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New green fuels in the spotlight

The Department for Transport is seeking evidence by 21 February on the current state of advanced fuel development, the deployment potential of various fuel technologies and whether there is a role for government to support or encourage the market.

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Transport makes up a large proportion of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, so decarbonising transport is a crucial part of materially reducing our emissions. Hydrocarbons have been king for decades but there are new contenders to the crown. Advanced biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and synthetic fuels are all examples of new, advanced fuels that could offer substantial greenhouse gas emissions savings while avoiding the environmental and social concerns of first generation biofuels.

The Department for Transport seeks evidence in order to form a comprehensive knowledge base from which it can set out a clear policy. While well-designed policy can harness the power of market forces, they recognise that some government role might be necessary. The call for evidence seeks to establish whether government intervention could be beneficial.

The consultation deadline is the end of 21 February 2014. DfT is seeking evidence and comments from all interested stakeholders, including NGOs, industry, scientific organisations, investment specialists and others.

Calling for evidence

Transport Minister Susan Kramer launched the call for evidence in December on a visit to Future Blends, an innovative start-up in Oxfordshire that is developing the technology to turn agricultural and forestry waste into transport fuel.

Baroness Kramer described the importance of developing new fuels:

“Over a fifth of UK carbon emissions come from transport. That’s why it’s crucial we develop sustainable low-carbon fuels so that we can keep Britain moving while meeting our emissions targets.

“Britain has a wealth of expertise in this field and is home to many innovative companies like the one I’m visiting today. We are asking for evidence on what this high-tech sector can do to decarbonise transport and create new, green jobs.”

Producing advanced transport fuels

Earlier this year the government announced a £25 million competition to develop a demonstration plant to produce advanced transport fuels. This document is looking for evidence on how to build on this competition and develop the sector further. It will seek views on what technologies are out there, what benefits they could bring and what role, if any, government should have in their development.

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