biofuels northern ireland by N2ag2yc


									                                             T L de Winne MF
                        6 Coyle’s Lane, Ballyrobert, Bangor, Co. Down, BT19 1UF
                      028 91 853318 (& Fax)                (Mobile) 0788 157 3269
                VAT No 6175 755 19

    Response to untitled and undated Consultation on “Renewable Energy Policy to 2012”
   A paper issued by the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Reflecting a lack of joined-up departmental approach, there is little significant difference between this
consultation and the consultation issued by DETI earlier this year on a cross-border basis. The
welcome exception is on the subject of sustainable transport biofuels, which is covered at the end of
this copy of my response to DETI submitted earlier this year, as follows:-

         Response to Consultation – “Renewable Electricity in Ireland – A 2020 Vision”
 A joint paper issued by the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
   and the Irish Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in July 2005

The phrase used in the Foreword “This work has an urgency to it” may be considered somewhat
naïve and even cynical, given the abject failure by the Northern Ireland administration to comply with
the recommendations given in the many previous papers, reports and consultations. Such as -

July 1993 (DED NI) – The Prospects for Renewable Energy in Northern Ireland
March 1999 (DTI) – New and Renewable Energy – Prospects for the 21 Century

June 1999 (DED NI) – Renewable Energy in the Millennium – the Northern Ireland Potential

November 2000 (DTI / University of Ulster – Foresight; Energy Futures Task Force) Fuelling the
Future - Making the future work for you

October 2001 (DETINI / NI Assembly) – Renewable Energy in Northern Ireland – Realising the

February 2002 (DETINI) – Towards a New Energy Market Strategy for Northern Ireland

Together with many other more specific reports dealing with particular aspects of renewable energy,
but equally disregarded and left to gather dust on office shelves. What is being presented now is a
series of questions – essentially constitutional, procedural or bureaucratic. The fact is, if you want the
right answers you must first ask the right questions. I am not convinced that the right questions are
being asked.

As noted in the consultation document, in 1993, 20 projects were awarded contracts under the
Northern Ireland Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, totalling a capacity of 15.7MW at 6p per kWh. In 1996,
10 contracts totalling 16.27MW at 4p per kWh. In the event, only 16 schemes bore fruit, totalling

Was any analysis carried out to determine, firstly, why half of the contracts awarded were unfulfilled
and, secondly, were the parameters under which the contracts were awarded valid? What effect did
the reduction in price level have? In other words, were the right contractual decisions made?

Secondly, has there been any investigation carried out to determine the barriers – actual or perceived
- to progress? This may appear basic, but it has become evident that there have been introduced, in
recent years, significant legislative and bureaucratic barriers. These have led to both financial and
administrative disincentives. As in – “Is it really worth the bother?”
Examples of such are delays in obtaining planning consent, more stringent and – in many cases –
more expensive restrictions imposed by EU-specified technical requirements, the strident objections of
NIMBYs (not in my back yard) and the over-enthusiasm of not always fully technically qualified staff of
the Environment Agency.

Added to that is the dearth of information on comparison of the various options open to a particular
course of action – do windmills really cause more bird deaths than loss of natural habitat due to global
warming? This needs to be readily available and disseminated more pro-actively by the DED.

The third aspect of this consultation is the evident lack of understanding of the nature of renewable
energy. Essentially, they are dissipated energy resources, requiring concentration. For example, the
calorific value of short rotation coppice wood is around one third that of coal. It therefore requires
three times as much transportation to take it to the generator, which adds to its cost and detracts from
its carbon contribution. Ergo, it is better to have small, simple, localised CHP plants than a centralised
generator. This is a matter of common sense and has been exemplified by the comparison between
the Arbre and Ely projects.

This, of course, militates against the objective of cross-border cooperation, save in the areas of
integrated generation control and grid interconnection.

