16 Apr 2007
The Renewable Energy Centre helps to drive the Biofuel Industry Forward
Due to increasing debates surrounding the issue of Biofuels, www.TheRenewableEnergyCentre.co.uk announces the launch of a dedicated Biofuels and Biomass area to their website.
The Renewable Energy Centre’s newly launched Biofuels and Biomass section provides visitors with a practical introduction to the subject, directories of specialist producers and suppliers and links to further related organisations. This is particularly useful for homeowners or businesses and will allow them to research the subject, find out what the possible options available to them are and help them to make an informed decision.
Since 1996 the number of vehicles on the road has increased from around 27 million to over 33 million, and the transport sector currently accounts for approximately a quarter of total UK carbon emissions. Combined with continually rising fuel prices and increasing emphasis on reducing carbon emissions to combat global warming, it was clear that an alternative, renewable source of fuel was needed. Many see Biofuel as the answer.
The Renewable Energy Centre defines the term Biofuel as the fuels derived from Biomass; including arable crops, agricultural and domestic waste and by the anaerobic digestion of sewage. The theory behind using Biofuel, specifically Bioethanol, for fueling vehicles is that the carbon dioxide emitted during its the production and consumption should be equal to that absorbed in the lifetime of the plant used to produce it.
In 2005 The Department of Transport announced the launch of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which requires transport fuel suppliers to ensure that by 2010, 5% of all UK road vehicle fuel supplied is from sustainable or renewable sources.
UK Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander recently stated at a conference organised by the Institute for Public Policy Research “My key objective isn't to reduce mobility, it is to reduce carbon. That is why we need to do more work on the issue of biofuels. We must explore how, by 2030, zero, or close to zero, emissions cars could be commonplace on Britain's driveways”.
However, The Renewable Energy Centre strongly believes it is unwise to look at the advantages of biofuel in isolation and there have been worldwide criticisms of this sustainable source of fuel. A joint statement recently issued by Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB stated that they have serious reservations on the Government’s approach to biofuels and that their strategy is ill thought out, lacks appropriate safeguards and could be creating more problems than it solves.
One of their main concerns is that due to the rise in demand for automotive biofuels the fuel and food markets will clash. Farmers will be able to make more profit from using their land to grow crops for the production of biofuels than they would for food. This will push up the price of food staples such as sugar, wheat and corn and inevitably hit the world’s poorest people the hardest. Already, there is evidence of this happening, as since the beginning of 2006 the price of maize has doubled.
Protesters are also outraged at the destruction of rainforests and wetlands in countries including Indonesia and Malaysia in order to make room for the growth of crops to produce biofuel. Not only will this cut the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere being absorbed and endanger habitats and species, but as the waste is being burnt more carbon dioxide is being emitted than could ever be saved by replacing fossil fuels.
As biofuels are a relatively new technology the government currently has no accurate way of measuring just how much energy can be saved by switching from fossil fuels. Once production, distillation and transportation is taken into consideration many suggest that biofuels could actually have a far worse impact on the environment that the traditional alternatives.
Richard Simmons, founder of www.TheRenewableEnergyCentre.co.uk explained: “Despite the emerging popularity of the subject, when I attempted to find out how I could use biofuel as a consumer, it quickly became clear to me that there was no central point where I could find all the information I needed. There was clearly a gap in the market for a website that could provide this up to date information”.
He continued “Biofuel should prove to be a very realistic part of the future alternative to fossil fuels but will only truly reduce the impact we are having on the environment if we realise that it cannot be used in isolation. It is important that we work towards more fuel efficient cars and reduce our often excessive use of vehicles. This is a particularly vital step to anyone who owns a car to play a big part in”.
As global pressure groups government bodies and corporate organisations continue to debate the true benefits only time will tell if Biofuels will successfully replace petrol as the fuel for the future or whether it will simply be contributing to the environmental damage it is seeking to lessen.
For more information visit;
Notes for Editors:
The Renewable Energy Centre is committed to informing all online users about energy saving and renewable energy in order to:
- increase public awareness through accurate and informative resources
- create business opportunities throughout the UK through its’ local and national directories.
For more information contact:
Angela Gallacher (Head of Press and Marketing)
Telephone: +44 (0)1926 865 835
Address: 1 Alpha House, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2ED