Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations
DISCLAIMER: The information hereunder is intended to facilitate the implementation of Subsidiary Legislation 423.48. It is itself not legally binding. Any authoritative reading of the law should only be derived from Subsidiary Legislation 423.48, Council Directive (EU) 2015/652, Directive 2009/30/EC, Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 and other applicable legal texts or principles. This note is solely intended to help suppliers by explaining the applicable law.
European legislation addressing fuels used for road transport in the EU requires that such fuels meet strict quality requirements to protect human health and the environment and make sure that vehicles can safely travel from one country to another in the EU on the basis of compatible fuels.
Subsidiary Legislation 423.48, Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations (as amended by Legal Notice 410 of 2017) transposes Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive “by setting, in respect of road vehicles, non-road mobile machinery (including inland waterway vessels when not at sea), agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft when not at sea, a target for the reduction of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, and transpose Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 by laying down rules on calculation methods and reporting requirements.” (Sub-regulation 2 of regulation 1 of the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations)
The Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations require a reduction of the greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuels by a minimum of 6% by 2020. This target should be respected even after the year 2020. Furthermore, indicative additional reductions, up to 10%, may also be required by the MRA. However, to date, indicative additional reductions are not required.
The Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations apply to:
• petrol, diesel and biofuels used in road transport, and
• gasoil used in non-road-mobile machinery.
Emissions reporting covers full life cycle
The greenhouse gas intensity of fuels is calculated on a life cycle basis, covering emissions from extraction, processing and distribution. Emissions reductions are calculated against a 2010 baseline of 94.1 gCO2eq /MJ..
The likely compliance options to fulfil the reduction obligation are currently:
- the use of biofuels which fulfil the sustainability criteria specified in the Biofuels (Sustainability Criteria) Regulations,
- the use of electricity,
- the use of less carbon intense fossil fuels, and
- the use of renewable fuels of non-biological origin (such as e-fuels); and
- a reduction of upstream emissions (such as flaring and venting) at the extraction stage of fossil feedstocks (upstream emission reductions or UERs).
It should be pointed out that:
- suppliers of biofuels for use in aviation may choose to become contributors to the reduction obligation;
- providers of electricity for use in road vehicles may choose to become contributors to the reduction obligation if they can demonstrate that they can adequately measure and monitor electricity supplied for use in those vehicles; and
- a group of suppliers may choose to meet the reduction obligation jointly.
The calculation method to be applied and the details for the reporting of the greenhouse gas intensity of regulated fuels is defined by Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 as transposed by the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fuels Regulations and as modified by Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.
Suppliers shall report annually to the Malta Resources Authority on the greenhouse gas intensity of fuel and energy placed on the market by filling the template: Art_7aFQD_template_Supplier_v3.7_MRA . (This template is an adaptation of the original template developed by the European Environment Agency and reflects the discussions of the informal expert meetings on the transposition of Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 implementing Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive involving the Commission services and experts from the Member States.) This report shall be submitted by the end of March of each year in respect of the previous calendar year. It should be pointed out that this reporting obligation remains applicable after the year 2020.
Information for Suppliers
The information submitted shall be subject to verification and to sharing with other government entities to ensure coherence of related data in the fulfillment of the various reporting obligations and to carry out regulatory functions.
Each delivery or batch of fuel should be reported separately. Given the scope of S.L. 423.48, the term “LPG” refers to “Autogas”. Explanatory notes are available in the reporting template itself; in tab “Notes”, as well as in the tabs used for reporting, especially in the blue cells. Moreover, it should be pointed out that note 7 of the reporting template provides the currently applicable CN codes for gasoil and diesel, as well as instructions on how these should be reported.
It is important to note that with the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 (particularly Articles 47 and 56), reporting of certain information that was previously obligatory has become voluntary. This information is listed below:
- “Place of purchase – Country”,
- “Place of purchase – Facility name”,
- “Country of origin”,
- “Feedstock Trade Name”, and
- “API gravity” (in tab “1 Fossil and other non biofuels”); and
- “Country of origin of feedstock”, and
- “Place of purchase Country” (in tab “2 Biofuels” ).
Should suppliers wish to report on the information listed above, columns may be added in the respective tabs of the same template, as applicable.
Sustainability Criteria for Biofuels
Biofuels can be used to fulfil the greenhouse gas emission reduction obligation, only if they meet certain sustainability criteria to minimise negative impacts from their production.
Among others, the following requirements have been set:
- greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels must be lower than the emissions from the fossil fuel they replace …
- … by, at least, 50% for installations in operation before 5 October 2015, and
- … by, at least, 60% for newer installations; and
- the feedstocks for biofuels cannot be sourced from land with high biodiversity or high carbon stock.
Taking account of indirect land use change
As the demand for biofuels rises, their production can displace the production of food and feed crops and induce the conversion of land, such as forests and wetlands, into agricultural land, indirectly leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC) can significantly reduce or even cancel the greenhouse gas savings from biofuels.
To account for this, the Authority may provide that the maximum contribution of biofuels produced from cereal and other starch-rich crops, sugars and oil crops and from energy crops grown on agricultural land that can be counted for the purpose of the fulfilment of the reduction obligation be limited to 7% of the energy in transport in 2020.
Classification of Biofuel Feedstock
As from the end of the year 2020, the biofuel feedstock palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) is being considered to be a “product” and not a “waste/residue”.
Other Useful Links
Guidance Note on approaches to quantify, verify, validate, monitor and report upstream emission reductions:
The expectations of the MRA, with regards to the role of fuel suppliers that submit to the MRA upstream emission reductions (UERs) along with documenting evidence, for the fulfilment of the 6% reduction obligation under Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and Council Directive (EU) 2015/652: UERs – The expectations of the MRA with regards to the role of fuel suppliers
The Indirect Land Use Change Directive: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1522152865835&uri=CELEX:32015L1513
The contents of this web page have been inspired by the European Commission web page available at: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/fuel_en
For information purposes … links to the website of the European Commission on the European Green Deal, in general, and on the proposed amendment to the Renewable Energy Directive, in particular:
Page last modified 29 October 2021