Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuels News

    - European Parliament backs a shift away from agro-fuels

    - Nedalco backs away from bioethanol

    - Comment on our Biofuels Technical Guidance

    - Improved method of producing hydrogen from biofuels

    - Who is who and where in biofuels?

    - Can standards make biofuels sustainable?

    - Scientists call for more R&D in cassava

    - Test methods for biodiesel improved Biofuel Cities Final End-users events -
       Participation still possible!

    - Only 19% of UK biofuel meets sustainability standard

    - English Street cleaning vehicle powered by biomethane

2. Projects and Activities

3. New Publications and Resources

4. Event Highlights

5. Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

12.09.08  European Parliament backs a shift away from agro-fuels

European biofuel producers were disappointed by a key vote in the European Parliament yesterday (11 September), which, though confirming a binding 10% target for renewables in transport fuels by 2020, shifts the focus away from agro-fuels and provides for a "major" mid-term review, which producers say threatens investment in the sector.

The European Parliament's Industry and Energy Committee backed a report drafted by Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes which calls for a 5% share of renewables in transport fuel by 2015 and a 10% target by 2020.

The text nevertheless specifies that at least 20% of the 2015 target and 40% of the 2020 goal must be met from "non-food and feed-competing" second-generation biofuels or from cars running on green electricity and hydrogen.

The European Bioethanol Fuel Association, eBIO, in response to the vote by the Parliament have called the amendments "counterproductive".

Download press release from eBIO
>> more

11.09.08  Nedalco backs away from bioethanol

The Dutch company Royal Nedalco, a leading producer of ethanol of agricultural origin in Europe, has provisionally cancelled its plans to construct a second generation bioethanol plant in Sas van Gent (Netherlands).

The decision regarding this new plant was postponed earlier this year until the summer due to the uncertainty regarding biofuels. "The market conditions, particularly concerning the high raw material prices (such as wheat and corn) were not ideal. There is still no real clarity with respect to European directives for producing biofuels. There is simply too much risk involved to start up the project in Sas van Gent. We're not burying the idea entirely, but will save it until the conditions are right", says Mark Woldberg, Manager for Corporate Development at Nedalco in the Dutch Province Zeeuwse Courant. >> more

10.09.08  Comment on our Biofuels Technical Guidance

A report providing technical guidance on biofuels and their applications is being developed as part of the Biofuel Cities European Partnership. The report will support those organisations and people, for instance, fleet managers and purchasing officers, interested in starting to use biofuels and will be of particular assistance for decision making. It is our aim and ambition that our Technical Guidance report will provide the most relevant technical information needed in the field which is why your input is invaluable.

Biofuel Cities Participants are invited to provide their comments and input to the current draft version of the Technical Guidance. All kinds of comments are welcome (by 19 September), though you may wish to focus on general issues based on your field of expertise, e.g.: Will this guide be useful for organisations and people that want to start using biofuels, why / why not? Does it cover the relevant information? Is the information provided correct? Are relevant users / projects missing in the list of interviewed people / organisations?

Interested in contributing? Please contact Per Godfroij ( for a copy of the draft report

09.09.08  Improved method of producing hydrogen from biofuels

Researchers at Ohio State University in the U.S.A have discovered a more efficient method of producing hydrogen from ethanol and other biofuels. A new type of catalyst produces hydrogen from ethanol at 90% efficiency, at a lower temperature and using inexpensive ingredients.

Umit Ozkan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State University, says that the cost advantages are primarily gained because the process does not use precious metals, such as platinum and rhodium. >>more

03.09.08  Who is who and where in biofuels?

The second version of the Biofuel Cities report "who-is-who-and-where" in the biofuels field is now available.

The report lists persons and organisations active in the field of biofuels for transport within Europe and, as a result, forms a useful reference for contacts and colleagues.

The Biofuel Cities partnership aims to keep extending and improving the report. Updated versions of the who-is-who report are foreseen for early and mid 2009.

