Study on greenhouse gas-reduced liquid fuels: Policy-makers welcome a knowledge “gap-filler” for Europe

A study on future liquid fuels for heating was well received by leading EU policy-makers working on the Renewable Energy Directive

Eurofuel, the industry association representing the liquid fuel heating sector, organised a policy debate on 26 September, attended by representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament and other important stakeholders. The event was dedicated to the main findings of a new study on the potential for innovative liquid fuels in tomorrow's heating mix. The study, which was carried out by the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (Germany), assesses the technical feasibility, capacities and impact of using different sources of low-carbon liquid fuels, such as advanced and synthetic fuels produced from biomass or hydrogen, as a complement or a substitute to mineral oil.

Jeremy Hawksley Eurofuel event 260917Sean Kelly Eva Hoos Eurofuel event 260917Panel Eurofuel event 260917Moritz Bellingen Eurofuel event 260917

Following a presentation by Jeremy Hawksley, the former Director General of OFTEC, on the main outcomes of the study, Seán Kelly, a Member of the European Parliament, welcomed the study as a useful contribution to the on-going revision of the Renewable Energy Directive. Mr Kelly, who is leading the largest political group’s (EPP’s) works on this file, agreed with the study’s authors that full electrification of the energy mix would prove difficult and cost-ineffective; hence a balance of energy sources would be needed to achieve the EU’s climate and energy policy goals by 2050.

Eva Hoos, from the European Commission’s DG Energy, named the study a “gap filler”, stressing that bioliquid solutions were currently not well known and their potential to transition fossil to low-carbon fuels should be publicised further. She insisted that all types of solutions will be needed for decarbonisation and saw a particularly important role to play for bioliquids in rural areas. Ms Hoos called upon industry to promote further research in bioliquids and to consider their cost-effectiveness.

Karl-Heinz Backhaus, from the major heating manufacturer Vaillant, pointed out the high potential offered by the modernisation of old inefficient boilers to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bioliquids and biogases would be extremely useful to allow a large number of households to take part in the energy transition. While current boilers can already use fuels with up to 10-15% renewable content, the heating industry is prepared to deliver technologies that are suitable to even higher concentrations of renewable energy in future, Mr Backhaus argued.

Summing up the debate, Eurofuel’s President, Ernst-Moritz Bellingen, called for policies open to new developments and technologies, to facilitate a progressive integration of innovative fuels. Investments in low-carbon solutions would require certainty and long-time perspectives.

The “Eurofuel Thinking Ahead” policy event took place in the Representation of the State North Rhine-Wetsphalia to the EU, and was kindly introduced by its director, Mr Rainer Steffens.


Materials for download:

pdfJeremy Hawksley’s presentation at “Eurofuel Thinking Ahead”

pdfSummary of the Freiberg study

pdfFull version of the Freiberg study