Does your business have charging stations where cars, vans, and trucks are charged daily? If so, read on to discover the potential additional income you can generate with HBEs.
Renewable fuel units (HBE - 'hernieuwbare brandstof eenheid'), are certificates received when providing charging electricity to transport. These certificates are tradable and have a market price, and by selling them you can earn up to 1,500 euros annually per double AC charging station, depending on the circumstances.
||| In this first article of the series, we’ll give you an introduction to HBEs, and everything you need to know to get started.
What are HBEs / Renewable Fuel Units?
A Renewable Fuel Unit is a certificate representing 1 GJ of clean energy delivered to transport. Suppliers of fossil fuels are required to own HBEs for a portion of their deliveries to transport (in 2023: 18.9%). This can be done in a few different ways, like delivering biofuels, or providing electricity to transport. The certificates are created when they are recorded in the Energy for Transportation Register (Register Energie voor Vervoer - REV) of the Dutch Emission Authority (NEa).
The HBE market mechanism has been set up to comply with EU legislation which requires member states to increase the share of renewable energy in transport and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from fuels. Each country fulfills these obligations differently, so HBEs are only valid and tradable in the Netherlands.
At the moment, 97% of the HBE market is made up of biofuels, while bookings of HBEs from electricity deliveries are still relatively small. With the rapid introduction of electric vehicles, the benefits of generating HBEs are growing and voluntary participation in the HBE market can generate significant income, now and in the future. These additional earnings strengthen the already strong business case for new charging stations, whether they are public, for employees, or for business logistics.
Who can get started with HBEs?
Any business with on-site charging infrastructure providing sustainable electricity to transportation can voluntarily participate in the HBE market mechanism.
There are however some conditions to be able to register HBEs:
The booker is a business (registered in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce) that supplies electricity to road vehicles or inland waterway vessels.
The booker owns the main network connection of the location.
The booker thinks they can sell sufficient electricity from the charging plaza. There are administrative costs associated with registering HBEs so the process only becomes economically interesting from a certain delivery size.
Charging infrastructure with deliveries starting from 15,000 kWh per year can already be considered if there is also solar generation locally. Without local generation, a charging plaza starting from 60,000 kWh per year can be interesting.
||| Want to know whether your charging infrastructure meets this threshold? Contact us, and we'll figure it out together!
How many HBEs are generated when charging an EV?
As mentioned, 1 HBE represents 1 GJ of delivered sustainable energy. Because electric cars and charging stations often measure in kWh, we can convert an HBE into kWh:
The sustainable part of the energy supply counts towards HBEs. For deliveries from the grid, this is set at 30.4%, based on the average share of green electricity in the Netherlands over the past two years. With local generation from sources like solar or wind, 100% sustainable electricity can be supplied and also booked.
In addition, there is also an extra incentive factor of 4 for bookings of electricity supplies. This multiplier is used because electric transport is generally much more efficient than vehicles with combustion engines.
||| You can read how to measure and record this in part 2 of our series.
How much money can you earn with HBEs?
The price for HBE certificates is determined by a market mechanism. Major fuel suppliers have to make their supplies more sustainable and must own more and more HBEs. Companies that voluntarily book HBEs and are not subject to an annual or reduction obligation can sell their certificates. HBEs are not a subsidy; it's a market mechanism where fossil fuel suppliers help pay for the supply of sustainable energy for transport.
The price for an HBE certificate fluctuates around 10 - 15 euros and is largely determined by the trade in biofuels. An average public double charging station supplies 4,000 to 8,000 kWh per year. An average DC charger can deliver 25,000 to 50,000 kWh per year.
Bookings with grid electricity
Bookings with local generation
AC charger - low
AC charger - high
DC charger - low
DC charger - high
||| Detailed calculations, scenarios, and revenue models in part 3 of the series.
Part 2: Correctly measure and record HBEs
Part 2 of our HBE series revolves around measuring and correctly recording HBEs. Because only what you measure correctly can be put on your HBE balance sheet and therefore generate you income.
This article is written by Woytek Bode, an HBE expert at Koolen Industries. Want to get started right away? Or want to know your HBE earning potential? Contact Woytek via email.