Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuel News

2. News from the Biofuel Cities European Partnership

3. Policies Update

4. Projects and Activities

5. New Publications and Resources

6. Event Highlights

7. Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

25.02.08  First flight fuelled by biofuels

On Sunday 24 February, the first commercial flight partly running on biofuels took off from London Heathrow airport en route to Amsterdam.

One of the aircraft's four engines ran on fuel comprising a 20% biofuel mix of coconut and babassu oil and 80% of the normal Jet A aviation fuel. The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 aircraft did not carry passengers.  >>more

22.02.08  UK Biomass testing project given go-ahead

The UK based power technology supplier Doosan Babcock is developing new technology for the recovery of energy from bioethanol production in collaboration with the Carbon Trust, a company set up by government to respond to the threat of climate change.  >>more

18.02.08  Slowdown in growth of European biodiesel

The Secretary General of the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), Raffaello Garofalo, says European biodiesel production grew 10% in 2007, the poorest rate of acceleration in 10 years.

Biodiesel production increased by 54% in 2006. Garofalo says only 50% of the potential production capacity was used in 2007, and he blames US dumping of biodiesel for the problems, and lack of support in EU countries for biofuels.  >>more

15.02.08  General Motors plans half its cars on ethanol by 2012

General Motors Corp (GM) is planning for half its cars in the United States to be running on ethanol by 2012 (reported by the Associated Press). The company is planning to have 11 ethanol-capable vehicles on the market this year and 15 in 2009.

13.02.08  Plans for bioethanol plant in Italy

The Italian chemical group Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G) plans to build a 200,000 tonne bioethanol plant in the north region of Piemonte, Italy.

The investment of around Euro 100 million will build the largest bioethanol plant in Italy by 2009 and a further Euro 120 million will be invested into research to convert the plant to process cellulose feedstock.  >>more

05.02.08 Sales of German biodiesel collapse

The German promotion organisation for oil and protein crops UFOP (Union for the Promotion of Protein Plants) reports that the market for biodiesel in Germany has collapsed. In January the wholesale prices of biodiesel were (for the first time) higher than those of ordinary diesel, according to UFOP. Factory prices for biodiesel amounted to EUR 1.003 per litre, thus making the price of biodiesel 2.3 cents per litre higher than that of conventional diesel.

31.01.08  Largest biodiesel plant to be built in Rotterdam

B2G, a joint venture between the Neste Oil Corporation (Finland) and the Malaysian IOI Group, has applied for a permit to construct a plant in Rotterdam that will produce biodiesel from palm oil. The new plant will generate 1.2 million tons of biodiesel per year, thus becoming the largest plant in the Netherlands. It will require an investment of around 550 million euro, and result in 100 jobs at the plant, plus 400 additional jobs at supplying companies.

The biodiesel manufactured by B2G will be based on a technology already patented by Neste Oil. According to the company, this procedure (known as NExBTL) has less environmental impact and produces cleaner biodiesel than that based on existing production methods.  >>more

28.01.08  Polish petrol refineries threatened with disruption

Biofuels producers in Poland have warned they may establish roadblocks outside the PKN (Polski Koncern Naftowy) Orlen and Lotos petroleum refineries until the refineries purchase biofuels from domestic producers.
The Association of Domestic Distilleries (ZGP), representing 150 producers, says that the refineries contract for more than 60% of their biofuels from outside of the country. The refineries say that EU rules prevent them from giving price preference to local producers.  >>more

2. News from the Biofuel Cities European Partnership

12.02.08  Biofuel Cities Quarterly third issue online

The third issue of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter is now available online. This issue focuses on the 'second generation biofuels'. With a different focus in each issue, the Biofuel Cities Quarterly keeps you informed about technology and policy developments related to the application of biofuels.


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07.02.08  100% Biodiesel in all buses of the Graz public transport fleet

15 study tour participants from 11 European countries made the leap "from the frying pan into the tank" at the 2nd Biofuel Cities study tour for end users in Graz (Austria) at the end of January.

Chosen for its innovative biofuel end-use solutions, the City certainly did not disappoint and provided visitors with a great learning opportunity.

Graz is well known in biofuels circles for its fleet of municipal buses, which run on waste from cooking oil. Collected from private homes, as well as restaurants, this oil is reprocessed in a local biodiesel plant and then used to fuel the City's buses.

Taking place over two days, the study tour gave participants a detailed background on the reasoning behind the City's unique move to biodiesel, as well as what such a move entailed. There were also visits made to the biodiesel plant, and participants were given the opportunity to see the Graz "ecodrive" buses up close at the fleet garage.

Biofuel Cities would like to thank the City of Graz and Mr. Gerhard Ablasser for their co-operation in preparing this event.

A report on the Study Tour will be available soon.

Presentations and images are available for download from the Biofuel Participant area of the website under "Study Tours".

01.02.08  Guidelines for good practice in implementing biofuel policies

In conjunction with the 2nd Biofuel Cities Workshop on the role of Biofuel end-users, the first Workshop about the local implementation of clean fuels and biofuels took place on 4 December 2007.

The workshop, organised by SenterNovem, focused on policy measures for implementing clean fuel policies. The main aims were to present an overview of EU measures collected for implementing clean fuel policies and discussing guidelines for good practice in implementing biofuel policies.
>>more (accessible only by Biofuel Cities participants)

3. Policies Update

26.02.08  Biofuels policy making and food security

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO) has announced the development of a "decision-support tool" to help countries derive the benefits of biofuel industry development, without putting food security at risk.

