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Rapeseed fields. In Germany, rapeseed oil is important for biofuel production.
Sugar cane plantation . In Brazil, bioethanol made from cane sugar is the most important biofuel.
Bus powered by biodiesel made from soy

Biofuels (also biofuels , agrofuels ) are fuels that are generated from biomass , i.e. a form of application of bioenergy . They are mostly liquid, sometimes also gaseous, and are used to operate internal combustion engines in mobile and stationary applications. The starting materials for biofuels are renewable raw materials such as oil crops , grain , sugar beet or cane , forest and residual wood , wood from fast-growing plantations , special energy crops and animal waste. The prefix organic does not indicate an origin from organic agriculture , but to the vegetable ( biological ) origin. The climate neutrality and ecological advantages of biofuels is controversial.

Types of biofuels

A distinction is often made between first and second, and occasionally third, generation biofuels. However, this classification is problematic because there are no clear delimitations. For the production of first generation fuels, only the fruit ( oil , sugar , starch ) is used for fuel production, a large part of the plant is used as animal feed . Second-generation fuels use almost the entire plant, including some of the hard-to-digest cellulose . In algae fuel is spoken by the fuel of the third generation, since algae a significantly higher biomass have Productivity per area than plants. Second and third generation fuels usually require significantly higher technical and financial outlay and therefore, apart from biomethane, cannot yet be produced economically.

Important factors when evaluating the potential and sustainability of biofuels are the yield (fossil fuel equivalents) and the price:

Comparison of biofuels in Germany
Biofuel Yield / ha Fuel equivalence
Fuel equivalent
per area [l / ha]
[km / ha]
Vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) 1590 l 0.96 1526 23300 + 17600
Biodiesel (rapeseed methyl ester) 1550 l 0.91 1411 23300 + 17600
Bioethanol (wheat) 2760 l 0.65 1794 22400 + 14400
Biomethane (with corn) 3540 kg 1.4 4956 67600
BtL (from energy crops) 4030 l 0.97 3909 64000
BtL (made of straw) 1361 l 0.97 1320 21000
  1. 1 l of biofuel or 1 kg of biomethane corresponds to this amount of conventional fuel
  2. without by-products
  3. separate calculation, not based on the other data
  4. a b c with biomethane from by-products rapeseed cake / stillage / straw
  5. a b based on FT fuels

First generation

Vegetable oil fuel
consists of untreated or refined vegetable oil in its pure form. Its properties are described in the DIN standard DIN 51605. In Germany, the raw material is usually rapeseed oil (rapeseed oil fuel). In terms of its chemical properties, it differs from diesel fuel, which is why it is necessary to adapt the engines to this fuel. Vegetable oil is produced both on an industrial scale ( oil extraction ) and in smaller, decentralized oil mills ( cold pressing ).
is a fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) made from vegetable oils. Its properties are described in the EN 14214 standard . Diesel fuel can be substituted with biodiesel. In Germany, the raw material is mostly rapeseed oil, which is why biodiesel is often referred to as RME (rapeseed oil methyl ester). The chemical properties of biodiesel have been adapted to those of diesel fuel. The production of biodiesel usually takes place in large-scale plants.
is produced by fermenting biogenic raw materials and subsequent distillation . A quality description has been available since August 2008 with DIN 51625. Petrol can be substituted by bioethanol. In Germany, sugar beets and cereals (wheat, rye) are mainly used for the production of bioethanol, corn and other raw materials are only of minor importance. In Brazil, ethanol from sugar cane covers a large part of the national fuel needs, while in the USA corn is used predominantly. The chemical properties are different from gasoline, which is why the vehicle engines must be adapted. The most important form of use of bioethanol in Europe is blending with gasoline. Super gasoline is mixed with up to 5% bioethanol, E10 with up to 10%. There is also ethanol fuel , which consists of 85% ethanol and 15% petrol and can be used by flexible fuel vehicles . Some of these vehicles, like the Koenigsegg Agera R , even bring their maximum performance with the high-percentage ethanol mixture.

