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Legislative Framework

Welcome to the Legislation Section of this Platform

The content recorded below is a compilation of EU-issued documents which aims at providing an overview on the sectors touched upon by the ZEOCAT-3D project. This review specifically includes the chemical (methane and aromatics) and biochemical (biogas and biomethane) and clean energy sector. The review does not aim at being exhaustive, but at providing guidelines and available resources, and it might include further sectors, such as IT, in future updates.

For easy consultation, the review presents links to different types of EU documents, such as :

  • No XXX/Year – EU Regulations. These are binding legislative acts, which must be applied in their entirety across the EU, in all Countries. They are adopted by the EU Council.
  • COM – EU Commission communications : Proposed legislation and other Commission communications to the Council and/or the other institutions, and their preparatory papers. Commission documents for the other institutions (legislative proposals, communications, reports, etc.). These documents provide a feeling of the strategic intentions of the Commission, which will be/have been translated in EU rules and regulations by the Council and the Parliament.
  • DIR – EU Directives: These are legislative acts that set out goals for all EU Countries to achieve. Following the issuance of a Directive, Countries can devise their own laws, setting out the best route to achieve the foreseen objectives.
Title/Link Description
COM(2021) 557 final - Renewable Energy Directive Revision, amending Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parl

This directive sets a new target of 40% (up from 32%) energy use from renewables by 2030 and strengthens sustainability criteria for bioenergy. In addition, biomethane falls under the category of biogas, and is no longer limited to the transport sector. Building on the EU Hydrogen Strategy, the proposal introduces two binding sub-targets for the use of renewable hydrogen and its derivatives, respectively in the transport sector, and in industry. It also extends the existing rules for certification and traceability to renewable fuels in all sectors, and not only in the transport sector.

Commission Regulation (EC) No. 208/2006 amending Annexes VI and VIII to Regulation (EC) No. 1774/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards processing standards for biogas and composting plants and requirements for manure

This Regulation is no longer in force. Originally, it made provision to ensure that manure and derived products are used or disposed of in such a way as not to pose a risk to public or animal health. The amendments on Chapter II of Annex VI set out specific requirements for the approval of biogas and composting plants using animal by-products. These amendments were incorporated in Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009, mentioned above.

Communication COM(2021) 550 final - Communication: fit for 55 delivering EU's 2030 climate targets

The European Commission adopted a package of proposals to make the EU's climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Among the ambitious targets focusing on renewable gas production, this package includes producing 17 bcm of biomethane by 2030, saving 17 bcm.

Communication COM(2022) 108 final - REPowerEU: Joint European action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy

The European Commission proposed an outline plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, starting with gas. REPowerEU will seek to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace gas in heating and power generation. This plan also outlines a series of measures to respond to rising energy prices in Europe and to replenish gas stocks for next winter. The objectives on biomethane include boost production to 35bcm by 2030.

Communication COM/2011/0169: Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2003/96/EC restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity

The present proposal aims at:

  1. Ensure consistent treatment of energy sources within the Taxation Directive, providing a genuine level playing field between energy consumers independent from the energy source used;
  2. Provide an adapted framework for the taxation of renewable energies;
  3. Provide a framework for the use of CO2 taxation to complement the carbon price signal established by the ETS while avoiding overlaps between the two instruments. Following the issuance of the EU Green Deal, Directive 2003/96/EC is under scrutiny one more time through a public consultation issued by the EU Commission online. The adoption of a revised directive by the Commission is expected to happen in the second quarter of 2021.
Communication COM/2011/0885 Energy Roadmap 2050

Given that the EU committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group, this Energy Roadmap 2050 the is an exploration of the challenges posed by delivering the EU's decarbonisation objective, while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness. It is a precursor document to the EU Green Deal described above.

Communication COM/2014/015: A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030

This Communication presents an integrated policy framework with binding EU-wide targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions and the development of renewable energy sources and with objectives for energy efficiency improvements for the period up to 2030. This is a precursor of the EU Green Deal described above.