There is, however, one area that requires more serious consideration, and that is the potential for tidal
energy generation in Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough. Totally reliable in both generation capacity
and phasing, the projects are capital intensive, will require the resources of both jurisdictions and
thereby usefully occupy those public employees currently engaged in theorising, forecasting and the
carrying out of yet another wasteful consultation exercise.

The fourth area of concern is that this consultation is limited to the generation of electricity from
renewable resources, totally ignoring the impending UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation.
Civilisation as we know it depends on transport. It consumes 40% of energy resources and causes
35% of all pollution. The fuels required are far more limited in scope than the generation of electricity
– biodiesel, bioethanol and the largely untapped potential of methane.

(N.B. a few facts –

       fuel cells, after 150 years of research, still cost 100 times as much as the equivalent internal
        combustion engine;
       hydrogen is 75% energy negative to produce and is 5 times as expensive to store and handle
        than petrol or diesel fuel;
       hybrid vehicles use as much fuel as a smaller conventional vehicle, and at 50% additional
       it requires almost a hectare of land to provide the biodiesel used by an average 10,000 mile a
        year motorist,
        and crude oil price reached US$67 on 12 August 2005.) (and $70.90 on 30 August)

It is therefore necessary to balance the natural resources between the competing demands of both
transport and electricity generation. This is not being considered and totally negates the usefulness of
this consultation.

Terry de Winne
15 August 2005

Biofuels (Para 4.11)

I am not clear where the quoted proposals by the UK government to achieve the “indicative targets for
biofuels of 0.3%, 2% and 5% by the end of 2005, 2010 and 2020 respectively” came from, but these
figures do not agree with submissions made to the EU in response to the Biofuels Directive. The
target for even 2007 has not yet been set, although there is a prolonged consultation being
undertaken by DfT prior to the introduction of a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation.

The 0.3% 2005 UK figure has been achieved by private enterprise (despite HM Treasury having
consistently refused to grant a higher tax break for 2003/04/05 and so allowing one GB biodiesel
producer to go bankrupt) and includes the importation of three times as much bioethanol from Brazil
as there is biodiesel produced in the UK. Current UK biodiesel production is running at the rate of
3000 tonnes per month, according to HM Revenue and Customs statistics.

The potential for biofuels in Northern Ireland is limited only by the demand for hydrocarbon diesel and
petrol fuels, versus the amount of resources dedicated to the production of substitute organic fuels.

For example, around 300,000 tonnes of ULSD are used in Northern Ireland annually. To meet a 1%
bioblend obligation by energy content, this creates a demand for 3,000 tonnes of biodiesel per annum.
To produce this amount of biodiesel, there is the feedstock requirement for either the total amount of
used cooking oil collected in the province, or 3,000 hectares of oilseed rape to be grown.

In order to meet the EU Biofuels Directive indicative target, this creates a demand for 18,000 tonnes of
biodiesel or 18,000 hectares of rape by the end of 2011/12. This target cannot be met unless the
necessary infrastructure of pressing the seed and de-gumming the oil exists in the province.

The same calculation may be carried out for bioethanol, bearing in mind that the energy content of
ethanol is only 70% that of petroleum, but that each hectare of wheat can produce 2.5 tonnes of
bioethanol. There is, of course, sugar beet as an alternative feedstock.

Market stimulation (especially Recommendation 31)

For four years, I have had a pilot plant in Belfast producing biodiesel on a commercial basis. Despite
approaches having been made to the Forestry Service, the Rivers Agency and the Department of
Finance and Personnel (Stormont vehicles), I have been met with a deplorable lack of interest in
carrying out user trials. The general reason being that it would be ‘inconvenient’.

The only government organisation to take the initiative - ‘leading by example’ - has been the Transport
Management Group of DRD Water Service, who dedicated two of it’s Belfast based vans to running on
100% biodiesel for a two year period – the most comprehensive trial that has been carried out in the
UK to date. After using over 7,500 litres of B100 biodiesel, there have been no adverse effects found
and their formal report is anticipated shortly.