Interested in being featured or in contributing to the 2009 report? Participants in the Biofuel Cities European Participant enjoy publishing priority.

Not a participant yet? It is easy to register online. Just click here to enter your details and join this unique partnership.

Access the report

02.09.08  Can standards make biofuels sustainable?

As concerns about biofuels grow, a system that differentiates good biofuels from bad is in strong demand from consumers and suppliers alike. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels has developed the first international standard for biofuel production - now available for public comment. Proponents praise the guidelines as an attempt to improve biofuel production even though the impact of the fuels is not fully known. Others argue that the standard will encourage further consumption of a fuel source destined to cause harm.

The latest news on the development of such standards in Europe, however, is that the French EU Presidency will this week attempt to clinch a deal on sustainability criteria for biofuels. This aims to ensure that the EU's goal of increasing their share of biofuels to 10% of transport fuels by 2020 does not provoke major negative environmental side-effects. >> more

01.09.08  Scientists call for more R&D in cassava

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) website reports that cassava scientists at a global forum have called for "a significant increase in investment in research and development needed to boost farmers yields and explore promising industrial uses of cassava, including production of biofuels".

Cassava is an important staple crop in many developing countries, and is widely cultivated in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is also known as one of the cheapest sources of starch which can be processed into biofuels. >>more

27.08.08  Test methods for biodiesel improved

The final report of the EU-funded BIOScopes project (Biodiesel: Improvement on Standards, Co-ordination of Producers & Ethanol Studies) is now available. The report proposes improvements and new methods to be included in the standardisation work of CEN (the European Committee for Standardisation) which will then become part of the ongoing revision of the European norm for the biodiesel standard EN 14214.

BIOScopes is concerned with the improvement of the EN 14214 biodiesel quality standard, and the increased use of bioethanol in the diesel market. >>more

Contact for more information:

26.08.08  Biofuel Cities Final End-users events – Participation still possible!

On 16 October, the 4th and Final Biofuel Cities Workshop for European End-users will take place in Warsaw (Poland). Participation in this event is still possible. Please find more information on the workshop here. Deadline for registration is 10 October. Limited travel support is still available to participants from Central and Eastern Europe.

Also, participation in the 3rd and Final Biofuel Cities Study Tour for European End-users is still possible. This event is scheduled for 23-24 October 2008 in Tübingen (Germany) and neighbouring communities. More information on this event can be found here. Deadline for registration is 10 October.
If you are interested in joining any one of these events, please send your expression of interest via e-mail to Christine Klas (

26.08.08  Only 19% of UK biofuel meets sustainability standard

The Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) recently reported that only 19% of the biofuel supplied under the UK-government's new initiative to use fuel from plants meets its standard. Suppliers could not identify the origin of the remaining 81% or prove its sustainability.

The suppliers began mixing the biofuel into all petrol and diesel supplies in April, under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). The figures show that biofuel accounted for 2.1% of UK road fuel for the first month of the scheme, against a target for the year of 2.5%. The majority of biofuel was biodiesel (86%), with 14% bioethanol. >> more

21.08.08 English Street cleaning vehicle powered by biomethane

A consortium of three English companies, Gasrec (which manufactures biomethane), Veolia Environmental Services (a waste processing company) and Iveco (a truck manufacturer) have collaborated on the establishment of a commercial trial of compressed biomethane (CBM) derived from landfill sources.

Gasrec will provide biomethane for a trial lasting six months and the performance of the fuel will be measured against existing vehicles running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

The project aims to demonstrate that biomethane is a commercially competitive and environmentally sound fuel that can be directly substituted for natural gas. Biomethane is considered to be the most sustainable biofuel in terms of impact on resource depletion in relation to alternatives such as biodiesel and ethanol. >>more

2. Projects and Activities

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

Quimper Communauté

Since the 7 January 2006, all buses of the Municipality of Quimper, France, run with Diester 30% or natural gas. The Municipality is the first one in the region of Bretagne (Brittany) to have made the choice to use only clean fuels for transport. By this, not only the CO2 emissions are reduced but also the emissions of black smoke and particles.

