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Boost to fuel-from-waste projects

The Department for Transport has launched a £22m competition to back projects producing fuel from waste for lorries and aircraft.

It is anticipated that the fund could help deliver up to five new low-carbon fuel plants by 2021, powering large vehicles for which electric power is not viable. Planes and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90% less carbon than traditional fossil fuels.

Fuel from waste products is likely to be more sustainable than current crop-based biofuels, already used in some road-based vehicles.

The new fuels are chemically similar to conventional fuels, so they can be used in aircraft and vehicles without the need for engine modifications.

The transport department says it has already had interest from more than 70 groups in bidding for the funding under the F4C competition.

The challenge follows a feasibility study earlier in the year by Ricardo Energy & Environment and E4tech (UK). The authors found that low-carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600m a year to the British economy by 2030 and support up to 9,800 new jobs.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “We want every new car and van in the UK to be zero emission by 2040, but we know lorries and aeroplanes will rely on more traditional fuels for years to come so we must promote environmentally friendly alternatives.

“The Future Fuels for Flight and Freight competition is part of the Government’s modern industrial strategy, which sets out to support evolving industries with the potential to boost the economy.”

Sujith Kollamthodi, sustainable transport practice director at ricardo said: ”We are delighted that our recommendations have been implemented in the recently launched new F4C competition.”

Meanwhile, the transport department has given £4.8m for 110 buses in the Bristol area running on methane from sewage. The funding is part of an £11m pot for councils and bus companies under the Government’s ‘low emission bus scheme’.

Successful bidders will use the funding to buy new electric and gas buses, and to install stations to fuel or charge them.

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