tweet, which make your blood freeze in your veins as a bioenergy enthusiast. Here are some one-sided and less constructive examples that have been published in the last 3 days alone.
- "The agro-fuel industry finances luxury holidays for MEPs to Southeast Asia" (ReTweets in many variants)
- “3 days left: EU agro-fuel funding must stop. Write to your MPs here (including a link to the petition) "
- "Biofuel destroys 700.000 hectares of rainforest" (many ReTweets in numerous languages)
Many very one-sided tweets that only target the emotions of readers who deal superficially with the topics of the energy transition, climate protection and bioenergy. All arguments nice and simple and with little depth!
The opponents of bioenergy are organized impressively and the campaigns are scary well funded. A solution-oriented debate between critics and supporters is difficult with such creepy approaches.
But now STOP, because this article is primarily about the FMD 2013 and not about the deeper reasons why bioenergy is currently having such a difficult time in the fuel market. Finally, an inviting sentence, which one bravely trained as a supporter of bioenergy with the desire for a constructive debate: Criticism of bioenergy is important and necessary!
But see such tweets as constructive Criticism?
MKS 2013 sees advantages for biofuels in individual submarkets
Now for the current development in the transport sector, which the bioenergy sector has long expected: the mobility and fuel strategy 2013. Here are some facts that illustrate this BMVBS in the decision of the FMD has taken into account.
- Transport in Germany is responsible for 30 percent of energy consumption
- Transport is responsible for 20 percent of CO2 emissions
- The transport sector is 90 percent dependent on oil
MKS praises biomethane for its good climate balance
Excerpt MKS 2013 (page 69): Gas vehicles in particular show a low greenhouse gas balance across the entire chain when biomethane from waste materials is used. The Federal Government welcomes the goal of the industry to increase the proportion of renewable methane (especially from residues) in natural gas fuel to an average of at least 20 percent by 2020. The statutory funding instruments provide a good framework for achieving this goal. Against this background, it should be checked whether and, if so, which measures can be taken so that the existing range of biomethane can be supplemented by biomethane produced abroad.
Here you can find more information about the Federal government targets for biomethane feed-in into the natural gas network by 2020.
Reactions from bioenergy associations to the FMD 2013
The bioenergy associations have not reacted euphorically to the federal government's mobility and fuel strategy, but for the most part they have responded positively. Depending on their focus, the associations see new opportunities for the further development of gaseous and liquid bioenergy in Germany.
Statements from Reinhard Schultz, Managing Director of Biogasrat + eV:
- “We are happy that the cabinet decision places a clear emphasis on natural gas and bio natural gas mobility. The willingness of important companies in the automotive industry to follow this path with attractive models and aggressive marketing is much more pronounced than ten years ago. Support for the construction of the tank infrastructure is urgently needed.
- “With its latest proposal for the development of an alternative infrastructure (COM / 2013/18), the European Commission has made a clear commitment to clean and sustainable solutions. We expect rapid implementation in Germany ”
The Biogasrat + sees the FMD process itself as entirely positive. "The dialog concept gave each stakeholder the opportunity to present his position and to support it in an argumentative manner." As a result, almost everyone involved saw the great potential of biomethane as a fuel have recognized. Last year it also became clear that the politicians are setting the course, but that the design should be left deliberately to the market players.
- "The government's recently published mobility and fuel strategy is a sensible first step towards a strategic realignment of mobility in Germany," said Elmar Baumann, managing director of the VDB
- However, the paper does not take sufficient account of the great importance of biofuels. “Sustainably produced biofuels are the only major alternative to the increasingly environmentally harmful fossil fuels for the foreseeable future”
- The strategy questions the use of biofuels because indirect land use changes (iLUC) and the associated greenhouse gas emissions are said to result from Biodiesel and bioethanol would be caused.
Statements from Claudio da Costa Gomez, Managing Director of the Biogas Association:
- "We are pleased that gaseous fuels and in particular the biogas that has been processed into biomethane with natural gas quality have been highlighted in their high importance for the switch to renewable energies in the transport sector"
- "The Biogas Association welcomes the fact that a reduction in the natural gas network usage charges for natural gas filling stations is included as a test mandate in the mobility and fuel strategy."
- "Only through a well-developed natural gas filling station network can we also cover the market for Biomethane as a fuel to advance further. A third of the 915 natural gas filling stations in Germany already offer biomethane in different admixtures, 150 of which are even 100 percent biomethane. "
Further information on the promotion of bio natural gas in the transport sector can be found in the article on Natural gas mobility initiative.
Bioenergy conclusion on the mobility and fuel strategy 2013
The golden age of renewable energy sources in the fuel market doesn't really seem to have come yet. Fossil fuel prices and climate change don't seem to be enough of a burden on fuel market customers. With regard to the second point in particular, many consumers often lack the awareness of the importance of a holistic energy transition, which affects not only the electricity market, but also the fuel market and the heating market. A lot of educational work is still necessary here.
And given the current image of biofuels, it is not surprising that Politicians on bioenergy to express cautiously. Perhaps the bioenergy industry can even be grateful for this FMD. The MFS could have hit the industry harder. At least one was spared this further setback! In very positive terms, the strategy paper can even be interpreted as a welcome turning point in political support for bioenergy in the fuel market. Biomethane at least seems to have established itself as a biofuel with the MFS 2013 at the latest and is no longer only mentioned in a subordinate clause.
As the most important lesson, I learn from the strategy that has been decided that biofuels should concentrate more on submarkets in the transport sector (aviation, shipping). In these less competitive markets, market acceptance seems easier to achieve. In addition, manufacturers of bio-fuel in Germany do nothing wrong if they give high priority to reducing their product's greenhouse gas emissions.
What do you think about the adopted mobility and climate strategy?