Smart Freight Centre launches set of reports that cover the full supply chain impact of biofuels: from production to its emission factors

Amsterdam, 11 August 2022 - Today, we launch a set of reports that cover the full value chain of biofuels, its impact and how the logistics industry can leverage this alternative fuel. The main goal is to present the available information on biofuels in a way that is useable for providers and purchasers to reach their GHG emission reduction goals

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Biofuels play a role in decarbonizing the freight transport sector of many economies globally. In some cases, they have a better carbon footprint than the alternatives. In some areas, they may be the only greenhouse gas emissions reduction alternative available now. Regardless, freight transport actors – whether a shipper, logistics service provider (LSP), or carrier – need to understand what it means to use biofuel and how to manage the challenges, risks and impact.

Smart Freight Centre, coordinating the Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles working group, has put together three new publications that will help orient you on your decision to use (or not to use) biofuels in your road freight operations. The working group, composed of multinationals and strategic partners, aims to equip the freight sector with information and strategies about emissions reduction using low or zero-emission fuel and fleet technology. Earlier in the year we had launched the Potential of Bio-LNG in decarbonizing logistics report, which is a part of this series covering how biofuels can be best deployed to decarbonize the logistics industry. In line with this series, we explore practical considerations of integrating biofuels in your freight transport value chain, including a broad survey of sustainability issues, and finally how much emissions reductions it can bring you.

The biofuel reports we launch bring different perspectives and are targeted at shippers and carriers

Scroll down to download the reports.

  • Practical guidance on biodiesel and renewable diesel. Targeted at shippers and carriers to understand and assess how to best deploy biodiesel and renewable diesel to decarbonize their transport.
  • Sustainability criteria for biofuels. Targeted at shippers and carriers concerned about sustainability implications of the biofuels they use.
  • Comparison of greenhouse gas accounting principles between the US and the EU. Targeted at shippers and carriers who have operations in both Europe and North America to understand and apply biofuel emission factors in their emissions disclosure activities.

Practical guidance on biodiesel and renewable diesel

Key decision-making criteria to assess and deploy biodiesel and renewable diesel.

The report provides information to support companies to evaluate biodiesel and renewable diesel from the perspective of applicability, availability, and feasibility. Biodiesel and renewable diesel provide a relatively easy and cheap way to decarbonize freight transport. However, it is crucial that carriers and shippers carefully check the type of feedstock used to produce the biofuel, the lifecycle GHG emissions factors, as well as any other emissions categories, such as from indirect land use change, to determine whether the biofuels are actually sustainable. And if that checks out, bear in mind that regional availability might still be a challenge. Download the report.

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Sustainability criteria for biofuels

A review of sustainability frameworks and the role of certification schemes.

The report discusses 15 biofuel sustainability criteria ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to broader environmental goals and socio-economic development. The main conclusion is that a strict observance of GHG emissions reduction potential and sustainability criteria of biodiesel and renewable diesel is crucial to ensure a sustainable freight transport future. While certification and legislation support in this aspect, there is a wide range of criteria applicable to biofuels in different regions. Increased harmonization of these principles can help to ensure the use of sustainable biofuels in freight transport around the world.


Comparison of greenhouse gas accounting principles between the US and the EU

Towards harmonizing geographical approaches for emission factors.

This report evaluates the differences and similarities of emission factors from US and EU biofuels (i.e. ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel and liquified biomethane) and proposes a way to systematically harmonize the emissions factors under the GLEC Framework. The emissions factor databases that were analyzed were the GREET model, the de facto standard in the US - produced by Argonne National Laboratory - and for Europe the Annex V of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (recast) and the EU’s JEC Well-to-Wheel v5 report. The work is vital in ensuring a consistent emissions disclosure, especially for transport operations that span different regions.


About the Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles project

The Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles (LEFV) project provides a platform for all freight actors to discuss and understand the decarbonization potential and practical challenges in adopting LEFV solutions. The project is carried out under the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) that is managed by Smart Freight Centre.