EU's biofuels consumption up 13.6% in 2010 to 102 million boe, but growth rate shows steady decline from 28.9% in 2009, 42.8% in 2008, says EurObserv'ER, attributing the trend to EU's 'less ambitious' targets

LOS ANGELES , August 8, 2011 () – Europe’s consumption of biofuels increased in 2010, but the growth rate represented a third-year declining trend, according to an annual report released Aug. 1 by Paris-based renewable energy group EurObserv'ER, United Press International (UPI) reported Aug. 3.

The European Union (EU) countries used 1.7 million tonnes oil equivalent of bioethanol, biodiesel, vegetable oil and biogas last year, down 1 million tons from the volume increase in 2009, according to EurObserv'ER's Biofuels Barometer.

Europe’s US$28.2 billion biofuels market in 2010 amounted to 102 million barrels of oil equivalent, EurObserv'ER indicated, reported UPI.

Ethanol achieved the highest growth rate in consumption at 26.1%, while biodiesel grew 11.1%. Helping to push these markets was the gradual introduction of E10 fuel in several EU countries, according to the Biofuels Barometer report.

Last year’s total biofuels consumption was 13.6% higher than in 2009, but the growth rate was below the 28.9% rate in 2009 and 42.8% rate in 2008, reflecting a significant slowdown that shows a clear pattern of deceleration, the group said.

Britain-based Datamonitor Group supported EurObserv'ER's analysis and predicts a continuing declining trend in biofuels growth, UPI reported.

In its latest Biofuel Consumption in Europe report, Datamonitor forecasts that Europe’s biofuels market will grow 12.8% during 2010-2015, to $51.6 billion by year-end 2015. This growth rate compares with 29.9% during 2006-2010, noted Datamonitor.

If Europe’s growth is to continue, countries that haven’t met biofuel goals will have to pick up the pace of growth, said EurObserv'ER in its Biofuels Barometer, reported UPI.

The “faltering biofuel consumption” was blamed on the EU’s “less ambitious” mid-term biofuel consumption targets under the 2009 European Directive, which mandates 10% renewable energy in transport fuels by 2020, reducing mid-term mandates from 2009-2013.

Others attributed the declining growth rate in biofuels use to regulations requiring that producers verify they are meeting standards of sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions, UPI reported.

Certification programs which audit biofuel production chains using approved procedures for requirements such as monitoring, waste disposal and land use are creating uncertainty among governments that seek more certainty in how to implement the procedures.

The primary source of this article is United Press International (UPI), Washington, D.C., on Aug. 3, 2011.

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