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Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research her Department has recently commissioned on the impacts of biofuels. (190936)

In recent years, the Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned various pieces of biofuel-related research. The principal projects are listed in the following table, and the results are for the most part available via the DfT’s website.

Title of research


Ethanol emissions testing


International resource costs of biodiesel and bioethanol


Emissions performance of vegetable oil fuel


Liquid Biofuels and Renewable Hydrogen to 2050: an assessment of the implications of achieving ultra-low carbon road transport


RTFO feasibility study (including a study of how best to manage the sustainability impacts of biofuels)


Preparation of detailed carbon and sustainability reporting guidance for transport fuel suppliers (including development of reporting methodology and carbon calculation tool)


The economic and environmental impacts of Government support for biodiesel produced from tallow

The Department has also part-funded and participated in a number of other biofuel-related research projects, over the same period, including for example a number of projects led by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. Other Government Departments including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform have also commissioned various pieces of research into the impacts of biofuels. Most recently, for example, DEFRA has commissioned a review of work on the environmental sustainability of international biofuels production and use, which is due to report shortly.

The Department for Transport has recently invited the Renewable Fuels Agency to lead a review of the evidence around the impacts of biofuel production, particularly the indirect effects. Initial analysis is due to be available by early summer.