In the continuing fight against climate change there have been an increasing number of targets set in the UK and internationally for varying types of energy use and generation. One of the most important areas in which the UK needs to reduce carbon emissions is the transport sector, but it has also proven to be one of the most expensive areas in which to make any significant technological development and improvements.
The King Review of Low Carbon Cars, announced in June as part of the 2007 Budget, was intended to build on the progress made in recent reports including the 2007 Energy White paper and examine the vehicle and fuel technologies which over the next 25 years could help to decarbonise road transport, particularly cars. Following the publication of the report issued by HM Treasury and led by professor Julia King of Aston University, Gordon Brown issued a call for evidence from all interested parties on how best to reduce emissions from road transport.
The Renewable Energy Centre commented that the report was long overdue, as whilst emissions from other sectors, such as the use of domestic energy, has fallen or become more stable, the transport sector's emissions continue to increase and currently accounts for over 20% of the UK’s total CO2 output. The Cambridge report produced this year, estimates that the UK will be unable to meet the reduction targets set following the Kyoto agreement in 1997.
The Biomethane for Transport organisation responded to the King Review and stated that the one of the most economically viable directions to take would be vehicle and fuel improvements that can be adapted to existing internal combustion engines.
The Renewable Energy Centre supported the organisation’s findings that the use of Biomethane for transport had many advantages over many of the other technologies proposed. Biomethane has the lowest gas emissions of any biofuel and the capture, upgrading and burning of the gas actually produces fewer emissions than if the organic waste used was left to decompose naturally.
The organisation also suggests a way in which organic waste can be used more productively, whereby a waste management plant is linked with anaerobic digestion facilities to make use of the methane gas produced. This would provide a useful solution for organic waste, in turn reducing the amount of waste sent to a landfill and provides vehicles with a source of renewable fuel.
However, some argue that the results of this review will have little impact on the cars driven in the UK in the short term, particularly due to the fact that none of the major car manufacturing operations in the UK are British-owned anymore, and the review will only have limited influence on foreign-owned companies.
Richard Simmons, Founder of The Renewable Energy Centre commented “Biomethane 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 for all car owners to play their part in reducing fuel emissions”.
Any individuals wishing to learn more about Biofuels, Biomethane and Renewable Energy should make The Renewable Energy Centre website their first visit. As well as an introduction to the key types of renewable energy and practical advice on systems and installation, the website also offers a national and local directory of specialist products and suppliers, particularly useful for individuals to research the possible options available to them and helping them make an informed decision.
The deadline set by Gordon Brown for submissions of response was the 20th August, and an announcement on the legislative change surrounding low-carbon cars is expected in the pre-budget report at the end of the year.
Notes for Editors:
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