Posts Tagged ‘biodiesel’

The EU won’t publish its data on emissions from biofuels and tar sands until the spring but the working figures have been leaked to EurActiv and published on line.

The figures show that, once Indirect Land Use Changes are counted, biodiesel from palm and soybeans is roughly as polluting as Canadian tar sands. And rapeseed oil (which OFGEM has classed as “renewable”) is nearly as bad. And all three are worse than crude oil.


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Sure, biodiesel is considered “renewable” in the upcoming building regs. But that won’t stop the backlash against developers who use it.

Yesterday a biodiesel generation plant proposed for Avonmouth near Bristol was rejected 6-2 in planning committee on the grounds of its  impact on rainforests on the other side of the globe. Of the 1,121 letters received by councilors in advance of the meeting, only 2 were in favour of the plant.

Strictly speaking, the application should not have been rejected. The plant passed air quality tests and all other material considerations.  The chairwoman of the committe went as far as saying she could find no reason to refuse the application and the city’s legal chief agreed. After all, it’s not the job of the planners to consider the source of fuel – that’s OFGEM’s role.

But that didn’t stop the committee throwing it out anyway, at the end of a fiery meeting, on moral and ethical grounds.


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Biodiesel will almost certainly be a recognised fuel under to upcoming changes to building regs, opening the door to biodiesel CHP as a way to meet increasingly stringent limits on emissions. While a number of big urban developments will breathe a sigh of relief at the news, it’s not all plain sailing. (more…)

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Love them or hate them, liquid biofuels are increasingly being put forward as a renewable fuel for CHP. Currently they’re eligible for ROCs and so appear to be considered renewable by BERR and OFGEM.

But when I spoke to the SAP team at BRE, not only did they confirm that liquid biofuels aren’t considered under SAP, they also said that “because of mounting doubts over the extent of emissions from biofuels”, you have to use the emissions factor for oil when carrying out your SAP calcs. Did they expect the treatment of biofuels to change for the 2010 review of SAP? Adamantly, they did not.

Then I called the BREEAM helpline. They told me that liquid biofuels also aren’t considered under the Code for Sustainable Homes. So no help in scoring points under ENE1 or ENE7.

So liquid biofuel CHP is eligible for ROCs but will do little for your Part L and Code requirements. Without achieving these requirements, the case for biofuel CHP for new buildings is severely undermined. Obviously this situation could change. With CLG on the lookout for ways to meet the 2016 zero carbon homes target, there might be considerable pressure applied in favour of making biofuel renewable under SAP. But for now the official line is that biofuels are not a solution for carbon reduction in new build.

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