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UK experts urge UK to expand biofuels mandate


A new report commissioned by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) stresses the need for more biofuels in the UK and recommends the government incentivise research and development into advanced biofuels like waste cooking oil and municipal solid waste as feedstocks in the UK.

The UK government has been under pressure to update its biofuels mandates after issuing a consultation last year on recommendations for a doubling in the country’s blend by 2020. According to the DfT, there is still no clear timeline yet as to when the UK will unveil its updated biofuels policy.

The recent report on the sustainability of biofuels, published by the British Royal Academy of Engineering, highlights the need for the clear and consistent categorization of wastes and residues in order to avoid any market distortions. Additionally, the report also considers the sub-targets for biofuels and the continuation of the double-counting mechanism proposed in the latest revision of the RTFO to be “reasonable”.

In its list of recommendations for the UK government to take into consideration, the report claims that the increased demand for crops drives the conversion of land to agriculture, with the consequent risks of an increase in deforestation and suggests setting a cap for the supply of all crop-based biofuels. Instead, the report urges the government to increase the level of biofuels required under the RTFO in order to increase competitiveness.

The report suggests the UK government consider introducing different incentives for second-generation biofuels in order to compete with first generation ones, which do not require such a great incentive.

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