March 2009 news

25.03.09 German vehicles fuelled by South African biodiesel

South Africa signed a contract to export between 70 and 90 percent of output from a planned 400,000 tonnes a year biodiesel plant to Germany, according to a report from the South African Business Day newspaper. An environmental impact assessment is under way and production from the plant, located in the Elidz area (Eastern Cape), will start next year.


(source: Biofuels International)

24.03.09 Making 'sustainable' use of household waste

Using household waste to produce bioethanol can reduce landfill dramatically while producing heat and electricity, Mika Aho, Managing Director of leading Finnish bioethanol company St1 Biofuels, told EurActiv in an interview.


(source: EurActiv)

19.03.09 Biofuel Cities hosts session at World Biofuels Market

The Biofuel Cities European Partnership ran a vibrant session at the World Biofuel Markets Conference in Brussels (Belgium), on 17 March. The session focused on the adoption of biofuels on a local and regional scale, bringing together the objectives of the Biofuel Cities European Partnership and the increasing demand for up to date information about the use of biofuels in local fleets.

Representatives of several stakeholder groups attended the session which was moderated by Eric Van den Heuvel, initiator of the project and Senior Consultant at Ecofys International. The presentations were based on two recent publications by Biofuel Cities: the Policy Handbook and the Procurement Guide. The value of these publications was demonstrated by linking them to practical examples in presentations from the City of Stockholm and Graz.

"Think Global Act Local" was the key message delivered in the presentations and discussions about the Policy Handbook and policy measures.

For further information download the press release here [pdf]

(source: Biofuel Cities European Partnership)

18.03.09 Troubled times for biodiesel in Belgium

Belgian biofuel manufacturers are having a difficult time - this was confirmed recently by the sector in a letter to the Belgian government demanding a binding commitment to sell biodiesel. The letter followed the decisions from a couple of Belgian companies to cease biodiesel production.


(source: GAVE-news/De Standaard)

17.03.09 RES BOAT Conference series sets sail later this month

The RES Boat Conference will run from 23-27 of March 2009, taking place in Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Vukovar (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia).

The conference provides a good opportunity to be updated on current renewable energy sources (RES) policies and their implementation, create network with potential RES business partners and disseminate your project results.

Biofuels and Alternative Motor Fuels is the topic of the fourth day of the conference, taking place in Vukovar (Croatia) on 26 March. Topics addressed on the other days are: renewable electricity technologies, poly-generation, eco-buildings, and renewable heating and cooling technologies.

Participation is free of charge. To register now or for more information, please visit

17.03.09 Biodiesel produced by seaweed brings Indonesian and South Korea into a partnership

Indonesia announced plans to work with South Korean researchers to develop biofuel from seaweed.

Indonesia's Ministry of Fishery and Marine Resources wants to capitalise on the country's ample seaweed supply but lacks the technology to do so.


(source: Cleantech Group)

16.03.09 European Commission comments on decision to impose duties on US biodiesel

The European Commission comments on the decision to impose duties on US biodiesel. This decision was taken on the basis of clear evidence that unfair subsidisation and dumping of US biodiesel has taken place, according to the European Commission (in EU Trade News).

The investigation into US biodiesel was launched on 13 June 2008 following complaints received from EU industry.


(source: EU Trade News of the European Commission)

12.03.09 Ups and downs in Somerset bioethanol project

An initially modest bioethanol project in British Somerset, began to flourish when it joined the EU funded BEST initiative - BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport. Minds in Motion - an international online community - reports on how the tide is turning for the project after surviving the international controversy regarding biofuel crops.


(source: Minds in Motion)

11.03.09 Reducing the carbon debt of biofuels through crop management

A recently published study carried out by researchers from the Michigan State University (U.S) has looked at the effects of sustainable crop management as means of reducing the negative impacts of land use change (LUC).

The study has highlighted the important need to incorporate the effects of LUC when carrying out life-cycle analyses of biofuels. Researchers also call for more research to help lead to consensus on how to analyse its effects in order to produce better estimates of payback periods.


link to study

(source: Science for Environment Policy)

10.03.09 Tequila plant's worth a shot in biofuel research in Australian

It's most well known for being the main ingredient in the production of the Mexican spirit tequila, but a drought-resistant succulent plant is being touted as the next generation in biofuels, according to an article published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


(source: ABC News)

06.03.09 Trucks running on bioethanol in Sweden and the Netherlands

The successful trials of buses running on bioethanol have resulted in expanding the success to other heavy vehicles.

Three ethanol trucks are being tested in Sweden and the Netherlands until the coming Summer.


(source: BEST newsletter #3)

05.03.09 Reduction in biofuel supply targets in the UK

The Department for Transport in the UK has announced its response to the consultation on reducing the rate of increase of targets for biofuel supply under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). Consultation came in response to the British Renewable Fuel Agency's 'Gallagher review', which highlighted the risks of indirect effects from biofuels and recommended a slowdown until these could be properly measured and controlled.


(source: Renewable Fuels Digest #7)

03.03.09 35% less pollution expected in Calcutta due to biodiesel switch

Indian Railways has already been running some of its trains on biodiesel. Now Calcutta Tramways Corporation has recently announced that it will be running its buses partly on biodiesel.

According to Biofuels Digest, while Indian Railways initially adopted biodiesel to reduce operating costs, Calcutta Tramways is making the switch primarily for environmental reasons.


(source: Tree Hugger / Biofuels Digest)