With the Government’s plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, electric vehicles are being touted as the new frontrunner in vehicle types. But with issues around battery production and infrastructure, industry experts are looking at whether biofuels could be the next major factor for petrol and diesel vehicles.
Biofuels have already been used in petrol as recently as September 2021, with the introduction of E10 fuel onto forecourts.
The new standard of unleaded petrol is blended with up to 10 percent bioethanol, making it cleaner than regular petrol and acts as another step towards net zero emissions by 2050.
Andrew Willson, CEO at Coryton, said E10 is a good start, but believes more can be done and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
He said: “Sustainable fuels could be used in all cars which typically run on petrol or diesel.
“There’s no need for any alterations to either vehicles or the infrastructure surrounding refuelling.
“We’re limited to the amount of bioethanol we can use in fuels, which is what is in an E10, before there is a compatibility issue.
“But we could use other biowaste to produce other bio-components, with no such issues and with some support to scale up operations.
“Due to current Government policy, there has been no call to produce sustainable fuel in the huge volumes needed – but it could be done, and studies have been undertaken to prove it.”
Sustainable liquid fuels could begin making a difference almost immediately, reducing greenhouse gas by up to 80 percent if fully replacing their fossil-based equivalent.
Even a staged introduction could remove 130 million tonnes of CO2 in Europe by 2030 – almost the same amount as 33 coal fired power stations would produce in a year.
Mr Willson continued, saying: “Here we have a solution that could be making a difference to greenhouse gas emissions almost immediately – given we’re in a climate emergency, why would we not make those easier changes as we transition into fully electric vehicles?
“It doesn’t help when data is misrepresented or ‘cherry picked’ by influential NGOs which is then used to base Government policy on.
“It’s time we stop looking at solutions as being either perfect or not worth exploring. While we’re gearing up the electric infrastructure, we’re still emitting millions of tonnes of CO2 from our existing cars every year.
“Sustainable fuel may not be the ideal solution, but realistically nothing out there currently is, and it is the only option for tackling the existing fleet.
“It makes sense that we employ a suite of effective solutions, to tackle these issues as quickly as possible.
“Imposing a single solution policy suppresses innovation that might find better or complementary ones.”
There are currently 35 million cars on the UK’s roads, with around 0.3 percent of those being fully electric.
While the Government is putting money into electric vehicle infrastructure including public chargers and grants, more still needs to be done to allow drivers to make the switch to EVs.
In total, there are 278 million cars in Europe, with 0.2 percent being fully electric, although that number is expected to increase massively within the next few days.
According to the Climate Change Committee, for the UK to reach the net zero target, the uptake of EVs will need to accelerate to around 23.2 million by 2032.
This would account for 55 percent of all vehicles, with other projections showing that there may be up to 49 million EVs by 2050.