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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

UK government doubles down on electric vehicles, sustainable aviation fuel

The U.K. government unveiled a package of measures March 30 aimed at decarbonizing transport.

Much of the policy proposals focus on spending hundreds of millions of pounds to support the transition to electric vehicles.

The U.K. government has also unveiled its proposals for a zero-emission vehicle mandate, which, from 2024, will set minimum annual targets for the percentage of new car and van sales that must be zero emission.

The proposed mandate makes the U.K.’s path to electrification through outlawing internal-combustion engines the fastest in Europe.

The plans support the government’s commitment to end the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and vans by 2030, and from 2035 all new cars and vans must be “fully zero emission at the exhaust,” the government stated. “Between 2030 and 2034, all new vehicles must be either fully zero emission or be able to drive a significant distance with zero emissions.”

In addition to the electrification mandate and massive funding proposals to phase out internal-combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles, the U.K. government has also opened the second application round of the £165 million (USD$205.6 million) Advanced Fuels Fund, which will help deliver on the commitment for the country to have at least five commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plants in construction by 2025.

“At current rates, aviation would become one of the largest emitting sectors by 2050, which is why it’s imperative the government takes action,” the U.K. government stated.

Additionally, a second consultation on the SAF mandate has been launched, which sets out how the mandate will deliver carbon savings, provide incentives to SAF producers and signal to investors the vital role SAF will play in the future of U.K. aviation.

The government also confirmed that the University of Sheffield will deliver the U.K. clearinghouse to support the testing and certification of new SAF.

“Today’s renewed support for sustainable aviation fuel is another step towards making Jet Zero a reality,” said Charlotte Vere, the U.K. aviation minister. “Developing a U.K. SAF industry will not only put the country at the heart of green aviation worldwide, but also boost investment, jobs and fuel security in the U.K.”

SAF project developer and technology company Velocys plc welcomed the U.K. government’s proposals. “Velocys believes this will help to support the further development of its U.K. reference project, Altalto Immingham. and other U.K. pipeline opportunities, building on the recent U.K. government grants awarded from the Advanced Fuel Fund. The government has confirmed its desire to establish the U.K. as a global leader in the development, production and use of SAF by creating secure and growing SAF demand, kickstarting a domestic SAF industry and working in partnership with industry and investors to build long-term supply. [The proposal] comes amid growing support for decarbonization and further supports the U.K. government’s ambition of reaching net zero by 2050 and its Jet Zero strategy. The gasification plus Fischer-Tropsch process has been identified as the main pathway to sustain SAF uptake to 2030 and beyond. Velocys’ patented Fischer-Tropsch process is well positioned to fulfil this demand.”



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