The UK oil industry has exceeded the government’s 2.5% volume target for biofuel content in road fuels (achieving 2.7%) in the first full year of the Renewable Transport Obligation (RTFO)

according to Hugh Tucker, technical co-ordinator at the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA). He said the target had largely been met by the addition of 5% bio content into conventional ’zero sulphur’ diesel, which had been "achieved seamlessly" from a consumers’ perspective.

However he said there were operational issues, such as the cold-flow properties of the finished fuel, which could cause it to solidify; and the problems of biological growth which had required retailers to be more disciplined in keeping tanks and pipework bug-free.

"With the targeted increase in the biofuels content in future years, we therefore need to proceed with caution." He said the second generation of biofuels was now being researched, to develop new alternative fuels that satisfy future fuel demand in a more sustainable way. He stressed the need for a common policy for biofuels across the EU, to ensure supply reliability.

The original RTFO targets were revised last year to 3.25% in 2009/10, 3.5% in 2010/11, 4% in 2011/12 and 5% in 2013/14.