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Renewable strategy to focus on waste-derived fuels

Government proposals for nearly all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050 would boost demand for waste-derived fuels, according to a consultation.

The Department of Transport has published three associated proposals which are intended to promote sustainable renewable fuels:

  • increasing the supply of waste-derived fuels
  • encouraging production of ‘development’ fuels
  • setting a maximum level for the supply of fuels made from food crops

The consultation document said: “To incentivise renewable fuels derived from waste feedstocks, we propose to ensure that wastes eligible for additional reward are genuine wastes that do not have higher value applications. We propose to do this by incorporating the waste hierarchy concept set out in the Waste Framework Directive into the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order.”

There is acknowledgement that development fuels created from wastes using new technology have higher production costs – apart from existing, mature, feedstocks such as used cooking oil or tallow.

Eligible renewable fuels would be hydrogen, biomethane, aviation fuels, biobutanol and fuels that are compatible with standard petrol and diesel beyond current blend limits.

Transport minister John Hayes said: “The UK has committed to considerable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions – 80% by 2050 – which will require transformative changes across all areas of the economy. Transport, which accounts for around a quarter of our domestic GHG emissions, will be a key part of that transformation.

“Indeed, achieving our 2050 target will require us to make the transition to near zero-emissions in transport, and it is the Government’s ambition that, by 2040, every new car and van bought in the UK will be zero emission.”

He emphasised that the Government was looking to ensure that investment beyond 2020 encouraged waste-based and advanced fuels, while limiting the use of fuels made from crops.

The report says the Brexit vote is not expected to have a material effect on the direction of policy outlined in the consultation. 

“The decision to leave the EU means we have the opportunity to look afresh at how we can act to further reduce the climate change impact of the transport fuels we use in the UK. We want a smart, efficient approach focused on delivering the outcomes we all want to support low-carbon transport and a strong economy.”

John Baldwin, chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s biogas group, said: “The UK has a tremendous asset in its gas network, and it can be progressively decarbonised through measures such as steadily increasing the share of renewable gas.

“While the proposed changes are a positive step, we would like to see more ambition. There is an urgent need decarbonise our heavy trucks fleet, and the use of biomethane and Bio-SNG delivered via the gas grid are viable ways to do so.”

This consultation, including proposed amendments to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007, will apply across the whole of the UK and will run until 22 January 2017.






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