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Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

  The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in the United Kingdom is a requirement on transport fuel suppliers to ensure that, by 2010, 5% of all road vehicle fuel is supplied is from sustainable renewable sources. It is expected that the introduction of the obligation will cut annual carbon emissions in the transport sector by between 2% and 3%.

The announcement to introduce the Obligation was made on 10 November 2005 [1], using powers included in the Energy Act 2004. It is expected that it will come into force in April 2008. In mid-2005, biofuel made up 0.25% of overall road fuel sales, around 50% of it imported [2].

  In practice, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will mostly be achieved by blending bioethanol, biomethanol, biodiesel and biogas (derived from sources such as palm oil, oilseed rape, cereals, sugar cane, sugar beet, and reprocessed vegetable oil) with fossil fuels. All existing vehicles are able to run on a 5% blend. Flexible Fuel Vehicles, currently more common in the Americas than in Europe, are able to use blends of up to 85% biofuel.

The requirement that the biofuel sources should be sustainable is also important. In South America and Asia, the production of biofuels for export has in some cases resulted in significant ecological damage, including the clearing of rainforest.

In the future, the Department for Transport estimate that up to 1/3 of the fuel in the UK transport sector could be produced from home-grown biofuels. In addition to contributing to cutting carbon emissions, the use of biofuels is seen as widening the country's fuel diversity and increasing fuel security.

The RTFO will help bring the UK into line with European Union biofuels directive, which sets targets for all EU countries for biofuel usage of 2% by the end of 2005 and 5.75% by the end of 2010.


It is expected that the RTFO will be implemented through a certification scheme. Companies certified as having sold more than the 5% obligation would be able to sell their certificates for the excess to those who sold less.

See also

In the media

  • July 26, 2006 , The Guardian Biofuels fires up its Teesside production
  • November 02, 2005, The Times, All cars will run on 'biofuel' mix by 2010
  • May 2002, European Environmental Bureau, Biofuels not as green as they sound
  • Nov 23, 2004, Feeding Cars, Not People, George Monbiot [3]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Renewable_Transport_Fuel_Obligation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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