WILLIAM TEBBIT CHAIRMAN OF GREEN BIOFUELS
William is Chairman of Green Biofuels, the UK’s leading provider of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuels and is responsible for external communications and business development. Before joining Green Biofuels in 2017, William previously spent two decades gaining business experience in senior finance roles across the UK, Ireland and UAE.
What is your role within Green Biofuels?
As Chairman of Green Biofuels, I lead on Green Biofuel’s day-to-day external communications, corporate activity, promotion and development of the business. I work very closely with Magnus Hammick as our CEO, and a long-term business partner.
I previously spent nearly two decades in the City of London, gaining practical business experience by taking on senior roles across the UK, Ireland and United Arab mEmirates.
What challenges have you faced in the industry?
There are a number of both logistical and financial challenges which present a barrier the wider rollout of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuels across the UK. Despite some government subsidies through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), HVO fuels still cost more than fossil fuels and as such, there are a lack of incentives for the rail industry to move to more sustainable fuels across the non electrified network.
An enhanced duty rebate to price HVO fuels as close to diesel fuels as possible would aid the transition to cleaner fuels and incentivise UK industry to accelerate their net-zero targets. We rightly need to be looking at the long-term electrification of the entire UK railway network, however in this transitionary period until the proposed target of 2040 for full electrification, operators, wider stakeholders and the Department for Transport must work together to identify immediate solutions to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality across the UK.
Chiltern Railways have fully adopted HVO fuels across their Class 68 locomotives, which has rapidly reduced pollution levels for those living alongside the railway lines, especially in inner city London around Marylebone. Green Biofuels has achieved this by significantly investing in smart fuel tanks and technologies to allow improved integration into train operator assets. However, the complex nature of working with various stakeholders adds to the length of time to implement the uptake of Green Biofuel’s Gd+HVO fuel.
What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success?
A milestone moment for us this year was when Chiltern Railways adopted Green Biofuel’s Gd+HVO fuel for their Class 68 locomotives, as part of its effort to decarbonise their operations. However, our successes are ultimately our client’s successes. Businesses that do the right thing despite higher costs and a lack of regulatory support are the real heroes who are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality across the UK. They are to be commended for their ambition as we all work to reach net-zero.
Elsewhere, launching Gd+ Ireland has been a significant step for Green Biofuels. Repurposing a redundant facility and bringing it back to life to be the first and only green fuel terminal in Ireland has been a fantastic step for the business. Increasing the capacity to produce HVO fuels across the UK and Ireland further reduces the costs and carbon footprint of fuels as they have a shorter distance to travel. Domestic production is good for reducing costs – both financial and environmental.
Our values are strongly focused on reusing what we can and doing what’s right as soon as we possibly can. None of this can be achieved without the fantastic support and buy-in of our clients and stakeholders, in particular the Port of Cork and Ringaskiddy Terminal at our new Gd+ Ireland site.
Tell us about Green Biofuels
Green Biofuels is a planet-first technology company, distributing renewable fuels to bring about real change. We have created an advanced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel (GD+ HVO). This is a more sustainable, renewable paraffinic diesel substitute, made from UK RTFO approved waste and supercharged with an engine-enhancing additive.
Gd+HVO is a key solution to dramatically reduce emissions across all sectors using diesel fuelled internal combustion engines, including the railways. We offer an immediate positive result for customers who wish to decarbonise, improve local air quality and make a difference whilst evaluating the next technologies. This ensures the customer reduces technology risk, reduces greenhouse gas emissions during transition and forces the next technologies to be even better, affordable and reliable.
Green Biofuels are the leading HVO supplier in the UK. In the last two years, we have delivered more than 600 million litres of Gd+HVO fuel to the UK and are continuing to grow at a fast pace.
Which sectors do you work in?
As well as supporting the railway industry to reduce its emissions, Green Biofuels supports a range of infrastructure on construction sites, including HS2. Elsewhere, we support industries which face some of the largest barriers to transitioning to net-zero, most notably road haulage and maritime.
Green Biofuels also support the running of infrastructure at Eurovision and Boardmasters Festival, helping world famous events to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet the UK’s net-zero ambitions. Elsewhere, we’re also proud to work with progress partners such as: Sky Sports; Skanska; Bentley Cars; and Aldi.
What types of products and services do you offer?
Gd+HVO requires no modification to customers’ engines or infrastructure; and in the case of road vehicles, drivers can simply fill up their engine with HVO fuel and continue their journey as normal. There is no capex investment, only a variable additional premium over diesel.