Second generation

Biomethane ("bio natural gas")
is made from the preliminary product biogas . Energy crops, liquid manure and / or organic residues are generally used as fermentation substrates for the production of biogas . In the downstream processing to biomethane, the disruptive components carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are removed from the biogas and the remaining product is compressed ( biogas processing ). The complete methanation of the CO 2 can also be done using RE gas from electrolysis with renewable excess electricity . A quality description has been available with the technical rule G 260 of the DVGW since May 2008. Petrol or natural gas can be substituted with biomethane. Vehicles that have been converted to run on pure or bivalent natural gas can run on biomethane.
BtL fuels ("biomass-to-liquid", synthetic biofuels)
can be made from various organic raw materials. They belong to the group of synthetic fuels ( XtL fuels ). BtL fuels can be tailored to the respective requirements of modern engines and can replace diesel fuel, for example. BTL fuels are still in the development stage and not yet available on the market.
Cellulosic ethanol
is chemically identical to bioethanol. However, cellulose is used as a raw material . This makes up a large proportion of the biomass, but so far it cannot be used due to its poor enzymatic accessibility. Attempts are currently being made to develop processes with which the fuel ethanol can also be obtained economically from plant residues such as straw or wood.
is a fuel intended to replace kerosene based on fossil fuels. Various hydrogenated vegetable oils such as rapeseed , palm or jatropha oil can be used as the basis . Algae with a high oil content are also being discussed as a basis for future developments. The planners assume that “bio-kerosene” can be used as a regular fuel from 2015 at the earliest; a first test flight with biodiesel based on hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) in civil aviation took place in January 2009 by Air New Zealand . From mid-2011, the airlines Lufthansa and KLM will be using a 50% bio-kerosene mixture on some commercial passenger flights. In September 2014 Lufthansa operated the first European scheduled flight with sugar-based bio-kerosene. Various environmental organizations, including Rettet den Regenwald , massively criticized the test flights and drew attention to the fact that these projects were neither climate-friendly nor socially acceptable. Because for vegetable oils, especially palm oil, all too often rainforests are cut down and moors drained. According to experts, this sometimes leads to more harmful effects than conventional fuel.

The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has been providing second-generation aircraft with Alcoois (bioethanol) since its introduction in 2004 after the first flight of the "Ipanema" by the engineering group around Vincent Camargo .

Research on second generation biofuels is in full swing. In Switzerland, the Paul Scherrer Institute and EMPA conduct research into the production of second-generation biofuels. Residual and waste materials such as liquid manure, residual wood, compost or food waste from the catering trade are used for this purpose.

Other biofuels

A number of other substances are classified as biofuels according to EU Directive 2003/30 / EC, but are of subordinate importance in practice.

Ethers are mainly promoted by the European Fuel Oxygenates Association (EFOA), a lobby organization for the producers of MTBE , ETBE , TAME and TAEE .

Meaning and perspective

Biofuels can replace the fossil fuels diesel , gasoline and natural gas . In some cases, engines or fuel systems have to be adapted to the biofuels. Biofuels are used either in their pure form or as admixtures with fossil fuels.

The EU Directive 2009/28 / EC (Renewable Energy Sources Directive) (successor to Directive 2003/30 / EC) describes and regulates the use of biofuels in Europe. An important aspect is the control of sustainability , which is regularly discussed in relation to biofuels. The implementation in German law took place with the Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance . The Biofuel Quota Act and the Act to Change the Promotion of Biofuels required a share of 6.25% of the total fuel market by 2014. The so-called greenhouse gas quota (GHG quota §§ 37a ff. BImSchG ) has been in effect since January 1, 2015 . According to this, the mineral oil industry is obliged to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the fuels it sells ("placed on the market") in comparison to 2010: from 2015 by 3.5%, 2017 by 4% and from 2020 by 6%. The mineral oil industry uses biofuels to achieve this reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The future importance of biofuels depends, among other things, on the following factors.

  • Price development for fossil fuels: Rising prices for conventional fuels increase the competitiveness of biofuels.
  • Political framework conditions: A subsidy can take place through laws such as the Biofuel Quota Act .
  • Taxation: When used only, biofuels are subject to a tax reduction in accordance with the Energy Tax Act . In some cases, the discount will be gradually canceled.
  • Regional and global raw material potential: The sizes of the usable potential determine the future importance of biofuels. The size of the potential, in turn, is influenced by many factors (also potential and space requirements ).
  • Raw material prices: The raw material prices sometimes fluctuate very strongly. Agricultural products can become much more expensive , for example in poor harvest years ( agflation ).
  • Manufacturing costs: New and further developed processes can reduce production costs. Larger production quantities usually have the same effect.

Some biofuels can also be produced economically in local, small production plants, such as vegetable oil and bioethanol on farms and in alcohol distilleries , but also in large plants. Systems for the production of biodiesel and BTL fuel, on the other hand, are more complex in terms of construction and operation and require larger, supra-regional production units.

