UK Biofuel Targets for Road Transport Fuel are explained in this article in accordance with the UK government regulations regarding the RTFO rules which came into force in April 2018. In the U.K., the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation came into force on April 15, 2018.
In addition to recent EU targets set, the US government has launched the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Challenge, which aims to produce 11 billion litres of sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
Meanwhile, Canada's Clean Fuel Standard is set to take effect in 2022, with the goal of reducing the GHG carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 13% below 2016 levels by 2030.
The Problem that the RTFO Regulations Seek to Address
Since 1990, transportation-related emissions in the EU have increased.
They currently account for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. There is currently no sign of a trend reversal. As a result, the transportation sector is a significant impediment to achieving the EU's climate protection targets.
The goal of the EU's strategy documents is to decarbonize transportation. ‘A clean planet for all: A European strategic long-term vision for a successful, modern, competitive, and climate neutral economy,' according to the European Commission's 2018 strategy.
Biofuels, renewable power, green hydrogen, and other advanced biofuels will be used in a diverse approach to decarbonizing road transportation in the EU.
Biofuel demand and production are growing over the world, although not at the same rate as the Net Zero scenario demands. National governments can combat this by combining regulatory measures like mandates, low-carbon fuel standards, and GHG intensity objectives with the carbon price and financial incentives.
The Benefits of Using Biofuels to Reduce Transport Emissions
Studies have shown that the use of liquid biofuels can help meet climate change targets.
A recent Royal Academy engineering report based on research carried out by the UK Department for Transport and Environment (DTE) examined the major sustainable issues associated with the use of biofuels.
The study shows that some biofuel technologies are helping the UK achieve a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to comply with UK regulations. The RTFO Regulations offer an incentive to reduce emissions from the difficult transport sector, namely aircraft, shipbuilding and heavy transport vehicles, according to the report.
The RTFO Regulations if they work to encourage the use of lower-carbon transport fuel energy sources and the incentive level is set at the right level, should ensure that biofuels are a viable option for large transport fleet operators.
<p”>They have been devised by the government to reduce greenhouse emission levels, and reduce fossil fuel use, without significant system costs or excessive importation of biofuels.
Depending on how the results were interpreted, the methodology for setting subsidy parameters is important. RTFO incentives if wrongly priced may distort the energy market and could draw in unwanted levels of import.
Where do biofuels come from?
In terms of biofuel production, Britain only consumes 2% of total global output. The British market is made up of almost three-quarters of imports of biofuel. The biggest suppliers of UK biofuel are the USA, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Belgium.
Rotterdam is Europe's major port for biodiesels and ethanol, therefore the Netherlands supplies most of it to Europe. The distance of transport of feedstocks and biofuels can work against decarbonisation goals and increase the total emissions from the vehicles which use it.
What is the Source of Biofuels?
A biofuel is a renewable energy source produced as:
- an alcohol-derived biofuel produced from starch and sugar crops like wheat and sugar cane that is mixed with gasoline in automobile engines.
- the output from biogas plants when used as a compressed natural gas substitute to fuel vehicles
- in the future a variety of chemical process biofuels is planned to manufacture biofuels from organic wastes, and several forms of plastic waste.
Bio Diesel is a petroleum-based biofuel produced mainly of vegetable fats namely rapeseed and soy and blended with standard diesel. Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a biodiesel product from vegetable oils derived from methanol or hydrogen instead of methanol as in some biodiesel.
Biofuel Production for Transport Fuels
Over sixty countries are currently planning on using biofuel as fuel in a fuel mix that will include renewables in its fuel pool. The statistics for biofuel demand has been highly variable over the past decade and the most volatility was seen during the covid pandemic. Now in 2022 demand is high again and production is rising as a result.
The IEA argues that the biofuel industry will be the largest contributor to the transportation energy supply by 2050 at around 37%. However, the report says that the growth in biofuels will only happen if the biotech industry is pursuing risk-based strategies for carbon-reducing activities.
EU Directives for Road Transport Fuel and Targets
The Directives specify a lifetime methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production (described in Article 7d(1) and Annex IV of the Renewable Energy Directive).
The European Commission has computed default emissions for several biofuel production pathways using the technique. Regulated organisations reporting biofuel under the Directives may report the default carbon intensity to the Member States without giving any extra information. The Directives also include emission values that are, on average, lower than the default.
To meet future targets in the transport sector, tighter policies will be needed especially for passenger cars, which account for 61% of road transport emissions.
The proposed reduction target for the transport sector is 13% 2030. By then diesel demand should be 10% below its 2020 levels, and bioethanol to be down by 5%.
Effect of Covid Crisis Outlook on Biofuel Demand
While the Covid19 crisis slowed down biofuel demand, rising commodity prices have also limited biofuel expansion since early 2020.
