Newsletter 11.2018

Dear readers,

Welcome to the fifth edition of our Eurofuel newsletter. Autumn is in full swing with temperatures dropping sharply in Brussels over the last days. Time to restart boilers and check the levels! Political activities in Brussels, however, are still on a high:  This is the time of long-term strategies and commitments for the European Union, with a Bioeconomy Strategy, the much-awaited “Long-term Strategy on emissions reduction” and the preparations of the COP24 climate conference in Katowice.

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However, let me start by pointing your attention to Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union, who in mid-September announced he is running to be the next President of the Commission. He faces an uphill battle within his own political group, the S&D, where he is matched by another high-profile Commissioner: Frans Timmermans. Only one of these two heavy-weights will ultimately become the S&D’s “Spitzenkandidat”, and in turn face German Manfred Weber, who is running for the conservative EPP group. It is certainly promising to be an interesting seven months until the European elections in May 2019.

With the elections looming on the horizon, and only one month to go before Katowice, policy-makers face increased pressure to reinforce the EU’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) recently published a Special Report “on the impacts of global warming of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels” and urged policy-makers across the world to increase their level of ambition.

The Environment Council responded to the IPCC report by adopting conclusions on climate change which ask the Commission to include a “1.5°C scenario and at least one pathway towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2030 followed by negative emissions thereafter” in the Long-term Strategy. The European Council took also note of the latest special report and called upon negotiating partners at the COP24 to adopt an ambitious and comprehensive set of implementing rules of the Paris Agreement. The European Parliament went one step further and demanded an increase of the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction commitment from 40% to 55% by 2030.

What is the miracle solution to achieve this set of ever-changing and increasingly ambitious commitments for the coming decades?

And what if there was none… but several solutions? Besides electricity, “e-fuels” – fuels generated with renewable power and carbon from the atmosphere or other sources – are increasingly recognised as an element of answer to the long-term energy mix conundrum. Read more about latest developments on that front and how these fuels could impact our sector in the next decades.

I look forward to discussing these issues and more with you in person soon, maybe already at our policy event on 21 November, jointly organised with other EU-based and German organisations from the liquid fuel sector…

Tristan Suffys

 

Long-term Strategy (LTS) on emission reduction: Publication this month!

The development of the Long-term Strategy is in its final stretch. After a stakeholder workshop in July, which Eurofuel attended, and a public consultation, the Commission is finalising its plans for a new strategy for emission reductions by 2050, which is planned for adoption on 28 November. Eurofuel submitted input into the consultation in October, where we highlighted the use of low carbon liquid fuels, like e-fuels, in combination with existing infrastructure as an indispensable path to reduce emissions.

The Long-term Strategy is a key priority for the Commission, as mentioned in its newly published work programme for 2019.  Besides the LTS, the Commission’s work in the energy sector will focus on the ongoing negotiations on the electricity market, which are part of the Clean Energy Package.

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Bioliquids: A perspective for future liquid energy heating?

The Commission updated its Bioeconomy Strategy in October. The Strategy consists of a set of actions to promote the use of plant-based materials to produce food, materials and energy. To boost the adoption of biofuels, the Strategy invites the Commission and the Member States to facilitate the development of new sustainable biorefineries. The Commission indicates that up to 300 new biorefineries could be operational in the EU by 2030 according to some reports.

According to the IPPC’s Special Report the Bioeconomy Strategy is not going far enough. The report specifies that biofuels will need to rise 260% by 2030 and 750% by 2050 to contain global warming below 1.5°C.

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Future fuels: growing interest in the heating sector

Over the past months, several studies and events have shown a growing interest for future liquid fuels:

Prognos study on the importance of e-fuels in a low-carbon economy

An important study by renowned German research centres looks at the status and perspectives of liquid energy sources in the energy transition. It shows that new liquid energy sources such as Power-to-Liquid will be indispensable to achieve an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across economic sectors. The study also stresses that liquid energy sources with Power-to-Liquid "can be price-competitive compared to electricity-based solutions". Eurofuel will present the English language version of the study at our policy event in Brussels on 21 November.

Power-to-X: New study looks at international aspects

The World Energy Council in Germany has published a new study carried out by Frontier Economics about the international aspects of a roadmap to roll out Power-to-X fuels, which was presented at the Energy Day in Berlin on 18 October. The study looks at the international dimension of producing and trading Power-to-X fuels for Germany. The full study and an executive summary are available in German and in English on the World Energy Council’s website.

Technology Forum in Aachen

Our German member IWO organised, together with the German mineral oil association MWV and the research organisations OWI and TEC4FUELS, a “Technology Forum” on 17 October in Aachen (Germany). The Forum focussed on new liquid fuels. Many speakers and participants argued for a technology mix to achieve the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction objectives towards 2050. In this mix, new liquid fuels with a closed carbon cycle will have an important role to play for various applications. Speakers stressed that paraffinic fuels were a good solution in the short term, while Power-to-Liquid solutions would require more time before becoming financially viable. More specifically in the field of heating, a representative from Weishaupt reported on previous tests with bio-heating oil.

IWO-Austria Symposium

Our Austrian member IWO-Austria organised on 18 October in Vienna a symposium on “Future perspectives for liquid fuels in heating”. The event looked at the status of research and development on future liquid fuels in Austria and called for further efforts in that direction. German Energy Agency dena’s Christoph Jugel pointed out the benefits of a technology mix to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate policy objectives and hence the importance of deploying Power-to-Liquid fuels. Dr Mitterlehner, a former Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs, presented Austria’s climate and energy strategy (“mission2030”) and underlined that renewable liquid fuels might be eligible to fulfil the country’s objectives regarding renewable heating, provided they meet several conditions. IWO’s Martin Reichard announced that field tests of 100% renewable liquid fuel (HVO) in heaters had started. Results are expected in 2019.

Eurofuel news: Policy event on liquid fuels coming up

On Eurofuel news, our Board of Directors had very interesting discussions about the challenges and perspectives of liquid energy sources in heating with bio-heating oil players in Norway, while meeting in Oslo upon invitation from our Norwegian member organisation Drivkraft Norge on 26-27 September.

We are also very much looking forward to a policy event on the role of future liquid fuels in achieving the EU’s emissions reduction strategy, which Eurofuel and other organisations are organising at The Hotel, Brussels from 17:30 to 19:30 on 21 November 2018. A focus of the conference will be the publication (in English) of the above-mentioned Prognos study on future liquid fuels. You can expect insights into the latest research on the perspectives of liquid energy sources and their possible contribution to the energy transition as well as a panel of interesting speakers.  The event should be particularly timely, as the European Commission is expected to adopt its Long-term Strategy on emissions reduction a week later! Stay tuned and visit our event’s page!

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Many thanks to Yannick Böttcher (Hanover) for his great help in preparing the November newsletter!