Bidders shortlisted in £25m low emission biofuels scheme

Advanced Plasma Power one of six projects vying for £25m government funding for green transport fuels demonstrators

Six projects have been shortlisted to be in with a chance of receiving part of £25 million funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) to construct low emission transport fuel demonstration plants.

Launched in December 2014, the government’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition has now progressed to phase two after an initial 17 applications, and it is expected that a final three projects will be awarded funding later this year.

The Advanced Plasma Power plant in Swindon

The Advanced Plasma Power plant in Swindon

The scheme will provide up to £25 million in grant funding over three years (2015-18) for major demonstration projects to produce transport fuels from non-food waste biomass.

The six shortlisted projects are:

  • Celtic Renewables Ltd — delivering the world’s first advanced biobutanol plant
  • Nova Pangaea Technologies Ltd — demonstration of the RefnovaTM process for pyrolysis oil production
  • Advanced Plasma Power Ltd — Integrated Compressed Biomethane Plant
  • Centre for Process Innovation — Municipal Solid Waste (MSW): A sustainable feedstock for the production of advanced biofuels.
  • Olleco — Fats, Oils & Greases – A new life for them
  • British Sugar plc — Green waste to bioethanol

Waste to energy fuels firm Advanced Plasma Power (APP) that it had been shortlisted as part of a consortium also involving National Grid, Progressive Energy and CNG Services.

The APP-spearheaded project aims to use residual waste biomass to produce more than one million kilograms per year of compressed biomethane as a low emission fuel which can be used interchangeably with natural gas and is designed for heavy goods and passenger vehicles.

According to APP: “Gas powered vehicles already offer significant potential for carbon and other emission reductions over their diesel counterparts and are well placed to achieve widespread adoption in the UK’s transport sector for several reasons.”

The firm said widespread use of the fuel would require “only very little investment” in infrastructure, while “other options for substantial emission reductions in this sector are limited”.

APP added: “Existing diesel vehicles can be readily converted to use natural gas on a dual-fuel basis and new, highly efficient dedicated gas powered vehicles, at comparable prices to diesel vehicles, are entering the market. Many transport operators such as Stagecoach, John Lewis and Howard Tenens have already begun the evolution to gas powered vehicles. If successful, APP will begin construction in 2016 and the plant will commence operations in 2017.”

Go Ultra Low

Meanwhile, the government and industry joint initiative Go Ultra Low campaign has published new research which it says shows commercial vehicle operators could make more than £2.6 billion in potential fuel savings from switching to ultra-low emission vehicles.

The Go Ultra Low campaign says fleet operators can make savings by moving to electric or plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles

The Go Ultra Low campaign says fleet operators can make savings by moving to electric or plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles

According to the research, compared with operating a diesel-powered van, nearly half (1.8 million) of the 3.7 million vans on UK roads could make around £1,459 in annual saving costs per vehicle on the cost of fuel.

This is because, the campaign says, millions of operators run small and medium-sized vans as short-haul vehicles, which are “perfectly suited” to pure-electric vans and plug-in hybrids.

Hetal Shah, head of the Go Ultra Low campaign, said: “Ultra-low emission commercial vehicles make so much sense for operators large and small, particularly when you consider the massive fuel savings on offer and the opportunity to write-off the cost of the vehicle. Add to the mix lower maintenance fees and tax rates, plus the potential for reduced whole-life running costs, and they really do make a compelling option.”

The Go Ultra Low campaign is a consortium of seven leading vehicle manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen), the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Dealers (SMMT).


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