Biofuels vital to UK decarbonisation, finds report

The UK transport industry must embrace biofuels if it is to meet EU decarbonisation targets, a Government-backed report has claimed.

The UK biofuels industry already supports 3,500 jobs

The UK biofuels industry already supports 3,500 jobs

The Transport Energy Task Force concluded that there is a 'clear role for biofuels' in UK transport despite the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The report added that the UK should only support 'sustainable' biofuels - i.e. those with a "low risk of indirect impacts on other land based industries and activities".

Biofuels are somewhat controversial, in part because of their potential impact on food crops. But a sustainable way to counteract this, according to the report, is to use wastes as feedstocks rather than growing dedicated crops.

Safeguard investment

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) - who collaborated on the report - called it an excellent example of open policy-making.

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said: "Transport accounts for about a quarter of our UK carbon emissions and this has to be reined in. The UK biofuels industry is low risk and sustainable. It has invested over £1 billion and supports over 3,500 jobs. Current and future investors now need clear and long-term policy to allow the industry to thrive."

The Transport Energy Task Force, set up by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), was established as a mechanism for stakeholders to help the Government to examine and formulate options for policy regarding transport energy.

Specifically, the Task Force's role was to explore options for meeting the 2020 EU target of sourcing 10% of transport fuel from renewable sources.

Cooking oil-powered fleets

Monday also saw the culmination of a two-year Department for Transport trial to find the most sustainable biofuel on the market.

The winner - C2G Ultra Biofuel - produced just 3% of the emissions of diesel and is produced from used cooking oil. It has powered United Biscuits lorries for the past three years and could now be rolled out to other commercial fleets.

"The benefits of recycling waste cooking oil from our food factories into Ultra Biofuel makes perfect commercial sense for United Biscuits," said head of distribution Rob Wright. "The exceptionally high carbon savings at 97% and operational simplicity of the system has provided us with an award winning environmental advantage.

"We have had no repair, maintenance or cold weather issues, and fuel consumption is virtually the same. With this track record, any professional and responsible fleet operator will want to get on board with this."

Curently a majority of edie readers oppose biofuels, but what do you think? Get involved in the debate in the poll and the comments section:

Sustainable transport at Sustainability Live 2015

The evolution of transport technology will be discussed in detail at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a session at the Energy Efficiency theatre focusing on biofuels, hydrogen and electrification and how this roadmap can be used to time fleet upgrades and changes.

The seminar will also use a series of case studies to explore both technologies, employees engagement, alternative transport modes and fleet optimisation.

Register to attend Sustainability Live 2015 for FREE here.

Brad Allen


biofuels | decarbonisation | food | hybrid | transport


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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