Communication COM/2018/0116 final - Commission General Report on the operation of REACH and review of certain elements Conclusions and Actions

This document is the second Commission report on the operation of REACH, the EU's Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals, which entered into force in 2007. It includes three important reviews for the sector: one on possible registration of polymers and two on minimum information requirements for low tonnage substances (1-10 tonnes/year). In addition, it identifies opportunities for improvement an burden reduction.

Communication COM/2018/773: A Clean Planet for all - A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy

This document presents the European Commission long-term strategic vision for the EU to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and lead the way to climate neutrality. The strategy explores how this can be achieved by looking at all the key economic sectors, including energy, transport, industry and agriculture, though an analysis based on existing and emerging – technological solutions. The strategy also shows how empowering citizens and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance or research, can get the Union to a net-zero GHG emissions, while ensuring social fairness and a just transition. The strategy mentions methane, e-methane and bio-methane in relation to energy efficiency.

Communication COM/2019/640 (final) – The European Green Deal

This document summarises the Commission’s plan to make the EU economy sustainable. This includes zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, economic growth independency from resource use and elaborating inclusive policies that leave no one behind. In particular, the attention is on boosting the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean and circular economy, and restore biodiversity by cutting pollution. The Green Deal is a key overall framework of actions, which is being implemented through the adoption of related strategies in various policy areas, including clean energy and sustainable industry.

Communication COM/2020/663 (final) – EU strategy to reduce methane emissions

The EU Methane Strategy sets out measures to cut methane emissions in Europe and internationally. Methane being the second biggest contributor to climate change after CO2, and a potent air pollutant causing serious health problems, makes it imperative to cut methane emissions in order to reach the EU’s 2030 climate targets and 2050 carbon neutrality goal. The document presents legislative and non-legislative actions directed at all stakeholders in the energy, agriculture and waste sectors, which account for around 95% of methane emissions associated with human activity worldwide.

Communication COM/2020/667 (final) - Chemical Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-free Environment

Recognising that chemicals are among the building blocks of a low-carbon, zero pollution and energy and resource efficient society, this strategy appoints at increased investment and technological innovation for the chemical industry to be able to provide safe and sustainable chemicals. The document highlights the need for sustainable-by-design chemicals, produced through non-toxic material cycles, for which the Commission commits to issue regulation and classifications, as well as funding to innovate their industrial production. Biomethane is mentioned as playing a decisive role as an energy source, but the commission mentions foreseen efforts to support chemical strategic value chains for technologies and applications relevant for the green and digital transition, which certainly include the use of biogas and biomethane beyond energy production.

Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast)

This directive is also referred to as the “New Renewable Energy Directive – RED II”, since it replaces/updates Directive (EU) 2009/28/EC. It includes a legally-binding EU-wide target of 32% for renewable energy by 2030, with an upward review clause in 2023, as well as sector-specific objectives, including an annual increase of 1.3% for renewable energy in the heating sector and an end target of 14% renewables in the transport sector by 2030. The latter, in particular, includes a sub-target of 3.5% for advanced biofuels and biogas. In general, the Directive aims at facilitating access of biomethane to the natural gas grid, extends guarantees of origin from renewable electricity to renewable gas, and eases the cross-border trade of biomethane. The policy also regulate the production of biogas and biomethane by introducing sustainability thresholds for all energy sectors. Biogas and biomethane must reach 65%-80% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuel. Annex IX lists sustainable feedstock types and Annex VI determines the default emission values for different pathways, both Annexes are subject to periodical reviews. The Directive includes a deadline for transposition into EU Member States national law by 30 June 2021.

Directive (EU) 2018/2002 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency

The “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package” (Clean Energy Package) a “rule book” addressing clean energy issued in 2015, was revised between 2018 and 2019. The result were eight Directives in different fields, all aiming at updating the EU energy policy and facilitating the transition to non-fossil fuels. The most poignant EU Directives within the package are the directive on energy efficiency and the directive on use of renewable sources. The first one, in particular, sets a target of at least 32.5% energy efficiency by 2030, relative to a ‘business as usual’ scenario.

