Project Archive | 2018

Strong auto industry consensus about its technical future

Despite the unprecedented level of change facing cars, buses, heavy duty and off highway vehicles, the industries that develop and supply them are keen to work on future technologies together. This shared vision is captured in a definitive set of roadmaps, developed for the UK Automotive Council, showing strong consensus about the technologies of the future. E4tech is pleased to have played a part in securing this cross-industry consensus and drawing out the key messages.

In a newly-released report, UK Advanced Propulsion Centre has assembled the roadmaps, providing clear predictions to 2040 for specific technologies and the companies and researchers that will develop them.

The messages are internationally-relevant and represent a significant opportunity for those who embrace change and are willing and able to work closely with other sectors in new areas.

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Low carbon fossil fuels sustainability risks and accounting methodology

This study for the UK Department for Transport reviews the potential sustainability impacts of low carbon fossil fuels, and develops a methodology for assessing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This GHG assessment needs to account for where the carbon would otherwise have been destined, had it not been used to make a new fuel product. Adopting this approach, this research illustrates that lifecycle carbon impacts of alternative fossil fuels range from significantly higher, to significantly lower emissions than conventional fossil petrol and diesel. The report also identifies a range of broader sustainability risks relating to air quality impacts, encouraging the production of more wastes, and of making an inefficient use of resources, for example, through contravening the waste hierarchy. If low carbon fossil fuels are given policy support, the study suggests that robust sustainability criteria should be in place to mitigate these risks.

Final report

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UK energy future is here, it is just not evenly distributed

In a first of a kind report, E4tech and researchers from Imperial College London examined the UK’s progress towards an energy system that meets energy transition targets, also looking at which sectors and regions are making greatest progress. The report, commissioned by Drax, finds that progress in cleaning power generation is a bright spot, enabling industry, commercial buildings and potentially road transport to lower their impacts. However, sectors such as household heating, heavy duty vehicles and power system flexibility are holding back the transition.

The picture also varies strongly by region. Generally, more affluent regions have made significantly greater progress. Only London and Scotland are coming close to being on track to meet overall targets. The report also examines the affordability of the energy transition, finding that the burden falls unequally – for example – Londoners stand to gain the most from switching to electric vehicles. For the energy transition to be a success it must also be equitable.

Please see E4tech’s website for more information about E4tech’s work in energy innovation or contact Adam Chase

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Low carbon economic strategy Teesside

The Tees Valley in the North East of England is a major centre of heavy industry, including around half of UK chemicals production, as well as other heavy industries. Despite many strengths, the region faces challenges due to the loss of several key industries (such as steelmaking) and carbon reduction targets.

These challenges had led the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to assess numerous means to reduce emissions and grow new industries. Each of the studies had considered a technology-led approach, however, an integrated strategy was lacking.  TVCA commissioned KPMG and E4tech to develop an economic strategy that unified the technological pathways into an attractive long term plan. The fully costed plan, featuring CCUS, hydrogen, waste to energy, wind power and new industries now forms part of the industrial strategy for Tees Valley.



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EU approval for biofuel certification schemes

The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), which was amended in 2015 by the iLUC Directive (2015/1513), uses voluntary certification schemes as proof of conformity with its environmental (no-go areas and minimum greenhouse gas savings) and traceability requirements. Voluntary certification schemes may apply for EU recognition in order for certificate holders to access EU market without further verification of sustainability credentials.

The recognition process requires voluntary schemes to implement a large number of requirements, including:

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem protection;
  • Greenhouse gas calculation and minimum saving threshold;
  • Traceability of feedstocks, including for waste and residues such as used cooking oil;
  • Assurance, e.g. auditors qualification, auditing processes, accreditation, etc.

E4tech has been supporting several voluntary schemes (incl. Bonsucro and the Round Table for Responsible Soy) with the implementation of EU requirements and throughout the evaluation process undertaken by the European Commission. After several rounds of comments and documentation improvements, voluntary schemes successfully obtained their (re)approval for a period of 5 years.


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Mapping the science on the GHG impact of forest bioenergy

The Packard Foundation is committed to support science-based initiatives in relation to climate change mitigation and environmental protection. The Foundation has been supporting activities in relation to sustainable bioenergy production through grants provided to research organisations, NGOs and think tanks engaged in evaluating the climate change implications of forest-based bioenergy. E4tech was commissioned by the Foundation to review the most influential scientific publications dealing with carbon accounting in forest bioenergy to understand areas of convergence and divergence of opinion. The study analysed how the methodologies and assumptions in the different publications with regard to forest types and wood material types, forestry practices (e.g. harvesting frequency), modelling tools and counterfactual scenarios affected potential climate change benefits (e.g. greenhouse gas savings, carbon payback time and carbon parity time). The aim of the review was to provide a starting point for a dialogue to achieve greater consensus on the sustainability of different forest biomass resources.

The review is currently undergoing revision, based on feedback from the authors of the selected publications. It should be followed by a scientific dialogue to help identifying areas of consensus.



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Invitation to final conference for the Horizon 2020 ButaNexT project

The Horizon 2020 ButaNexT project aims to develop a highly efficient production process to convert sustainable 2nd generation feedstocks to biobutanol. The ButaNexT consortium is led by Green Biologics, with partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. The consortium have tested, validated and optimised, at lab and pilot scale, the supply chain to produce lower-cost biobutanol from lignocellulosic biomass and waste.

The team have worked to optimise each stage of the biobutanol production value chain: biomass pre-treatment, fermentation, downstream processing and blending. A pilot plant at 100L scale has been constructed, integrating all elements of the process together. Engine tests of biobutanol blended with gasoline, diesel, biodiesel and ethanol have been carried out.

E4tech has carried out a feedstock assessment, analysing the availability of straw, municipal solid waste, Miscanthus and woody residues across the EU; and assessed the greenhouse gas, techno-economic and social impacts of the biobutanol production process.

All public deliverables are available on the ButaNexT project website:

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Bioenergy for Sustainable Energy Access in Africa – A scoping study of the opportunities and challenges of bioenergy replication across Sub-Saharan Africa

E4tech together with LTS International and the University of Edinburgh have completed Phase I of the DFID funded research assignment ‘Bioenergy for Sustainable Energy Access in Africa’ (BSEAA). The one-year scoping study for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) investigated the opportunities and challenges affecting the adoption and roll out of bioenergy technology across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We have identified key areas to catalyse further deployment that DFID will likely support through further targeted research to catalyse the uptake of bioenergy technology and innovation in SSA.

Through a wide-ranging literature review and stakeholder mapping we identified AD and gasification as the bioenergy technologies with the highest suitability for scale-up and increased deployment in SSA. Steam turbines were identified as a second priority, albeit with few existing installations at less than 5MW. Based on 12 biogas and 6 gasification plant visits in seven countries in East, West and Southern Africa we determined the main barriers for anaerobic digestion and for gasification. Anaerobic digestion was the technology with the greatest potential for increased deployment as there are a few commercial and technically successful projects plus further promising projects currently under construction or in early operation stages. We suggested research areas for a potential open call in Phase II which could help to harness this potential. Barriers encountered for gasification were so wide-ranging that there is no realistic opportunity for research to boost replication potential.

E4tech developed the methodology, in particular the technology prioritisation, conducted a stakeholder identification and prioritisation, provided technical bioenergy expertise throughout the project, in particular during the field visits, and recommended research areas to DFID to form the basis of Phase II. Phase II will be part of the larger Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Programme, which seeks to test innovative technology applications and business models to accelerate the provision of affordable, clean energy-based services to poor households and enterprises. Results of this work were compiled in a series of reports which can found here.

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