Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Where you can buy biofuels

Buying biofuels

There are a number of different biofuels which are commercially available in the UK for use in vehicles and other types of transport, including inland waterway vessels and mobile machinery.

Biodiesel and bioethanol

Most of the fuel you buy at petrol stations will already have some biodiesel or bioethanol added to it. Large fuel suppliers have increased the amount of biofuel content in their fuel each year and standard pump fuel in the UK will now contain 4.75 per cent biodiesel or bioethanol (E5). Standard pump fuel can also contain 10 per cent bioethanol (E10)

There are mandatory sustainability criteria that must be met before a biofuel can be given a renewable transport fuel certificate and count towards this total.

You can buy fuel with a higher concentration of biodiesel and bioethanol at some outlets.

You should only use biodiesel that conforms to the recognised European quality standard EN14214 and meets the current diesel specification EN590.

Other transport biofuels

If you want to use other biofuels, for example biogas, you will need to consider installing your own refuelling facilities. There is a limited supply of biogas for road transport and no public refuelling outlets in the UK.

Several HGV biogas refuelling stations are planned for the future and biogas will become more readily available for this industry.

You may also be able to use valuable tax breaks for refuelling equipment.

HMRC: First year allowances for natural gas and hydrogen fuelling equipment

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO)

Most fossil fuel used for road transport in the UK is refined or imported by suppliers and the RTFO puts certain obligations on these suppliers. An obligated supplier (producing more than 450,000litres of relevant fuel) must prove to the Secretary of State that eligable fuels, i.e.

  • the total volume of a wholly renewable fuel
  • the portion of a partially renewable biofuel from biomas feedstocks
  • the portion of a part RFNBO, part non RFNBO derived from renewable energy sources

make up a percentage of the fuel they supply by producing Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) at the end of the year. One RTFC is awarded for every litre of biofuel reported, and an obligated supplier can obtain them either by supplying biofuel, or by trading with other biofuel suppliers.

The RTFO programme does not apply if the annual volume of fuel you supply is less than 450,000 litres. You can trade RTFCs with obligated suppliers, providing a potential revenue stream to support the production of biofuel

Further information

Renewable Energy Centre: Biodiesel and bioethanol fuel suppliers

GOV.UK: Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

In this Guideline

What are biofuels?

Where you can buy biofuels

Producing your own biodiesel

Producing your own bioethanol or biogas

Do you need a permit or authorisation to produce biofuel?

Storing and transporting biofuel

Biofuels for transport further information

Biofuels environmental legislation

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