Directive (EU) 2019/692 amending Directive 2009/73/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas

This directive, issued by the European Parliament and the Council on 17 April 2019, amends the so-called Gas Directive (2009/73/EC) as an improvement to the functioning of the EU internal energy market. This amendment aims at clarifying the previous version to ensure that all major gas pipelines entering EU territory comply with EU rules and are operated with the same levels of transparency and efficiency applied within the Union. The revision also aims at expanding competition opportunities among gas suppliers and at strengthening energy supply security and sustainability.

Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC

This Directive establishes a common framework for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources with a set of goals such as national targets consistent with a 20 % share of energy from renewable sources and a 10 % share of energy from renewable sources in transport in Community energy consumption by 2020. Within this directive, biogas is recognised as significant for heat, power production and biofuel use, given its greenhouse gas emission saving potential.

Directive 2009/30/EC on the promotion of biofuels for transport (Fuel Quality Directive)

This Directive established the first sustainability criteria and requirements to reduce greenhouse emissions produced by fuels, in order to reach the goal of 10% reduction.

Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control - IPPC) (recast)

This Directive lays down rules on integrated prevention and control of pollution arising from industrial activities. It sets out provisions to prevent or reduce emissions into air, water and land and to prevent the generation of waste.

Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure

The Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (DAFI), was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 29 September 2014. Specifically:

  • Requires Member States to develop national policy frameworks for the market development of alternative fuels and their infrastructure;
  • Foresees the use of common technical specifications for recharging and refuelling stations;
  • Paves the way for setting up appropriate consumer information on alternative fuels, including a clear and sound price comparison methodology.
Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 (Animal by-product Regulation)

This regulation lays down public health and animal health rules to prevent and minimise risks and ensure the food and feed chains are kept safe. The regulation also applies to all product to be transformed in biogas and then transformed in other relevant products for the cosmetics sector, for medical devices and veterinary medicines.

Regulation (EC) No 715/2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks

This regulation, also called “2009 Gas Regulation”, lays down rules for access to:

  • natural gas transmission networks;
  • gas storage; and
  • liquefied natural gas facilities.

The rules included aim to counteract barriers to competition in the EU’s market for natural gas and to ensure its smooth operation. Key points of the regulation:

  • how tariffs (solely for access to networks) are set;
  • the services to be offered;
  • the allocation of capacity to gas transmission system operators (TSOs)*;
  • transparency requirements (such as rules on publishing how they arrive at their tariffs and their tariff structure); and
  • balancing rules and imbalance charges on the market.
Regulation (EU) No. 2021/1119 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’)

The regulation highlights the need to transition to a safe, sustainable, affordable and secure energy system relying on the deployment of renewables, a well-functioning internal energy market and the improvement of energy efficiency, while reducing energy poverty.

Other useful resources and summary documents:

Title link Description Source

This article, published in January 2022, compares and analyzes the relations between the biogas development and the national policy frameworks for biogas solutions in eight European countries, namely Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden.

Biofuels journal from Taylor and Francis Online

Useful summary of EU legal frameworks in the case of 3D printing, with attention to EU standards for printers and products used in medical context (with reference to chemicals).

EU Commission

This interactive search tool offers an overview on EU’s legislation by single substance. It allows to search the database and land on comprehensive infocards and factsheets, frequently updated, which summaries include scope, obligations, exemptions, regulatory activities and lists of impacted substances, together with links to full legal texts in all EU languages.

European Chemical Agency (ECHA)

This page summarises useful resources concerning the sector, the challenges it faces and what the commission does to foster its competitiveness. It includes information on regulation; key players; classification, labelling and packaging; and information on specific chemicals.

EU Commission – Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

This document summarises the regulatory framework governing anaerobic digestion and biogas production in EU Member States by first analysing European Policies, Regulations and Directives and then going into the details of national legislation.

EU H2020 Project “SYSTEMIC: Systemic large scale eco-innovation to advance circular economy and mineral recovery from organic waste in Europe”


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