Biofuels International Conference and Bioenergy Insight Conference Cover Range of Issues
by Liz Gyekye (Bioenergy Insight) The future of bioethanol, advanced biofuel developments and an uncertain policy landscape were some of the hot topics discussed at this year’s Biofuels International and Bioenergy Insight conference.
The conference took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 4-5th October.
Rob Wakely, head of low carbon fuels division, energy technology and international directorate, at the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), kicked off proceedings on day one.
Wakely discussed the UK’s Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RFTO), which is a legal requirement on fuel suppliers to supply a set percentage of sustainable renewable fuel. It is currently set at just under 5%.
It is classified as a tax and spend measure by Her Majesty’s Treasury, and is worth around £450m (€504m) per annum.
He said advanced low-carbon fuels can tackle plane and truck emissions. Produced from wastes, they offer more than 95% carbon savings, but the fuels “we need most are still largely pre-commercial”, Wakely maintained.
Although he emphasised that electrification was the government’s preferred means of decarbonising road passenger transport, he said that demand forecasts indicate that even if all new cars were electric from 2020, only around 10% of UK transport energy demand would come from electricity in 2030.
Elsewhere, Shell’s general manager for advanced biofuels, Andrew Murfin, emphasised how Shell was one of the world’s largest blenders and distributors of biofuels.
Separately, Grant Ensus, commercial manager at Ensus, debated over UK policy uncertainty. In relation to ongoing uncertainty for UK producers, Pearson posed some questions, including the following:
- What will the size of the market be as we move through the 2020’s?
- Will fuel companies introduce E10?
- If they do introduce E10 when will it happen?
- Will the crop cap really not impact bioethanol demand potential until late into the 2020s?
He also said that first-generation producers can and should be a route to developing novel fuels.
Separately, Chris Stark, director of energy and climate change for the Scottish government, discussed Scotland’s final climate plan and the promise of using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage.
Elsewhere, William Strauss, founder and president of consultancy Future Metrics, talked about the recent trends and forecasts in global wood pellet supply.
As long as the growth rate equals or exceeds the harvest rate, the net stock of carbon held in the forest landscape is held constant or is increasing, Strauss added. READ MORE