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New report on biofuels and cutting CO2 levels

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new report from Element Energy which was commissioned by BP has said that blending higher levels of biofuels into road transport fuels could be a more cost effective way of cutting the UK emission levels within the transport sector than producing electric cars.

Money talk

The report has said that spending £ 336 million to approximately quadruple the level of biofuels blended into road transport fuel from 5% to nearly 19% could cut the UK’s car emissions by 27% /y by 2030. These increased levels would only cost the consumer an extra £ 13 at the pump. This initiative would achieve the same level of emissions cuts as electric vehicles, which would cost £ 1.2 billion in customer incentives, according to the report.

There are no certain predictions for the uptake of electric vehicles. Current figures range from 2 – 10% of the market by 2020 and anywhere from 5 – 45% by 2030. Therefore, according to the report, biofuels that can operate with internal combustion engines will be crucial in realising emissions reductions. They can also provide a low carbon fuel for hybrid and plug in hybrid vehicles, reducing the risk of technology lock in.

Comments on biofuels

‘In the long term, electric plug in and fuel cell vehicles are likely to play a significant role in the transport mix. But we also expect high numbers of ICE derived vehicles to still be in circulation by 2030, so lower, carbon liquid fuels have to play a major part I meeting the UK’s CO2 targets,’ said Alex Stewart, associate director of Element Energy.

The downside

Stronger policy signals will be needed to encourage the industry to produce the advanced drop in fuels derived from feedstocks such as algae or waste that do note compete with food. Also, there is only one advanced biofuels plant currently in operation within the EU.

Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd

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