Low-carbon transport fuels – an evidence review

Emissions from transport must reduce significantly to achieve Scotland’s target of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. While Transport Scotland states that zero-emissions solutions are preferable (such as battery and fuel cell electric vehicles, and direct electrification) these are not feasible in some sectors such as aviation and shipping.

In these situations, low-carbon fuels (LCFs), which emit less GHG than fossil fuels, may be more appropriate. The type of feedstock and the conversion technology used to produce the fuel affects the amount of GHG that is emitted.

The purpose of this report is to review the evidence and policy surrounding LCFs in transport.


  • LCFs in Scotland will be essential in decarbonising the aviation and maritime sectors.
  • In the short term, the reliance is likely to be on established biofuel-based technology to meet the demand. The key issue is maintaining a sustainable feedstock as demand increases both domestically from the heat/power sector and from the global economy.
  • Green hydrogen and such derivatives are known as renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs), which generally offer greater carbon savings compared to biofuels and the third category of LCFs, recycled carbon fuels (RCFs). Longer term, the demand would ideally be met by RFNBO-based technology, as this does not generally have the same constraints surrounding feedstock availability as biofuels or RCFs. However, research and investment into the required technology and infrastructure will be essential in realising this potential.

For a complete list of findings and further information, please download the report.

If you require the report in an alternative format such as a Word document, please contact info@climatexchange.org.uk or 0131 651 4783.