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Biofuels in Belgium

In the strongly regionalized state of Belgium a distinction can be made between federal policy and regional policy regarding renewable energy sources (RES). The incentive schemes for RES are most dominant at the regional level, while on the federal level the RES policy is imposed in more general terms. Attention for energy saving activities exists at both levels. For electricity, the green certificate trading and quota system has been implemented for both Flanders and Wallonia. The certificates can be traded at regional level or at federal level. The three regional energy agencies are: VIREG (Flemish Region), DGTRE (Walloon Region) and IBGE (Region of Brussels Capital). The main renewable contribution in the Belgian energy mix comes from combustible renewable biomass and waste sources. In Flanders, generation from renewable sources is expected to rise to 6% by 2010, being at 2% in 2004. In Wallonia, the objective for 2010 is a raise to 8% at the horizon 2010. In both regions there is a fast growing electricity generation coming from wind energy. Brussels-Capital has, because of its limited surface and electricity generation capacity, very limited renewable energy facilities, being mainly solar thermal demonstration projects.

According to the Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources the target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy in the year 2020 for Belgium is 13% (in the year 2005 the share was 2.2%). The Directive has a mandatory 10 % target for transport to be achieved by all Member States, which refers to renewable sources as a whole, not biofuels alone.

Renewable energy projections according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for Belgium

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) for Belgium was submitted in December 2010. The target according to Annex I of Directive 2009/28/EC is 13% for the year 2020 and the projected NREAP share in that year exactly matches the target.  According to the projection, the most important contribution in the year 2020 is expected from biomass (renewable heating and cooling) (2034 ktoe, 38% of all renewable energy). Second important contribution is expected from biomass (renewable electricity) (11.0 TWh or 949 ktoe, 18% of all renewable energy). The third largest contribution is from wind power (10.5 TWh or 901 ktoe, 17% of all renewable energy). Wind power contributes with 4.3 GW (10.5 TWh). For solar photovoltaic the 2020 contribution is projected to be 1.3 GW (1.1 TWh). For solar thermal the 2020 contribution is projected to be 199 ktoe. The two most important biofuels are projected to contribute 698 ktoe (biodiesel) and 91 ktoe (bioethanol / bio-ETBE) by 2020. The renewable electricity production from solid biomass amounts to 9.6 TWh (823 ktoe) and for biogas it is expected to be 1.4 TWh (124 ktoe). The consumption of renewable heat is expected to amount to 1947 ktoe for solid biomass and 55 ktoe for biogas.

Renewable transport fuels from biomass
Belgium implemented regulations of the European Commission through national law. Firstly, the Directive 2003/30/EC, which set goals of 2% in 2005 and 5.75% in 2010 for the use of biofuels as transportation fuel. Secondly, Directive 2003/96/EG, which sets the conditions for regulating taxes on biofuels for electricity generation and as transportation fuel.

The law on biofuels ("Wet betreffende de biobrandstoffen"/"Loi concernant les biocarburants") of 10 june 2006 reduces the excise duties on diesel oil containing at least 3,37% biodiesel and on gasoline containing at least 7% ethanol of non-chemical nature. The Act allows as well the use of rapeseed oil and motor fuels containing a higher percentage of biofuels by the regional public transport companies exempt from excise duties. Call for tender are envisaged for the marketing of biodiesel and ethanol in a programme up to 2013. According to the Royal Decree of 10 March 2006 ("Koninklijk besluit betreffende koolzaadolie gebruikt als motorbrandstof"/"Arrêté royal en matière d'huile de colza utilisée comme carburant") the use of pure rapeseed oil in transport is exempted from excise duty as of 3 March 2006.

For flanders, the agricultural sector, farm crops for biofuels enjoy different support schemes. Companies making environmentally friendly investments in the Flemish Region are entitled to an ecological premium. Average percentages of this premium are 35% for SMEs and 25% for big companies.

The region of Brussels, agonized by high traffic loads and poor air quality, incites citizens to exchange their car and use other, more environment-friendly means of transport. The ‘Bruxel'air premium’ provides a public transport plus a car sharing subscription for one year when a car is withdrawn. In case one decides to have the car demolished, an additional premium is granted (only for older cars up to 1996). A different scheme incites people to opt for efficient cars: a tax rebate of 15% (up to maximum 3280 euro) in case the emission is less than 105 g CO2 per km. For an emission between 105 and 115 g CO2 per km uitstoot, the tax rebate of 3% (up to maximum 615 euro) is granted.

The table below lists the main biofuel-related measures in Belgium. The table has been taken from the ELOBIO project.



Valid until


Tax incentives / mandates



PPO exempt from tax, on condition of local scale



Quota system for biodiesel, with tax reduction from October 2006



Quota system for bio-ethanol, with tax reduction from October 2007






Other incentives / support programmes



Support to fleet demonstrations of biodiesel



Investment support to bio-ethanol facility in Wallonia.



Flemish minister for transport stops initiative of public transport company to drive on B5






Market conditions



In 1996 there was already 80,000 tonnes biodiesel production capacity in Belgium, mainly supplying the French market. In 2000 these facilities were stopped or only used for oleo-chemical purposes.



Market uptake of biodiesel is disappointing, with only a quarter of the biodiesel quotum put on the market.


Future programme changes expected
Calls for tender might become into operation for the marketing of biodiesel and ethanol in a programme up to 2013.No further information is available on future programme changes.

Interactive EurObserv’ER Database, 2007 (sourced May 2008) (sourced May 2008) (sourced September 2008) (sourced September 2008)

ELOBIO, Inventory of biofuel policy measures and their impact on the market, September 2008,

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Entry into force on June 25th, 2009), download from

The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) are all published on the Transparency Platform on Renewable Energy: (sourced July - December 2010)

Renewable Energy Projections as Published in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European Member States, (sourced December 2010)

 Interactive EurObserv’ER Database
Last update: December 2010

This information can be referenced without permission provided that the source is mentioned completely and correctly: 'Interactive EurObserv'ER Database, (date of last update)'

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The EurObserv'ER barometer is a project supported by the European Commission within the DG ENER 'Intelligent Energy Europe' programme and by Ademe, the French Environment and Energy management Agency. The EurObserv'ER Barometer is the result of the investigation and research work of its authors. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.