The DfT has no intention of curbing its ambition on renewable fuels, nor pulling back on E10 which was successfully and smoothly introduced in September 2021.
The UK has an exemplary renewable fuels policy. Most biofuel consumed here is made from wastes. Where it is made from crops (as is the case with bioethanol) it is part of an integrated process which also produces animal feed.
Government values the contribution that biofuels make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in sectors which are hard to electrify. The UK’s bioethanol industry is hugely important to farmers. It provides them with a secure market for any wheat not suitable for milling, and a domestic source of animal feed, meaning less soy based feed needs importing.
Bioethanol is made from wheat which is not suitable for milling into bread and other food commodities, due to its low protein content. This low-protein, high-starch wheat is known as “feed wheat”. It can be fed directly to animals, but fermenting it first to extract the biofuel and feeding the spent grain to livestock is much better. The animal feed is more nutritious, and essentially the biofuel is an added benefit.
The UK has a crop cap, set at a level which recognises the benefits of crop-based bioethanol and does not restrict UK production. The bioethanol industry is also the single largest producer of food-grade CO2 which is essential for food preservation and distribution. Lack of food grade CO2 would trigger a food crisis in its own right. The crop cap would, however, put a limit on the amount of other types of crop feedstock such as oilseeds, which don’t have these benefits.
UK biofuels policy also benefits from stringent sustainability criteria which are gradually being adopted in other renewable energy policies, such as power generation and clean heat production.