Czech Republic. Biofuels May 10, 2016
The Czech Republic implemented the EU legislation and has set targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) savings, for the share of biofuels and renewable electricity in transportation on total consumption, and blending mandates. There are sufficient production capacities and feedstock available to meet those targets. However, a recent increase in the excise tax might challenge meeting those goals in 2017.
The long term goals of the Czech energy strategy as defined in the State Energy Conception of the Czech Republic 2015 are: safety, competitiveness and sustainability. The Czech biofuel policy reflects that, being also significantly influenced by the European Union policy and regulations. Major energy sources and percent share of total Czech electricity generation based on installed capacities in 2014 are: coal – 50 percent, nuclear – 20 percent, hydropower – 10 percent, solar – 9 percent, natural gas – 6 percent, biogas – 4 percent, wind – 1 percent.
The target set by the European Commission under Directive 2009/28/EC is to reach 13 percent share of energy from renewable sources against gross final energy consumption and a 10 percent share of renewable energy sources in transport by 2020. The Czech Republic in general does not have significant problems in meeting its targets, although in 2010 they did not fulfil the target to replace 5.75 percent of energy content of fossil fuels consumed in transportation with biofuels. Blending of biofuels with fossil fuels has been mandatory in the Czech Republic since September 1, 2007. Recent changes in excise tax legislation might challenge fulfilling the targets in 2017, as they temporarily increase prices of biofuels and make them less competitive.
The Czech Republic has sufficient capacities for biofuel production but they are currently underused. Feedstock for biofuel production is mostly local. Czech producers use locally grown rapeseed for biodiesel and sugar beet and grains as a feedstock for ethanol production. There is exportable surplus of feedstock available.
Policy and Programs
Czech Republic creates biofuels policy in connection with that of the European Union (EU). The regulatory framework for the EU biofuels and biomass market consists of the EU Energy and Climate Change Package (CCP) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). In the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which is part of the CCP, specific sustainability requirements are laid out for liquid biofuels. These include minimum greenhouse gas emissions reductions, land use and environmental criteria as well as economic and social criteria.
Act on Air Protection no. 201/2012 also sets mandates for individual biofuels. It is 6 percent vol. for biodiesel and 4.1 percent vol. for bioethanol.
As a result of RED implementation, domestic production of biofuels gradually grows, as well as trade (mainly intra EU). In the Czech Republic local production capacity and feedstock are still not fully used up, therefore no significant third-country imports are foreseen, unless price driven. Many of the producers use ISCC certification.
The Czech Republic introduced tax incentives for high percentage biofuels, as they are not price competitive on the market with fossil fuels. The situation, however, recently changed:
The first national Multi-year “Program of Supporting Further Utilization of Biofuels in Transportation" made possible the pure biofuels and high-percentage mixtures of biofuels in transportation in the Czech Republic (e.g. B30, B100, E85, E95, etc.) to be partially or fully exempted from excise taxes. The program was implemented into the Act on Excise Tax. This program expired at the end of June 2015.
The new, second national “Multi-year Program of Supporting Further Utilization of Biofuels in Transportation" for 2015 – 2020 was approved with delay. The plan includes a temporary increase in the excise tax in order to compensate for the period of July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, which was not covered by any approved plan but the tax exemption was still in place. The increased excise tax for biofuels is now in place for the period of January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.
Consumption of fossil fuels for transportation in the Czech Republic in the last few years has picked up along with the improving economic situation. Deliveries on the market as published by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade were:
Gasoline (000 MT)
Projection of fuel use prepared by the Czech Association of Petroleum Industry and Trade expects that the share of oil based fossil fuels in transportation will decrease to 92 percent in 2020 and to 78 percent in 2030. Consumption of gasoline in 2020 is projected at 1,811,000 MT and diesel consumption at 4,286,000 MT.
In 2015, the Czech Republic produced 104,715 MT of bioethanol. The main feedstock used in its production was sugar beet (55 percent), corn (45 percent). Production capacities involve 4 ethanol plants that could together produce nearly 300,000 MT of bioethanol annually. In 2015, as well as in 2014, only 2 of them were operating.
E85 consumption in 2014 totaled 23,288 MT. In 2015 it dropped to 12,329 MT. Recent increase in biofuel excise taxes increased price of E85 resulting in a significant drop in demand. Many distributors drastically reduced their E85 stocks and stopped offering this high-percentage biofuel.
Production capacities for biodiesel consist of 5 major plants and a few small scale ones, totaling at slightly over 400,000 MT per year. In 2015 only 3 of them produced biodiesel. Czech biodiesel production in 2015 reached 167,646 MT, with rapeseed the main feedstock.
There is one plant (Oleo Chemical) producing biodiesel from animal fat from a rendering plant in the Czech Republic. Its capacity is reported in the media at 62,000 MT per year. The production is estimated to be lower than what the full capacity would allow. It has been used for export to other European member states so far.
Biomass for Heat and Power
Use of biomass for renewable electricity and heat production has been increasing, with corn silage and agricultural waste the main feedstock. According to data published by the Czech Ministry and Trade, deliveries of electric energy produced from biomass to the grid reached 1,120,003.4 MWh in 2014.
Heat production from biomass amounted to 20,368,960.5 GJ in 2014.
Biogas has good potential in the Czech Republic and the production and number of biogas stations keep rising. Agricultural biogas stations produce approximately 88 percent of biogas in the Czech Republic. Currently there are over 600 biogas stations, however this number includes also those that have not been through a trial run yet.
Under the Rural Development Program 2014-2020 it is possible to receive support for building biogas stations and facilities producing heat and using cogeneration.
Electricity produced from biogas in the Czech Republic reached 2,583,362.5 MWH in 2014. Heat produced from biogas reached 3,964,548.0 GJ. Data for 2015 were not yet available in time of preparation of this report. Increase is, however, foreseen for 2015, as well.
Wood pellets have been popular in the Czech Republic, mainly among the producers. Their production has been growing, since they can be successfully exported (e.g. to Austria). Producers use mostly German certification, because of increased export possibility.
The share of EN plus certified pellets on the total wood pellets production has been increasing. The increasing trend in production and exports is expected to continue, consumption has been stagnating (mainly in households, because coal is cheaper and the pellet heaters can burn it as well). According to the Association for Biofuel producers, there is potential for U.S. Pellets on the Czech market.