Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuel News

    - World's first ecolabelled fuel

    - 'More warranties from producers needed', says European survey

    - Driving on tobacco oil in Italy

    - 'Schnitzel-power' in Graz

    - Summer Schools on Biofuels

    - Rotterdam taxis switch to biofuel

    - Questions concerning biofuels?

    - Over 1,000 participants in Biofuel Cities European Partnership

    - Increased Swedish commitment to biogas

    - Volvo producing liquid biogas

2. Policies Update

3. Projects and Activities

4. New Publications and Resources

5. Event Highlights

6. Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

  World's first ecolabelled fuel

As of 25 June, companies can begin to apply for a Nordic Ecolabel - commonly known as the "Swan" label - for fuels. Fuel products that can be certified with the Swan label are ethanol, biodiesel, biogas and/or a mixture of these fuels.
The Nordic Ecolabel has requirements for the entire product lifecycle, from the raw materials to the finished product, in this case the fuel that is available at the petrol stations. In this first version of the label requirements, grains as raw materials for fuels will not be accepted due to the uncertainty concerning the use of grains in the global food supply.  >>more

Download press release

(source: Newsletter from Nordic Ecolabelling, July 08)

'More warranties from producers needed', says European survey

The report on a European survey carried out to identify and collect information on technical and institutional (legislation, standards) barriers for the large-scale implementation of biofuels is now available. The work was done as part of the Biofuel Cities project.

The results of the survey reveal that the two most important barriers hindering larger-scale deployment of biofuels in Europe are the limited availability of vehicles with producer warranties that are able to run on biofuels and fossil fuel standards limiting the use of biofuel blends.  >>more

(source: Biofuels Cities Publications)

  Driving on tobacco oil in Italy

The Italian Biodiesel Association (IBA) recently stated that five new biodiesel plants are ready to start operating, thereby increasing national biodiesel capacity from 1.9 million tonnes and to 2.7 million tonnes.

The 12 existing plants produced only 469,707 tonnes due to high feedstock costs last year, down from more than 590,000 tonnes in 2006. The association projects that total production will reach 600,000 tonnes in 2008 and 800,000 tonnes in 2009.

Italian research has detailed the potential to use tobacco oil as a biodiesel feedstock. Researchers say that tobacco is a higher-yield crop than comparable biodiesel feedstock.  >>more

(source: Biofuels International)

  'Schnitzel-power' in Graz

The report on the study tour carried out in the City of Graz, Austria, as part of the Biofuel Cities project is now available. The study tour is the second in a series of study tours organised as part of the European project.

The study tour included informative sessions from City representatives on the internationally leading example of Graz and visits to a biodiesel plant and the bus depot where the entire City bus fleet runs on biofuels produced from frying oil used to prepare the famous Austrian schnitzel.

Download the report

(source: Biofuel Cities Resource Database)

Summer Schools on Biofuels

As part of the project "Sustainable Energy Management Systems" (SEMS), a series of Summer Schools will take place over the next four years. The first Summer School will be held from 24-26 September at the Umwelt-Campus in Birkenfeld, Germany and focuses on energy management systems in communities and their implementation. Numerous examples of sustainable communities and their activities will be presented.

This year, the SEMS Summer School is connected with the 3rd European Summer School on Renewable Motor Fuels. Different examples of biofuels, their chances and restrictions will be discussed. Special attention will be paid to the issue of sustainability and the role of biofuels in communities.

(source: Baum Group)

  Rotterdam taxis switch to biofuel

The Rotterdam Taxi Central plans to partly switch to biofuels within the next 3-4 years. Certainly over half the 700 taxis will run on biopetrol or biogas. The City Council will also replace its current fleet of vehicles. Agreements to this effect have been signed through the City of Rotterdam Climate Initiative.

(source: GAVE news, 12 June 08)

  Questions concerning biofuels?

What should I consider when changing to biofuels? Which biofuels are available? Answers to these kinds of questions and more are now available on the Biofuel Cities website.

The page on frequently asked questions (FAQ) gives clear and documented answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning biofuels and their applications.

Visit Biofuels FAQ

Over 1,000 participants in Biofuel Cities European Partnership

The launch of the multi-stakeholder platform in July 2007 has raised a huge amount of interest amongst different actors with an impressive 1,000 people registered to date as participants in the European Partnership. Participants can now access an increasing range of information resources (e.g. publications, websites and policies) - currently some 340 resources are accessible - and 250 projects on biofuels linked to interactive maps for easy viewing.

The European Partnership is designed for all stakeholders working in the area of biofuel vehicles, such as local governments and local companies that, for example, work with local car fleets, businesses in the biofuel supply chain, the research community, governments and standardisation bodies, NGOs and media.

The web platform has numerous features available and some of these features are exclusive to participants of the Biofuel Cities European Partnership, so register today! Participation is free.

Register your participation at:

Volvo producing liquid biogas

Volvo has started up a new company known as Terracastus Technologies, which has developed a new technology to clean and liquefy biogas or landfill gas.  Biogas in liquid form is attractive because it requires considerably less transport volume. Terracastus Technologies falls under Volvo Technology Transfer, Volvo's venture capital subsidiary. The company has already submitted a quotation for a biogas plant with this new technology in Lidköping, Sweden.

