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UK Fuel Company Quantifies CO2 Savings from Biofuels

12 May 2006

Greenergy
The boundaries of the BR&D methodology are outlined in red.

Greenergy, a UK-based fuel supplier, has quantified the reduction in CO2 emissions provided by its sale of biofuels for the first quarter of the year (15 December 2005 to 14 March 2006), the first major UK fuels business so to quantify the CO2 emissions saved.

The company calculated than on sales of 17.1 million liters (4.5 million gallons US) of biofuel, it reduced emissions by 41,226 tonnes of CO2 compared with standard fuels replaced in the tank. The level of CO2 saving is independently assessed by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, using a standard methodology published by BR&D Climate Registry.

The carbon reduction is equivalent to taking more than 50,000 average family cars off the road for the same three-month period, according to Greenergy.

The methodology looks at life-cycle emissions of fuels from different origins and takes into account the varying carbon intensities of biofuels produced from different feedstocks and in different countries.

The methodology excludes emissions from the production of the feedstock, or the manufacture of the processing infrastructure, vehicles, agricultural machinery and catalysts.

Greenergy will continue to provide on a quarterly basis these independently-assessed figures on carbon emissions related to traditional fuels sales and on emissions reductions achieved through biofuels sales.

Founded in 1992, Greenergy has annual sales approaching £2 billion (US$ 3.8 billion) and supplies nearly 6% of the UK road fuels market and nearly 50% of the biofuels market. It introduced Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel in 1995, launched the first biodiesel blend (GlobalDiesel) in 2002, introduced the first crops for fuels contract to the UK farming community in 2003, led the introduction of bioethanol blended petrols and has created the next generation of premium quality biofuels blends with the launch of Tesco 99 Octane in 2005.

Construction is underway on Greenergy’s first biodiesel production plant located at Immingham on the Humber and due to come on-line in Q4 2006 with a 100,000 tonne per annum (114 million liter, 30 million gallons US) production capacity. Greenergy plans to double capacity at this plant and a feasibility study is also underway on an additional plant in Liverpool.

The company and Tesco, one of the top international retailers, are building a £10 million (US$19 million), 100,000-tonne per year biodiesel refinery in the UK—the largest single-line biodiesel production facility in the country. (Earlier post.)

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May 12, 2006 in Biodiesel, Climate Change, Emissions, Ethanol, Europe, Fuels | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

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"The methodology excludes emissions from the production of the feedstock, or the manufacture of the processing infrastructure, vehicles, agricultural machinery and catalysts."

If one were doing accounting for a business, and one were to exclude the above to determine product costs, one would soon be out of business. Why should the accounting be any different when one is determining net emissions?

Mmm, another self-serving fuel company report

17 million liters with a specific gravity of about 0.8 give us 13.6 million kg of fuel per year. For each kg of fuel, we produce about 44/14 kg of CO2, giving us 42,700 tonnes per year of CO2. The company claims a saving of 41,000 tonnes per year, implying that there are essentially no lifecycle CO2 emissions associated with the biofuel (ie., negligible fossil input and sustainable agriculture). A quick scan of greencarcongress links would show this to be very misleading, even though there may well be some benefit from the biofuels.


The report is not misleading at all. It is simply the comparison of CO2 output between a Bio product and a Petrol product. How about we assume the farmer and the producer use bio products in their machinery and vehicles. Also calculate the amount of CO2 the Bio Mass extracted from the air while it was growing. The studies that take in ALL the factors have come to the same conclusion; Biod is nearly CO2 neutral. No over hyping needed.

Also calculate the amount of CO2 the Bio Mass extracted from the air while it was growing.

That's the whole point of their claim - that biodiesel in carbon-neutral, hence its CO2 output is accounted by the fact that the raw material for the fuel pulled CO2 from the atmosphere.

It's already accounted for.

How about we assume the farmer and the producer use bio products in their machinery and vehicles.

You could assume that, but that's not actually happening right now.

The whole point of their claim is that biodiesel is bioneutral, but it is not. And should we also assume that the fertilier used bioproducts? Assume all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that this claim is misleading and dishonest.

I've read other eco accounting studies that suggest the (typically fossil fuel) energy expended in producing RME, i.e. tractor fuel, fertilizer, harvesting, trucking, esterification etc. is about 80% of the energy content of the finished fuel.

That means there is a net CO2 reduction but so far it's rather smaller than touted by advocates. Better ratios would be possible if the whole plant, rather than just the oilseeds, were used as feedstock.

A simpler option for the next decade or so would be to use fallow agricultural land (plenty of that in the EU) to grow wood to replace fuel oil and coal in power stations, thus freeing up more of the carbon budget for use by the transportation sector. Of course, that would not reduce the dependence on imported oil...


The farm states use the most Bio fuels. Bio fuels came out of the farming industry. If the farmers are not using it who do you think is.

The point is Bio is co2 nuetral Petrol is not, and here's the #. How much co2 was pumped into the air by boats running engines the size of my house getting the crude oil to the US. Have you ever seen a refinery, they can be seen from space, Austin has fewer lights. The local Nuke plant outside Houston refuses to serve the refineries because they waste so much energy. They generate their own energy, how you say, by burning more petrol.

If the farmers are not using it who do you think is.

