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European renewable ethanol producers have launched a legal challenge to the European Union (EU)’s FuelEU Maritime Regulation claiming that it has violated several key EU legislative procedures by not recognising the benefits of sustainable crop-based biofuels, European renewable ethanol association ePURE said.

Filed with the General Court of the EU on 18 December by ePURE and Hungarian biofuels company Pannonia Bio, the aim of the legal application was to annul a section of the legislation that classes crop-based biofuels as having the same emission factors as the least favourable fossil fuel pathway, ePURE said on 31 January.

Due to that classification, the FuelEU Maritime Regulation excluded Renewable Energy Directive (RED)-compliant crop-based biofuels from the maritime sector’s decarbonisation objectives, the association said.

“The EU’s patchwork approach to crop-based renewable ethanol – confirming its sustainability and importance in the Renewable Energy Directive but sidelining it in FuelEU Maritime and RefuelEU Aviation – is more than just discriminatory. It also jeopardises the EU’s ability to meet ambitious decarbonisation targets,” ePURE director general David Carpintero said.

“Given the importance of achieving Europe’s goals for climate change mitigation, energy independence, food security and strategic autonomy, the EU should make better use of … domestic solutions such as renewable ethanol.”

The ethanol producers also claimed that the European Parliament and the Council’s assessment had not been based on scientific and technical data and that the methodology used to calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the energy used on board ships was not consistent with the RED’s biofuel GHG emission calculation.

“Europe will be a climate laggard when the global maritime and aviation markets harmonise around solutions such as sustainable crop-based biofuels that the EU has ruled out but that are affordable, scalable and have low carbon intensity,” Mark Turley, CEO of ClonBio Group, the owner of Pannonia, said.

“EU investors like Pannonia are now choosing the USA for new investments [due to] EU transport decarbonisation policies.”