Biofuels will not lose out to need to produce food

Biofuel crops will not lose out to meeting the demands of increased food production, according to Frontier Agriculture.

Speaking at the Royal Show 2008, industrial crops director Richard Whitlock said only a fraction of productive land was currently used for biofuel feedstocks and there was plenty of scope to increase production without compromising food security.

“Only a fractional amount of land is currently in use for biofuels and a great proportion of the produce from that land goes back into food production – as a high protein animal feed like distillers’ dried grains.”

He said the government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation was “robust” and it was reality that by 2010 five percent of road vehicle fuel would be from renewable sources.

“The government is happy for industry to promote the ReTFO on its behalf. But the ReTFO is robust. Well done British government. Just fight your corner occasionally. There is room for biofuels.”

The fact that the case for biofuels stood up was reflected in investors’ activity in the sector, he added.

“Speculators are not the cause of food and fuel price rises – but they do make the inevitable happen sooner.

“Please don’t think there isn’t enough land. There is. In the future commodity suppliers will be highly valued and so will valuable by-products. Demand will be there.”

Construction was expected to begin in the next few months on the BP/ Associated British Foods bioethanol plant at Hull, supplied by Frontier, he said. Vivergo Fuels would take 1.1m tonnes of “mainly” UK wheat a year, produce 330m tonnes of ethanol and 540m tonnes of animal feed in spent grains.