The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 10, 2018, Vivergo Fuels announced that it was re-opening its bioethanol plant following the passing of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The Vivergo plant, the largest plant in the United Kingdom (UK) and the second largest producer of bioethanol in Europe, was originally shut down due to unfavorable trading conditions and uncertainty about the future of renewable fuel policies. RTFO will increase the use of renewable fuels in transport from current levels of 4.75 percent to 9.75 percent by 2020, but Vivergo is now calling for the introduction of E10 fuel by the end of 2018. E10 is widely used in the United States, as well as France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Canada, and Australia. Vivergo argues that introducing E10 in the UK would provide an immediate impact on transport emissions, provide high quality employment in the region, and spur further investment in renewables.


On November 29, 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) Department of Transportation published proposed legislative changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which is open for consultation until January 22, 2017.  Among the proposed changes is an increase in the blending mandates to 9.75 percent by volume for 2020.  The three main proposals outlined detail increasing the supply of waste derived fuels, encouraging the production of advanced renewable fuels, and setting a maximum cap for fuels from food crops.  The aim of the consultation is to determine whether further measures could be taken to minimize costs.
The RTFO was established to achieve the targets for renewable energy usage in the transportation sector set by the European Union by incentivizing fuel suppliers to provide biofuels at the lowest cost possible.  The objective is to encourage investment in renewable fuels so that the relative cost of biofuels decreases over time.


The United Kingdom (UK) Department for Transport (DfT) announced the launch of a £25 million competition for funding to build advanced biofuel plants. The funding will eventually lead to the construction of up to three demonstration level advanced biofuel plants in the UK. In order to qualify for funding, the biofuels being produced need to have at least 60 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels and be made from waste materials. Potential bidders have until February 13, 2015, to provide a detailed expression of interest, with full proposals due in June 2015. The demonstration plants that are constructed as a result of this competition are expected to produce one million liters or more of biofuel per year and be operational by December 2018. Application information for the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition is available online.