(source: GAVE news June 08 / Volvo)

  Increased Swedish commitment to biogas

Sweden should earmark a further Euro 64 million (SEK 600 million) over the period 2009-2013 to increase investments in biogas production, according to a proposal from the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The support would be primarily aimed at the digestion of farmyard manure.
In view of the high level of interest in biogas in Sweden, the Swedish Board of Agriculture estimates that at least 10-15 percent of the total potential for biogas from farmyard manure can be realised in the next five years.  >>more

(source: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency)

2. Policies Update

  Gallagher Review discusses indirect effects of biofuels

The recently published Gallagher Review of the indirect effects of biofuels production concludes that there is a future for a sustainable biofuel industry.
The review was done by the independent UK Renewable Fuels Agency and has been prepared for the UK national government in response to the growing concern about the role of biofuels in rising food prices. The review examined the scale of the indirect effects of current biofuels production, proposed solutions and has examined the sometimes inconsistent and limited evidence base on biofuels.  >>more

(source: GAVE-news 8 July 08/ Biofuel Cities Resources Database)

08.07.08  Biofuels not an obligation, say EU ministers

EU environment and energy ministers have distanced themselves from an EU-wide target to boost the use of biofuels in transport, after a World Bank report revealed that the reportedly 'green' fuels have pushed up food prices worldwide by a massive 75%.

Meeting for three days of informal talks, the EU ministers concluded that the European Commission's legislative proposals aimed at raising the share of biofuels in transport to 10% by 2020 had been misinterpreted and are in fact not limited to biofuels but to fuels from renewable energies in general.  >>more
(source: EURActiv, 7 July 08)

26.06.08  MEPs back stronger clean vehicle procurement plans

The European Parliament's Environment Committee voted on the 24 June in favour of earlier implementation of plans making it mandatory for government authorities to ensure public transport fleets and other utility vehicles are clean and energy efficient.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) want to make it compulsory for public authorities to consider not only the purchase price of buses, garbage lorries or delivery vans when acquiring them, but also their environmental impacts. The additional criteria would include life-cycle costs for fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and air pollution and would enter into force as early as January 2010.

The decision aims is to kick-start a market in technologies that are currently not commercially viable, such as biofuels, hydrogen, natural gas or liquified petroleum gas, electric or hybrid vehicles.  >>more

(source: EURActiv, 25 June 08)

17.06.08  Commission accuses US of biodiesel dumping

The EU has initiated anti-subsidy and anti-dumping investigations into imports of biodiesel from the United States in what could turn into the next major trade row between the EU and its number one trading partner.

According to a press release issued on the 13 June, "examination by the European Commission of complaints lodged by European industry found that an investigation was warranted - sufficient evidence was provided of subsidies to the US biodiesel sector, as well as dumping of biodiesel in the European market".  >>more

(source: EURActiv, 13 June 08)

3. Projects and Activities

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

Agro-Industrial vegetable oil production

As part of Mozambique's target of achieving 10% of fuels from renewable resources by 2010, Galp Energia, the country's biggest oil company, is involved in production of biodiesel within Mozambique's own refineries. Vegetable oil supply needs to be sustainable from various origins. The private investment strategy ensures feedstocks from many countries (such as Angola and Brazil) including the vertical production investments in Mozambique.

(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 publications which include:

  • 'Another Inconvenient Truth - How biofuel policies are deepening poverty and accelerating climate change' (publication by the OXFAM International);
  • 'THE FACTS: Ethanol, Corn, and Food' (publication by the American Coalition for Ethanol);
  • 'EU-27 biodiesel report, Legislation and Markets, European Union and Member States' (publication by the European Biodiesel Board); and

  • 'Romanian Biofuels Technology Platform: BIOCARO'.

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

CeBiTec Symposium Solar Biofuels 2008

12-14 August 2008, Bielefeld, Germany

This symposium will focus on fundamental biology and technology approaches to develop feasible and productive solar to storable biofuel processes. Economical and sociological aspects of renewable energy production will also be considered.

International and national experts are invited to give an overview on the state of the art research regarding plant biomass production, conversion of biomass to biomethane and biohydrogen production.  >>more

ABIC 2008 - Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference
24-27 August 2008, Cork, Ireland

The theme for ABIC 2008 will be "Agricultural Biotechnology for a competitive and sustainable future". The programme includes sessions on sustainability and on biofuels and bioenergy biotechnology.  >>more

Forest Bioenergy Fuel Supply Chains 2008
28-30 August 2008, Jyväskylä, Finland

The Forest Industry is a big actor in the bioenergy sector. The industry is a significant biofuel producer for the market and user of bioenergy. The conference will focus on the factors affecting the future of the bioenergy opportunities in fuel production, handling and business in forest industry chain.

The topics are purchasing of forest fuels and trade, timber felling wood residues as fuel, fuels from early thinning, machine entrepreneurship. Excursions will be held after the conference to practical presentation of different forest fuel production machines at the Metko exhibition.  >>more

8th International BBE - Conference for Wood Energy
9-10 September 2008, Augsburg, Germany

Organised by the German Bioenergy Association (BBE), the conference has established itself as the central platform of exchange for the wood energy sector. Topics that will be discussed this year include the amendment of the renewable energy resources act, the establishment of a new support instrument for the heat sector, environmental aspects of wood energy and fast growing wood plantations as a new way of mobilising wood resources.  >>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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