292: Biofuels

This briefing was submitted by Dr Matthew Shepherd an ecologist with the Rural Development Service of Defra. It was first prepared to lobby colleagues to embrace a case for adopting the use of biofuels for transport within the new organisation Natural England. The issues covered may be of relevance to the transport strategies of other organisations but apart from this the paper gives a good straightforward description of the alternatives and some links to more detailed information.

Year of Publication2005

Using biofuels for transport presents an opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions. There are different degrees of processing of vegetable oils and these require different amounts of modification of diesel engines. At one extreme straight vegetable oil can be used with modification, at the other biodiesel can be used often with no modification. Also available is Modified Used Vegetable Oil which needs less energy to make than biodiesel yet runs in some vehicles unmodified, and also, unlike biodiesel, may be mixed with fossil fuel diesel. Fuel price, car insurance and regulation can present difficulties to manufacturers and users of biofuels.

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