A new ’homebrew’ revolution is set to increase biofuel production after the government relaxed duty rules.

The law previously required anyone producing biofuel to pay duty of 28.35p on every litre as well as submit returns to HM Revenue & Customs and to hold a permit. However, from July, there is now a production threshold of 2,500 litres per annum, below which producers will not need to submit returns or pay duty. There will also be a reduction in the frequency of returns for all but the largest producers (those producing more than 450,000 litres per annum) from monthly to quarterly. There are already about 1,400 producers of biofuels in the UK, according to Roger Flynn, managing director of Biofuels Media, who said the change in regulations meant that everyone could produce enough biofuel for their own personal consumption, duty free.

He said it would also stimulate more people to try making the fuel, because the payback on buying a 50-litre £700 reactor would be very quick; the chemicals needed to produce it cost about 10p a litre and used oil could be sourced free from chip shops. "People who drive black cabs or who have a haulage distribution company will be interested," said Flynn. He added: "Someone making 2,500 litres for a diesel car doing 30 miles to the gallon could get 15,000 miles per year and save 50p a litre."

Flynn said that tens of thousands of people could be tempted to try making biofuel.