27 April 2001
MAFF ‘puts coppice above biodiesel’

By FWi staff

THE Ministry of Agriculture favours short-rotation coppice projects for electricity generation over biodiesel, claims a Northern Ireland biofuel pioneer.

This is the main reason it lobbied against biodiesel ahead of last months Budget, says Terry de Winne, of Biofuels Northern Ireland.

“They want nothing but short-rotation coppice,” said Mr de Winne.

Mr de Winne was responding to a call for biodiesel support by the British Association of Bio Fuels and Oils.

Land allocated to oilseed rape for biodiesel is land lost to willow or other electricity generating crops in the Ministrys eyes, says Mr de Winne.

That is despite rapemeal, the byproduct from crushing oilseed rape for biodiesel or food use, being a more valuable fuel than willow, he says.

“MAFF has totally overlooked the fact that rapemeal cake could be processed in a gasification unit to release a lot more energy than the other fuels, such as straw or wood, which they are supporting,” said Mr de Winne.

“Their technical advisors simply dont understand the physics behind it.”

Using rapemeal to produce electricity would also avoid any over-production concerns related to the Blair House agreement, he adds.

On Wednesday (25 April) the BABFO welcomed a Government invitation for an urgent meeting to discuss “misunderstandings” over biodiesel.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions called for the meeting after MPs voted against cutting biodiesel tax on Tuesday (24 April).

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