According to the FAO press release, the tool is an "analytical framework" and can allow governments venturing into biofuels to "calculate the effect of their (biofuel-related) policy decisions on the food security of their populations".

The three-year project is aimed at making sure that bioenergy does not impair global food security.  >>more

20.02.08  Worldwide bioethanol standard is feasible

Brazil, the USA and the EU are largely in agreement on a new standard for ethanol. The only point still being discussed concerns the maximum percentage of water in ethanol. Unica, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced this news.

Europe, the USA and Brazil have recently completed an analysis of the standards currently being used for biodiesel and bioethanol. The objective is to harmonise these standards, wherever possible, and thus encourage the worldwide trade in these biofuels.  >>more

08.02.08  MEPs seek tougher standards and higher taxes for fuels

Stricter emission limits for transport fuels could be in force by early 2009, according to the European Parliament's environment committee. Meanwhile, the European Commission plans to raise minimum taxes on petrol and diesel in order to stamp out 'fuel tourism' won the backing of MEPs but are likely to face stiffer resistance from EU Member States.  >>more

25.01.08  Commissioner Piebalgs disagrees with British House of Commons

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs (European Commission, EC) has issued a statement declaring that he disagrees with the recently published British House of Commons report, which concludes that the total environmental effect of the European biofuel policy is negative. In contrast, according to Piebalgs, significant greenhouse gas reductions are being booked, compared to the alternative, fossil oil.The EC shares the House of Common's concern that biofuels have to be sustainable, and that this sustainability has to be guaranteed by robust sustainability standards and mechanisms to prevent damaging land use change. This is why the proposed new directive for the promotion of renewable energy sources will call for the promotion of only "sustainable biofuels", i.e. those that can ensure a substantial CO2 saving compared to the oil that would be consumed instead.  >>more

4. Projects and Activities

Highlights of the new projects and activities added to the Biofuel Cities Project Database at

12.02.08  ESCOB

The overall objective of the ESCOB project is to promote the biofuel economy in the Ukraine and strengthen local participation in biomass development. This will be done by establishing a Biomass ESCO (Energy Supply Company).  >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

11.02.08  Renewbility

The German research project is about developing an instrument of analysis that researches the potential and restraints/barriers regarding sustainable mobility. It will also demonstrate the interdependencies with subsidies for renewable energies and will be used in close cooperation with renewable energy players.  >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

05.02.08  ZERO REGIO

The project aims to develop low-emission transport systems for European cities. More specifically, it will contribute to biofuel production, transport, storage, distribution and dispensing. It will also demonstrate the use of high biofuel blends in flexi-fuel vehicles and demonstrate the use of alternative fuels via field tests in Rhein-Main (Germany) and Lombardia (Italy).  >>more

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

5. New Publications and Resources

New resources that arrived at the editor's desk this month range from an online publication on 'Analysing biofuel options: Greenhouse gas mitigation and efficiency costs' to online magazines such as 'Ethanol producer' to an online directory for all relevant fields of biofuel use: 'Distribution Drive'.

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

6. Event Highlights

05-07.03.08  2nd Nordic Biogas Conference 2008, Malm√∂, Sweden

The conference will facilitate an exchange of best practice information of production and utilisation of biogas between the Nordic countries and to establish cooperation and commercial contacts.  >>more

12-14.03.08  World Biofuels Markets

World Biofuels Markets is the premier event for any organisation involved in the rapidly maturing global biofuels markets. The congress is structured to maximise business opportunities as well as provide the latest update in industry innovations and challenges. This year's agenda includes over 200 top speakers and is organised into three streams with five workshops. Several networking events are also built into the programme, offering participants plenty of time to meet new contacts and visit our 100 exhibitors.  >>more

02-04.04.08  'Open Light House Tour', Stockholm, Sweden

With more than 20 years of experience of bioethanol, Sweden is today a world leader in transformations into sustainable transport systems based on biofuels from ligno-cellulosic feedstock. The experiences include the introduction of bioethanol cars (Flexi-Fuel Vehicles) and buses, the opening of E85 fuelling stations, the building of research and production-facilities, and the development of an extraordinary market demand.

Interested in a practical share of experience? The 'Light House Tour' will take place on 2-4 April 2008 (in English) in Stockholm and is being organised as part of the BEST - Bioethanol for Sustainable Transport - project. Numerous partners from the public and private sector will be involved in the 3-day event thus being of benefit for a broad range of groups, such as politicians (local and national, fleet owners/managers, bus manufacturers and other interested biofuel experts and stakeholders.  >>more

06-09.04.08  Bioenergy 2008 - Challenges and Opportunities, Guimaraes, Portugal

This will be the first International Conference in Portugal dedicated to Bioenergy. It will provide a single comprehensive forum for the scientific and industrial community in which the state of the art in Bioenergy science and technology will be addressed by combining technical sessions including plenary sessions by invited speakers with a Technical Exhibition and a match making Brockerage Event.  >>more

7. 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

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Published by the ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH

Editors: Stefanie Lay (responsible) / Amalia Ochoa

Copyright © 2008 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".

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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.
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