In the U.K., the new Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation came into force on April 15, requiring fuel companies to nearly triple the amount of renewable fuel they supply by 2032, introducing a new incentive for the production of fuels from waste, and bringing in new transportations sectors, such as aviation.

The U.K. Renewable Energy Association noted the RTFO supports ethanol and biodiesel, as well as biomethane and renewable hydrogen.

According to the U.K. Department for Transport, changes to the RTFO will require owners of transport fuel who supply at least 450,000 liters (118,877 gallons) per year to ensure the mix is at least 12.4 percent biofuel by 2032. The industry is currently only expected to meet a target of 4.75 percent biofuel. An intermediate target of 9.75 percent is also set for 2020.

The regulations also set an additional target for advanced waste-based renewable fuels that starts at 0.1 percent in 2019 and increases to 2.8 percent by 2032.

An initial cap of 4 percent crop-based biofuels is set for 2018. The cap is reduced annually from 2021 to reach 3 percent in 2026 and 2 percent in 2032.

In addition, the regulations bring renewable aviation fuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin into the scheme.

The U.K. government is also challenging the sector to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 6 percent by 2020. That reduction, when coupled with the RTFO changes, is expected to support the U.K.’s low carbon fuel industry while helping to makes its transport sector more sustainable.

“This is an exciting time for renewable transport,” said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA. “These new regulations will fire the starting gun on the U.K.’s development of novel fuels for aviation and other forms of transport which are hard to decarbonize, and build on our leadership position in the production of renewable fuels for road transport.”

“The prospects are great for increasing the amount of renewable gas used for fueling heavy goods vehicles,” added John Baldwin, chair of REA’s Biogas Group. “Running these HGVs on green gas reduces carbon emissions by almost 90 percent, plus it reduces particulates, NOx and noise.

“Fleet operators such as Waitrose and Asda are already converting to renewable gas, their drivers love the new vehicles, and these regulations will encourage more fleets to do so in the future,” Baldwin added.

On April 10, a few days before the new RTFO came into effect, U.K.-based Vivergo Fuels announced its 420 MMly ethanol plant is resuming operations following a four-month shutdown. The shutdown was due to weak ethanol prices, which the company said were driven, in part, by government inaction on the future of renewable fuels and current market conditions. Vevergo conducted maintenance and upgrade projects during the shutdown.

Vivergo said it hopes the RTFO will help improve conditions over the coming months, but stressed that the government should introduce E10 by the end of the year.