U.K. meets renewable transportation fuel goals

By Erin Voegele | September 16, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 9, 2008 at 2:40 p.m. CST

The United Kingdom's Renewable Fuels Agency, an independent sustainable fuels regulator, released its first quarterly report Oct. 7. The report includes disclosures of company performance on the supply of biofuels under the Renewable Transportation Fuel Obligation, which was implemented April 15. The RTFO applies to refiners, importers and others who supply more than 450,000 liters (119,000 gallons) of fossil-based road transportation fuels annually to the United Kingdom.

According to the report, biofuels accounted for 2.61 percent of road fuel in the U.K. during the quarter, exceeding the 2.5 percent goal. Biodiesel accounted for 84 percent of the renewable fuel and ethanol accounted for 16 percent.

Under the RTFO, 30 percent of the renewable fuel for the year is supposed to meet qualified environmental sustainability standards. Currently 20 percent of the biofuels meet the standard, but those standards were met by 97 percent of the biofuels manufactured from U.K. feedstocks.

The biofuels achieved a 44 percent reduction in carbon during the quarter, which exceeds the 40 percent target set for the first year of the RTFO. The savings reported exclude emissions for indirect changes in land use. The U.K. Renewable Fuels Agency has recommended that indirect effects are included in future sustainability reporting and is working with the government and experts to identify a way to accurately reflect this in future reports.

Targets set by the government specify that companies should report 50 percent of the data required by the U.K. Renewable Fuels Agency in four categories: feedstock, country of origin, sustainability and land-use change. This quarter, 61 percent of the data was reported. Feedstock origin is known for 95 percent of the biofuels. Both feedstock and country of origin are known for 72 percent. The most widely reported biodiesel feedstock was American soy, accounting for 25 percent of all biodiesel. The most widely used ethanol feedstock was Brazilian sugarcane, which accounted for 75 percent of all ethanol.
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