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Crop Biotech Update

Investment in Advanced Biofuels Needed to Meet UK Renewable Energy Targets

December 16, 2011

A recent report by the National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (United Kingdom) suggests that "the UK needs significant investment in a new generation of biofuels to meet its renewable transport targets." Under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED),the UK has a 10% legally binding renewable energy target. Under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), a fuel/energy supplier for land-based transport and non-road mobile machinery is also required to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by a minimum of 6% per unit of energy.

The report says that new biomass processing technologies, like gasification and pyrolysis, "allow biofuels to be made from a wide range of sustainable materials." Some of these technologies are beginning to "unlock their huge potential", as the transition from laboratory to pilot/commercial application proceeds. Under favorable conditions and strong policy support, advanced biofuels are projected to meet 4.3% of the UK's renewable transport target by 2020. The biomass requirement is estimated to be 1 million tonnes of woody biomass, 4.4 million tonnes of household, commercial/industrial wastes, and 2 million tonnes of wheat (for biobutanol). A summary of the report is available at the NNFCC website (URL above).