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Waste derived biofuel benefit could be doubled under revised RTFO

Fuel companies using waste derived biofuels could receive double their current rewards, under amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) proposed by a Department for Transport (DfT) consultation.

According to the consultation, which seeks to integrate the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) into UK law, biofuels would receive double the number of Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) they currently receive, in order to incentivise the use of non-crop related fuel sources.

The consultation document stated: “The RED incentivises the use of certain feedstocks that don’t compete with food production or contribute to indirect land use change. Article 21(2) requires that biofuels made from wastes, residues, non-food cellulosic material, and ligno-cellulosic material are counted twice towards meeting the 10% renewable energy in transport target and national renewable energy obligations.

“We propose to allow any biofuel that is produced wholly from such feedstocks to be eligible for two RTFCs per litre of renewable fuel (or kg of renewable gas). Where it is made partially from such materials, the reward will reflect this.”

Under the RED, member states are required to ensure that 10% of energy used in transport comes from renewable sources by 2020, as well as introducing mandatory biofuel sustainability criteria.

According to the Department for Transport consultation document, it was decided that the most efficient way to transpose the legislation was through amendments to the RTFO.

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association chairman Lord Redesdale said: “ADBA welcomes the inclusion of a review of the RTFO as part of the UK’s plans to meet our commitments on the Renewable Energy Directive.

“To date, the RTFO has clearly failed to seriously stimulate renewable transport fuel in the UK, either from biomethane or other sources. Reviewing it offers an opportunity to ensure that the transport sector makes its contribution to decarbonising our economy – and where appropriate, upgrading biogas from AD for transport fuel offers the greatest greenhouse gas saving of any biogas use.

“For biofuels to work properly it will clearly also be vital to get sustainability criteria right, to ensure that carbon savings are genuine and significant, and that there are no unwelcome effects on land use.

“Biogas is the only renewable way of economically running the UK’s heavy goods vehicle fleets.”

The consultation closes on 2 June 2011.

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