Sustainability criteria as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED)

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Sustainability criteria of the RED

The Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (2009/28/EC), also known as the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) describes the following sustainability criteria (article 17):

  • greenhouse gas savings meet certain minimum values
  • biomass is not obtained from land with high biodiversity value
  • biomass is not obtained from land with high carbon stock
  • biomass is not obtained from land that was peat land
  • Agricultural biomass raw materials cultivated in the Community and used for the production of biofuels and bioliquids meet certain European legislation

If these requirements are met, biofuels and bioliquids can be used for.

  • measuring compliance with the requirements of this Directive concerning national targets;
  • measuring compliance with renewable energy obligations;
  • eligibility for financial support for the consumption of biofuels and bioliquids, like the Dutch SDE;

Greenhouse gas emission savings

The following minimum greenhouse gas emission savings need to be realised (RED art. 17):

  • The greenhouse gas emission saving from the use of biofuels and bioliquids (..) shall be at least 35%.
  • With effect from 1 January 2017, the greenhouse gas emission saving from the use of biofuels and bioliquids (…) shall be at least 50%.
  • From 1 January 2018 that greenhouse gas emission saving shall be at least 60% for biofuels and bioliquids produced in installations in which production started on or after 1 January 2017.

The greenhouse gas emission savings from the use of biofuels and bioliquids shall be calculated in accordance with one of the RED Article 19(1) using one of the following calculation methods:

  • by using a default value (see part A or B of Annex V of the RED)
  • by using an actual value calculated in accordance with the methodology dersribed in the RED (See part C of Annex V of the RED)

No default value is available for pyrolysis liquid, therefore the actual value has to be determined using the following equation:

E = ecc + el + ep + etd + eu – esca – eccs – eccr – eee’

Where:

E = total emissions from the use of the fuel;

ecc = emissions from the extraction or cultivation of raw materials;

el = annualised emissions from carbon stock changes caused by land-use change;

ep = emissions from processing;

etd = emissions from transport and distribution;

eu = emissions from the fuel in use;

esca = emission saving from soil carbon accumulation via improved agricultural management;

eccs = emission saving from carbon capture and geological storage;

eccr = emission saving from carbon capture and replacement;

eee’ = emission saving from excess electricity from cogeneration.


The greenhouse gas emission savings are determined by use of the following formula of RED Annex V, part C, point 4.

SAVING = (EF - EB) / EF

Where:

EB = total emissions from the biofuel or bioliquid

EF = total emissions from the fossil fuel comparator

Following the methodology of the RED, standardised values can be used to compare the emission of the bioliquids with fossil electricity, heat or CHP production. RED Annex V, part C, point 19 gives the following fossil fuel comparators:

EF electricity = 91 g CO2-eq/MJ

EF heat = 77 g CO2-eq/MJ

EF cogeneration = 85 g CO2-eq/MJ.

More detailed information on the application of RED sustainability criteria on pyrolysis liquids can be found here