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Liquid biofuel supply chain strategy and taskforce launched to tackle emissions

Trade Associations have kicked off 2020 with the launch of a ‘Supply Chain Strategy for Liquid Fuels’, which details the steps to be taken toward a transition to 100 per cent biofuel to replace heating oil in 1.5m homes across the UK.

Comparison of Carbon reduction technologies (In Perpetuum analysis).

The three Trade Associations, OFTEC, the Tank Storage Association (TSA) and the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), will be joined by other trade bodies and industry representatives in a new ‘Taskforce for Liquid Biofuels’, which will use the policy proposals contained in this future vision document to support a transformational effect on the UK's off grid heating market and enable the Government to maintain a technology-neutral approach, as well as encourage all industries to find solutions.

Guy Pulham, chief executive of UKIFDA, said: “Liquid fuel, more specifically a bio product, can be part of the solution to achieve net zero. Government talk about large scale electrification through the use of heat pumps, but we believe they need to look at alternatives as this is not feasible due to high installation and running costs of installing heat pumps for off grid homeowners; the requirement for additional National Grid generation and infrastructure costs.

“Recognising, the Government's targets on reducing fuel poverty, it is important any regulation around heat policy takes this into account. We can't stress enough that electrification through the widespread use of heat pumps is not the only conclusion especially for vulnerable consumers who might be adversely impacted if they install solutions which reduce emissions and carbon targets but lead to higher bills.”

OFTEC chief executive, Paul Rose, commented: “Our ‘Supply Chain Strategy for Liquid Fuels' is a clarion call to Government to respond to the huge environmental challenges we face with practical and inspiring policies that could help the 2.2m oil heated homes in the UK and Ireland switch to a low carbon liquid fuel.

“Following detailed independent research that suggests that the cost of decarbonising liquid fuel for heating gives the best value to the consumer when compared with other low carbon solutions, we need policies to be ambitious enough for net zero but which also reflect the practical challenges and financial constraints of many households.

“Low carbon liquid fuels offer the highest carbon reduction impact for the lowest cost (Based on existing SAP 10.1 figures). Analysis also shows that sustainable, low carbon liquid fuels could be produced in sufficient volume in the UK, with the additional benefit of generating investment opportunities and creating new green jobs.”

TSA's chief executive, Peter Davidson, added: “Together, we have developed an ambitious and realistic pathway, one which reduces risk, achieves short- and medium-term reduction in carbon emissions, puts the needs of the consumer first and encourages business to plan ahead in order to meet those needs.

“The ‘Supply Chain Strategy for Liquid Fuels' pathway sets five key challenges to the Government to:

  1. Encourage and support energy efficiency measures in the immediate term to improve the performance of buildings and their services. This will reduce energy demand and cost for households irrelevant of technology used. We recommend action is taken ahead of deployment of a sustainable low carbon liquid fuel to maximise carbon reduction benefits.
  2. Support supply chain preparations to accept a 30 per cent FAME/70 per cent kerosene blend fuel into existing installations by 2027 including an industry-led field trial. The field trial will build on work previously undertaken by OFTEC and the University of East Anglia, to better understand long term handling, storage and combustion of non-fossil fuel blends.
  3. Support supply chain preparations to accept a supply low carbon (zero per cent fossil) liquid fuel by 2035 following a full evaluation of boiler and tank fleet and successful field trials of all possible future products which may come from UK or European sources.
  4. Be actively involved in transitional communication work with consumers utilising the relationships that our members already have with the consumers.
  5. Encourage all interested suppliers (UK based and in Europe) to evaluate all new low carbon/greenhouse gas (GHG) fuels and technologies that are already being developed and coming to market including Gas to Liquid (GTL), Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), e-fuels and other liquid fuels made from waste materials. Products such as these will complement and/or replace the Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) solution.

“We believe this is a practical, affordable and effective solution which addresses all of BEIS's key requirements: to keep energy bills low; cost effectively reduce carbon emissions; ensure a secure, resilient energy supply; bring economic benefits and avoid unreasonable upfront costs for consumers.”

All three trade associations said: “Our industry is committed to creating a supply chain capable of distributing a 30 per cent biofuel 70 per cent kerosene blend from 2027 and 100 per cent low carbon liquid fuel by 2035.

“We are therefore calling on the Government to work together with industry to support and benefit rural communities across the country and set out a clear roadmap to the decarbonisation of heat, with regulation that will provide confidence to the market by providing a clear trajectory to work towards realising our future vision.”

5 February 2020

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