However, despite the constraints posed by the Covid-19 problem and high feedstock costs, big biofuel markets are debating a number of new measures that could promote sustainable biofuel demand. Between 2010 and 2019, worldwide biofuel usage grew at a rate of 5% per year on average. Although achieving the Net Zero Scenario's 14% average annual growth between 2021 and 2030 will necessitate even more aggressive initiatives,
RED II Legislation
This translates to a projected 26% renewables share in transportation, up from 14% under the current RED II legislation, according to officials. The recast RED II sets a sub-target of at least 0.2% for sustainable advanced biofuels in 2022, 0.5 p% in 2025, and 2.2% in 2030.
There will also be a 2.6% sub-target for non-biological renewable fuels (RFNBOs), such as hydrogen, with a GHG emissions savings requirement of at least 70%.
The goal is to ensure that existing technologies (for example, conventional biofuels), which may not be particularly effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions or cost-effective, are not encouraged to expand.
This is it be avoided during a time when more promising technologies, such as advanced biofuels, green hydrogen-based fuels, and, in particular, e-mobility, still require time to scale up production capacities. The ministry anticipates “more clarity about the availability of certain solutions that are now only attaining market maturity” by 2026.
By 2050, biofuel demand will need to be no more than half lower than 2020 levels.
Prohibiting the Sale of Internal Combustion Engine Automobiles by 2035
Along with legislation prohibiting the sale of internal combustion engine automobiles by 2035, this will gradually replace the fleet. In turn, this will reduce the demand for fossil fuel and biofuel as early as 2025, with a greater impact after 2030.
Public Concerns About Biofuels as a Competitor for Food Production in Agriculture
While biofuels are one of the very few renewable fuel sources available now for immediate road transport use, there is a danger in their use. The is a danger of rising food prices from food scarcity due to the use of food crops if the manufacture of transport fuels is at too high a level.
What percentage of farmland will be converted in order to provide rising biofuel quantities?
According to the Globiom analysis, assuming a 7% cap for food-based biofuels, land expansion results in 6.7 million hectares of land conversion globally. The GHG advantages will need to be weighed against the consequences on food production. The average GHG intensity of transport fuels in 2018 was only 2.1% lower in recent years than in 2010, according to the EEA.
From this point of view, biodiesel is a high-risk fuel. Palm oil production is seen as environmentally damaging. But in recent years, the amount of palm oil utilised in biodiesel has increased dramatically. More than half of all palm oil imported into Europe is now burned in automobiles and trucks.
If farmers who formerly farmed food crops on land now utilised for biofuel burn down a forest to grow their crop, for example, this affects direct land-use change. Direct LUC is a shift in the use of land where the product of interest is generated.
ILUC (indirect land-use change): This happens when the biofuel demand forces a shift in land usage away from where the biofuel crops are grown.
One of the strategies accessible to fossil fuel suppliers to minimise the greenhouse gas intensity of the fossil fuels supplied is to blend biofuels.
When pasture or agricultural land that was formerly used for food and feed is transferred to biofuel production, the non-fuel need must be met either by increasing current production or bringing non-agricultural land into production elsewhere.
Proposed Incentives to Grow the Output of Advanced Biofuels
Renewable hydrogen and ammonia, advanced sustainable biofuels and bio-LNG may benefit from a 10-year tax break under proposed EU legislation.
The commission suggests increased tax rates based on energy content should target fossil fuels. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) would also receive a boost under the proposals, with aircraft landing at EU airports set a 2% blended SAF target by 2025, 5% by 2030, 20% by 2035, 32% by 2040 and 63% by 2050.
Advanced fuels, such as renewable power in transportation and advanced biofuels generated from wastes and residues, have a specific target.
The EU recently passed a delegated act designating palm oil diesel as unsustainable, implying that this biofuel will no longer be regarded as a green fuel in order to satisfy the EU's 2030 renewable targets, however, there are still exclusions.
Double Counting No Longer Included
The commission has confirmed the elimination of rules that allow advanced biofuels to be included at twice their energy content, and renewable electricity for road transport to be credited at four times its energy content, or 1.5 times its energy content if supplied for rail transport.
The rest of this article was originally published in April 2018:
This includes for the first time, a new incentive for the production of fuels from waste, and bringing in new transportation sectors, such as aviation.
What do the New UK Biofuel Targets for Road Transport Fuel have to do with Anaerobic Digestion?
The government is aiming to:
- double the use of renewables in the UK transport sector by 2020,
- promote advanced biofuels from waste for use in sectors such as aviation, and
- reduce the country’s reliance on imported biodiesel.
Changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will compel distributors of transport fuel that supply at least 450,000 litres a year to sell more renewable fuel, and much of this can be biomethane as Renewable Compressed Natural Gas (RNG), from biogas plants.
The anaerobic digestion industry is the prime source to which this fuel can be made because the amount of transport fuel to be produced as biodiesel from food type crops under the new RTFO Scheme is being reduced.
