The Role of Biofuels Beyond 2020 [in UK]


Modelling results show that, within supply constraints, biofuels provide strong decarbonisation potential due to high numbers of ICE-derived vehicles still in circulation by 2030. The MEDIUM BIOFUELS pathway achieves 9% (4Mt) lower emissions by 2030 compared to the baseline case (5% blends). In the extreme case of the HIGH BIOFUELS pathway, 12Mt (27%) of CO2 are saved in 2030 compared to the baseline.

Increasing high biofuel blends increases the cost of liquid fuels based on current cost projections. The cost premium does however stay mod est, translating into a £13 increase in the yearly fuel spending of an average car. Over all, the MEDIUM and HIGH BIOFUELS are much more cost effective than the LOW BIOFUEL pathway, at around £80 versus £125 per tonne of CO2 avoided.

Blending biofuels is a more cost effective way of r educing emissions than using plug-in vehicles in the timeframe to 2030:

  • At vehicle and consumer level, blending biofuels in fuels is a cheaper way to reduce emissions than using BEVs: biofuels translate into costs of £95/tCO2 versus £170/tCO2 for BEVs in 2030, based on DECC projections of energy costs and grid carbon intensity.
  • At UK level, achieving 4Mt emission savings in 2030 through the use of biofuels results in an additional cost to the UK of £336m. This is significantly cheaper than achieving comparable emission savings through a high uptake of plug-in vehicles that comes at an additional cost of over £1,200m.

An advantage of biofuels pathways is that they are complementary to hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, which are expected to dominate low carbon powertrains during the 2020s and can make use of low carbon liquid fuels. This means that there is a low risk of technology lock-in to pursuing increased use of bio fuels alongside continued efforts to electrify road transport. Furthermore, advanced bio fuels address emissions of both new and existing vehicles, thus reducing emissions earlier than new powertrains and abating the risk of relying solely on longer term deployment of new technology.

Element Energy on behalf of BP