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Re-Fuelling the Countryside – Opportunities for low carbon transport fuels

Alternative energy sources can play a key role in reducing the use of fossil based transport fuels on-farm and in rural communities, according to an RASE Report launched today (16th June 2014).

 

rase agricultural innovation

Alternative energy sources can play a key role in reducing the use of fossil based transport fuels on-farm and in rural communities, according to an RASE Report launched today (16th June 2014).

“Re-Fuelling the Countryside:  the prospects for low carbon farm and rural transport fuels” identifies farm sourced renewable energy including biogas, electric, hydrogen and biofuels as transport fuels of the future for farms and rural communities.

“The Report highlights the opportunities for farmers to become energy generators and possibly fuel stations associated with meeting the challenges of sustainable transport in rural areas,” says David Gardner, CEO of RASE.

As well as outlining opportunities for farmers and rural businesses to produce and utilise low carbon, renewable fuels, the Report highlights barriers limiting uptake and development. Innovative solutions to current renewable fuel issues are also identified in the Report, through ongoing research, scenarios and pilot projects.

With over 56% of direct energy use in agriculture associated with fossil fuels, there is a huge opportunity for farms businesses to adopt more sustainable transport fuels. As well as financial savings, the RASE Report identifies how changes to farm machinery, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumer demands for sustainable agriculture represent drivers of change.

The Report urges Government to commit support for low carbon vehicle (LCV) deployment in rural areas as well as encourage greater integration between research centres, supply chain operators and farmers themselves to promote renewable fuel alternatives.

Dr Susan Juned, Editor and an author of the Report says: “Engaging local communities in renewable energy and transport fuel production has been shown to have positive benefits including more competition in the supply market and support for local economies. This Report highlights the potential role of Government in supporting and transforming the economic future of the farming and rural communities of the UK.”

Going forward, the RASE wishes to see more farm based demonstrators, pilot schemes, seminars and other events take place, which are essential to disseminate information on renewable fuels more widely.

Mike Woollacott from Greenwatt Technology adds: “Our farms are rich in bio-resources such as biomass, crop and livestock residues and can capture energy from the sun and wind. Conversion of these products into fuel using innovative technologies could lead towards a level of self sufficiency and start to replace diesel on the farm. Such a move will save costs, lower emissions and promote sustainable agriculture.”

The Report has been supported by the Frank Parkinson Trust, Scotia Gas Network and Cenex and prepared by Greenwatt Technology Ltd.

To download the Re-Fuelling the Countryside Report, please visit www.rase.org.uk

 

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