Gd+HVO also reduces NOx emissions by up 20 per cent, PM emissions by up to 80 per cent and CO2 e emissions by up to 90 per cent. Very few technologies canreduce both PM and NOx simultaneously but Green Biofuels’ Gd+HVO can do this due to the differences in the chemistry of the base fuel (an absence of aromatics) and the incorporation of its engine-enhancing additive.
We are proud of our world-leading technology which is rapidly helping to meet the key environmental challenges of the day, through providing an immediate solution to how we can reduce the most harmful pollutants from the atmosphere across the rail industry and beyond.
How passionate are you about sustainability in the rail sector, and how do you go about sourcing the materials for your products?
The rail sector is critical to the UK, whether it’s moving freight or passengers. However, the combined challenges of needing sustained investment into infrastructure, a complex range of stakeholders, and high costs to using more sustainable fuels, means change is not quick. Utilising cleaner fuels makes an immediate and significant contribution on the journey to net-zero as we work towards electrify the whole of the UK’s rail network.
A much-used phrase is ‘it’s a no brainer’; and using clean fuels in rail really is a no brainer. There is no place for fossil diesel in rail anymore. We need commitment and action to change for a better future. Even HS2 was designed to use fossil diesel in the maintenance rolling stock – this should without a doubt run on a clean fuel.
Gd+HVO is sourced from 100 per cent waste materials. All the feedstocks are sustainably and responsibly sourced from renewable feedstocks, as classified by the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II Legislation, and adheres to the UK’s RTFO permitted waste and residues. This includes processed wastes and residues from the vegetable oil and animal fat industries.
What are some major projects you’re currently working on?
We continually work with a range of partners across a variety of sectors to understand their challenges and help them facilitate change. The growing market realisation that fuels like GD+HVO provide an immediate positive impact means that we work with a diverse range of both small and very large businesses.
The recent launch of Gd+ Ireland has been a major step for Green Biofuels, demonstrating our commitment to producing more sustainable fuels in the countries we directly operate in. A two pronged approach to increase the domestic production capacity of HVO in the UK and Ireland, as well as to see price parity between HVO and diesel fuels – which ultimately requires action from government – will help to further increase the availability of sustainable fuels across different sectors and for everyday consumers.
Do you think the rail industry could be greener and what is your organisations green strategy?
There is a cross-party political consensus of the need to increase domestic green energy production and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. However, the UK has not yet grappled with how to make the whole transport sector – not least haulage, unelectrified railways and maritime – part of the transition to Net Zero.
The rail industry contributes 1.4 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions each year, despite some ten per cent of all passenger journeys being made by rail. This figure can be reduced even further by increasing the uptake of HVO fuels, as we work in the long-term to electrify rail lines across the country.
The Government has a target of phasing out diesel-only trains by 2040 which certainly feels like a very distant goal. We are determined to work with Government and transport operators to do everything we can to reduce harmful emissions from the railway and to support the UK’s drive to becoming a green energy superpower.
We are already proud to be fuelling trains travelling along the coast from Southampton to Crewe with Freightliner, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and Ocean Network Express that run entirely on our high-performance technology. As well as Chiltern Railways using HVO to power its Class 68 locomotives as part of efforts to decarbonise its operations.
There’s clearly more to do but we’re determined to be part of this collaborative effort to green the UK rail sector.
What are your views on collaborative working?
Green Biofuels recently led an open letter, addressed to the Minister of State for Transport, Jesse Norman MP, calling for a tax cut on clean fuels, paid for by higher duty on dirty diesel, to help transition to Net Zero across road, rail and maritime. This was supported by a diverse range of over 30 business leaders and environmental campaigners.
Working in partnership across the transport industry is essential. It allows us to share best practice and promotes a quicker transition to net-zero. Without frequent dialogue with our customer base and an array of supportive voices across the industry, we simply couldn’t achieve the increasing levels of uptake of sustainable fuel alternatives we see today.
In terms of technology, how do you anticipate things might change in the next five to ten years?
We are in somewhat of a holding phase in regard to technology. Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology needs to rapidly develop as its clearly superior to trying to deliver hydrogen physically. Crucially, fuels such as HVO have a major role to play in filling the gap in existing technologies as we work to meet our Net Zero goals.
The biggest requirements for further technological development are across storage, the efficient transmission of electricity, and the reduction in carbon intensity of the National Grid. Only then will electrified routes truly be Net Zero, and in this interim period, our drop-in replacement will help us achieve a more sustainable planet