Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuel News

    - Biofuel Cities goes International, Rotterdam, 4-5 June

    - Using fungus to produce ethanol

    - Largest biorefinery in Europe to open in 2009

    - Merkel calls for closer co-operation between government, industry and science

    - New Ethanol REACH Association launched

    - China Clean Energy: Production of biodiesel no longer profitable

    - Trial with hybrid ethanol double-decker bus

    - Biofuel Cities Quarterly on Sustainability of Biofuels

2. Policies Update

3. Projects and Activities

4. New Publications and Resources

5. Event Highlights

6. Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

27.05.08  Biofuel Cities goes International, Rotterdam, 4-5 June

Come and visit the Biofuel Cities European Partnership at the first ever Biofuels International Expo & Conference, 4 - 5 June, The Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

While the Biofuel Cities team will be based at the exhibition, entry to which is free of charge, the conference itself promises to be very interesting, tackling key areas of importance to those in the bioethanol and biodiesel industries and addressing technological issues, as well as business concerns.

Conference delegates will benefit from presentations from some of the industry's leading producers and Mr Jan-Ake Johnsson, Managing Director, Saab Automobile AB will be the keynote speaker.

Download the full conference brochure

The Biofuels International Expo & Conference will be well attended by delegates from all aspects of the biofuels chain and will certainly be a dynamic networking opportunity.

We look forward to seeing you there!

21.05.08  Using fungus to produce ethanol

A spidery fungus (known as Trichoderma reesei) with a voracious appetite for military uniforms and canvas tents could hold the key to improvements in the production of biofuels, a team of government, academic and industry researchers has announced.

In the article, published by the journal Nature Biotechnology, scientists explained that the fungus, which breaks down all kinds of cellulose-based materials can also be used to break down the cellulose in mono sugars, which then become raw materials for the production of bioethanol.  >>more

19.05.08  Largest biorefinery in Europe to open in 2009

The largest biorefinery in the EU could be operational in the first half of 2009. The refinery, which UK biofuels firm Ensus is building in northeast England, will produce bioethanol and a protein rich animal feed co-product from about 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes of UK wheat.

It will consume a substantial amount of the UK's exportable wheat surplus. The UK traditionally has an exportable wheat surplus of about 2.5 million tonnes. The plant is expected to supply one-third of UK demand for ethanol under the UK's Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) which mandates that 5% of motor fuel should come from renewable resources by 2010.  >>more

15.05.08  Merkel calls for closer co-operation between government, industry and science

At a recent visit to the CHOREN Beta Plant in Freiberg, Germany, Chancellor Merkel emphasised the significance of Germany's commitment to combating climate change in front of more than 130 guests. "The Freiberg project demonstrates what progress can be achieved in the development of climate protection technology when government, industry and science work hand in hand."

The reason for the visit was the completion of the plant's building phase. Over 150 suppliers and around 50 assembly companies, including many from the region, were involved in the building of the Beta plant.  >>more

13.05.08  New Ethanol REACH Association launched

In response to the legal obligation to register ethanol under the EU's Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, leading ethanol manufacturers in Europe have come together to set up the Ethanol REACH Association to enable joint submissions of high-quality dossiers.

A joint submission of a fit for purpose dossier is required wherever possible under REACH. It is also highly desirable to produce a dossier that is of sufficient quality that it would pass the scrutiny of the competent authorities should the dossier be subject to evaluation.  >>more

30.04.08  China Clean Energy: Production of biodiesel no longer profitable

China Clean Energy has currently suspended biodiesel production. The company says that production is no longer economically feasible, as it cannot pass on the extra cost of raw materials to its customers, due to a price ceiling imposed by the government.  >>more

24.04.08  Trial with hybrid ethanol double-decker bus

The bus company Reading Buses says that within the next two years it will be running a hybrid Scania double-decker bus on its routes. This will be a variation of the normal hybrid bus currently being tested in Stockholm.

Scania's hybrid technology generates power via a normal diesel engine that runs on ethanol. The mechanical energy is then converted (via a generator) into electrical energy. The bus is driven by an electric motor that also acts as a generator during braking actions. The energy generated is stored in so-called supercapacitors, which have a considerably longer life span than the batteries currently in use.  >>more

14.04.08  Biofuel Cities Quarterly on Sustainability of Biofuels

The fourth issue of the Biofuel Cities Quarterly newsletter is now available online. Based on the competence of major leading authorities, this issue focuses on the current debate concerning the sustainability of biofuels and suggests concrete measures to establish sustainability criteria for biofuels, in order to help governments and businesses take the most appropriate decisions.

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.

See what is inside this issue [PDF 640kB]

Subscribe now to receive the next issues

2. Policies Update

26.05.08  International Energy Agency's statement on biofuels

Amid signs of a growing backlash against biofuels in the wake of the worst food price spike since the 1970s, the International Energy Agency (IEA) have in the last few weeks made several important public statements demonstrating their views on biofuels.

Biofuels already make up about 50 per cent of the extra fuel coming to the market from sources outside the OPEC's oil cartel this year, explaining why fears of a retreat from biofuels during the last week of April helped drive oil prices to record levels. William Ramsey, the IEA's Deputy Executive Director, said that he 'does not know where the extra fuel should come from, since OPEC is not planning to increase production'.