Biofuels are used as pure fuels and as additives to fossil fuels. Binding targets for the share of biofuels in the energy mix of the transport sector are being discussed within the European Union. With the EU Directive 2003/30 / EG, proportions of 6.25% were required by 2014 (2% by 2005, 2.75% by 2006 and 5.75% by 2010). Due to the lack of implementation, the EU Directive 2009/28 / EC (Biofuel Directive) set a binding value of 10% renewable energy in the transport sector by 2020, whereby this value applies to all renewable energies (biofuels, renewable electricity, renewable hydrogen, etc. ) in the entire transport sector (road, rail, inland shipping). However, air traffic remains completely excluded from the destinations.

According to the Biofuel Quota Act , biofuels in Germany had to have a 6.25% share of the entire fuel market by 2014. This can be done by adding or selling pure fuels, i.e. the companies selling mineral oil can add biofuels to their fossil fuels (B7, E5, E10, ...) in order to meet the minimum consumption of 6.25% or they can use pure biofuels (B100 , E85, vegetable oil, ...) in order to meet the minimum usage requirements. However, the introduction of the E10 fuel with 10% bioethanol instead of the 5% that had been added up until then encountered acceptance problems.

According to scientists, sustainably produced biofuels can play an important role in the energy mix of the future. In ambitious climate protection scenarios, around 20 percent by 2030 and around 70 percent by 2050 of a significantly reduced fuel requirement for all modes of transport in Germany could be met sustainably and without competition for use or additional imports. This means that biofuels come either from residues or from production on land that has been vacated over the long term, do not have a negative impact on biodiversity, do not reduce the level of self-sufficiency in food and no meadow or pasture land is converted. Worldwide, biofuel demand could even increase tenfold between 2010 and 2050. For the EU, additional land potential for cultivating energy crops of 20 million hectares was determined; the potentials therefore exceed the political expansion target of 10% of biofuels.

In addition to the EU, other countries such as the USA, Brazil, China, Canada and Argentina are increasingly relying on biofuels. In 2010, 86 million liters of bioethanol and 19 million liters of biodiesel replaced around 2.7% of fossil fuels worldwide, with an upward trend. In the United States, the American Security Project is promoting increased efforts for biofuels due to the dependency on imports of fossil fuels, which endangers national security.


The red-green government has strongly supported in 2003 with a tax exemption building the biofuels industry in Germany. At that time, producers mainly sold pure biofuels (B100, E85) and achieved high market shares by 2006, e.g. B. in diesel of about 12%. The grand coalition from 2005 withdrew the tax exemption in 2007, which hit the market for pure biodiesel (B100) in particular. To compensate for this, the federal government at the time introduced the addition of biofuels to fossil fuels, i.e. the addition of biodiesel to fossil diesel (B7) or bioethanol to fossil petrol / petrol (E5, later E10). The decentralized production and marketing of pure biofuels then dried up, which changed the market in favor of the mineral oil companies. [21] The industry resisted the introduction of the tax obligation politically and judicially. However, the lawfulness of the taxation was determined by the Federal Constitutional Court .

The industry's recent experience shows the importance of the tax level for the domestic biodiesel market: Due to the increase in the tax rate, the market for pure biodiesel (B100) collapsed by 97 percent between 2007 and 2011; The sales of B100 are meanwhile (2018) so low that the official reporting statistics of the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA) no longer list pure biodiesel. This development has caused massive economic problems for numerous medium-sized biofuel producers. The number of biodiesel production plants in Germany has halved in the past ten years.

In order to achieve climate targets that have already been promised, there is a demand for the incentive taxes already levied there to be extended to include fuels, at least in Switzerland . In addition to tightening the limit values ​​for new vehicles to 120 g CO 2 per km in Switzerland's CO 2 law, this environmental tax could reduce dependence on fossil oil, says Greenpeace .

Evaluation of biofuels

Competition for the provision of food

The cultivation of energy crops can compete with the cultivation of food. The increased demand for biofuels is counted among the factors that partly triggered the food price crisis in 2007-2008 . The use of maize in the United States in particular came under fire at the time. In addition to the increased cultivation of energy crops, however, other factors were primarily decisive, namely population growth, increasing meat consumption in emerging countries such as China and India, droughts in important wheat-growing regions and low stocks, as the FAO and the OECD report. Speculative transactions in food in particular caused the price crisis, said Welthungerhilfe , Oxfam , UNCTAD , the World Bank and the stockbroker Dirk Müller at an expert hearing in the Bundestag.

