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Biofuels Information

There are three main types of biofuel:

! Biodiesel which can be used neat, but is generally used as a blend in conventional diesel. It can be produced from a number of sources, including recycled waste vegetable oil and oil crops such as rapeseed and palm.

! Bioethanol which can be blended into petrol and can be produced from a number of crops including sugar beet and wheat.

! Biogas can be used instead of compressed natural gas to power gas vehicles.

In mid-2005 biofuel made up 0.25% of overall road fuel sales and around 50% of it was imported.

If the RTFO 2010 target is achieved and if this was produced entirely in the UK from crops like oilseed rape then around 1.5 million hectares of land will be required which is equal to about 25% of UK arable land.

The RTFO also requires businesses to report on the greenhouse gas savings of their fuels using a carbon calculator that is currently under development in Government (what - where - carbon trust one?)

Carbon reporting from seed to tank

The carbon footprint and the environmental impact of the end-to end supply chain (seed to tank) must be constantly monitored to ensure that the promised carbon reduction is met. Currently the RTFO is not directly linked to carbon saving however this is expected to evolve to provide more incentive to best environmental practices. Moreover, an obligatory carbon reporting mechanism should be put in place which requires companies along the chain to report against their carbon track.

Using a life-cycle approach and data published by Government, the table below show that a substantial savings can be obtained by displacing ultra low sulphur diesel from crude oil by biodiesel from oilseed rape. (from CIF VCA pdf but not web link)

Total GHG Emissions – Comparison between Conventional Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) and Biodiesel from a Supply Chain in the Northeast of England

Link - for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

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Produced by Environmental Practice at Work Publishing Company Ltd. Copyright 2007