Memorandum submitted by Iogen (U44)
This follows evidence submitted by Iogen in
April 2004 in response to the enquiry into Biofuels.
Carbon emissions from the transport sector,
which have grown by 62% in the last 20 years, now account for
27% of our greenhouse gas emissions (Transport Trends Summary:
DfT 20 May). 85% of these emissions come from road transport (DTI
Energy White Paper). Although the Government has announced an
aspiration to move towards "zero emissions" from vehicles
under the Department for Transport's Powering Future Vehicles
Strategy, the policies to deliver this have yet to be put in place.
Whilst EU car manufacturers struggle to meet their voluntary target
of 140 g/km emissions of carbon dioxide by 2008, carbon emissions
from vehicle fuels continue to rise without constraint.
I am therefore writing to bring your attention
to the advantages cellulose ethanol (ethanol from crop residues
such as wheat straw) has to offer and the major contribution it
is poised to make to future sustainable fuel production.
Iogen, based in Canada, is the world leader
in producing cellulose ethanol which has been shown by independent
studies to make a net carbon reduction of around 90% compared
with conventional petrol. In conjunction with our partners and
biggest investors, Royal Dutch Shell, Iogen has built a £17
million pre-commercial cellulose ethanol plant in Ottawa which
is now in continuous production. The technology is "ready
to go" and we are in the process of finding a location for
the world's commercial scale industry.
Cellulose ethanol is one of the most cost effective
ways of making greenhouse gas emission reductions from the transport
sector and could be blended up to 10% today in any vehicle with
no modifications to engines or forecourts. Furthermore, a domestic
industry would provide rural communities with a sustainable, new
income stream based from non-food portion of crops, and improve
energy security of supply.
Following a detailed feasibility study we have
identified that the UK's Yorkshire Humber region would also be
an excellent location for the first cellulose ethanol plant. There
is the potential for at least two 150 million litre plants based
on existing straw supplies, and an estimated further eight similar
size plants based on dedicated energy crops throughout the UK.
As well as the UK, Iogen is also focussing its
efforts on Canada, the US and Germany in particular. In Canada
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government is set to
unveil legislation that would require gasoline to contain 5% ethanol
by 2007 and 10% by 2010. In the US, the draft Energy Bill includes
targets for biofuel consumption with a 2.5 to 1 bias for cellulose
ethanol for the same reason.
Since 2001 we have had an ongoing, positive
dialogue with the UK Government. The enhanced environmental benefits
of cellulose ethanol were recognised in the 2003 Budget and the
Energy White Paper. We now sincerely hope that the Government
will proceed with haste towards establishing a Renewables Obligation
for Transport Fuel with long term targets (like those that apply
to the renewable power sector) and a framework that encourages
the greenest technologies. This could be done in a number of ways,
such as increased duty allowances, different levels of tradable
credits for different technologies, loan guarantees or capital
grants. Above all in the UK cellulose ethanol should be regarded
as a major, untapped and cost effective opportunity to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate global warming, and one
that cannot be overlooked if we are to contemplate the Royal Commission
on Environmental Pollution's recommendation that the Government
should reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.
18 November 2004