April 2009 news

30.04.09 Germany passes biofuels law

The German national government recently passed its biofuels law with revisions to tax and blending mandates. The German Parliament increased the energy tax on B100 by 3 cents to 18 cents per litre, and the biofuels blending mandate was decreased to 5.25 percent, from 6.25 percent in energy content. Sustainability provisions are also included.

Passing of the law comes at a time where lower than expected biodiesel capacity figures have been released by the German biodiesel industry association, VDB.


(source: World Energy / Biofuels International)

29.04.09 Californian law puts the brakes on unsustainable biofuels in transport

The State of California is set to deal a blow to producers of unsustainable biofuels by agreeing a law that promotes mainly those fuels that lead to genuine carbon savings. 

The agreement on California's 'Low Carbon Fuel Standard' requires producers, refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel to reduce the carbon footprint of their fuel by 10% over the next decade.


(source: Transport & Environment / Los Angeles Times)

22.04.09 Commission speeds up work on biofuels' impact

The European Commission is planning to bring forward by nine months legislative proposals to quantify the impact of indirect land use change when calculating emissions from biofuels, according to the news source ENDS Europe.

The Commission is accelerating its work because under the new EU renewables directive, EU Member States must submit national renewables action plans by March 2010, and its keen to table its proposals on indirect land use change before Member States' plans are finalised.

(source: ENDS Europe)

21.04.09 International scientific-based consensus on environmental impacts of biofuels - new report

More than 75 scientists from 21 countries, representing various disciplines, have prepared an assessment of the environmental consequences of biofuels, in the framework of the SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment) International Biofuels Project Rapid Assessment. 

The findings have both positive and negative impacts on the use biofuels for transport purposes, with a number of measures also recommended (by the authors) to improve certain situations.


link to executive summary of the report

(source: T&E / Wuppertal Institute)

16.04.09 Renewable transport fuel on target in the UK

The UK government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) is delivering on its promise to provide green, sustainable transport fuels despite a Government slowdown on targets one year after its introduction, the UK Renewable Fuels Agency says.


(source: Biofuels International / RTFO)

15.04.09 Strong growth in EU's ethanol fuel production

After a moderate growth in 2007 (11%), European fuel ethanol production increased considerably in 2008, according to the European Bioethanol Fuel Association (eBIO). The strong growth, of almost 60%, also came at a time where biofuels were under critique and the uncertainties for biofuels in the EU legal framework were significant.

Download press release [pdf file]

(source: eBIO)

14.04.09 EU makes large investment into biofuel produced by algae

The EU has recently allocated 4.87 million euro for research to study the possibilities of producing biofuel from algae. The research project, called BioMara, will focus on the feasibility of the use of microscopically tiny single-cell organisms and seaweed. Researchers will investigate if such organisms grow quickly, have a high yield, and do not compete with agricultural land for food crops.


(source: GAVE-news)

08.04.09 Biofuels: let's consider emissions

The seventh issue of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter has a special focus on the emissions of vehicles running on biofuels.

With more attention on sustainability issues, discussions are increasingly focused on the origin of the feedstock and the associated greenhouse gas emissions from  producing biofuels. However, the on-road effects caused by the use of vehicles running on biofuels should also be considered.

Download this issue [pdf file]

Subscribe now to receive the next issues

07.04.09 Biofuels impacting on water demand, warns UN report

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 3, presented ahead of the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul, production of ethanol stood at 77 billion litres in 2008 and should reach 127 billion litres by 2017. The report was published by the UNESCO hosted World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP).

The report highlights that one of the major problems with biofuels is the need for large quantities of water and fertilizers to grow the crops. Between 1,000 and 4,000 litres of water are needed to produce a single litre of biofuel.


(source: Check Biotech / UNESCO)

06.04.09 European directive on clean and efficient vehicles

The EU Council of Ministers adopted a new Directive promoting clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles that are in use by public authorities. The Directive aims to stimulate the market for clean and efficient vehicles and to prompt developments and investments by the industry. Increased sales will help reduce costs through economies of scale and will result in progressive improvement in the energy and environmental performance of the whole vehicle fleet. The new measures extend to all purchases of road transport vehicles by public authorities or by transport operators charged with public service obligations. 


(source: GAVE-news / European Commission)

01.04.09 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 / Reuters)