EIC urges Government support for biofuels

The Environmental Industries Commission is urging government to make biofuels a standard component of diesel and petrol sold in forecourts across the UK.

The industry group says this could help tackle climate change, strengthen rural economies and improve fuel security – but only with government support.

Adrian Wilkes, chairman of the EIC said: “Biofuels have huge potential benefits including tackling climate change, creating new opportunities for the rural economy and increased security of fuel supply – but the latest figures show they have just 0.2% of the market in the UK. Other countries are racing to reap the benefits of this technology but the UK biofuels industry is struggling with uncertain political commitment.”

The group is calling for annual targets towards achieving a 5.75% market share by 2010 and the introduction of a renewable transport fuels obligation (RTFO) in 2006 to ensure targets are achieved.

This will be followed by a cross party motion in the House of Commons and a meeting with the transport minister.

Biofuels are becoming increasingly attractive worldwide as oil prices surge ever higher and countries struggle to meet emission reduction targets.

In the UK, Greenergy, one of Europe’s largest biofuels producers, pioneered its ‘Field to Forecourt’ strategy to secure supplies of rapeseed for biofuels production across the UK.

This week the company also announced its first contract in the power generation sector. It has been appointed by SembCorp Utilities to supply 55,000 tonnes of short rotation willow coppice per year for the Wilton 10 power station. This new wood-burning station will be located on Teesside and will be one of the UK’s largest biomass projects, generating 30MW of electricity from 2007.

Andrew Owens, chief executive of Greenergy, said: “The UK renewables obligation is the impetus behind the creation of a new and significant biomass market, a market that Greenergy is ideally placed to service.”

Both biomass and biofuels offer farmers an opportunity to diversify away from traditional crops while improving profitability at the same time.

By David Hopkins

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