Renewable fuels given government boost

The Government has introduced new regulations which they hope will see the amount of renewable fuel blended in with petrol and diesel increased.

The new Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, coming into force at midnight on Sunday, April 15, will require fuel companies to more than double the amount of renewable fuel they supply by 2020. It will also introduce a new incentive for the production of novel fuels from wastes, and bring in sectors of transport that are hard to decarbonise, such as aviation.

The obligation supports fuels including bioethanol and biodiesel, as well as gases such as biomethane and renewable hydrogen.

Transport is now the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Unlike other sectors where carbon emissions are decreasing, the contribution from transport continues to grow, and overtook power generation as the largest emitter only last year.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: ‘This is an exciting time for renewable transport. These new regulations will fire the starting gun on the UK’s development of novel fuels for aviation and other forms of transport which are hard to decarbonise, and build on our leadership position in the production of renewable fuels for road transport.

‘As the transport sector is now the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions much remains to be done, and increasing the use of renewable fuel will powerfully complement the Government’s policies to support electric vehicle uptake.’

Grant Pearson, Chair of the REA’s Renewable Transport Fuels Group said:

‘The introduction of these regulations comes as a great relief to domestic manufacturers of bioethanol and biodiesel.

‘The North East, in particular, is a powerhouse of renewable fuel production and the sector is a significant local employer.  In the process of making petrol greener, my company takes low-grade wheat from surrounding farms and converts it into a protein-rich animal feed, which substitutes for imported soy products. The higher obligation levels should at some point encourage fuel suppliers to make E10 petrol available.  This is the 10% bioethanol blend which today’s cars are manufactured to run on, and which is found in USA, Canada, Australasia as well as in much of Europe.

‘All of the biodiesel used in the UK is derived from wastes and residues, and this is expected to continue.’

John Baldwin, Chair of the REA’s Biogas Group said

‘The prospects are great for increasing the amount of renewable gas used for fuelling heavy goods vehicles. Running these HGVs on green gas reduces carbon emissions by almost 90%, plus it reduces particulates, NOx and noise.

‘Fleet operators such as Sainsbury’s and Asda are already converting to renewable gas, their drivers love the new vehicles, and these regulations will encourage more fleets to do so in the future.’

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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