The increased use of alternative fuel sources will contribute towards reduced CO2 emissions whilst improving air quality.
These alternative fuels involve relatively new and complex technologies, which require further research and development before their uptake can be accelerated.
Alternative fuel types
Biofuels are fuels produced from a range of feedstock including animal waste (tallow) and energy crops such as wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sugar cane. The main fuels produced are either bio-ethanol or bio-diesel. Some opportunities also exist with the emergence of viable technologies, to convert commonly available mixed or segregated waste into biofuels.
We are working with the Department for Transport towards an EU target of a 5 per cent biofuel mix with conventional fuels, supplied through existing pumps. The target for 2010/1 3.75 per cent, rising to 5 per cent by 2013/14. A target of 10 per cent renewable fuels for transport has been announced for 2020 but this is subject to sustainable production and the commercial availability of biofuels. Further information on biofuels is available from the Biofuels Business Programme run by Edinburgh Napier University.
The use of hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles also has the potential to offer reductions in CO2 emissions, as the only significant emission is water vapour. However, hydrogen powered vehicles are not currently available on the mass market, and significant development is likely to be required before market emergence. To achieve the emissions reductions it is necessary to create hydrogen from Scotland's plentiful renewable energy resources.
Electricity - Plugged in Places
The Right Honourable Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport, announced on 14 December 2010 that a Transport Scotland led consortium was one of only five successful in bidding to join the £30m UK-wide Plugged-in Places initiative. This provides match funding for the installation of publicly available charging points for electric vehicles.
The successful scheme will result in the installation of over 200 of these charging points across central Scotland, and will focus on providing a network of points to support an ‘electric commute' to Glasgow and Edinburgh from surrounding hubs such as Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Falkirk, Fife and the Lothian's amongst others.
The Scottish scheme will also link up with charging points in the North East of Scotland, North East of England and Northern Ireland, by providing six quick charging units, capable of fully recharging an electric vehicle in 30 minutes. This quick charging network will enable a continuous journey by electric vehicle from Newcastle through southern and central Scotland, and onwards to Tayside, Aberdeen and Belfast via Stranraer.