Risk assessment of UK biofuel developments within the rapidly evolving energy and transport sectors

Geoffrey P. Hammond, Hayley R. Howard, Andrew Tuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)


A range of major risks associated with the production and use of biofuels in the rapidly changing United Kingdom (UK) energy and transport sectors have been identified and quantified. This was achieved with the aid of various stakeholder groups (academic researchers; industrialists; and a concatenated group of policy makers together with 'green' and international development groups), who completed an online internet questionnaire. Each stakeholder ranked 15 potential risks associated with the UK development and use of liquid biofuels according to their perceived 'severity of impact' and 'likelihood of occurrence' using a three-point scale. This data was then used to perform a ranking of the risks by multiplying scores for impact and occurrence. There was some variation between the different stakeholder groups, but the similar risks were ranked highly by each group. The overall ranking identified the main risks as being a lack of investor confidence in biofuel developments (the highest score); energy or fuel security issues; negative public perception of biofuels (equal second highest); increased food prices; high barriers to entry into the fuel market; and misdirected agricultural expansion or land use (equal fifth highest). Comments by the expert respondents also provide a qualitative evaluation of the present state of UK biofuel developments. The present trial illustrates the potential of using risk issues appraisal and ranking to evaluate developing risks to the UK biofuels landscape. Clearly such an exercise would need to be carried out periodically if it were to maintain its value to the biofuel-related industrial sector and other stakeholders, including policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-548
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part O: Journal of Risk and Reliability
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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