First of all, this study was done in England. So I don't really know how much farmers in England are using biofuels, but I guarantee you that all the energy inputs along the line to creating refined biofuels are not CO2 neutral. Not sure why you're belaboring this point, because all the study indicates is how much CO2 net emissions they've reduced simply by substituting biofuels for fossil fuels. It's not a well-to-wheel study. Read the post:

"The methodology excludes emissions from the production of the feedstock, or the manufacture of the processing infrastructure, vehicles, agricultural machinery and catalysts."

As for biofuel use in the US, it's easy to find out, if you're interested.

As of 2004, 82% of all alternative fuel use was ethanol in gasohol. Biodiesel is so insignificant at this point it doesn't even show up in national energy statistics.

As for agricultural use of fuels other than gasoline and diesel, as of 2001 it stood at 1/10 of 1%.

http://cta.ornl.gov/data/tedb24/Edition24_Chapter02.pdf


My original post was to stop the bashing of the report for not calculating the inputs. I think the more inputs you calculate the wider the gap between Bio and petrol, especiallly if farmers and producers are using their own products. The last time I checked England was mostly agricultural (farming and fishing). The 2001 and 2004 studies are out of date seeing as bio fuels jumped 400% in 2005 in the US. And even with the jump England and the rest of Europe are mountains ahead of us when it comes to Diesel and alt fuels. I just don't like the half empty croud that bashes or dismisses anything that says Bio is better than Petrol.

Get some hard data and we'll talk.


Read this blog for a week and you will have all the data that you could want!

Read this blog for a week and you will have all the data that you could want!

I've been reading this blog and commenting here for a long time.

What I meant is that if you want to discuss something, bring data, especially if you're going to question someone else's. At this time, biofuels are still in their infancy, and in the US, by-and-large the use (80% of it) is as a gasoline additive. With the new MTBE rules, this will be the case for awhile.

You were specifically interested in the role of biofuels in powering agricultural machinery. That's fine. If you want to do well-to-wheel analysis, then you need data not conjecture.

That's all I was saying.

I'm a little concerned about the fact that for the forseeable future, all of this green fuel technology is being used not to displace our petrochemical supply but to augment it.

We're producing crude oil as fast as we can, and production is not keeping up with demand. All green energy output is being used to make some of us feel better while our unconcerned neighbors happily soak up any surplus.

In the short term, the only bioconversion projects that are doing real good (other than establishing a base and infrastructure, which is not to be discounted) are the ones that are processing true waste streams, such as sewage and landfills.

We haven't been doing nearly enough on the 'Reduce' aspect of the Three Rs.

Assume 40% of US workers are employed by industries where telecommuting is feasible. Work at home two out of five days a week (40% reduction). So, this results in a ROM of 16% reduction vehicular travel for US workers. Yes, telecommutting is already quite extensive; however, many businesses and public sector organizations are still vehemently opposed to telecommutting, as managers do not a have a tangible capability to crack the whip. I'm too lazy this morning to search for statistics from Department of Labor, Transportation, etc., to crank out the funny numbers. Nevertheless, the hunch is that fuel use and emissions reduction would be enormous. I realize this is a firm grasp of the obvious approach, i.e., relying on work place re-design and changes in personal behavior, versus an automotive engineering solution. Side note, Joseph seems to place incredible faith in government statistics. Fed government statistics are incredibly inaccurate, and are rarely audited by third parties to validate methodology or execution. I used to work in the federal government economics and statistics area, so I've witnessed the farce in person.

Side note, Joseph seems to place incredible faith in government statistics. Fed government statistics are incredibly inaccurate, and are rarely audited by third parties to validate methodology or execution. I used to work in the federal government economics and statistics area, so I've witnessed the farce in person.

I see. So if you're looking for GDP data, you don't go to the BEA? If you're looking for population data, you don't go to the Census Bureau? If you're looking for highway fatality data, you don't go to the NHTSA? If you're looking for budget data, you don't go to the OMB or CBO? If you're looking for climatology data, you don't go to NOAA? If you're looking for wage, inflation, and productivity data, you don't go to the BLS? If you're looking for debt data, you don't go to Treasury?

If you're objecting specifically to the Transportation Energy Data Book, it's a compendium of data published by the ORNL. It's not unlike the Stat Abstract in that it brings together data from many sources, both government and private (like Polk's number for fleet composition data).

I highly doubt your claims are true if you try to paint such a broad brush. And if you have better sources when I offer a reference, feel free to offer it. If it's an extremely expensive private data source, perhaps you can pay for access to it so we can get our numbers to the high level of precision you require of blog comments.

I myself prefer using statistics as a guide to get in the right ballpark, as I'm not a fan of false precision, either.

Or hey - we can all just spew off whatever numbers float into our brain, because God forbid we should use government statistics, which everyone knows are junk.

Thanks for enlightening us all.

I'd like to thank all you Limeys for doing all you can to conserve
fossil fuel.... that leaves more for US to run our Hummers.

Sounds interesting...and what Greenergy is doing sounds impressive...

I'm glad to hear that 800-pound gorillas such as Tescos are taking an active interest in biodiesel...precisely what the biofuels camp wants at this stage!!

I also wish that more research dollars are put into biodiesel production from algae research ( see a site www.oilgae.com for more inputs on biodiesel from algae)...this feedstock appears to have enormous potential

Ec @ Plant Oils Database

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