Biofuel accounted for 3 percent of UK fuel last year

By Erin Voegele | February 14, 2014

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change has published updated statistics on its renewable transport fuel obligation for the full 2012-’13 compliance year (obligation year 5) and a portion of the current compliance year, which ends on April 14 (obligation year 6).

The DECC’s final report for the 2012-’13 compliance year indicates 1.340 billion liters (353.99 million gallons) of renewable fuel were supplied during the 12-month period, which ran from April 15, 2012 through April 12, 2013. That volume equates to 3 percent of U.K. total road transport fuel. Approximately 99.6 percent of that biofuel has been demonstrated to meet sustainability requirements to date.

The report also shows that 1.863 billion renewable transport fuel certificates (RTFCs) were issued to fuel meeting sustainability requirements, of which 1.058 billion were issued to double counting feedstocks. . Ethanol accounted for 59 percent of the 1.334 billion liters of biofuel that meet sustainability requirements. Biodiesel accounted for 37 percent, biomethanol and methyl tertiary butyl ether accounted for 5 percent, and there were also small volumes of biogas and vegetable oil.

For biofuel for which RTFCs were issued, the DECC indicates that corn from the U.S. was the most widely reported source for ethanol, with 254 million liters. This is 19 percent of total biofuel and 32 percent of ethanol.

Approximately 40 percent of the fuel was made from double counting feedstocks and 21 percent was sourced from U.K. feedstocks. An aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) savings of 66 percent was achieved, excluding indirect land use change emissions.

Approximately 81 percent of the fuel was sourced from a voluntary scheme. The most commonly used voluntary scheme was International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) with 66 percent of the fuel. About 9 percent of the fuel was sourced from Abengoa’s voluntary scheme.

For the current compliance year, which concludes April 15, the DECC’s most recent report shows 876 million liters of renewable fuel have been supplied to date, which equates to 3.43 percent of total road and non-road mobile machinery fuel. Approximately 596 million liters, or 68 percent, of that renewable fuel has been demonstrated to meet sustainability requirements.

According to the DECC, ethanol comprised 50 percent of the 596 million liters of fuel that met sustainability requirements and biodiesel accounted for 46 percent. Biomethanol and methyl tertiary buty ether was 4 percent. In addition, there were small volumes of biogas and pure vegetable oil.

For biofuel that was issued renewable transport fuel certificates (RTFCs), the mostly widely reported ethanol feedstock was corn from the Ukraine. Ukrainian corn was used to produce 54 million liters of ethanol. This equates to 18 percent of the ethanol, or 9 percent of the total renewable fuel, used to meet the obligation.

Half of the fuel for which RTFCs were issued was manufactured using waste or residue feedstocks, and 24 percent of the feedstocks for RTFC-issued biofuels was sourced from the U.K.

According to the DECC, biofuels that were issued RTFCs achieved an aggregate greenhouse gas savings of 71 percent compared with fossil fuels and 98 percent of the fuel was sourced form a voluntary scheme. The most commonly used voluntary schemes ISCC, with 89 percent, and Abengoa RED Bioenergy Sustainability Assurance, with 8 percent.

The reports are available on the DECC website.