Skip to main content
EU Science Hub

JEC Alternative fuels Study


To clarify the opportunities and barriers to achieve 10% renewable energy (on an energy basis) in the transport sector by 2020, as indicated by the RED Directive, by developing a consensual fuel demand reference and supply of biofuel and alternative fuel types and availability.

To focus on fuel blends with conventional and advanced biofuels while accounting for growth in alternatives till 2020 and considering both domestic production and imports.

To ensure that the introduction of biofuel blends and alternative fuels to meet the 2020 target is seamless to consumers and results in no detrimental impact on vehicle performance and emissions, while including in the analysis the most recent updates on WTW energy and GHG implications


  1. To focus on road transport fuel demand with the development of a European "Fleet & Fuels" Model as the main supporting tool. JEC's "Fleet and Fuel" Model provides a tool to evaluate biofuel and alternative fuel implementation scenarios, anticipate renewable energy penetration and GHG.
  2. To analyse possible biofuel and alternative fuel implementation scenarios within the 2010-2020 regulatory framework, including pros and cons for each.

Key messages

A complex path comprising several options exists to achieve the target of 10% renewable energy in the transport sector sert by the RED Directive [4]

View Details

  • Vehicles:
    • Today's vehicles are E10 (from MY 2005) and B7 compatible
    • compatibility of vehicles with higher biofuel blends still to be proven and will require time, testing and investment
  • Fuels:
    • Compatibility of existing logistics infrastructure with higher grade is uncertain
    • FQD Article 7a GHG target was not achieved in the scenarios chosen in the JEC analysis
    • Coordinated development of CEN specifications is needed for higher grades
    • Higher blends must be fully utilised in order to approach RED/FQD targets
  • Biofuels:
    • Significant questions regarding sustainability, pace of development, and imports
    • Given uncertainties, ethanol and FAME are in the range needed for the RED-% target
    • Pace of non-conventional biofuel production and HVO/BtL uptake by aviation sector are especially important
  • Other issues:
    • Attractiveness of different scenarios will vary by Member State
    • Non-road contributions to RED-% target are important
    • Potential exists for higher biodiesel blends to be used in non-road transport to meet targets but will require time, testing and investment
    • Higher biodiesel blends could also be used in non-road transport to meet EU regulatory targets
    • Costs and investments could be significant and were not evaluated in the JEC Biofuels Programme
    • Maintaining consumer confidence in fuel and biofuel strategy is critical

    Fleet and fuels model

    The JEC “Fleet & Fuels” Model has been developed to enable projections to the year 2020 of road vehicle fleet development and fuel demand from that fleet based on a set of assumptions.

    View Details

    What the model does:

    The model is a scenario assessment tool enabling to project forward to 2020 the possible development of the European vehicle fleet as well as the total fuel and biofuel demand. The model is based on a 2010 reference case and assumes realistic trends in the fleet, fuel and market development over the coming decade. It further allows the evaluation of RED and FQD targets as well as the sensitivity of main parameters.

    What the model does not do:

    The model does not lead to a single globally optimised solution but does allow a side-by-side comparison of various scenarios of fleet and fuel development.

    The model does not assess the cost implications associated with the fleet & fuel scenarios.

    Due to the assumptions and simplifications selected for this study, the model is not a quantitative tool for predicting the future. No model can truly do this.

    The model can be used to simulate different combinations of vehicles, fuels, and biofuels to assess different biofuel implementation scenarios:

    • Total fuel demand and diesel/gasoline balance
    • Total biofuels demand, including ethanol and biodiesel, HVO, etc
    • Total renewable energy demand, including electricity, biogas, etc
    • Renewable energy demand for road transport to be used for RED calculations

    Vehicle and Fuels Options

    Seven LD passenger car types (and fuel type options):

    • Gasoline, Diesel, Flex-Fuel Vehicle (FFV)
    • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG)
    • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

    Three Van classes (and fuel type options):

    • Gasoline (Gasoline, CNG, LPG, xEV)
    • Small Diesel <2.5 tonnes (Diesel, CNG, LPG, xEV)
    • Large Diesel >2.5 tonnes (Diesel, CNG, LPG, xEV)

    Five Heavy-duty vehicle classes (and fuel type options):

    • 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes (Diesel, CNG)
    • 7.5 to 16 tonnes (Diesel, CNG)
    • 16 to 32 tonnes (Diesel, CNG, E95, DME)
    • > 32 tonnes (Diesel)
    • Buses and coaches (Diesel, CNG, E95)

    Adjustable parameters that can be changed individually for each vehicle type:

    • Sales and stock annual growth rate
    • Vehicle activity: annual km driven (LD, LCV), annual t-km (HD)
    • Vehicle fuel efficiency
    • Alternative vehicle 2020 sales share
    • Alternative vehicle sales start year
    • % replacement of gasoline or diesel cars by alternative vehicle
    • % use of alternative fuel in alternative fuel vehicles (e.g. E85 take-up rate for FFV)

    Fuels implementation:

    • Biofuel blending at max allowed specification (e.g., 10% v/v ethanol minus 0.1% v/v blending tolerance)
    • 3 different gasoline grades: ‘protection grade’, main grade, and E85
    • 2 different diesel grades: ‘protection grade’ and main grade
    • For the main diesel grade, market uptake by HD, LCV, LD vehicle and vehicle vintage compatibility can be independently set
    • Vehicle vintage compatible with each fuel grade
    • HVO or BTL are included into diesel pool assuming backward compatibility
    • Advanced Ethanol (cellulose based) is replacing/added to gasoline
    • ETBE: not specifically modeled but would be allowed to max oxygen spec limit

    Parameters relevant to fuel demand included (for example):

    • Passenger car, van, bus and coach and heavy-duty truck demand
    • Vehicle efficiency and improvement in efficiency over time
    • Percentage diesel in new car sales
    • Introduction of alternative vehicles (FFV, LPGV, CNGV, electric vehicle, etc)
    • Vehicle model year (vintage) assumed compatible with fuel grade

    Historical input on vehicle fleet includes:

    • Fleet composition
    • Fleet fuel economy
    • Activity (vkm, tkm)
    • Per vintage
    • Separate diesel and gasoline vehicles

    Forward-looking input for the development of the fleet to 2020:

    • New sales, total population, and total activity (km driven, tkm)
    • % diesel of new car sales
    • Vehicle scrappage rate assumed to follow a typical S-curve
    • Alternative vehicle fleets (e.g. CNGV, FFV, EV)
    • Fuel economy of new cars is based on NEDC
      • ‘Real world’ factor included to estimate total fuel demand
    • Impact of the 2008-2009 economic recession factored in
      • Model incorporates latest HD sales data (ACEA) and iTREN methodology.

Related Content

European Energy Efficiency Platform

EU renewable energy targets in 2020: 2015 legislative update: JEC Biofuels Programme