According to various observers, world hunger is not caused by a lack of production, but by unfair distribution. According to the United Nations , 1.3 billion tons of food are thrown in the trash every year, which is mathematically about four times as much as would be necessary to solve the hunger problem in the world. According to this, 28 percent of the world's total arable land is used to produce food that is never eaten. The amount of 300 million tons thrown away annually in the industrialized nations alone would be enough to feed all starving people. Despite rising food surpluses in 2013, the increased stocks do not benefit the hungry in the world. According to a forecast by the UN Agricultural Organization (FAO), global wheat stocks increased to more than 192 million tons for 2014/15 , which corresponds to around a third of a global annual harvest.

Competition for land can be avoided by using by-products from vegetable oil and ethanol production. With the cultivation of energy crops on a quarter of the world's degraded areas (900 million ha), more than 500 million tons of protein-rich animal feed are produced. In contrast, today's feed demand is 700 million tons. The cultivation of energy crops on degraded pastureland can in this way also provide a building block for food security. Without the by- products from biofuel production, Germany would have to import almost 50 percent more soy feed. On the other hand, in the grain markets, the EU is a net exporter in world markets. For the 2012/13 marketing year, EU wheat exports of 16 million tonnes are expected, compared to imports of 5.5 million tonnes.

Another way of avoiding competition for land is to limit the production of biofuel to previously extensively used areas and set- aside areas and to promote fuels from vegetable waste (e.g. cellulose-ethanol , BtL fuels).

Carbon footprint

If primeval forest is cleared for palm oil plantations, the PME (vegetable oil methyl ester, a form of biodiesel ) is 2.5 times more harmful to the climate than diesel made from fossil oil. If the palm trees grow on previously unused grassland, the climate balance improves.

Plants absorb the greenhouse gas CO 2 as they grow . When the biomass is decomposed or burned, only the bound amount is released, so that the carbon cycle is closed and the CO 2 balance is thus neutral.

In agro-industrial cultivation, large amounts of fossil fuel and nitrogen fertilizers are required, which worsens the climate balance; however, it remains clearly positive compared to fossil alternatives. If rainforest areas are cleared or peat bogs are drained in order to develop areas for the cultivation of energy crops, the climate balance deteriorates significantly. In contrast, the use of degraded soils improves the climate balance. In addition, the nitrous oxide released by nitrogen fertilization is involved in the destruction of the ozone layer .

Biofuels lead to greenhouse gas savings of 50% to 70%, depending on the specific agricultural cultivation methods and the plants used (rapeseed, corn, sugar cane), unless they displace rainforest areas. Biofuels must meet the statutory criteria ( Sustainability Ordinance ) and demonstrably lead to a minimum greenhouse gas saving of 35% or 50% compared to the respective fossil reference fuel. According to surveys by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food , the average greenhouse gas savings from German biofuels are around 44% compared to fossil diesel, which significantly exceeds EU standards. In 2011, around five million tons of CO 2 were avoided as a result.

In the future , greater use of unconventional oil resources such as oil shale and oil sands is expected. Their CO 2 balance is significantly worse than that of conventional oil, so that the potential of biofuels to avoid additional greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels will increase. The bioethanol used in Germany currently emits not only the 35% fewer greenhouse gases than fossil gasoline, as required by law in the Sustainability Ordinance, but 50% to 85%.

The development of new agricultural areas for the area of ​​the European Union is judged critically in a study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) (Institute for European Environmental Policy) . In the study, the institute examined the official plans of 23 EU member states to expand renewable energies by 2020. By then, Germany wants to add around 5.5 million tonnes of biofuel to the existing fuels gasoline and diesel , which is more than in Great Britain. France and Spain is planned. Across Europe, around 9.5% of the energy needed for transport should come from biofuels by 2020 . This is produced almost entirely from oil seeds , palm oil , cane and beet sugar and wheat . According to the study, up to 69,000 square kilometers of new arable land would have to be created to make this possible . That corresponds to an area that is more than twice the size of Belgium. If cultivated on this scale, up to 56 million tons of CO 2 would be released per year , which corresponds to around 12-26 million additional cars on Europe's roads. In particular, the re-functioning of fallow land for the production of arable land for biofuels is seen as an impairment of the climate balance, since less carbon compounds can remain absorbed in the balance in soils and biomass due to the different treatment and management of such areas due to the loss of organic soil substance and, moreover, with the cultivation of these areas CO 2 occurs . In the study, expansion into cultivated areas and, associated with this, intensive use of agricultural land is seen as a potential threat to biodiversity .

Greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels as CO 2 equivalents 1 in g / kWh 2 Source: Öko-Institut, 2010
Fuel 3
Usage impact
Emissions 1
diesel Comparative value 291
Palm oil diesel with direct land use change of the grassland 46
BtL diesel without land use change (2030) 50
Palm oil diesel with indirect land use change in grassland 112
BtL diesel with indirect land use change of arable land (2030) 130
Biodiesel without change of land use 144
Palm oil diesel without change of land use 157
Palm oil diesel with direct land use change in the rainforest 771
Biodiesel with direct land use change of the arable land 265
Palm oil diesel = palm oil methyl ester, biodiesel = rapeseed oil methyl ester
BtL diesel = biomass-to-liquid (Fischer-Tropsch) diesel from short rotation plantations
Fuel 3
raw material
Emissions 1
petrol Comparative value fossil 316
Ethanol Straw, made of lignocellulose (2020) (Waste) 24
BioCNG slurry (Waste) 86
Ethanol Sugar cane (Brazil) without change of land use 111
Ethanol wheat without change of land use 138
Ethanol Sugar cane (Brazil) with direct land use change of the grassland 161
BioCNG Corn without change of land use 184
BioCNG Corn with direct land use change of the grassland 248
Ethanol Sugar cane (Brazil) with direct land use change in the savannah 449
BioCNG = processed and compressed biogas
  • Note 1 : CO 2 equivalent: all greenhouse gas emissions, not just direct CO 2 emissions, converted to the climate impact of CO 2
  • Note 2 : kWh here as input: generated energy in kWh regardless of the efficiency of the engines used, the fuel is completely converted.
  • Note 3 : used as fuel in cars as of 2010

Indirect land use changes are taken into account in the table. "If a savannah in Brazil is cleared for this purpose [for sugar cane cultivation], the bioethanol from the harvested sugar cane is about 1.4 times more harmful to the climate than petrol based on fossil fuels. If sugar cane grows on previously overgrazed grassland, greenhouse gas emissions are halved" ( Fritsche (Öko-Institut) ).


In the context of energy crop cultivation, a possible land use change is being discussed (indirect land use change / iLUC) , i. This means that rainforests, for example, are falling victim to the increasing cultivation of energy crops.

For the establishment of palm oil plantations, for example in Indonesia, rainforest areas are often cleared, which represent a greenhouse gas sink and are home to a large variety of species. However, only 5% of palm oil production worldwide is used for energy; the majority is used for food (margarine, ...) and everyday objects (cosmetics, soaps, ...). Palm oil cannot be used as a fuel in Central and Northern Europe because the fuel solidifies at low temperatures. However, it is used as a fuel in electricity and heat generation. In Indonesia, clearing is mainly done by slash and burn, which, according to a magazine report in the New York Times, led to massive carbon dioxide emissions, more than the emissions from all of Europe; According to another source, the cultivation area for palm oil in Indonesia has more than doubled in the 10 years after 2006 with an increase of 50,000 km².

In the Amazon, on the other hand, the cultivation of energy crops (e.g. sugar cane ) is not a significant threat to the rainforests, but rather the cultivation of animal feed and grazing land. According to Greenpeace , a total of 80 percent of rainforest loss in the Amazon is due to animal husbandry.

For bioethanol used in Germany, no rainforest is cleared, because 90% of the bioethanol is made from grain and sugar beet that are grown and processed in Germany and the EU, which is, however, withdrawn from global food production ( land competition ). Another 10 percent is made from sugar cane that is grown on plantations outside the rainforest. The Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance stipulates by law that proof of the origin and production conditions of the bioenergy used in the EU must be submitted.

Avoiding soy imports through biofuels

When bioenergy is grown from rapeseed, grain and sugar beet in Germany, so-called by-products are produced in addition to the fuel itself and are used as animal feed. Rapeseed meal or rapeseed cake from biodiesel production as well as dry grain liquor and beet pulp / molasses from bioethanol production are suitable as valuable protein feed in cattle breeding and thus replace imports of soy meal from overseas. This reduces the pressure on arable land in other countries and reduces the pressure to clear rainforests. Currently (2010) in Germany there are 1.2 million hectares of plants for domestic biofuel production. This produced 2.0 million t of biofuels and, at the same time, 2.3 million t of animal feed (soy animal feed equivalent). In order to supply the cattle, pigs and chickens kept in Germany, a total of 5.1 million t of soy feed was imported in 2010, of which 4.2 million t from South America and 0.9 million t from the rest of the world. In South America in particular, soy cultivation is often associated with the destruction of the rainforest and unsustainable cultivation methods.

