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German UFOP says straw is not waste, queries use in advanced biofuel production

New York — The German Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) Friday urged the German government and European Commission to reconsider its classification of straw as waste and the associated greenhouse-gas savings.

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UFOP said straw is a scarce commodity with a commercial value, which has several uses relevant to climate protection and improvement of soil quality. UFOP said straw is traded in Germany in the range of Eur95-Eur120/mt ($103-$130/mt). "The use for biofuels production will have to take a back seat," the press release stated.

The association challenged the way GHG savings for straw-based biofuel are calculated, as the current waste classification means that the entire life-cycle of emissions is not attributed.

UFOP also called for upward revision to the GHG calculation for rapeseed-based biofuels, to account for the protein component.

UFOP sees an opportunity for adjustments as the updated Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) is to be reviewed in the wake of the European Green Deal.

Investment in advanced biofuel production remains limited in Europe despite minimum targets of 0.2% in 2022 and up to 3.5% by 2030 being introduced in RED II. Uncertainty about the policy framework and the prospects post 2030 have provided limited incentive to embark on major, high-cost projects, and some of the limited investment has in fact been in the production of biofuel from straw, particularly in Eastern Europe.