Furthermore, in terms of security of energy supply, there is growing concern for the current situation of transport sector that depends on crude oil for more than 99%.
In the above mentioned Green Paper the European Commission has also identified the measures to tackle these problems and, among them, one the most important is the promotion of alternative fuels; the ambitious target that has been proposed by the Commission is to replace 20% of conventional fuels with substitute fuels by 2020.
According to the Commission White Paper “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” the most promising forms are biofuels in the short and medium term, natural gas in the medium and long term and hydrogen in the very long term.
On the basis of the above mentioned Papers, in 2003 the European Union has adopted two Directives, the EC/2003/30 and the EC/2003/96, with the overall objective of promoting the use of biofuels. The first Directive set the targets for market share of biofuels for 2005 (2% in terms of energy content) and 2010 (5.75%); the second Directive set the framework for tax incentives for the promotion of biofuels.
Biodiesel is currently the most produced biofuel in Europe: the production in 2003 was about of 1500000 (EU25) tons with an increase of more than 32% compared to the 2002 figure. Within this policy framework, the Joint Research Centre and the European Biodiesel Board have decided to cooperate to investigate the effect of biodiesel on pollutant emissions from diesel engines. In particular, in this report the effect of biodiesel fuels produced from different raw materials on the regulated emissions from light duty diesel vehicles are compared to the effect on other regulated and unregulated pollutants.