Legal sustainability requirements

Sustainable production is to be ensured through the Biomass Electricity Sustainability Ordinance (BioSt-NachV), which has been in force in Germany since August 2009, and the Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance (Biokraft-NachV), which has been in force since September 2009 . The regulations are based on the corresponding requirements in accordance with EU Directive 2009/28 / EC (Renewable Energy Directive) .

Liquid biomass that is used to generate electricity and is remunerated in accordance with the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) can therefore only be remunerated by law if it can be proven that binding ecological and social sustainability standards were observed during cultivation. Biofuels in the transport sector that are counted towards the statutory quotas must also meet the prescribed sustainability criteria and demonstrably lead to greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% or 50% compared to the respective fossil reference fuel.

Proof that the sustainability requirements are met must be provided through a certification process . The exhibition is bound to compliance with recognized certification systems and is monitored by independent and accredited certification bodies such as Bureau Veritas or TÜV. The manufacturers must u. a. prove that they manufacture their products in the interests of environmental, climate and nature conservation and that they do not destroy any areas worthy of protection.

In Germany there are currently two certification systems for biofuels recognized by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE): International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) and REDcert.

The director of the Federal Environment Agency, Jochen Flasbarth, explained: "If the demands placed on all agricultural uses were as high as those placed on biofuel, then we would live in a better world."

Reform plans

In accordance with its proposal to amend the Renewable Energy Sources Directive (EC) presented in October 2012, the EU Commission plans to reduce the inclusion of biofuels obtained from food crops from 10% to 5% in 2020 when the minimum quotas are achieved. This is intended to promote the development of alternative so-called second-generation biofuels on a non-food basis. These are z. B. obtained from waste or straw and therefore have no direct impact on global food production. For the first time, when assessing the greenhouse gas balance of biofuels, the estimated consequences of global land use changes ( Indirect Land Use Change - “ILUC”), which could lead to the displacement of rainforests or food cultivation in favor of biofuels, are to be taken into account. In addition, the commission wants to increase the minimum thresholds for greenhouse gas reduction in new plants to 60 percent.

Several scientists, farmers' associations and the biofuel industry criticized the proposal as inappropriate. The reduction of the minimum quota for food-based biofuels to 5% is arbitrary and it is difficult to distinguish it from non-food-based fuels. In addition, the biofuels imported into Germany did not come from ecologically valuable areas, but from areas previously set aside in Eastern Europe. The underlying studies such as the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) met with criticism due to methodological weaknesses. According to the conclusions of the study, for example, the production of rapeseed for biodiesel in Brandenburg, via displacement effects, would lead to rainforest being cut down in Indonesia, which, in the opinion of critics, is incomprehensible. In a joint statement, 16 associations from the agricultural and bioenergy industries, including the German Farmers' Association and the Federal Association for Renewable Energy , rejected the “hasty” reform plans of the EU as being ineffective.


In 2009, the civil rights organization Lobbycontrol criticized the Association of the German Biofuel Industry eV for measures of covert public relations work (so-called astroturfing ). The PR agency Berlinpolis had u. a. published alleged letters to the editor in the newspapers Junge Welt , the FAZ , the Frankfurter Rundschau and on Focus Online . Berlinpolis's client was the lobby agency European Public Policy Advisers GmbH ( EPPA for short ).

Former US Vice President Al Gore declared it a mistake in November 2010 that he paid more attention to the votes of American farmers than to the environmental impact during the 2000 election campaign. In retrospect he regretted his support for the cultivation of maize, which was only used to produce biofuel.

In the publication Agrofuels - neither eco nor fair by the development organization Aktion 3.World Saar , in addition to the argument that food is becoming more expensive, large companies such as Deutsche Bank are increasingly investing in cultivated land in order to grow energy crops for biofuel production in the future to be able to. According to the 3rd World Saar campaign, investments would be made in land purchases "that were previously characterized by rural agriculture and whose ownership structure - as predominantly in West and Central Africa - is regulated by traditional land rights and not by written land rights". “Land displacement and rural exodus , monoculture and genetically modified plants , pollution of water, poor working conditions for the workers who often immigrate” are not infrequently “the result of such land purchases”.

The Renewable Energy Agency has commented on various points of criticism.


