An EU green light for using certain animal parts to make sustainable jet fuel will decimate the pet food industry, leading to a shortage of nutritious food for pets, the association says European pet food trade.
Under revised rules proposed by the European Parliament and Council, the EU’s Green Aviation Fuel Act will be extended to include fuels made from so-called ‘Category 3’ animal waste.
Category 3 covers parts of a slaughtered animal that are edible, but not generally eaten in Europe for cultural reasons, such as chicken feet.
Much of this waste is used to make pet food, as it contains nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere.
They are also essential for Europe’s oleochemical industry, which uses animal waste to make products such as detergents, paints and pharmaceuticals.
If the definition of what constitutes sustainable aviation fuel is expanded to include biofuels made from Category 3 fats, it will cause a shortage for other industries, it is alleged.
“We don’t believe that valuable pet food ingredients, especially Category 3 animal fats which are already scarce, should be used on airplanes,” said Rosa Carbonell, president of the pet food trade association. FEDIAF pet food.
“Before setting sustainable fuel quotas, policymakers must first assess the impact they have on the ability to feed people and their pets,” she told EURACTIV.
This view was echoed by Sofia Ferreira Serafim, director of the European group Oleochemicals and Allied Products (APAG), who warned that fossil fuels could replace bio-based components in the event of a shortage.
“While biofuel producers can source from a variety of feedstocks, the European oleochemical industry has very limited options. We have already seen significant pressure on Category 3 animal fats due to their use in biofuels for road transport,” she said.
“Any additional pressure on this rare raw material, which we can only source from Europe, will affect our sustainability performance.”
The European law ReFuelEU Aviation aims to reduce the climate impact of flights by replacing fossil kerosene with green alternatives.
These sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) will be made from advanced biofuels and electrofuels and selected wastes.
Under the Commission’s initial proposal – presented in July 2021 as part of its “Fit for 55” climate law package – biofuel feedstocks acceptable for SAF classification were limited to those set out in Appendix 9 European legislation on renewable energies.
This decision limited the production of SAF to category 1 and 2 animal fats. of security.
But in defining their positions on the dossier, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU have agreed to go beyond the list of raw materials included in Annex 9.
EURACTIV understands that some legislators are concerned that the higher SAF targets may not be achievable due to a lack of raw material availability, so they have taken the decision to broaden the base.
According to Parliament’s position, aviation fuel must include 2% SAF from 2025, rising to 85% by 2050 – a significant increase from the Commission’s original proposal of 63% SAF here 2050.
Negotiations between the Commission, Parliament and Council on the ReFuelEU Aviation law are due to start on Thursday 8 September.
Unlike the petfood and oleochemical industries, the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) welcomed the inclusion of a broader list of raw materials in the legislation, calling it a “positive development”.
Speaking to EURACTIV, André Paula Santos, director of public affairs at the EBB, reiterated the long-held position that there should be no discrimination between transport modes in terms of acceptable raw materials.
“We hope that during the trialogue negotiations the definition of SAF will be broadened as much as possible,” he said.
The Advanced Biofuels Coalition LSB, an industry association, declined to take a position on the feedstock debate, but reiterated its call for a specific sub-mandate for advanced biofuels.
“If European institutions want to accelerate industry’s commitment to invest in SAF production, it would be desirable to secure a specific mandate for advanced biofuels under the regulation, alongside synthetic fuels,” Marko said. Janhunen, president of Advanced Biofuels. LSB Coalition and Director of Public Affairs at UPM.
Airlines and NGOs: an uneasy alliance
Environmental activists and airlines jointly campaigned against the broadening of the SAF definition. Airlines are concerned that the inclusion of unsustainable raw materials will undermine confidence in SAFs as a way to decarbonise the aviation industry – a measure they have bet their future operations on.
In addition to Category 3 animal waste, specific concerns were expressed regarding the inclusion of Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD), a by-product of the palm oil refining process; and so-called “intermediate” crops, which are grown outside the primary growing season.
“The SAFs we use in our aircraft must be durable. We cannot open the door to harmful biofuels such as palm oil derivatives and animal fats,” said Matteo Mirolo, head of aviation policy at clean mobility NGO Transport & Environment.
“If we let this happen, it will harm our planet and the credibility of the aviation industry. Let’s not create a loophole for the kind of biofuels that we are successfully phasing out elsewhere in Europe,” he added. .
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]