New targets for boosting the volume of biofuels used in the UK each year came into force this weekend, as part of the UK Government’s strategy to decarbonise the transport sector.

UK transport fuel suppliers in the UK are required to ensure that a proportion of the fuel they supply comes from renewable sources. Changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) have increased this proportion from the current 4.75 per cent to 9.75 per cent in 2020, before rising again to 12.4 per cent by 2032.

Consistent with its changes to the RHI scheme, the government is also favouring waste-based renewable fuels, such as cooking oil, rather than crop-based bio-fuels. To produce biodiesel, which forms just over half of the UK’s total renewable transport fuels subject to the RTFO, used cooking oil from the US is used. Wheat from the UK is widely reported as the primary source for production of bioethanol in the UK, which forms just under half of the UK’s total renewable transport fuels. It is hard to see how these fuel sources can respond to deliver these ambitious targets, particularly to double the proportion of renewable transport fuel in less than 2 years to achieve the 2020 target.

We will be watching to see how the market responds to deliver these increased volumes and diversify fuel sources.