Web links

Commons : Biofuel  Collection of Images
Wiktionary: Biofuel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Susanne Klaiber: Rabbits as heating material: cuddly briquette with ears. In: October 23, 2009, accessed October 25, 2011 .
  2. ^ Helena Merriman: Swedes divided over bunny biofuel. In: BBC News. October 15, 2009, accessed October 25, 2011 .
  3. a b c d Biofuels Basic Data Germany, as of October 2009 Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. (FNR), Gülzow, 2009, 14-page brochure, available as pdf
  4. a b c d Biofuels basic data Germany, as of January 2008 Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. (FNR), Gülzow, 2008, brochure, no longer available as a pdf due to the updated version
  5. ↑ Possible uses. ( Memento from November 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Report by Johannes B. Kerner about E85
  7. Company page on the Koenigsegg Agera super sports car
  10. PR Lufthansa ( Memento from September 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Lufthansa is operating the first European scheduled flight with biofuel based on sugar ( memento from September 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Lufthansa, September 15, 2014
  12. Press release from Rettet den Regenwald eV
  13. Reuters report on studies on biofuels
  14. Context broadcast by Radio DRS 2 on July 21, 2010
  15. Study by the Institute for Sustainability Analyzes and Strategies (IINAS) and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg GmbH (ifeu) on behalf of Shell, 2012
  16. Alterra / IIASA: Atlas of EU biomass potentials. Download (PDF) ( Memento from May 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  17. EU research project 4FCrops ( Memento from July 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  18. a b c d e f Ralph Ahrens: Biofuels are a global hit. In: VDI-nachrichten from September 9, 2011, issue 36, p. 10.
  19. ^ American Security Project: Advanced Biofuels and National Security
  20. Federal Constitutional Court - Press - Taxation of biofuels according to the constitution. Retrieved February 5, 2019 .
  21. BAFA - Information Center. Retrieved August 2, 2018 .
  22. Öbu Switzerland: Consultation on CO 2 regulation , 2012 ( Memento of 22 September 2012 at the Internet Archive )
  23. Alex Hauri, greenpeace Switzerland, commentary on the resolution of the National Council on the revision of the CO2 law , June 1, 2010
  24. Message on the website of the Sustainability Council
  25. OECD: Growing bio-fuel demand underpinning higher agriculture prices, says joint OECD-FAO report , July 4, 2007; based on OECD-FAO: OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2007–2016 ( PDF; 779 KB )
  26. Mitchell, Donald: A Note on Rising Food Prices. April 8, 2008
  27. Hildegard Stausberg: The US thirst for ethanol triggers the tortilla crisis. In: Die Welt Online. February 5, 2007
  28. Growing bio-fuel demand underpinning higher agriculture prices, says joint OECD-FAO report , July 4, 2007; based on OECD-FAO: OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2007–2016 ( PDF; 779 KB )
  29. Florian Krebs: UN Conference on the Food Crisis Information Service Science, June 2, 2008
  30. UN-Energy: Sustainable Bioenergy. A Framework for Decision Makers ( p. 36 PDF; 1.01 MB. ( Memento of March 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ))
  31. Welthungerhilfe food study ( Memento from December 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  32. Oxfam Fact Sheet (PDF; 200 kB)
  33. UNCTAD (2009): The global economic crisis: systemic failures and multilateral remedies. Chapter III: Managing the financialization of commodity futures trading. P. 38
  34. John Baffes, Tassos Haniotis, Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective, Policy Research Working Paper, The World Bank's Development Prospects Group, July 2010, p 20
  35. video recording ; "Transparency helps against commodity speculation", Committee on Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, June 27, 2011; Statement by Dirk Müller ( Memento from September 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  36. "Throwing away food is pointless". Report on Zeit Online, January 22, 2013
  37. Augsburger Allgemeine: Food waste leads to environmental damage
  38. Renews Compact: Agricultural Markets 2013 (PDF; 923 kB)
  39. FAO Food Outlook 2014
  40. ^ Agency for Renewable Energies: Global Use of Bioenergy - Potentials and Usage Paths. Berlin 2009, p. 9
  41. ^ Information from the Renewable Energy Agency
  42. a b Uwe R. Fritsche, Kirsten Wiegmann: Greenhouse gas balances and cumulative primary energy consumption of bioenergy conversion paths, taking into account possible changes in land use. WBGU, Berlin 2008 (Expertise of the Öko-Institut on the WBGU report 2008)
  44. Joseph Fargione, Jason Hill, David Tilman, Stephen Polasky, Peter Hawthorne: Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt . English. In: Science , February 7, 2008. Online at
  45. ^ Nora Schlueter : Financial Times Deutschland: Laughing gas is the number one ozone killer. In: Financial Times Germany . August 28, 2009, archived from the original on January 12, 2010 ; Retrieved November 24, 2012 .
