Contribution by Martin Joss

26 March 2024

Biofuels: a key to defossilising the transport sector

An article by Martin Joss, Managing Director of Biofuels Switzerland

Sustainable energy from waste
The importance of biofuels on the road to CO2-reduction in the transport sector is growing continuously. Fuels from organic waste are almost CO2-neutral and thus contribute to a sustainable future. One example of the versatility and cascade utilisation is the conversion of used cooking oil from the catering industry into biodiesel. Waste is thus turned back into valuable energy resources. 

Admixture as a major lever
The blending of biofuels with conventional fuels is a promising approach. The blending rate for diesel is up to seven per cent according to the standard, and up to five per cent for petrol. These fuels can also be combined with synthetic products and enable a simple, cost-effective conversion of the vehicle fleet. There are lorries that are approved for operation with pure biodiesel. This gives transport companies a practical lever for reducing CO2-reduction. 

Success despite challenges
Despite limited raw materials, the biofuel industry's successes are remarkable. Since 2014, over 3.5 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents were saved, which underlines their effectiveness. Sales of sustainable fuels are stabilising at a high level. Every year, around 500,000 tonnes of fossil CO2 saved. Such success requires a functioning infrastructure, which is also a strength of renewable fuels. This is because they can be sold via existing petrol stations and used in existing vehicle fleets. 

Opportunities and development
Biogenic fuels - produced in Switzerland or imported - will continue to play a decisive role in achieving climate targets in the future. The revision of the CO2-Act provides for a transfer obligation for fuel importers from 2025. Specifically, five to ten per cent of emissions are to be directly reduced by renewable fuels. This would result in a 50 per cent increase in sales of renewable fuels.

Summary: Towards a fossil-free future
Renewable fuels are a sustainable and effective instrument for defossilising the transport sector. Thanks to their production from organic waste and renewable energies, their blending with conventional fuels and their wide range of applications, they make a significant contribution to reducing CO2-emissions and to achieving climate targets. The development and promotion of these fuels is an important step on the way to sustainable and fossil-free mobility, including freight transport.

Link to avenergy.ch Source: Avenergy Suisse, Zurich / avenergy.ch (October 2023)

Office

Biofuels Switzerland
Swiss Biofuels Association
Bahnhofstrasse 9
CH-4450 Sissach