Inside this issue

1. Fuelling doubts over biofuels at UN Climate Convention

2. Relationship between termites and biofuels?

3. China and the US could sign an agreement on biofuels

4. Sustainable production of biodiesel with Jatropha one step closer

5. Development of a 'biomass catalytic cracking process'

6. Policies Update

7. Project & Activities

8. New Publications and Resources

9. Event Highlights

10. Editorial and legal information

1. Fuelling doubts over biofuels at UN Climate Convention

Unveiled at the UN climate convention meeting in Bali, the results of a survey carried out by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) reveal that many decision-makers in the climate change field have little faith in biofuels as a low-carbon technology.

"Technology must be at the heart of the future response to climate change," UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer declared at the talks. But which technology? In a survey of 1,000 professionals in 105 countries, IUCN attempted to gauge which technologies inspired the most confidence. >>more

2. Relationship between termites and biofuels?

A process termites use to turn wood into food could be used to transform wood into fuel for transport as an alternative to crops such as corn.

The potential is considerable, given the sheer efficiency of the termite's intestines, which can theoretically turn one sheet of paper into two litres of hydrogen, according to Andreas Brune of the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. >>more

3. China and the US could sign an agreement on biofuels

China and the US are drafting a biofuels agreement that could be signed as early as December. The agreement will focus on sharing knowledge and technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If signing goes ahead, China would become the first Asian country to enter into a biofuel agreement with the US. >>more

4. Sustainable production of biodiesel with Jatropha one step closer

The Dutch company BioFuel Projects International (BFP International) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cosmo Biofuels Group from Malaysia to conjointly develop Jatropha plantations. The cooperation initially aims to the development of Jatropha plantations in Asia but can be extended to other continents and alternative energy crops.

According to the CEO of BFP International, Marc de Boer, the agreement "is a big step forward to produce truly sustainable ground materials in Asia for the fabrication of biofuels". BFP International focuses on the sustainable production raw materials for second-generation biofuels.

For more information, contact Marc de Boer:

(Source: Press release from Biofuel Projects International, 27 Nov 2007)

5. Development of a 'biomass catalytic cracking process'

Bioecon (a Dutch biofuels start up company) and Khosla Ventures (a venture fund and assistance company), have joined forces to develop and commercialize a 'biomass catalytic cracking process' for the production of 'bio oil' or 'biocrude' from agricultural waste. 'Bio oil' or 'biocrude' is a mixture of hydrocarbons (obtained from the thermochemical processing of biomass) and can be further refined into transport fuels like gasoline or diesel.

The technology is said to have some advantages over the existing BTL (biomass-to-liquid) technologies for the production of synthetic biofuels, such as biocrude. >>more

6. Policies update

12.12.07  New EU renewables law takes shape

An early draft of an upcoming proposal from the European Commission to increase the use of renewables in final EU energy consumption includes guidelines for establishing individual national targets, provisions for mandatory use of certificates for renewables trading and sustainability criteria for biofuels production. >>more

06.12.07  Palm oil industry signs up to green labelling scheme

A certification process designed to allow palm oil producers that meet environmental standards to label their products as eco-friendly was launched on the 22 November at the industry-led Round table on sustainable palm oil (RSPO) in Kuala Lumpur. >>more

28.11.07  MEPs back tougher fuel standards for oil industry

The European Parliament's environment committee has backed European Commission plans aimed at making the oil industry take greater responsibility for cutting harmful emissions generated by its products, which experts say could prevent some 500 million tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

In a vote on 27 November, MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) agreed that, as of 2009, all fuel suppliers should be required to monitor and report on the "lifecycle greenhouse emissions" produced by their fuels throughout their life-cycle (i.e. production, transport and use) and that those emissions should be cut by 10% between 2011 and 2020.  >>more

7. Projects and activities

Highlights of the new projects and activities added to the Biofuel Cities Project Database. >>more

07.12.07  HyLights - Hydrogen for Transport in Europe

Developing the demonstration project framework and support of ongoing demonstration activities. HyLights is a coordination action to accelerate the commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cells in the field of transport in Europe. HyLights will assist all stakeholders in the preparation of the next important phase of the transition to hydrogen as a fuel and long-term renewable energy carrier. >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

