Biofuel quota (Biofuels Obligation Scheme - BOS)

Updated: 08.01.2019

Author: Georgios Maroulis

The National Oil Reserves Agency Act 2007 was amended by the Energy (Biofuel Obligation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2010, or simply Biofuels Obligation Scheme (BOS), which introduced the Part 5A - Biofuel Obligation - to the Act 2007. The BOS came into effect in 2010 and compelled fuel suppliers to include a certain percentage of biofuels in their annual fuel sales. In 2012 the rate of biofuel obligation was increased from 4% by volume to 6% by volume (or 6.383% by reference to petroleum products) as of 1 January 2013, 8.695% effective from January 2017 and 11.11% effective from January 2019. The scheme is administrated by a state agency, the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA).

Eligible technologies

Subject to the obligation are only biofuels.


Biofuels have to meet the requirements defined in the European RES-Directive (section 44G(4) BOS). The biofuel sustainability criteria were regulated in Ireland through the S.I. 483/2014.


Amount of quota and period of application

The suppliers of fuels have to ensure that biofuels make up at least 11.11% by volume of the company’s total annual sale of fuel (section 44D(1) BOS). NORA issues certificates for each litre of biofuel placed on the market. Generally, one certificate is issued for each litre of biofuel. However, two certificates will be awarded instead of one for biofuels produced from biodegradable waste, residue, non-food cellulosic material, ligno-cellulosic material or algae (section 44G (1) BOS).

Adjustment of quotas

The Minister (DCENR) may review the percentage rate on an occasional basis (section 44D(2) BOS).

The biofuel obligation quota was adjusted as follows: 

  • From 2013: 6.38% by volume 
  • From 2017: 8.695% by volume  
  • From 2019: 11.11% by volume

Fees and penalty charges

A NORA levy is imposed on all oil companies that are required to produce biofuels. Furthermore, an obligated party who has a shortfall in the number of certificates at the end of the obligation period shall pay to the NORA a non-compliance fee, calculated in accordance with the formula X multiplied by Y, where X is the number of certificates short and Y is the price per litre of biofuel prescribed (currently € 0.45) (section 44J (1) BOS). 


The Biofuel Obligation applies to companies that supply fuels to the market. 


Process flow

  • The Agency (NORA) opens an account ('biofuel obligation account') to each obliged party (section 44E (1) BOS) to manage the issuance, transference and cancellation of biofuels certificates. The Agency might also open an account to a biofuel producer who is not an obliged party (section 44E (3) BOS).
  • NORA issues certificates for each litre of biofuel placed on the market.
  • The certificates are tradable amongst account holders and NORA issues quarterly statements of accounts (section 44H (1) BOS). 
  • The first obligation period run from 1st July to 31st December 2010. Afterwards, the obligation period corresponds to the calendar year. 
  • By the end of each calendar year, account holders have to ensure that they have enough certificates to comply with their biofuel obligation (section 44I BOS). 

Competent authority

The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) is responsible for the administration of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme (BOS). The NORA was established by the National Oil Reserves Agency Act 2007 as a state agency under the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR).

Distribution of costs


The costs are borne by the consumers.

Distribution mechanism

The obliged companies pass on the costs arising from the quota obligation to the consumers by adding a surcharge to their fuel.


Further information

Basic information on legal sources