Industry groups have supported Department for Transport proposals to increase an obligation on business to use renewable fuel from waste.
The department says the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will be increased from the current 4.75% to a 2020 target of 9.75%, rising to 12.4% by 2032.
The consultation period for a range of measures to amend the existing RTFO ran from November 2016 and ran until January 2017.
A sliding scale for the maximum contribution from fuels made from agricultural crops used to meet the obligation will be introduced. The maximum level will begin at 4% in 2018 and reduce linearly year-on-year from 2021 to reach 3% in 2026 and 2% in 2032.
The level is intended to provide a market for domestic producers to utilise installed capacity, to ensure that E10 fuel could be deployed as a cost effective means to meet supplier obligations, and to provide a clear pathway towards higher contributions from waste derived fuels.
The proposals have been welcomed by the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) which said the UK AD industry had sufficient capacity to produce enough biomethane to power 80% of the UK’s entire bus fleet and the potential to produce enough biomethane to power 75% of all HGVs.
Chief executive Charlotte Morton said low-carbon fuels were essential for decarbonising an emissions-heavy transport sector and meeting our carbon budgets.
“The rising of the obligation for renewable-sourced fuels to 12.4% by 2032 goes beyond what was originally consulted on and will create a positive investment environment for renewable fuels.
”As a low-carbon, low-cost, and technology-ready transport fuel that can deliver £2.1bn in CO2e savings per year and dramatically improve air quality, biomethane is perfectly positioned to play a leading role in helping fuel suppliers to meet these increased targets.”
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) was concerned that capping the use of crops in the production of some fuels will threaten jobs and manufacturing capabilities.
REA chief executive Dr. Nina Skorupska said: “The decision to decrease the use of sustainable crops in renewable fuel production to 2% raises the question whether fuel suppliers will supply an increasing amount of renewable bioethanol.
“The Government’s own Transport Energy Task Force recommended that increasing the amount of renewable bioethanol into petrol to 10% would be the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions from petrol.
“If this fuel is not introduced this would destroy an immediate route to low carbon fuels and improved air quality.”