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RFNBOs under FuelEU Maritime

Updated: Jul 8

Containerships waiting at terminal for loading of containers as background for BetterSea's Monday Newsletter

Last Friday, we had another round of #FunFactFriday quizzes! 🤹 Let’s unravel the mystery of FuelEU compliance and explore the correct answers. This week's focus was on RFNBOs.

Friday's Question:

Which of the following is considered an RFNBO under the FuelEU?

Possible Answers with Given Responses:

  • e-Methanol - 86%

  • HFO/Biofuel blend - 0%

  • Bio-LNG - 14%

  • Blue Ammonia - 0%

Correct Answers:

  • e-Methanol


General Overview: Understanding RFNBOs and Their Incentives

Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs) are synthetic fuels produced from renewable electricity and carbon captured directly from the air. Here's a concise overview of RFNBOs and how they are incentivized under the FuelEU Maritime Regulation:

Definition & Compliance: 

  • RFNBOs must satisfy the definition in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II Article 2(36).

  • They must achieve at least 70% GHG emissions reduction compared to the RED comparator.

  • Compliance with renewable hydrogen criteria, including rules on sourcing renewable electricity, is required as per RED III Article 27(6).

Incentives for RFNBOs:

  • Multiplier Effect: Until the end of 2033, energy from RFNBOs counts twice in GHG intensity calculations.

  • Sub-target: A minimum use target of 2% RFNBOs of the total yearly energy use by ships applies from 2034 if the share of reported RFNBOs used by ships is less than 1% by 2031.

These measures support the uptake of RFNBOs, signalling shipping companies and fuel suppliers to invest in these sustainable fuels despite their higher production costs compared to conventional fuels.

Rationale Behind the Correct Answers for FuelEU Maritime Mitigation:

Here is why e-Methanol is the only RFNBO in the list:

E-methanol is considered green methanol, produced using renewable energy and captured carbon dioxide, making it an RFNBO under FuelEU. It complies with the criteria for renewable hydrogen and its derivatives according to RED.

Why Not the Other Options?

HFO/Biofuel blend: Not considered an RFNBO due to its biological origins. However, it can help reduce GHG intensity under FuelEU if it meets the sustainability criteria set out in RED II Article 29.

Bio-LNG: Similarly, Bio-LNG is not an RFNBO because of its biological origin but can aid in reducing GHG intensity if it meets the necessary sustainability criteria.

Blue Ammonia: Produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, Blue Ammonia is a low-carbon fuel (LCF) and not an RFNBO.

Regulatory Context:

The relevant portion of the FuelEU Maritime Regulation regarding RFNBOs is in Article 5.1 and onwards:

"For the calculation of the GHG intensity of the energy used on board by a ship, from 1 January 2025 to 31 December 2033 a multiplier of ‘2’ can be used to reward the ship for the use of RFNBO. The methodology for this calculation is set out in Annex I."

For more detailed information, refer to the full text of the FuelEU Maritime Regulation (EU) 2023/1805 on the EUR-Lex website.

We hope this explanation enhances your understanding of RFNBOs and FuelEU compliance. Stay tuned for our next quiz this Friday!

Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or are interested in learning more about how BetterSea's streamlined and end-to-end FuelEU software solution can help achieve cost-efficient and effortless compliance.

Best regards,

BetterSea Team

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