Belgian law allows marketing fuels with a biofuel content greater than the one permitted under European standards as well as selling pure rapeseed oil to regional transport companies and drivers. Given that European standards are lacking in these two cases, exemptions have been provided by the Belgian legislature.

Exemptions for non-standard biofuels

There are two types of exemptions: the project based exemptions and those related to rapeseed.

Belgian legislation defining biofuelsThe Royal Decree of 22 November 2006 (.PDF) and conditions for tax exemptions The Royal Decree of 10 March 2006 (.PDF) allow operators to:

- introduce onto the market fuels with a biofuel content higher than that authorised by European standards for petrol and diesel (for regional transport companies or any other project);
-sell pure rapeseed oil to regional transport companies and individual drivers.

However, there are currently no European standards for either of these cases.

Exemption conditions In each of these two cases, the terms of exemptions were specified. 

The Terms of exemption

The Royal Decree of 4 March 2005 (.PDF) – RD 4 March 2005 (.PDF) – links authorisation to introduce biofuels onto the Belgian market to compliance with European standards established by CEN (European Committee for Standardisation). However, the Royal Decree allows for exemption from the rule specifying that a CEN standard must exist for a biofuel:
- if both the Minister for Energy and the Minister for the Environment consent (see procedure);
- in two particular cases, i.e.:
1. exemption procedure for projects (HTML): for the sale or supply of non-standard biofuels between a limited number of parties in the context of a specific project. Purchases of fuel with a higher biofuel content and of pure rapeseed oil by regional transport companies that use them in their own vehicles fall into this category.
2. exemption procedure for rapeseed oil (HTML): the supply of pure rapeseed oil to the end user by the farmer who grew the crop or the agricultural cooperative that processed it into oil. There is as yet no European standard for pure rapeseed oil used as a fuel. It is a replacement for diesel, but can only be used in diesel vehicles that have been modified to run on rapeseed oil.
The authorities will grant an exemption for the supply of pure rapeseed oil as a fuel to applicants who register and sign a quality certificate relating to the supply of pure rapeseed oil as a fuel.
By signing this certificate, the applicant agrees:
- to supply good-quality, stable pure rapeseed oil; its quality must meet the specifications of the German pre-standard (the DIN standard, specially developed for rapeseed oil used as fuel for modified diesel vehicles);
- to undergo inspections;
- to participate in the development of a Belgian standard for this biofuel;
- to mark the pump very clearly to indicate that it delivers pure rapeseed oil intended for use only in modified diesel vehicles;
- to give the end user correct information on the properties of pure rapeseed oil, how diesel vehicles can be converted, etc.
Exemptions are granted for renewable periods of three years. They can be withdrawn if the applicant does not comply with the conditions for exemption.
Even though no tax is levied on on pure rapeseed oil, potential producers and vendors must still identify themselves to the customs and excise authorities. This latter condition is particularly important for consumers who will be able to submit a receipt showing that the oil came from an approved producer and not from a major retail outlet.

Exemption procedure for projects

Exemptions may be requested for the sale or supply of non-standard biofuels between a limited number of parties in the context of a specific project.
The following procedure must then take place:

1. The parties involved in the project need to apply by submitting a form – Specific Project Authorisation Form (.PDF) (in French) – giving the following information:
- a precise description of the biofuel and its technical specifications;
- a precise description of the specific project, a list of the parties involved, and the conditions under which biofuels will be sold among these parties;
- the duration of the project;
- a written undertaking that the biofuel will never be offered for sale in public service stations or to an end user who is not referred to in the application.

2. Applications must be sent by registered mail to:
FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy
Directorate-General for Energy – Infrastructure Service
Boulevard Roi Albert II 16
1000 Bruxelles
Tel. general: 02/277 81 80
Fax: 02/277 52 01

3. The Directorate-General for Energy will assess the application based on the technical properties of the biofuel and sales procedure. It will send a copy of the application to the Directorate-General for the Environment within ten calendar days.

4. The Directorate-General for the Environment will consider the environmental aspects of the application.
FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Directorate-General for the Environment, Products Policy Service
Place Victor Horta, 40 boîte 10
1060 Bruxelles
Tel: +32 (0)2/524 95 46
Fax:+32 (0)2/524 96.01
email:
biofuel@environnement.belgique.be

5. The Directorate-General for Energy will notify applicants of the joint decision of the two directorates-general by registered letter within three months of receiving the application. Applications can only be approved with the consent of both the competent authorities. Reasons will be given for the decision to grant or withhold exemption.

Except for every other exemption that competent authorities could impose, the exemption decision is limited to the parties involved.

Any exemptions granted by the competent authorities to sell or supply biofuel apply only to the parties concerned. The competent authorities may impose additional conditions.
The aforementioned exemption is valid for a period of three years. It can be extended for three years by submitting a new application. It may be withdrawn if the conditions on which it was granted are not respected.