Low-carbon transport report highlights importance of sustainable biofuels

A new report that assesses how Government can best achieve the UK's 2020 renewable transport target has been hailed as 'an important step forward' for the sustainable biofuels industry.

The two-part report, released yesterday (18 June) by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), sets out how the UK can hit the 2020 target of 10% transport energy from renewable sources, as defined in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

The LowCVP’s first report looks at the options and recommendations to meet the Renewable Energy Directive transport target. The biggest contribution to renewable transport will come from blending ordinary transport fuel with sustainable biofuel, claim the report’s authors.

Currently, ordinary diesel from the pump contains up to 7% biodiesel and ordinary petrol contains up to 5% bioethanol. But under a new scenario recommended by the LowCVP, the bioethanol blend would increase to 10% in accordance with the current fuel specification for petrol.

The second report – A Fuel Roadmap for the UK – looks at how the UK can proceed on a pathway to decarbonise road transport fuel in the period to 2030 and beyond. It focuses specifically on the role for advanced biofuels and electric vehicles in the 2020s and beyond.

In the 2020s, two separate factors are expected to enable electric vehicles to make a significant contribution to renewable transport energy; firstly, the technology and infrastructure for electric vehicles is expected to become more widespread and cost-effective; and secondly, the share of renewable electricity in the UK grid is expected to significantly increase.

Seize the opportunity

Responding to the LowCVP’s conclusions, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) says the report will help to kick-start a debate on how to reach the 2020 target in a way that maximises economic benefit for the UK and environmental benefit for us all.

“For investment and jobs in both current and advanced biofuels, the single most important step the Government can take is to set out a trajectory in the RTFO towards the 2020 target,” said the REA’s head of renewable transport Clare Wenner.

“There’s no time to wait, and now there’s no need to wait. Government must seize this opportunity to get green transport back on track. UK biofuel producers achieve exceptional greenhouse gas savings and produce home-grown animal feed as well as sustainable biofuel. We do science and engineering very well in the UK, so with the right support for advanced biofuels, we could become a key player in this cutting-edge sector.”

According to the REA’s recent REview – Renewable Energy View: 2014, the UK sustainable biofuels sector attracted £740m investment over the period 2010-13 in spite of on-going policy uncertainty. The industry currently supports 3,510 jobs and 200 companies across the supply chain.

Dowload the full LowCVP report – Options and recommendations to meet the RED transport target – here. 

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