High-blend renewable fuels could cut extra 46m tonnes GHG emissions from truck operations in UK by 2030
A new study by Zemo Partnership (formerly LowCVP) shows that with a market average of 30% high blend renewable fuels (HBRF), used in place of fossil fuels (diesel and natural gas) by 2030, the transport sector could save an additional 46m tonnes in GHG emissions over the next decade, with savings continuing to 2050. The biggest opportunities are in the heaviest vehicles with the longest journey profiles, which also produce the most GHG emissions.
The study covered three heavy-duty vehicle sectors: trucks, buses, and coaches. For renewable fuels, this focused on liquid and gaseous biofuels above blends of 20% specifically—biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and biomethane.
High blend biodiesel has already made good inroads in the bus market while both biomethane and HVO adoption in HGV fleets have shown encouraging recent increases, driven partly by requirements for carbon reporting and GHG emissions improvements.
Coming shortly after the announcement to introduce E10 into the UK (potentially doubling the renewable content of gasoline) (earlier post) the report shows that even greater greenhouse gas (GHG) savings can be realized with an aggressive policy framework for HBRF in heavy duty vehicles currently running on diesel and natural gas.
A key recommendation of the report is for a robust and transparent Assurance Scheme to provide operators with confidence in the credentials of the renewable fuels they purchase. Zemo Partnership’s new Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme and declaration certificate have been developed in parallel and will be launching soon.
While the electrification of cars and vans in the UK is proceeding apace towards the 2030/5 ICE phase-out date, larger, long-range heavy vehicles (as well as legacy cars and vans) are expected to be on the road for the next 20-30 years. Cutting GHG emissions from these heavier vehicles, particularly over the next decade when conventional fuel use will continue to be widespread, remains a key objective as the UK strives to achieve net zero.
Stakeholders contributing to the report identified several key policy interventions which could encourage HBRF uptake including: reforming fuel duty based on the carbon and energy content of fuels; increasing the 2032 Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) target; and raising awareness of the GHG emissions savings and sustainability performance of renewable fuels.