EU demand for biodiesel, renewable diesel to remain flat in 2022

By Erin Voegele | July 18, 2022

Demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel in the European Union was up in 2020 and 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. That growth, however, is expected to stagnate in 2022 as the use of biofuels with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction values means that less physical volumes are need to fulfill mandates, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network.

According to the report, the EU is expected to produce approximately 11.9 billion liters (3.14 billion gallons) of biodiesel this year, down from 12.1 billion liters in 2021 and 12.18 billion liters in 2020. Renewable diesel production is expected to reach 3.56 billion liters this year, compared to 3.49 billion liters in 2021 and 3.6 billion liters in 2020.

The EU was home to 170 biodiesel plants in both 2022 and 2021, down from 173 in 2020. Those facilities are estimated to have a combined 19.34 billion liters of capacity this year, compared to 19.552 billion liters in 2021 and 19.302 billion liters in 2020. Biodiesel capacity use is expected to reach 61.5 percent this year, down from 62 percent last year and 63.1 percent in 2020.

The EU also currently has 16 renewable diesel facilities in place, flat with 2021, but up from 15 in 2020. Renewable diesel capacity is expected to reach 5.488 billion liters this year, up from 5.287 billion liters in 2021 and 5.399 billion liters in 2020. Renewable diesel plants are expected to operate at 64.9 percent capacity this year, down from 66 percent in 2021 and 66.8 percent in 2020.

An estimated 6 million metric tons of rapeseed oil is expected to go to biodiesel and renewable diesel production in the EU this year, along with 3.7 million metric tons of used cooking oil (UCO), 1.8 million metric tons of palm oil, 1.15 million metric tons of animal fats, 750,000 metric tons of soybean oil, 180,000 metric tons of sunflower oil, and 714,000 metric tons of feedstock categorized as “other.”

Germany is expected to the EU’s top biodiesel producer in 2022 at 3.86 billion liters, followed by France at 2.06 billion liters and Spain at 1.35 billion liters. The Netherlands is expected to be the EU’s top renewable diesel producer this year at 1.22 billion liters, followed by Italy at 800 million liters and Spain at 460 million liters.

EU imports of biodiesel and renewable diesel are expected to be at 3.25 billion liters in 2022, up from 3.1 billion liters last year, but down from 3.545 billion liters in 2020. Exports are expected to reach 1.1 billion liters in 2022, up from 1.059 billion liters in 2021, but down from 2.229 billion liters in 2020.

Consumption of biodiesel and renewable diesel is expected to be at 17.61 billion liters in 2022, roughly flat with the estimated 17.611 billion liters consumed last year. Consumption of the two fuels was at approximately 17.09 billion liters in 2020.

France is expected to be the top consumer of biodiesel and renewable diesel this year, at 3.42 billion liters, followed by Germany at 2.9 billion liters, Spain at 1.94 billion liters, Sweden at 1.73 billion liters, Italy at 1.38 billion liters, Poland at 1.1 billion liters, and Belgium at 740 million liters.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website