11.12.07  Biofuel Terminals

Royal Vopak (Vopak) is the world's largest independent tank terminal operator specialised in the storage and handling of liquid and gaseous chemical and oil products. On request, Vopak can provide complementary logistics services to customers of its terminals. Vopak operates 73 terminals with a storage capacity of more than 20,4 million cbm in 29 countries. The terminals are strategically located for users and the major shipping routes. The majority of its customers are companies operating in the chemical and oil industries, for which Vopak stores a large variety of products destined for a wide range of industries. >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

11.12.07  STAR BUS- Promoting sustainable energetic pathways for bus fleets

Urban buses reduce individual transport, reinforce attractiveness for public transport and enhance a city's image. However, choosing between all energetic pathways and as biofuels or diesel with their specific advantages (lower pollution, less green-house gas emissions, less noise) and disadvantages (e.g. costs, necessary new expertise), presents barriers to decision makers. The project aims at overcoming these barriers and promoting renewable energy sources by proposing an integrated tool that will valorise pollutants emissions in economic terms, add the "classical" economic costs, and will unite all relevant criteria in one easy-to-use tool adapted to local conditions. >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

8. New publications and resources

New resources that arrived at the editor’s desk this month range from downloadable publications such as Cooking the Climate to links to relevant resources such as:

- The Game-Playing Behind China’s Fuel Crisis (Worldwatch Institute), and
- Grain Harvest Sets Record, But Supplies Still Tight (Worldwatch Institute).

All resources can be accessed through the Biofuel Cities Resource Database at Access to the Resources Database is for Biofuel Cities European Partnership participants only.

9. Event highlights

09-10.01.08   6th European Motor BioFuels Forum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Annual BioFuels Forum brings together several hundreds of participants from an international audience representing manufacture, science and technology, business and Government.

This year's event will attract this wide range of participants to debate the challenges ahead for strengthening a growing biofuels industry. Platform papers, Posters and a Trade Show will help establish how Europe can maintain a sustainable, low environmental impact production capacity within the current sphere of operations. Attend this event to help develop the European biofuel business and debate topical and global issues. >>more

16-19.01.07   Central European Biomass Conference 2008

The Central European Biomass Conference 2008 aims at providing an up-to-date overview of the latest political, economic and technological developments in the field of bioenergy (heat, electricity and transportation fuels). A special focus is set on the biomass raw material supply out from forestry and agriculture — a topic that, facing the enormous biomass boom, poses to be a big challenge as well as a big chance for the central European area. >>more

24-25.01.08   100% Biodiesel in all buses of Graz public transport fleet

Biofuel Cities, in cooperation with the City of Graz, are organising a study tour dedicated to European biofuel end-users: industrial / commercial fleet owners, representatives of local authorities, or public transport companies, interested in improving the applications and use of biofuels in their area. There are still a few places available to participate in this unique event.

If you are interested, we warmly invite you to write a motivation letter (max 1 page), specifying why you wish to join the study tour. The study tour is free of charge for invited participants! >>more

10. Editorial and legal information

The Biofuel Cities Update is a monthly e-newsletter that aims to keep you informed of developments in the field of biofuels and in the Biofuel Cities European Partnership.

The Biofuel Cities European Partnership is a forum for the application of biofuels. Open to all stakeholders in the area of biofuels for vehicles, it offers access to the information and exchange portal; workshops and study tours; news, publications and tools. The Partnership is supported by the European-Commission funded Biofuel Cities project. Participation in the Biofuel Cities European Partnership is free. To join more than 850 peers or to find out more, visit or write to

Over 4000 people receive the Biofuels Cities Update.

>>To subscribe to the Biofuel Cities Update now

>>To unsubscribe to the Biofuel Cities Update now

Please send your news and comments to:

Published by the ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH

Editors: Stefanie Lay (responsible) / Amalia Ochoa

Copyright © 2007 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany

We welcome you to reproduce and / or translate any part of Biofuel Cities Update for further dissemination purposes, providing source is acknowledged.


This publication is part of the activities of the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium. The Coordination Action is funded by the Sixth Research Framework Programme of the European Union, under the Activity "Alternative Motor Fuels: Biofuels Cities".

Logo - EU Legal notice:

Neither the European Commission nor the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium nor any person acting on behalf of these is responsible for the use which might be made of this publication.

The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the source/author specified and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission nor the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium.
Logo SenterNovem Logo EXERGIA Logo INEM Logo IPIEO Logo NEN Logo Vito Logo ICLEI Funded by
the European
Logo Europe
If you don't want to receive this newsletter in the future, email to: