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LowCVP studies map out routes to decarbonise road transport fuels

Wed 18 June 2014 | Back to news list


(LowCVP news release)The LowCVP, which has been at the forefront of policy formation for fuels in the UK, has today published twin reports which set out how the UK could meet the targets for 2020, defined in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, and proceed on a pathway to decarbonise road transport fuel in the period to 2030 and beyond. 

The publication of the reports follows closely on the move to provide greater clarity in policy direction for biofuels, a move which the LowCVP welcomes. This is the result of a decision by EU Energy Ministers on Friday 13 June, to re-structure the nature of the targets in the EU Renewable Energy Directive following the European Commission’s proposals on indirect land use change. This decision should end many years of debilitating uncertainty for the UK biofuels industry and enable the fuels sector to re-engage in the vital effort to decarbonise road transport. 

The UK’s long term climate strategy implies a virtual decarbonisation of road transport by 2050.  Cutting emissions through the full life cycle of fuels and energy supplied for transport is an important part of the challenge and requires clear long term policies from the UK to build on the most recent announcements from the EU. 

The LowCVP – the stakeholder body which brings government, industry and other stakeholders together to focus on the challenges of decarbonising road transport - commissioned Element Energy to analyse the UK’s options for meeting the Renewable Energy Directive’s (RED) 2020 transport target which states that at least 10% of the final energy consumption in transport must come from renewable sources. This and the parallel Fuels Roadmap report benefitted from wide industry consultation and explicitly set out to align with existing powertrain roadmaps (including those published by the Automotive Council and the LowCVP). 

In the first report – RED Scenarios1 the researchers looked at four of the most promising scenarios to assess the best way for the UK to comply with the 2020 target. It found that adopting a majority combination of 10% ethanol in petrol (E10) and 7% biodiesel in diesel (B7) was the most pragmatic way of achieving the target with the vehicles and infrastructure available over the next five years. To achieve this objective, however, would require full uptake by consumers and operators of E10 and B7 and that a significant volume of double counting blendable RED compliant material were available to the market. 

Speaking today at Platts Biofuels Conference in Prague, LowCVP Policy and Operations Director Jonathan Murray welcomed the recent decision coming from the EU energy ministers to clarify the RED: “These reports bring into focus the challenging area for policy straddling the fuels and auto industries. Our work provides a clear basis of evidence to show how the UK can meet its RED obligations to 2020 and contribute to carbon reductions from transport fuels in the longer term through working closely together on the details of the challenge.” 

The Element Energy lead author Celine Cluzel noted: “Meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets calls for a transformation of the powertrains and fuels used in the vehicle fleet. While industry players have divergent views on technology choices and policy instruments, it was very encouraging to see that all the stakeholders we consulted during the project support and want to play a role in that transformation. The Fuels Roadmap, by identifying the key milestones, is a positive step towards delivering the change that will be required.

For the full media release, please click here.

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