Decarbonisation Technology - November 2022

Creating value from wastes to help achieve net zero Transport fuels and circular economy products from wastes are essential ingredients in the energy transition journey towards net zero

Mark Whittle Greenergy

A s part of the UK Government’s roadmap to net zero, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from 2030. Hybrids and some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will follow in 2035, with all conventional vehicles banned from 2040. UK consumers are taking note of this legislative change. In 2021 alone, 190,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold, more than the combined sales of EVs in the previous five years (SMMT, 2022). Today, one in eight new cars sold are EV (SMMT, 2022) and the figure will progressively rise in the coming years, but will it be at a rate to meet the fast- approaching net-zero deadline? Are battery- powered vehicles going to be the solution to transition to net zero? EVs can only be part of the solution. HGVs are one of the most difficult transport sectors to decarbonise, with electrification and hydrogen solutions only possible in some applications in the mid to long term. We cannot ignore the huge challenges in electrifying larger and HGVs and the constraints in power generation, distribution infrastructure, and the raw materials needed to produce EVs. Also, with the average lifespan of a passenger car of scrappage at around 14 years (SMMT, 2022), it is important we acknowledge that vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel will be on the road for some time following the ban. So, the question is, what more can be done during the transition period to accelerate decarbonisation? One answer is biofuels. Biofuels have played an important and increasing role in the decarbonisation of vehicle emissions. Given their success in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport, there is an

increased focus on how biofuels can be deployed into other modes of transport, including maritime and aviation as well as road. For some time, biofuels will remain one of the most readily deployable, scalable, and renewable options available; however, current biofuel production is not enough to achieve net zero. New approaches and new advanced biofuels will be needed to meet the demand for low-carbon fuels during the transition period. Background For 30 years Greenergy has been working on cleaner road fuels and producing biofuels. We have become an industry leader in the development of waste-based fuel solutions for transport, producing biodiesel from used cooking oil. Greenergy’s original low-sulphur fuel changed the standard for diesel fuel products for road transport in the 1990s, reducing harmful air pollutants and driving real carbon emission reductions. Today, we are Europe’s largest manufacturer of waste-based biodiesel and are now applying our expertise to the broader waste- to-renewables sector through projects that support decarbonisation and enable net zero. The challenge is to continue to innovate and produce low- and no-carbon fuels and renewables that can be supplied at scale. Our current focus is on broadening the range of waste feedstocks, and how best to bring them into the circular economy and repurpose wastes such as used cooking oil, tyres, household waste, and plastics to create next-generation renewables, transitioning from waste to energy to waste to X.


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