The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has urged the European Union (EU) to include palm oil wastes and residues in bioenergy use.

The organisation made its comments following the EU’s new public input session into sustainable biofuels and biogases, which ended on 2 January.

The MPOC said that while bioenergy from first-generation sources of palm oil continued to be debated, the assessment of agricultural waste and residue feedstocks needed urgent review.

It said the exclusion of any feedstock with a direct connection to palm oil was based on political rather than ecological grounds.

“Palm-based feedstocks in palm oil mill waste (POME) are clearly waste residues from agricultural activities that are not fit for use in the food or feed chain. These are evidenced waste products that will not cause market distortions or create additional demand for land and should not be arbitrarily excluded.”

The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) has an approved list of sustainable biofuel feedstocks in Annex IX (Parts A and B).

According to the European Commission (EC), this list must be regularly reviewed with a view to adding new materials that meet sustainability, greenhouse gas savings, and circular and waste hierarchy criteria.

According to the MPOC, an assessment of feedstocks awarded by the EC to a consortium composed of E4tech (Lead), Cerulogy, the ICCT, Navigant, SCS Global Services and Wageningen University could have provided the EU with a poorly-informed decision to exclude bioenergy from palm-based waste sources.

“The fight against climate change demands that all resources be used, as long as there is clear scientific evidence of their efficacy to reducing emissions for transport and energy. Evidence from palm oil-producing countries have proved that palm-based bioenergy is an efficient resource towards the decarbonisation of economies in both producer and user countries,” the organisation said in a statement.

It added that it was “appalled by the extreme discrimination displayed by the EU against bioenergy sources derived from palm.”