UK bioethanol producer Vivergo Fuels has cautiously welcomed the government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RFTO) proposal.
The UK government has made proposals to introduce a cap on crop-based biofuels in order to meet its renewable fuel obligations.
The maximum level for the use of fuels made from agricultural crops will begin at 4% in 2018 and reduce linearly year on year from 2021 to reach 3% in 2026 and 2% in 2032.
Mark Chesworth, managing director at Vivergo Fuels, said: “Whilst we welcome the government raising the renewable blending obligation and their increasing the recommended crop cap to an initial 4%, indicating that they have taken on board some of the concerns of the 93% of stakeholders who called for a high cap, we remain concerned about the proposed post 2020 year-on-year reduction. This decreasing cap is predicated on a number of uncertainties and could have serious consequences for the long-term future of the British bioethanol industry, jobs in the North of England and domestic agriculture.
“We agree with the Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP that E10 fuel makes ‘achieving our targets easier and potentially more cost effective, as well as providing an economic boost to domestic producers’. However, we would question whether E10 can be successfully introduced and sustained with a crop cap which, even at its highest point, is the lowest in Europe. We would therefore call on the government to mandate E10, enabling a swift co-ordinated roll-out and a clear and consistent message to consumers.”
Elsewhere, Jori Sihvonen, biofuels officer at environmental group Transport & Environment, said: "T&E welcomes the 4% crop cap in 2018 and the decrease thereafter. It is a move in the right direction, considering the sustainability issues of first generation biofuels.
"However, we remain concerned about the overall increase of the obligation level to 12,4% in 2032 and recommend caution about targets for development fuels for which appropriate sustainability safeguards are needed.”
This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International.
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