  46. Ravishankara, AR et al .: Nitrous Oxide (N 2 O): The Dominant Ozone-Depleting Substance Emitted in the 21st Century. . In: Science . Epub ahead of print, 2009. PMID 19713491 .
  47. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung : Alternative energy sources - Klimakiller vom Acker , September 26, 2007
  48. Die Zeit : Sobering Climate Balance , September 26, 2007
  49. ^ PJ Crutzen, AR Mosier, KA Smith & W. Winiwarter: N 2 O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels . In: Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss . tape 7 , 2007, p. 11191-11205 ( abstract ).
  50. ^ PJ Crutzen, AR Mosier, KA Smith & W. Winiwarter: N 2 O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels . In: Atmos. Chem. Phys . tape 8 , 2008, p. 389–395 ( abstract and full publication as PDF ).
  51. Manfred Wörgetter, Marion Lechner, Josef Rathbauer: Ecobalance Biodiesel . A study by the Federal Office for Agricultural Engineering on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. March 1999. p. 19 (PDF; 79 kB)
  52. Ecological and economic aspects of the use of biodiesel ( Memento from September 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), study by the Fraunhofer Institute
  54. Edelmann et al .: Ecological, energetic and economic comparison of fermentation, composting and incineration of solid biogenic waste . 2000
  55. SRU: Climate protection through biomass. Special report. 2007
  56. R. Zah et al .: Life cycle assessment of energy products . 2007
  57. Costs and life cycle assessments of biofuels
  58. Press release Agency for Renewable Energy, June 22, 2012
  59. Wolfgang Gründinger: The energy trap. Review of the petroleum age . Munich 2006, Chapter 2
  60. Biofuel producers criticize one-sided debate about the E10 Association of the German Biofuel Industry, press release, February 24, 2011
  61. Catherine Bowyer: Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels and Bioliquids in the EU - An Analysis of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans Institute for European Environmental Policy, November 2010 (PDF; 607 kB)
  62. Melanie Hahn: Climate Study: Biofuel more harmful than fossil fuels ( Memento from July 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) DailyGreen Internet portal, November 7, 2010
  63. Renews Compact: Indirect Land Use Change - Problem or Illusion? 2012
  64. Scientists warn on biofuels as palm oil price jumps (English) Reuters, June 1, 2006
  65. US Dep. of Agriculture 2008
  66. ^ Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe. ,, November 20, 2018
  67. Palm oil - the green petroleum
  68. Greenpeace Brazil (ed.). Amazon Cattle Footprint, Mato Grosso: State of Destruction
  69. Information page of the BMU
  70. Brochure from the Renewable Energy Agency: “The full overview in matters of bioenergy” ; Scientific studies: Factsheet on central points of criticism of the study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) “Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels and Bioliquids in the EU - An Analysis of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans”  ( page not more available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Association of the German Biofuel Industry eV (PDF)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  71. Figures and graphics from the Renewable Energy Agency ( Memento from June 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  72. Information on the Sustainability Ordinance - Biomass Electricity and Biofuel, Environmental Verification Committee (UGA) of the BMU , accessed on November 25, 2009
  73. Sustainability assessment of biomass and biofuels ( Memento from September 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  74. Welcome to the ISCC project. ( Memento from January 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  76. Tagesspiegel, March 7, 2011; see. also Renews Compact Oct. 2013, p. 8
  77. New Commission proposal to improve the climate balance in the production of biofuels
  78. VDB: Arbitrary draft: EU Commission wants to cut biofuel production. 17th October 2012
  79. IFPRI study ( Memento of November 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 2.4 MB)
  80. Renews Compact: Indirect Land Use Change - Problem or Illusion? 2012 ( Memento from May 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  81. VDB statement  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  82. Associations: 16 associations reject hasty changes to the biofuel targets , online at biomasse-fü from October 7, 2012.
  83. Again undercover opinion- making - today: Biofuel Internet portal, July 10, 2009
  84. Peter Nowak : Greenwashing for biofuels revealed. For months, the biofuel industry tried to influence public opinion on its own behalf with PR campaigns. Telepolis online, "Energy & Climate News" section, July 14, 2009
  85. Politics Daily, November 23, 2010 (English)
  86. Agrofuels - neither eco nor fair, Action 3rd World Saar, spring 2012 (PDF; 377 kB)
  87. Background paper : Critique of biofuels in the fact check (October 2013)