Published on : Jul 14, 2017
A new study from the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that the UK should shift its focus from making biofuels from crops such as wheat to using waste materials like chip fat to achieve double production. The study says that producing fuel from crops like wheat should be cut down and farmers should be given incentives to raise the yield of fuel-crops like Miscanthus on small area of land. The report mentions the need of biofuels for aviation and transport of heavy goods in spite of availability of electric vehicles.
UK has been lagging behind to achieve the mandated target given by the European Union to have 10% of transport fuels come from tenable sources by the year 2020. Suppliers in UK are now blending greener fuel with up to 4.75% of petrol and diesel. But the study reveals that doubling this percentage will take almost a decade.
What is the way forward for biofuel production in UK?
The main sources of biofuels in the UK are used cooking oil and wheat unlike sugar cane or maze that are used in Brazil and the US. To surge up the production, restrictions should be put production of crops harvested for fuels. The study instead, recommends to put emphasis on developing waste. Over 16 million tons of waste in the UK which is enough to double the current supplies of biofuels. Green waste forms a third of this produced waste while agricultural straw forms a quarter of it.
The study believes that there is a huge scope for expansion in operating this unavoidable waste such as forest sawmill residues, used cooking oil, dregs from manufacture of whiskey in the production of biofuels. This will certainly help to double the amount of biofuel that will be used over the next ten years. Government also needs to give incentives to farmers and also stump up some investment to make this project a success.