Green fuels key to low-carbon future, UK’s Transport Minister says

Renewable fuels will play a critical role in decarbonising the transport sector, and will complement the role of electric vehicles, Transport Minister John Hayes has said

The UK’s Department for Transport will spend £20 million on supporting twenty innovative low-carbon projects.

Speaking at a road transport conference in London, Transport Minister John Hayes said that renewable fuels will play a critical role in decarbonising the transport sector, and will complement the role of electric vehicles.

The Minister has commented that the industry should “be bold” in its pursuit of innovation.

The freight industry accounts for about 30% of the UK’s CO2 transport emissions and the money will help fleets get their new vehicles on the roads from mid-2017 onwards.

Hayes said: “Each one of these successful projects will help cut vehicle emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities.

“This is yet another important step towards this government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport to help tackle climate change. We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects.

“The funding is being delivered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK. The aim of the competition is to demonstrate new technologies and to encourage the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets.”

Next generation

Innovate UK’s Manufacturing and Materials Director Simon Edmonds said: “These 20 projects around the UK will spearhead the uptake of the next generation of innovative low emission freight and fleet vehicles.

“The impact will benefit the environment, particularly in our big cities.

“It builds on the results of previous low carbon projects with OLEV, and the data collected from this new trial will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these vital technologies.”

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

Comments come as the UK government is consulting on increasing the amount of renewable fuels blended into the UK’s petrol and diesel to 9.75% (by volume) under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. Bioethanol (blended into petrol) and biodiesel (blended into diesel) are the two main forms of biofuel used in the transport fuel mix. The UK’s biofuels are primarily derived from wastes.

Other technologies for decarbonising transport discussed at the conference include the use of biomethane (green gas), derived from food and other organic wastes, which is used particularly in heavy goods vehicles.

The role of electric vehicles and their associated infrastructure has also been discussed at the event.

 This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International.

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