Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuels News

- Technical challenges facing 2nd generation biofuels, outlined by IEA

- Importing palm oil from Thailand to produce biodiesel in Ireland - what is environmentally preferable?

- European workshop on the needs for standardisation of biofuels

- Former Dutch Prime Minister supports handbook for local implementation of cleaner fuel policies in Europe

- Huge investments in biofuels in Britain

- Sustainable bioethanol with the right label

2. Policies update 

3. Projects and Activities

4. New Publications and Resources

5. Event Highlights

6. Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

24.02.09  Technical challenges facing 2nd generation biofuels, outlined by IEA

Although significant progress continues to be made to overcome technical and economic challenges, second generation biofuels still face major constraints to their commercial deployment. This is one of the main outcomes of the report recently published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) entitled "From 1st- to 2nd-Generation Biofuel Technologies: An overview of current industry and RD&D activities".>> more

19.02.09  Importing palm oil from Thailand to produce biodiesel in Ireland - what is environmentally preferable?

Is it better to import palm oil from Thailand to produce biodiesel in Ireland than to produce biodiesel from indigenous Irish rape seed?

A study carried out by the University College Cork in Ireland has examined exactly this question and calculated the greenhouse gas reductions of the two approaches.>>more

11.02.09  European workshop on the needs for standardisation of biofuels

European standards are needed for future market development of biofuels and their applications, according to experts working in the field of biofuels.  NEN - the Netherlands Standardisation Institute organises a Biofuel Cities workshop on the needs for standardisation of biofuels. This workshop will take place at the CEN Management Centre in Brussels on Thursday 19 March 2009, adjacent to the World Biofuels Market.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the possibilities for European standardisation of pure oils, residue fuels and biomass derivates, such as:

- CWA High content and alternative biodiesel blends for city transport fleets, and

- CWA Biogas for transportation purposes

CWA stands for CEN Workshop Agreement, a consensus based agreement usable in the entire market on specific solutions and widely available from the 30 member bodies of CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation.

For more information, download the programme [pdf]. To register and for more information on the event, please send an e-mail to or call +31-15-2690323.

05.02.09  Former Dutch Prime Minister supports handbook for local implementation of cleaner fuel policies in Europe

In order to provide support to the local implementation of clean(er) fuel policies in Europe, Biofuel Cities has developed a handbook containing guidelines and key success factors for the local implementation of clean(er) fuels and vehicles policies.

The almost final handbook contains a foreword by Mr Ruud Lubbers, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and United Nations Commissioner for Refugees from 2001-2005. The handbook was launched on 19-20 February 2009 in Rotterdam  at a workshop dedicated to the topic.

For more information on the handbook, contact

04.02.09  Huge investments in biofuels in Britain

The United Kingdom plans to invest a record amount of funds in biofuels. Together with 15 companies and organisations, the British Government has allocated 29 million Euro for research into biofuels from non-food crops. Energy companies such as Shell and BP are also involved in these projects.

Funds will be used, among other things, for six national research centres, which have been instructed to develop an alternative to petrol from willows and reeds, using new production methods for second generation ethanol. Researchers will also study other potential raw materials, such as industrial and agricultural waste. >>more

02.02.09  Sustainable bioethanol with the right label

The debate on sustainable bioethanol calls for a global certification system. Although  not there yet, several national certification schemes were launched during 2008. Experts from the BEST project (Bioethanol for Sustainable Transport) asked an expert what is going on, and discussed the opportunities and challenges from the three systems for ecolabelled bioethanol already in operation. >>more

2. Policies Update

10.02.09  European Commission takes action on German biofuel law

The European Commission has recently disallowed Germany to implement legislation (proposed in October 2008) that excludes palm oil and soya oil used for fuels from subsidy schemes and mandates. Germany wanted to subsidise these raw materials only if they met certain sustainability criteria. >>more 