Local production of diesel fuel from rapeseed oil mixed into diesel fuel at a level of 30% in France is referred to as 'Diester'.

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

Cristal Union - Ethanol production

Cristal Union is a grower-owned cooperatives group, which produces about 18% of the sugar beet acreages in France. Cristal Union focuses on the production of sugar for industry and traditional sugar; and the production of alcohol and ethanol (perfume, cosmetics, food, carburation).

The ongoing commercial operation has 8 production units located in the eastern and southern parts of France which have an annual average production of 700.000 tons of sugar, 1.6 million hectolitres of alcohol, 1.5 million hectolitres of ethanol. Cristal Union has become a major economic actor in the sugar markets through its commercial subsidiary "Sucre Union", and in the alcohol and ethanol markets, through its subsidiaries "France Alcools, Ethanol Union/Holding and Deulep".

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

Transport en Île-de-France

The RATP is the public transport company of the northern French region Île-de-France. 70 city buses run on biodiesel Diester (30%) with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions and energy demand. For 2008 it is planned to have approximately 1300 vehicles running with Diester (30%).

(Source: Biofuel Cities Project Database)

3. 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:

  • 'Developing Energy Crops for Thermal Applications in Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems: Benefits and Risks' (edited by David Pimente, published by Springer publishers);

  • 'The Biofuels Boom: Implications for World Food Markets' (published by Center for Global Trade Analysis Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University);

  • 'Technological Learning in the German biodiesel industry' (study published by N.A. Berghout); and

  • 'Economic Assessment of Biofuel Support Policies' (published by the OECD).

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

4. Event Highlights

Biofuels Markets East Africa - Utilising African Capacity to Produce Sustainable Biofuels
17-18 September 2008, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The inaugural Biofuels Markets East Africa will bring together key players from the region, with a particular focus on Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and global industry experts.

This exciting new event will have a case study led agenda of presentations, panels and question and answer sessions (Q&A), reviewing the current status of the biofuels market in this region and addressing the expanding opportunities for the production of feedstock and biofuels for use in Africa and for export.


II World Fair of NGVs & H2Vs
24-27 September 2008, Turin, Italy

Under the theme "Clean energy for a sustainable world", the event, which includes an exhibition and conference, is hosted by the Consorzio NGV System and organised by the NGV Communications Group. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of master conferences, a technical tour, business rooms and other initiatives that will strengthen the previous experience event held in Bolzano (Italy) at the first World Fair.



Sustainable Cities and Communities 2008 - Creating greener living for a sustainable future
30 September - 1 October 2008, Geneva, Switzerland

The inaugural Sustainable Cities and Communities conference organised by Green Power Conferences in cooperation with WWF's One Planet Living will focus on the practical challenges and opportunities cities and communities will face in order to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and congestion. One of the main issues that will be discussed at the conference is sustainable transport.


E-mail: :

PROCURA Fleets Workshop
1 October 2008, Florence, Italy

The City of Florence's Environment Department, with the collaboration of ETA Renewable Energies Florence, is organising a half-day workshop on Biofuels, Sustainable Mobility and Alternative Fuels Vehicles for the Italian market. The workshop will focus on alternative fuels in the wider context of sustainable mobility and present results from the European project PROCURA.

The major target groups are local authorities, European authorities, private fleet owners involved in the "green management" of their fleet, lease companies, maintenance and repair shops, infrastructure developers, branch organisations (automotive), and experts in the field of sustainable mobility.



CEE Biofuels - Creating a more sustainable future
17 October 2008, Warsaw, Poland

The second annual Central and Eastern Europe biofuels conference will examine the key issues of the current global structure of the biofuels market and opportunities for CEE biofuel production and usage.

Among the issues to be discussed at the conference are EU legislation and directives on biofuels, financial and European market issues, food versus biofuels, sustainable ways of increasing biofuels production in Europe and country-specific case studies.



5. 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 © 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".

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: