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Biodiesel in Europe - Statistics & facts

Biodiesel is a biomass-derived type of fuel used for diesel engines and as heating oil. Common feedstocks include raw vegetable oils such as soybeans, corn, and canola, as well as used cooking oils and animal fats. Any oil containing free fatty acids may be converted into biodiesel through transesterification. A catalyst such as sodium hydroxide is used to force a reaction between the feedstock and a small-chain alcohol to form fatty acid methyl esters. Biodiesel may be used unblended for engines operating on pure biofuels or combined with refined petroleum for usage in regular diesel engines. Other types of biofuel are bioethanol and biogas.

Biofuel production in the European Union has doubled since 2008, reaching 649.8 petajoules in 2019. As the largest car market on the continent, Germany is also the leading producer of biofuels in the EU, with an output of 143.4 petajoules that same year. It was followed by France and the Netherlands. Renewables and biofuels make up the majority of EU produced fuels, ahead of nuclear energy and natural gas.

An estimated 13.9 million metric tons of oil equivalent biodiesel are consumed in the EU each year. Unlike bioethanol and biogas for transportation consumption, which has stagnated in recent years, biodiesel has seen a more pronounced market growth. It accounts for over 80 percent of total biofuel usage. France's biodiesel consumption has climbed to 2.8 megatons of oil equivalent, making it the leading consumer of biofuels on the continent.

However, not all vehicle owners were as quick in welcoming biodiesel. Consumption of biodiesel in Portugal has declined since 2010. While in neighboring Spain, biodiesel use as transport fuel also fell by five percent in the same time period.

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Biodiesel in Europe

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