Similarly, North Down Borough Council has carried out a 12 month user trial in a van, and six month
trials have been carried out by Friends of the Earth, Cash for Cans, Bryson House, Conservation
Volunteers and a number of others, and tailpipe emission trials have been carried out with the
assistance of a passenger bus loaned by Translink.

In each and every case, the results have been in accordance with the several hundred similar trials
carried out, world-wide. What other investigation, analysis or consultation could possibly be required,
other than as a means of delaying the possibility of action?

The market has been stimulated to the extent that I am no longer able to supply more than a small
fraction of the demand. Despite lack of support from Invest Northern Ireland, I am now nearing the
end of negotiations with a Dublin-based group of companies to finance the setting up of a substantial
biodiesel production plant and should be able to satisfy the current demand within the next six months.

I shall subsequently be considering the raising of finance to expand the activities to include tallows
and the longer term use of home-grown virgin vegetable oils.

Recommendation 28

The opportunities for biofuels and – consequentially - the agricultural sector are dependant on the
raising of finance to set up biodiesel and bioethanol production plants and infrastructure,
commensurate with the availability of feedstock. Due to the dilatory approach to transport biofuels
evident from south of the border, there is far more scope for activity in the north.

There will eventually be conflict between demands made by the Renewable Obligation Order for
biomass for electricity production and the forthcoming Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, but
there is the potential to use all available land suitable for cultivation – at least a quarter of a million
hectares currently under-utilised or lost to agriculture since the 1939 statistics.
There is the potential for an additional 5,000 genuine new jobs to be created in the agricultural,
building, engineering and production sectors.

Recommendation 29

All the necessary research, investigation and development has already been carried out. What is
required now is for government departments, for locations where they have their own fuel stocks, to
specify the supply of B20 and E15 bioblends as alternatives to diesel and petrol fuels. If motor
manufacturers object to the use of such ‘high’ bioblends, then purchase vehicles that carry assurances
of compatibility, bearing in mind the successful use in this province over 2 million miles of B65 to B100
biodiesel in all makes of vehicle over the past four years without a valid customer complaint.

Recommendation 30

From experience (and their respective websites), I have found both the Government/Industry Forum
for Non-Food Crops and the Non-Food Crops Centre almost totally disinterested in the production of
crops for sustainable transport fuels. I must stress again that all research has been done and the
commercial opportunities have been identified.

Recommendation 32

The use of rendering residues has been severely limited by the forthcoming introduction of the Waste
Incineration Directive and the ill-advised attitude of the EU in dictating that a waste product remains a
waste product, even after it has undergone a change of state at a molecular level. A number of
discussions have been held with the English Environment Agency, which has expressed as much
bafflement as industry!

4.12 DARD Policy

Try a pro-active approach – lead by example. That means taking a decision, though.

The fortunes of the rural community will depend on the actions of the renewables industry (and there
are few of us about) and I really would like to meet the DARD individual who is reputed to have the
expertise in transport biofuels.

Recommendation 33

Any Policy Group will be no more than another talking shop unless there is the means of supporting
the renewables industry. It is no use encouraging farmers to grow biomass unless there is a market
for it. This market will be generated by the renewables industry, but there is no “availability of
resources” to set up the necessary infrastructure. This is all being left to private finance, hampered as
ever by the ever-increasing burdens of restrictive EU legislation in the name of ‘environmental
protection’. This is, in the main, counter-productive.

We already have a vast number of ‘points of contact’ for “advice”, most of them set up with the aid of
public money, and none of them know anything at all about transport biofuels. By design.

In London, transport biofuels come under the auspices of the Department for Transport due to the fact
that all transportation legislation is primary legislation, affecting all regions. Hence, Northern Ireland
departments do not have either the remit or the resources to have any effect whatsoever.

Terry de Winne
Biofuels Northern Ireland
Allied Biodiesel Industries (UK)
Millennium Fellow
International Solar Energy Society (lapsed)
10 October 2005                                   The foregoing may be placed in the public domain

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