UK’s First Renewable Energy Biofuels Plant Set For Derry
UK’s First Renewable Energy Biofuels Plant Set For Derry

The UK’s first plant for making sustainable fuels is set to open in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Derry Now reports that the £9m facility has been developed in collaboration with NASA and will be capable of producing almost two million litres of advanced renewable fuels each year.

The plant will be constructed near Garvagh and known as Craigmore, and will be the first of its kind in the UK and Europe. The biofuel will be used to help the transport sector transition to net zero emissions targets, as it can be used as a direct replacement for petrol and diesel fuels.

The plant will potentially supply fuels to the aviation sector and also for road haulage and maritime transport. It can potentially cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 97 percent, and its production will be supplemented by the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.

Matthew Stone, Chairman at Renovare Fuels, said: “Renovare Fuels are delighted to be commencing operations in Northern Ireland. This crucial investment will ensure we play a leading role in creating a sustainable future for the transport sector.”

“As we work to meet our global climate goals, we have an exciting opportunity to scale up the UK’s production of renewable fuels, producing more than 1.8 million litres per year in Northern Ireland to support the industries that face the largest barriers to the net zero transition.”

Ian Harvey, Founder at B9 Energy Control Limited, said: “We’re proud to be supporting Renovare Fuels’ landmark investment today, which paves the way for Northern Ireland to play an important role in supporting businesses transition to net-zero.”

“The new operations in County Derry present an opportune moment to kickstart a sustainable fuels drive across the UK. We look forward to continuing to support this development in the new year.”

One of the main ingredients for biofuels is used cooking oil, which is more environmentally friendly than crop-based sources. It also ensures that valuable farmland is not taken up for growing biofuel crops, which can reduce the availability of food supplies and contribute to deforestation.

The Guardian reports that campaigners are calling for tighter rules to ensure that imported used cooking oil is not being fraudulently labelled as such, when it is in fact virgin palm oil. Around 60% of the imports originate from China.

An investigation by the NGO Transport & Environment (T&G) found that demand for waste cooking oil was outstripping supply, leading to concerns that some products are being deliberately incorrectly labelled. The

Barbara Smailagic, a biofuels expert at T&G, said: “Europe is being flooded with dodgy used cooking oil. European governments say it’s almost impossible to stop virgin oils like palm being labelled as waste. We need greater transparency and a limit on imports to avoid used cooking oil simply becoming a backdoor for deforestation-driving palm oil.”

The demand for used cooking oils has doubled since 2015 as airline companies put plans in place to meet the EU’s mandate for the use of at least 6% sustainable aviation fuel overall by 2030.

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