Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
Peter Clery, Chairman of the British Association for Bio Fuels
and Oils Recycling Carbon (BABFO)
We are concerned about the absence of any meaningful
reference to the major contribution which mainstream agriculture
can make to sustainable road transport.
Evidence to the "Greenfuels Challenge"
shows that biodiesel creates nearly twice the energy needed to
produce it and nearly four times if the by-product straw is used
for power generation. Bioethanol is also energy positive but to
a lesser extent. No other transport fuel offers these advantages.
There is land within British agriculture surplus
to the needs of food production. Possibly one million hectares.
Biodiesel and bioethanol production is moving towards two tonnes
or more of fuel per hectare. There is therefore the early potential
for at least two million tonnes of fuel or 6 per cent of total
UK usage of petrol and diesel. This production would have major
environmental benefits as well as increasing security of supply
which would exert a downward pressure on import prices. To achieve
this output of truly green fuel all that is required is parity
of fuel duty with the (fossil) gas fuels LPG, CNG, LNG, ie a duty
rebate of about 40p per litre as recommended in the "Curry
Report" on page 55. The Biofuels are at least as good as
the gas fuels environmentally (greenhouse gases, tail pipe emissions,
biodegradability, safety etc) and deserve the same duty rebate.
The PIU Energy Review pins its hopes on hydrogen
for road transport but has no ideas as to how the massive negative
energy balance involved in hydrogen production will be addressed.
It takes nearly twice as much energy to produce hydrogen as is
available at the point of use. By contrast biodiesel produces
twice as much energy.
One PIU reference on page 12 states that "liquid
biofuels may also have a role" but states that international
effort is needed to develop the technology. This is nonsencethe
production and use of biofuels are well understood throughout
the world. The comment is a measure of the unfortunate lack of
knowledge in the PIU of rural matters pertaining to liquid biofuels.
Specialist biomass crops (willow and miscanthus
grass) will not alone provide much renewable energy, the growers
will lose money at the indicative prices and power stations may
not pay sufficient extra to make the crops worth growing.
The way forward will be for existing proven
crops to provide biofuel for road transport (oil seeds and cereals)
and by-produce straw for power generation. This will work, both
in terms of finance and economic energy supply.
All statements of a scientific nature in this
letter are fully verifiable.