The North East Process Industries Cluster (NEPIC) and North East Biofuels (NEB) are working closely together to create a delivery body for the region’s first Biofuels Strategy. Launched by regional development agency One NorthEast, the strategy outlines the benefits from the biofuels economy that can be derived from the region’s rural sector and world-class chemical and petrochemical industries.
The agency has been working with NEPIC and NEB to create the partnership, which will initially last three years at a cost of £1.7m. It follows the launch of the national Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, which on April 15th saw all fuel companies obliged to replace an increasing percentage (rising to five per cent in 2010) of annual fossil fuel sales with biofuel.
One NorthEast’s director for business and industry Ian Williams said: ‘North east England has the potential to be one of the only European hubs capable of supplying the global market and attracting major investment – but it is still a young industry. We need strong leadership and expertise to build the capacity that will be needed in our production infrastructure and supply chains.’
He added: ‘This partnership will drive that process at all levels, from increasing our manufacturing capacity for bioethanol and biodiesel, helping to develop new technologies for advanced biofuels production and helping to develop robust relationships between farmers and crusher operators; to lobbying national policy makers and working with oil majors.
The North East Biofuel Strategy identified that the industry will play a key role in meeting the recommendations of the Stern report into climate change. This claimed the market for low carbon energy products is likely to rise from £38bn now, to exceed £500bn by 2050.