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Bioenergy evidence session dispels some biofuels myths


Parliament today listened to encouraging evidence on the role of biofuels in the UK

Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee today heard that UK-grown biofuels are among the most environmentally sound in the world, and have a key role to play in the UK’s energy mix.

Industry stakeholders, including REA [1] members, told the Committee that UK policy has encouraged some market development, especially the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) and the mandating of sustainability standards. However, both of these need to go further the RTFO only takes us to 5% transport from renewable sources by 2020 (the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires 10% by 2020 across all EU Member States), and UK producers well exceed the sustainability requirements mandated to date.

The Committee also heard clarification on the indirect land use change (ILUC) effects of UK biofuel production. Stakeholders enlightened the committee on the benefits of the by-products of the production process, such as DDGS [2] and rape meal, which can be used for high protein animal feed, thereby producing both food and fuel. This was discussed recently by Dr Michael Marsden in REA News [3].

There is an urgent need to decarbonise transport. The key point communicated today is that in the short to medium term, a consistent regulatory environment supporting both conventional and advanced biofuel production is absolutely essential to getting us there.

REA Head of Renewable Transport Clare Wenner comments:

“We showed back in 2009 that the EU and UK could achieve 80% of the RED-mandated 10% renewable transport target using domestically produced biofuels from current technologies [4]. While the noise around biofuels has become more and more confusing, the benefits have become more and more apparent. UK industry wants to make a contribution to the economy and the environment but it needs clear signals from Government about its commitment to the sector, and a clear trajectory to 2020. Hopefully today’s session will help the Government make these choices.”

The REA will be inputting these points to the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on the trajectory towards the 2020 target.

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