European Waste-based & Advanced Biofuels Association - Our interview

Angel Alberdi, Secretary General of EWABA, the European Waste-based & Advanced Biofuels Association, kindly replied to Eurofuel's questions.

  • Can you explain what is EWABA, the European Waste-based & Advanced Biofuels Association?

EWABA is a Brussels-based non-profit association founded in 2013. We are a members-driven association actively representing the interests of the European waste-based and advanced biodiesel industry before EU institutions, national governments, industry, civil society and the media. We promote the inclusion of waste-based and advanced biofuels in the EU fuel mix as a sustainable means of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in EU transport with a special emphasis on the road (light, heavy-duty and captive commercial fleets) and maritime sectors. 


  • Can you tell us about the products you represent? Their use, their availability and affordability, and their sustainability?

Our 40+ member companies active in most EU Member States collect and use waste and advanced feedstocks listed in parts A and B of Annex IX of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) to produce sustainable biodiesel with the highest GHG savings (up to +90%) when compared with fossil fuels.  These companies are enabling “near-term decarbonization” of the EU road and maritime transport sectors. Waste-based and advanced biodiesel is the cheapest and most efficient way to decarbonize the EU’s most polluting sector, road, both for light duty, heavy-duty vehicles and captive professional fleets. For maritime, renewable fuel options are currently restricted by cost, availability, and technical specifications. Waste-based and advanced biodiesel requires no infrastructure changes in ship engines or ports, it is currently available in sufficient volumes and it is the most cost-efficient solution, especially compared with alternative options. As road electrifies, we will see more and more of our products being supplied to the maritime sector.

In 2021 alone, EWABA members produced over 2 million tons of waste and advanced biodiesel from wastes and residues, preventing more than 6.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions being released in the atmosphere. Our members are working together to produce renewable fuels that create added economic and environmental value, by preventing waste and residues from causing noxious pollution, additional GHG emissions and blockades in urban sewage systems.


  • In your view, what are the obstacles to the larger deployment of waste-based & advanced biodiesel? How can we overcome these obstacles?

Two obstacles come to mind: i) the archaic B7 blend wall (7% biodiesel into diesel), and ii) the artificial 1.7% limitation for biofuels produced from Annex IX part B feedstocks in road transport. The revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII) proposal has introduced an increase in the biodiesel blend in existing diesel standards up to 10%. Although the B7 protection grade would delay a fast-paced migration towards B10 across EU Member States, this provision will enable a broader deployment of waste biofuels in road transport. The reality is that the vast majority of the vehicles sold in the EU today are compatible with higher biodiesel blends and therefore we should see even higher blends such as B20, B30 and B100 with specific promotion mechanisms. This would allow difficult to decarbonize sectors like heavy duty vehicles or captive commercial fleets to slash emissions with the most cost-effective solution available. As for the limitation to Annex IX Part B, this is now utterly unnecessary since the rationale of the limitation is sufficiently addressed with recently revised EU certification schemes, the imminent introduction of the Union Database for Biofuels, and the ongoing revision of Annex IX, which will bring up to 14 (!) new feedstocks to Part B.


  • What does EWABA think about the future of liquid fuels for heating?

We believe that waste-based biodiesel could be widely used for the heating oil sector. The main hindrance at the moment is the lack of specific provisions in the applicable legislation. The transport sector is heavily regulated since the introduction of RED while the same does not apply for heating. Waste-based biofuels are not widely used as bio heating oil for domestic boilers today due to the higher renewable fuel price and standardization differences between renewable transport fuel and bio heating oil.

Presently bio heating oil is mostly used in our own industry for heating and derives either as a by-product of the biodiesel production (distillation residues) or as biodiesel (FAME). This could change though with the introduction of a legislative support mechanism.

We believe that the heating oil sector has very motivating challenges when it comes to achieving full decarbonization that will necessarily require energy efficient techniques and the introduction of low carbon and renewable liquid fuels. In this context, waste-based and advanced biodiesel, as the most cost-efficient and less GHG emitting technology should have an important role to play.