A new report has highlighted details of multiple alleged cases of sales of mislabelled biofuels in northern Europe.
Conducted by investigative reporting platform the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the report claimed several cases were linked to a Bosnian company that had allegedly sold thousands of tonnes of fraudulent fuel across the European Union (EU).
In one alleged case, Bosnian company Sistem Ecologica had reportedly sold US soyabean biodiesel mislabelled as next-generation fuel made of used cooking oil (UCO), the OCCRP said on 4 July.
According to Bosnian investigators quoted in the report, Sistem Ecologica had supplied 17 companies in nine EU member states – including biofuels dealers who had also reportedly been selling fraudulent UCO in the Netherlands and the UK – over several years.
“The EU’s taste for biofuels has grown since 2009, when Brussels mandated that 10% of the bloc’s transport fuel must be renewable by the end of the following decade. Demand has surged notably since 2018, when the bloc increased that target to 14% by 2030,” the OCCRP said on its website.
“Biofuels made from UCO are particularly attractive because, as waste that has been converted into fuel, some member states count them double toward the EU’s 14% target.”
In addition, UCO-based biofuels were difficult to distinguish from other blends and were rarely tested when entering the EU, the OCCRP said.
UCO fraud “completely undermines” the EU’s efforts to phase out traditional biofuels, Chelsea Baldino, a senior researcher at the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation, was quoted as saying in the report.