UK should boost biofuel production, finds Royal Academy of Engineering

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 14 July 2017 in News

New report recommends using waste products such as chip fat as part of efforts to double production of biofuels

Biofuel pellets - Credit: Fotolia

The UK should take action to boost biofuel production as part of efforts to mitigate climate change, according to a new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The report, commissioned by the UK Government, found that the UK will require all possible low-carbon technologies and fuels in order to meet 80 per cent carbon reduction targets by 2050, as legislated in the Climate Change Act, with biofuels particularly important for aviation, shipping and heavy goods vehicles where there are few alternatives to fossil fuels other than biofuels.

But the authors found that if the extra emissions involved in changing land use were taken into account, using crops such as wheat to produce biofuels resulted in a higher carbon footprint than traditional fossil fuels.


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Instead, the report recommends using waste products such as chip fat as part of efforts to double production of biofuels.

The RAE recommended the government introduce incentives to encourage development of second generation biofuels, in the first instance those derived from wastes and agricultural, forest and sawmill residues, followed by dedicated energy crops.

It said government should set a cap for the supply of all crop-based biofuels to reduce the risk of indirect land-use change.

Professor Adisa Azapagic, chair of the academy’s working group on biofuels, says: “Second generation biofuels offer real prospects for the UK to make progress in reducing emissions from transport, particularly in sectors like aviation where liquid fuels are really the only option for the foreseeable future.

“Our report shows that, with the right safeguards and monitoring, biofuels from waste in particular are well worth pursuing from a sustainability point of view and also provide business opportunities for development.”

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