There is no reason to believe that the limited addition of two types of biodiesel to petroleum diesel accounts for an additional increase in harmful emissions from road traffic. This has become clear from an inventory of available data drawn up by RIVM and TNO.
The assessment is based on literature studies. The limited available data suggest that hardly any changes in toxicity occur by adding small amounts of biodiesel to fossil diesel.
Sustainable energy sources
The use of biodiesel helps to achieve the target for sustainable energy in the Netherlands. It is expected that engine emissions in Europe will drop significantly in the coming years because of the latest emission legislation. Only a small percentage of the reduction will be the result of replacing petroleum diesel with biofuel.
The study examines the effects of adding FAME biodiesel ("Fatty Acid Methyl Ester") of up to 7 percent by volume. For passenger vehicles with a diesel particulate filter it will most likely not be possible to exceed 7 percent by volume of FAME biodiesel (technical limitations). The limited data available do not show that the addition of up to 7 percent by volume of FAME biodiesel leads to any additional health damage.
The effects of adding HVO biodiesel ("Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil") of up to 30 percent by volume are also being studied. The limitations on percentages by volume that apply to FAME, do not apply to HVO biodiesel. However, the use of HVO biodiesel in percentages higher than 30 percent by volume is unlikely. It is expected that HVO biodiesel blends of up to 30 percent by volume will emit less toxic emissions than pure fossil diesel. This expectation is based on the high purity of HVO biodiesel and on the knowledge that the structure of this type of biodiesel corresponds with that of petroleum diesel. Currently there are no toxicological studies available to confirm this assumption.