The IEA also recently posted a recent statement on their website about the numerous issues concerned. Among the highlights of the statement are:

(1) Biofuels production using "first generation feedstocks" (such as grains for ethanol and oil seeds for biodiesel) may compete with food, feed and fiber production, although "currently less than 2% of global agricultural cropland is used for biofuels production".

(2) Biofuels produced from "second generation feedstocks" (e.g. woody biomass and vegetative grasses) have considerable promise for eventually providing more sustainable types of biofuels; however, support for research and development is important in order to lower production cost.

(3) Ethanol production from sugarcane produced in tropical or subtropical countries like Brazil, Southern Africa, and India is a good example of properly managed production of sustainable biofuels.  >>more

08.05.08  Biofuels 'scapegoat' in food price row, says EU farm chief

The EU's Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has rejected allegations that EU policies to promote biofuels are to blame for rising food prices amid calls by the UN to "cut back significantly" on agrofuel support programmes.

"Those who see biofuels as the driving force behind recent food price increases have overlooked not just one elephant standing right in front of them, but two," she said, speaking at a conference on 6 May.

According to Fischer Boel, the rising food demand and dietary shift towards meat in emerging countries like China and India, and the bad weather that hit the EU, US, Canada, Russia, Ukraine and Australia in 2006 and 2007, have each had "an enormous impact on commodity markets".  >>more

07.05.08  Uncertain future for first generation European biofuel industry

The third international Biofuels summit and expo, held on the 22-24 April in Madrid, Spain, concluded with a rather pessimistic scenario for first generation Biofuels producers in Europe.

Not so much because of the perverse and absurd manipulation of media, which seem to be easy victims in the hands of some interested parties who want consumers to believe the complete nonsense that Biofuels are now the worst of all evils, but because of the fact that this young industry does not seem able to set up an organised defence of their own interests and thus is doomed to disappear in the turbulences of the moment.  >> more

3. Projects and Activities

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

Development of a sustainable and complete system for biodiesel production from energy crops (BIOSIS)

BIOSIS is a pilot project aimed at developing a sustainable and complete system for the production of biodiesel from energy crops and exploiting their by-products. The project, due to finish at the end of 2008, will illustrate the viability of biofuel production in the regions of Greece (Ioannina) and Italy (Apulia).

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

Bioethanol for Sustainable Transport, Rotterdam (BEST Rotterdam)

The project aims to demonstrate the environmental benefits of blending bio-ethanol in gasoline and to realise 12 E85 filling stations in the region of Rotterdam, amongst several other objectives.

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

Effective and Low-disturbing Biofuels (Elobio)

Among numerous activities, Elobio undertakes a review of current experiences with biofuels and other renewable energy policies and their impacts on other markets and aims to make an assessment of the selected optimal policies on biofuels costs and potentials. A dissemination package also accompanies the project, which aims to provide relevant inputs for the next review of the biofuels directive (in 2008), and other relevant policy developments.

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database) 

4. New Publications and Resources

Some of the new resources that arrived at the editor's desk this month are a number of online publications, such as:

  • "Biofuels under Development. An analysis of currently available and future biofuels, and a comparison with biomass application in other sectors"
  • "ETBE and Ethanol: A Comparison of CO2 Savings"
  • "Status and outlook for biofuels, other alternative fuels and new vehicles"

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

5. Event Highlights

01-04.06.08  Fourth International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Due to the growing impact of renewable resources, this conference aims at bringing together academic researchers, industrial experts, policymakers and venture capital providers to discuss the challenges emerging from the transition towards a biobased economy and to present new developments in this area. The conference is expected to attract over 400 international participants.  >>more

02-06.06.08  16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Valencia, Spain

The international conference is aimed at stimulating public discussion and promoting awareness among the biomass community. Scientists, industry, suppliers, funding bodies and decision makers are invited to meet the more than 1,500 expected attendees.  >>more

04-05.06.08  Biofuels International Expo & Conference, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Biofuels International Expo & Conference will bring together equipment providers and producers so that productive discussions can be had on how best to meet the world's growing biofuels needs.  >>more

05-12.06.08  Studiedagen Duurzame Mobiliteit en Groen Aanbesteden, Amersfoort, The Netherlands

This two-day seminar (which will be held in Dutch) on Sustainable Mobility and Green Purchasing will focus on how transport policies can be made more sustainable, on experiences with vehicles using new biofuels, gas or electricity, and on how green purchasing can be used effectively.

The seminar will take place again on 19 and also 26 June in Oisterwijk, The Netherlands.  >>more

05.06.08  Developing UK Biogas, Coventry, United Kingdom

The one-day conference will assess the development of anaerobic digestion to biogas in the UK, looking at the options of on-farm, commercial and municipal waste digesters, the role of the food industry and the opportunities for energy and fuel development. The programme will consider essential licensing and permitting issues, financing and investment concerns, infrastructure development and case studies from the UK and overseas.  >>more

6. 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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