Biomethane ‘perfectly positioned’ for renewable fuel targets

The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the UK trade body for the anaerobic digestion industry, has welcomed the Department for Transport’s response to its consultation on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, declaring biomethane to be ‘perfectly positioned’ to meet increased targets for renewable fuels.

In its consultation, the DfT proposed a ‘Development’ fuels sub-target within the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation to provide more support for fuels that meet the UK’s long term energy needs and strategic objectives. A range of fuels were proposed for inclusion, including biomethane.

The consultation asked 62 respondents whether they felt biomethane should be included in the Development Fuels subtarget, of which 36 said yes and 16 said no, with ten providing comments or caveats.

“Respondents were generally in favour of supporting biomethane as a low carbon transport fuel for HGVs, but opinions varied as to whether or not they needed the additional support of the development fuels sub-target,” the government response to the consultation states.

DfT’s reforms will obligate fuel suppliers to provide 9.75% of all fuels from renewable sources by 2020, a doubling of the current 4.75% obligation that will then rise to 12.4% of all fuels by 2032, helping to align the RTFO with the Government’s Carbon Budgets. Biomethane produced through the recycling of organic wastes and energy crops is one such fuel derived from renewable sources that can help fuel suppliers to meet this new higher target, particularly for heavier vehicles for which electrification is impractical or expensive.

“ADBA greatly welcomes DfT’s increased commitment to supporting low-carbon fuels, which are essential for decarbonising the UK’s emissions-heavy transport sector and meeting our Carbon Budgets,” said Charlotte Morton, ADBA CEO.

“The rising of the obligation for renewable-sourced fuels to 12.4% by 2032 goes beyond what was originally consulted on and will create a positive investment environment for renewable fuels. As a low-carbon, low-cost, and technology-ready transport fuel that can deliver £2.1 bn in CO2e savings per year and dramatically improve air quality, biomethane is perfectly positioned to play a leading role in helping fuel suppliers to meet these increased targets,” she continued.

ADBA points out that there are 80 AD plants across the UK already producing biomethane, noting that the UK AD industry has sufficient capacity today to produce enough biomethane to power 80% of the UK’s entire bus fleet and the potential to produce enough biomethane to power 75% of all HGVs in the UK. The biogas can also be used directly on farms to fuel agricultural vehicles.

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