The new renewable fuel targets will rise from 4.75% currently to 7.25% by the end of the year, 9.75% by 2020 and 12.4% in 2032.
In addition, the UK’s Department of Transport (DfT) said it wants the transport sector to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6% by 2020. While many will do this by the further improved fuel efficiency of new transport vehicle engines, Anaerobic Digestion is also well-placed to satisfy this requirement.
The regulations also set an additional target for advanced waste-based renewable fuels that starts at 0.1 percent in 2019 and increases to 2.8 percent by 2032. Again, most AD plants produce “Waste based” biogas already.
New biofuel targets go into effect in UK – April 2018
In the United Kingdom, British biofuel targets that took effect over the weekend “will double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector in 15 years and reduce reliance on imported diesel,” the government told Reuters. The new targets demand transport fuel suppliers that sell at least 450,000 litres a year or more to require the mix to be at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032. The changes will “increase the biofuels volume target to 9.75%t in 2020 and 12.4 percent in 3032 from the current 4.75%,” according to Reuters.
“The changes we are introducing will double our carbon emissions savings from the RTFO scheme by doubling the use of renewable fuels and reducing reliance on imported fossil diesel,” British transport minister Jesse Norman told Reuters. “This will deliver emissions savings equal to taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.” via New targets in UK
Britain says new biofuel targets will reduce diesel reliance
British biofuel targets coming into force this weekend will double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector in 15 years and reduce reliance on imported diesel, the government said on Friday.
The industry supplies fuel to transport companies such as haulage businesses and airlines. And. the changes will also reward and support the production of sustainable renewable aviation fuels in Britain. via BritainsNewTargetstoreducediesel
An initial cap of 4% crop-based biofuels is set for 2018. The cap is reduced annually from 2021 to reach 3 percent in 2026 and 2 percent in 2032.
In addition, the regulations bring renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme.
The U.K. government is also challenging the sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 6 percent by 2020. That reduction, when coupled with the RTFO changes, is expected to support the U.K.’s low carbon fuel industry while helping to make its transport sector more sustainable.
“This is an exciting time for renewable transport,” said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA. “These new regulations will fire the starting gun on the U.K.’s development of novel fuels for aviation and other forms of transport which are hard to decarbonize, and build on our leadership position in the production of renewable fuels for road transport.”
“The prospects are great for increasing the amount of renewable gas used for fueling heavy goods vehicles,” added John Baldwin, chair of REA’s Biogas Group. “Running these HGVs on green gas reduces carbon emissions by almost 90%, plus it reduces particulates, NOx and noise.
“Fleet operators such as Waitrose and Asda are already converting to renewable gas, their drivers love the new vehicles, and these regulations will encourage more fleets to do so in the future,” Baldwin added. via UK biofuel targetseffectiveApril 15
‘Tough’ biofuels targets set in updated UK RTFO
Changes to the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will ‘double’ the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector, according to a statement from the Department of Transport.
Included in the revised (RTFO) are new biofuel targets set to come into force on 15 April.
Transport fuels owners who supply 450,000 litres a year or more will be compelled to make sure their mix is at least 12.4% biofuel by 2032.
At present the target is 4.75% biofuel. The legislation will affect suppliers to transport companies such as haulage firms and airlines.
“The changes we are introducing will double our carbon emissions savings from the Renewable Fuels Transport Obligation scheme by doubling the use of renewable fuels and reducing reliance on imported fossil diesel,” said Jesse Norman, the UK’s transport minister.
“This will deliver emissions savings equal to taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road.” via biofuels targetsRTFO
Biofuels plant reopens after 4 month shutdown
The UK's largest biofuel factory has reopened after a change in the law to increase the amount of biofuels in petrol passed through Parliament.
Vivergo Fuels halted production in November blaming government delays in passing the new measures.
The £350m facility in Saltend, East Yorkshire, produces fuel from locally grown wheat. via Biofuelsplantreopens
Environmental benefits of biofuel ‘outweigh cost concerns'
An increase in the proportion of biofuels included with road transport fuel in the UK is good news, despite concerns about potential increased fuel costs.
That's according to fuel card provider Fleetcor – the owner of brands including Allstar, Keyfuels, The Fuelcard Company and Epyx.
The increase in the amount of biofuel included with fossil fuels came into force on 15 April, when the government implemented a change to the UK Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order (RTFO).
This increased the required proportion of biofuel in every litre of petrol or diesel from 4.75 to 7.25%.
An increase in this proportion is nothing new, with the government having previously implemented rises of 0.5% between 2010 and 2012, and of 0.25% between 2012 and 2013. However, it has remained at 4.75% since then.
Paul Holland, Fleetcor's chief operating officer, said that the introduction of a 2.5% increase had caused some fears that costs could rise.
However, he said that environmental benefits should be seen as enough to outweigh this.