Newsletter 2.2021

Dear reader,

Welcome to the second EUROFUEL newsletter of the year. 2021 will be a turning point for the EU energy and climate policy. As of June, a wave of legislative proposals under the so called “Fit for 55 Package” will aim to radically transform the production and use of energy as we know it. Inevitably, this will create challenges for the entire fuel industry, which will be required to play its part in the energy transition.

The unprecedented ambition set by the European Green Deal will call for the contribution of every sector and technology able to provide concrete decarbonisation solutions. Our industry – thanks to the development of drop-in low-carbon and renewable fuels – can play its part by delivering innovation and emission reductions in heating. At the same time, we need a progressive and technology-open approach allowing every solution to be part of this story.

As you will read below, that’s the message we provided to the European Commission in the position papers we developed on some of the key upcoming legislative proposals. In this edition we also look at the latest EU policy debates on the future of fuels as well as at the promising solutions already applied in aviation, a sector who is showing the world the need for sustainable fuels for the energy transition.


Dr Ernst-Moritz Bellingen


EU energy & climate agenda: what lies ahead

As also mentioned in the previous newsletter, 2021 will be a turning point for the Green Deal. Following the approval of the European Climate Law expected this spring, the European Commission will put forward as of June 2021 an ambitious package of legislative proposals. The latter will attempt to dramatically reform the entire EU energy and climate policy framework, aligning the existing laws with the new emission reduction targets recently agreed by the EU. The initiative holds the name of “Fit for 55 Package”, referring to the new 2030 emission reduction target of 55% (compared to 1990 levels).

Fit for 55 package


These initiatives will have a strong impact on the entire energy system, including on heating fuels. In such context, Eurofuel is committed to play a constructive yet assertive role in promoting the interest of our sector. To this end, we have recently developed our positions on some of the key files which will be reviewed in June:

  • Review of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED): asking the Commission to adopt a flexible approach to achieve energy savings, Eurofuel once again highlighted the actions taken by our sector to contribute to this objective. We have indeed encouraged the modernisation of heating systems with more performing, condensing boilers, informing our customers about the various options at their disposal to increase the energy performance of their heating systems and buildings. In addition, we strongly made the case against technology bans, explaining that they would only hamper innovation by undermining the placing on the market of new and cleaner drop-in products such as FAME or HVO fuels.
  • Review of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED): on this initiative, we stressed the importance of enabling a progressive integration of renewables in heating and cooling, based on an approach open to innovation. We are therefore calling on the Commission to consider the key role that renewable fuels can play for heating technologies. We also emphasised the need for stimulating further research and investments in e-fuels and their application to the residential heating sector as well as highlighted the potential of HVO and BtL fuels.
  • Review of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): in this regard, we emphasised the detrimental social impact that an ETS extension towards buildings could have, especially for communities in rural areas. Often living in old and less efficient buildings, these households would risk facing higher risk of energy poverty and increased individual spending.

In parallel to the ones mentioned above, Eurofuel is focusing its advocacy efforts also on other initiatives, namely the review of the Energy Taxation Directive (ETD) – scheduled for June – and the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) – expected at the end of 2021. In such a busy policy period, we are cooperating even more closely with our partners, especially ECFD, FuelsEurope and UPEI.


The future of fuels

On 18 February, the European Commission held the 10th edition of the EU Refining Forum, the yearly flagship event of the fuels sector. The aim of the Forum is to provide an opportunity for the industry, EU countries, Members of the European Parliament, the Commission and other stakeholders to discuss initiatives with potentially significant impacts on the EU oil refining and energy intensive industries, and on the EU's security of supply of petroleum products.

EU refining forum

As expected, this year’s edition mentioned the “Fit for 55 Package” and its importance for the European Green Deal, as explained by the EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. The Estonian however focused her intervention mainly on the investment dimension of the Green Deal, stressing that annual investments for energy production and use will need to increase by around 350 billion euro per year compared with what was invested in the decade leading up to 2020 if the new EU objectives are to be met. In context, she emphasised the importance of European leadership in hydrogen, welcoming that – as emerged from a recent report – 126 projects of the 228 hydrogen projects announced globally are in Europe. With regards to renewable and low carbon liquid fuels, the main message from the Commission’s side was that they need to be significantly scaled up during this decade if they are to play a role towards the EU’s climate objectives.

The voice of the fuels industry was well represented by FuelsEurope, who co-organised the event. Béla Kelemen, the association’s President, responded to the Commission’s requests calling for a “liquid fuels strategy”, comparable in scale to the ones launched for hydrogen or energy system integration, to support the sector’s decarbonisation efforts. After the event, building on Kelemen’s remarks, FuelsEurope Director General John Cooper welcomed in a tweet the announcement by the Commission to establish the Alliance for Renewable and Low Carbon Fuels Value Chain under the lead of Transport Commissioner Adina Valean, as also reflected in the Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility published by the Commission in December 2020.

 Sustainable Aviation Fuels

Doubting about the future of renewable and low carbon fuels to decarbonise the heating system and other end uses is not an option. Today, we focus on some of the promising developments in the area, more specifically in aviation transport. These were presented on 8 February at European high-level conference on synthetic Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), which featured some important announcements.

Transport Ministers from eight European countries (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden) have called on the European Commission to boost the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs, which include both advanced biofuels and electro-fuels) by requiring them to be blended into kerosene. SAFs currently make up only 0.05% of EU jet fuel consumption.

According to these member states, a mandatory blend percentage would stimulate investment in green fuels and increase supply, making the fuels more competitive. Increasing the share of SAFs in aviation is an objective also of the European Commission, which is soon due to unveil a new initiative, called ReFuelEU Aviation, to promote sustainable aviation fuels.

This is an interesting development as aviation could be the motor to the deployment of alternative fuels, easing their availability for other sectors such as heating.


The future of liquid heating fuels: Putting the pieces together

As the liquid heating fuels industry prepares for its low-carbon future, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and Eurofuel, the liquid heating oil European association, will host its second annual conference titled, Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels: Putting the Pieces Together on May 20 & 27, 2021.

This follows last year’s widely attended Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels in a Carbon Constrained World conference. The 2021 event, presented online, will feature speakers and topics with the goal of putting the pieces in place to answer the questions on transitioning to low-carbon fuels that were identified during the 2020 event. The 2021 conference will be hosted on two consecutive Thursdays, May 20 & 27, with sessions approximately two hours in length. Each day will begin at 9am U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings Time and 3pm in Europe (CET).

Putting the pieces together

The first day of the Conference, 20 May - Public Policy & Greenhouse Gas Reductions will review the public policy actions in some of the states in the U.S. and several countries of Europe as well as what effect Brexit will have on policy in the UK. Various mechanisms for encouraging low carbon fuel use will be addressed including carbon taxes, low-carbon fuel standards & mandates as well the push towards electrification (heat pumps). Additionally, the program will address how other renewable fuel users (aviation, trucking, off-road) intersect with the heating industry and are there any technical or legal obstacles to low-carbon liquid fuel use?

The second day, 27 May - Technology Advancements - Are They Positioning Us for a Future? will focus on the technologies of the fuels themselves and which markets are they best able to serve, the state of the heating equipment available and their ability to accommodate low carbon fuels and meet the efficiency requirements needed.

Registrations and full programme will be available in due course.