News story

Orange peel, rubbish and fatbergs: the fuels behind the future of green transport

New funding to boost the advanced fuels industry.

Artist's impression of a low carbon fuel production facility
  • technological advances towards net-zero to be made through 4 new UK-based advanced biofuel plants
  • pioneering projects will receive government funding and could lead to greener flights and road freight
  • latest move in the government’s green transport revolution, following the launch of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan which will help drive the UK towards its 2050 net zero target

Household waste, unused straw from farmland and old wood will be amongst the unusual components used by 4 world-leading UK-based plants to produce green fuels with support from government funding announced today.

Between 2018 and 2032 low carbon fuels are expected to save nearly 85 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to taking nearly 18 million cars off the road. This equates to around a third of transport’s projected contribution to UK carbon savings during the 2020s. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Whether you’re commuting to work or travelling on a family getaway, we want that journey to be as green and environmentally friendly as possible.

This funding will help encourage innovative technology using today’s waste to power tomorrow’s green transport revolution, helping us reach a cleaner and greener future.

Future of Transport Minister George Freeman, said:

We made a legally binding commitment to reaching Net Zero. Now we are delivering. The UK is reducing CO2 emissions faster than any other G20 nation. We are doing it by investing in research and development, supporting the uptake of low emission and electrical vehicles, new inner city Clean Air Zones and the world’s first comprehensive Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

This global leadership is helping create a 21st century transport network that is better for our environment, our health and our economy: with the potential to deliver high-skilled jobs in the green economy to all corners of the nation.

Two of the projects announced today are being funded under the government’s £20 million Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C).

KEW Projects and Rika Biogas have been awarded a share of £6.5 million to build plants which aim to provide fuel for heavy goods vehicles. The project at KEW will also begin research which could pave the way for low carbon aviation fuel. 

Over the next decade the UK advanced fuels industry is expected to be worth over £400 million and create 9,800 jobs.

A further 2 projects, which are being funded under the £25 million Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition (ABDC), are also driving towards their final stages of development. This includes Nova Pangaea Technologies, who will focus on the production of bio-ethanol from wood waste that can be blended with existing petrol used in road transport.

These latest investments build on the government’s push to go further and faster to harness innovation, drive down emissions and improve air quality – including through the ground-breaking Transport Decarbonisation Plan which will set out plans to end the UK’s transport emissions by 2050 and measures to rapidly increase electric vehicle infrastructure.

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Published 30 December 2019