The share of biogenic fuels in Switzerland was only 0.17 % in 2010. In 2019, this value rose to 6.7 % for diesel and 2.6 % for petrol sales.

With the new CO₂ Act, the compensation obligation of fuel importers will increase to 15 % for the time being from 2022. This will lead to a further increase in sales of sustainable, renewable fuels.

Since 1 January 2013, only biogenic fuels based on waste and residues have been exempt from mineral oil tax. The Directorate General of Customs (BAZG) has continuously tightened its practice in granting tax relief over the past seven years. As a result of the revised CO₂ Act, which is expected to come into force on 1.1.2025,

  • tax relief will also be granted from 1.1.2025;

  • advanced biofuels" are also accepted in Switzerland, analogous to the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).


Until 2012, domestic producers as well as importers of biodiesel sold their product at an
The majority of these are sold to operators of truck fleets and construction machinery. Pure biodiesel (B100) has practically disappeared at the filling station; the business was not profitable in terms of volume. Imports increased markedly from 2013 onwards. In the meantime, many petrol stations sell B7 - mineral oil diesel with a non-declarable proportion of 7 % biodiesel.


Bioethanol is available in Switzerland as an admixture to unleaded 95 petrol or as E85. Blends of up to 5% are not subject to declaration according to SN EN 228. E85 consists of 85 % bioethanol and 15 % unleaded 95 petrol. The admixture of 15 % petrol is necessary to improve the cold start ability. E85 is only suitable for flex-fuel vehicles (FFV). Throughout Switzerland, around 50 filling stations offer E85, with a declining trend due to lack of demand.

The - exclusively imported - quantities of bioethanol have also risen sharply since 2014. The significantly lower share of renewable components in petrol is due to the fact that the current CO₂ Act, which is valid until 31.12.2024, does not allow for mass balancing, as is customary for electricity and gas. Providing evidence of the minimum environmental and social requirements for bioethanol is therefore much more difficult than for biodiesel. The law does require acceptance of the technical standards. However, the authorities are not prepared to accept mass balancing, which is unavoidable for technical reasons, even if only in clearly defined sub-areas.

Bioethanol: Market opening full of obstacles, FDF (2010)


Biofuels are based on Biomass.

In Switzerland, biofuels are based exclusively on animal or plant residues and waste materials. For example, 100 % of the biodiesel used in Switzerland consists of used cooking oils or slaughterhouse waste. These renewable fuels are enjoying increasing demand due to the climate debate and the resulting legislation.

In the case of the liquid biofuels commonly used today, the Bioethanol as a petrol substitute and Biodiesel and HVO as a diesel substitute in the foreground. Biogas with the same molecular structure as natural gas (methane/CH4) is becoming increasingly important.

The hopefuls of the future are the synthetic biofuels and the Power-to-X technology. These are still too immature to be marketable at the present time. Experts expect synthetic fuels to be commercialised in the next five to ten years.

Due to competition with food production, biofuels have often come under criticism in the past. In Switzerland, biofuels are based exclusively on waste and residual materials. In the EU, similar trends can be observed due to the crediting of greenhouse gas savings. In addition, the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) calls for a higher quota for waste-based fuels. More on this in the section Ethics.


Biofuels are divided into first, second and third generation. The first generation includes vegetable oil fuels, biodiesel and bioethanol. While renewable raw materials such as oilseeds or sugar cane are used for fuel production in the first generation, waste and residues from agriculture and forestry such as wood, harvest residues, energy crops and paper as well as animal fats are used in the second generation. These are not in competition with either food or animal feed. Third-generation biofuels are in the development phase. Biodiesel from algae and synthetic fuels are examples. These have a higher biomass productivity per area than conventional energy crops. However, it is sometimes difficult to clearly separate the three generations. Thus, specialists also speak of first-generation biofuels and those of the next generation (so-called advanced biofuels).


Biofuels Switzerland is the programme owner and programme operator of the largest KliK programme. Through this programme, biofuels are counted towards CO₂ savings. In 2018 and 2019, the programme saved a total of around 800,000 tonnes of CO₂eq.
The use of biodiesel and HVO replaces fossil diesel and bioethanol replaces fossil petrol. This is done either in pure form or through blending. The biofuel is either produced in Switzerland or imported from abroad. The largest share of biofuel comes from Germany.


The "Biofuels Switzerland" association focuses on a holistic approach to quality. This includes the housekeeping of the tank farms, the certification of the entire supply chain (BTCert) and the semi-annual, unannounced surveys to check the biodiesel quality. The samples are analysed in the laboratory and compared with their SN EN 14214 standard.

Further information and documents can be found in the chapter Quality management.


Biofuels Switzerland
Swiss Biofuels Association
Bahnhofstrasse 9
CH-4450 Sissach