U.K. agency releases monthly report

By Erin Voegele | August 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 12, 2008 at 1:54 p.m. CST

The United Kingdom's Renewable Fuels Agency, a government non-departmental public body that is the U.K.'s independent sustainable fuels regulator, has published its first monthly report on the supply of biofuel under the Renewable Transportation Fuel Obligation. The RTFO, which came into effect April 15, requires fossil fuel suppliers ensure that a specified percentage of the transportation fuel supplied to the U.K. is made up of renewable fuels. In 2008-'09 the RTFO requires that 2.5 percent of the fuel must be from renewable sources.

The report covers the first month that the RTFO was in effect - from April 15 through May 14. During that specific time biofuel accounted for 2.14 percent of the transportation fuel in the U.K., missing the target by 0.36 percent. Biodiesel accounted for 86 percent of the biofuel, while ethanol accounted for only 14 percent.

According to the report, the market has been dominated by imports. Feedstocks are known for nearly 90 percent of the biofuel, and both feedstock and country of origin are known for 57 percent of the biofuel sold in the U.K. during the report's time period. The most widely reported feedstock was American soy, which accounted for 22 percent of the biodiesel. Brazilian sugarcane made up 79 percent of the ethanol.

During the first month, 19 percent of the biofuels met environmental standards. The RTFO's goal for the first year is for 30 percent of the biofuels to meet the standards.

Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 42 percent. However, this figure excludes the emissions from indirect changes in land-use considered in the recent Gallagher Review. The Gallagher Review, which is a report released in July that explores the indirect effects of biofuels production, was commissioned by the U.K. in response to concerns over the ecological impacts of biofuel production. The U.K. Renewable Fuels Agency has recommended that indirect effects are included in future sustainability reports and is working with the government to identify a way to do this.

"The (U.K.) Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to be able to make this first set of data available," said Nick Goodall, chief executive officer for the U.K. Renewable Fuels Agency. "We will continue to publish information as soon as we are able, and will be reporting company performance figures in our October quarterly report."

The data used to create the report is submitted by fuel suppliers on a monthly basis. The U.K. Renewable Fuel Association performs checks on the data, which is also subject to an annual verification process by auditors. The agency will publish a final, fully verified dataset at the end of the year.
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