29.01.09  Text of new EU renewable energy guideline now available

The European Parliament's website now includes the text of the new (however, not yet formally published) proposed European Directive on renewable energy. This new EU proposal includes sustainability criteria for biofuels. Sustainability criteria will apply to all biofuels that count towards European targets for renewable energy. >>more

3. Projects and Activities

Highlights of the new projects and activities added to the Biofuel Cities Project Database at<//link>

BIOSIRE - Creating sustainable transport in tourism regions

The BIOSIRE project aims to establish a shift towards biodiesel and electric propulsion for fleets, ships and special vehicles in tourist areas in Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Croatia and Austria. BIOSIRE local actions are directed at market transformation and changing the behaviour of fleet operators, tourists and residents, farmers and potential suppliers of used cooking oils. These actions cover the full production and distribution chain. BIOSIRE cooperates closely with other projects on sustainable tourism and alternative propulsion and invites their representatives to discuss common themes.

(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 websites, publications and press releases which include:

  • Publication on: 'Smart choices for biofuels' - published by the Worldwatch Institute (2009);
  • Report/research document on a study carried out entitled 'Good or bad bioethanol from a greenhouse gas perspective - What determines this?' (2007);
  • Online article on 'UK based Co-operative Bank makes biofuels part of ethical policy' (2009); and
  • Report/research document on 'Sugarcane ethanol Contributions to climate change mitigation and the environment' - published by Wageningen Academic (2008).

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

World Biofuels Markets 2009
16-18 March 2009, Brussels, Belgium

The World Biofuels Market 2009 is Europe's largest biofuels congress and exhibition. The event will bring together more than 200 high-level speakers in 46 sessions. Keynote speakers include Sir Bob Geldof, Activist, Businessman and Musician; Lord Browne, Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings and former Chief Executive Officer, BP; and Dr Hermann Scheer, International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies and Member of German Parliament.

Visit Biofuel Cities at the World Biofuels Markets!

A specific Biofuel Cities session will take place on Wednesday, 18 March. The session offers a chance to learn what the Biofuel Cities European Partnership has achieved so far, and to investigate in further detail new Biofuel Cities publications and guidance on biofuels policies and sustainable procurement.
The Biofuel Cities European Partnership can also be visited at the exhibition space, stand number 3.

If you cannot visit us there, be sure to check our website to keep up to date on biofuels news, exchange views and opinions on our discussion forum or to see if you feature in our 'Who's who and where in the Biofuels Field' report.

Biofuel Cities session - download programme [pdf].



6th International Biofuels Conference
4-5 March 2009, New Delhi, India

The conference will serve to deliberate about some of the most relevant and contentious issues facing the biofuels movement and is designed to encourage the exchange of information and facilitate debate on the concerns raised.

The conference will to provide in-depth information about the local and global potential of this sector and examine new developments in the biofuels industry. The conference programme will address the Indian context for biofuels, in particular, and perspectives from other countries and world regions.



International Advanced Mobility Forum 2009
10-12 March 2009, Geneva, Switzerland

A scientific and public forum centered on key aspects and issues related to individual mobility for the future, the conference will focus on discussing all the technical and practical aspects of numerous solutions proposed for environmentally cleaner forms of mobility.

This year's event will be dedicated to the topic of providing energy for individual transportation alternatives in the future and technological solutions to reduce energy consumption. The programme includes topics such as economical and market potential of the alternative fuels, as well as risk and constraints involved, e.g. infrastructure, cost, well to wheel efficiencies.



Biofuels International Conference and Exhibiton
11-13 March 2009, Opatija, Croatia

The conference will bring together leading experts and practitioners from CEFTA countries (Central European Free Trade Agreement) to discuss biofuel production and use in Southeastern Europe, focusing on the following issues:

- potential of biofuels to decrease European dependence on oil and natural gas and also help decrease emissions of greenhouse gases,

- legislative framework in the EU and CEFTA countries, and

- sustainability of second generation biofuels.



All events can be accessed through the Biofuel Cities Events database at

Would you like your event promoted through the Biofuel Cities Events database? Send details on the event to

6. Editiorial 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 © 2009 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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