With the “Renewable Energies Directive” which came into effect in 2009, the EU prescribed mandatory blending rates for renewable energies in the transport sector. Their proportion is required to increase to 10 percent of the energy content in the transport sector in all member states by 2020.
Biofuels used for the purposes of reaching the EU emissions target must fulfil strict sustainability criteria in terms of the source and cultivation of the raw materials as well as in terms of the greenhouse gas reductions compared to fossil fuels; this compliance has to be established by means of a certification based on the ISCC Standard (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification).
In order to comply with the sustainability criteria of the ISCC Standard, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas reductions throughout their life cycle equivalent to at least 35%, until the end of 2016, and, from January 2017, at least 50% when compared to fossil fuels in order to qualify as biofuels. There are also specific requirements in terms of the raw materials used in the production of bioethanol.
- Raw materials must not be sourced from areas with a high degree of biodiversity (e.g. rainforests and moors)
- Fertilisers and pesticides may only be used to a limited extent
- End-to-end traceability must be ensured with regard to the origin of the raw materials used
Austria incorpoated the EU biofuels directive into its national legislation by amending the Austrian Ordinance on Automotive Fuels (Kraftstoffverordnung) to include an admixture obligation in November 2004. In line with the Austrian admixture obligation, 5.75 percent of the total energy content of all fuel used for transportation in Autria must be substituted by biofuel. In order to achieve the stipulated admixture targets, both biofuels, such as pure biodiesel and the environmentally friendly fuel SuperEthanol E85, and fuels such as diesel and petrol mixed with lower percentages of biofuels, are taken into account.
The Austrian admixture obligation in the transport sector of 5.75 percent of the fuels' energy content is currently achieved due to more biodiesel being mixed with diesel. At the moment, this amounts to a concentration of 6.25 percent (energetic; 7 percent by volume) biodiesel in diesel fuel dispensed at filling stations in Austria. Given that there is no standard in Austria for a five percent (energetic) admixture concentration of bioethanol to petrol, only around 3.4 percent (energetic) bioethanol (five percent by volume) is currently mixed with petrol.