July 2009 news

29.07.09 Algae blooming into promising biofuel

Some call it pond scum, but algae is drawing increasing attention as a source of biofuel that can help replace petroleum or fuels made from crops like corn or soybeans.


(source: World Business Council on Sustainable Development)

27.07.09 Researchers outline consensus position on “beneficial biofuels”

Noting that society "cannot afford to miss out" on the multiple benefits of biofuels "done right", but that society also "cannot accept the undesirable impacts of biofuels done wrong," eleven researchers suggest what they describe as a consensus position on beneficial biofuels in a paper published 17 July in Science magazine.


(source: Green Car Congress)

23.07.09 Proposal for a CEN workshop on B30

In the framework of the Biofuel Cities project, NEN (the National Standardisation Institute for the Netherlands) organised a standardisation workshop to identify the needs for standardisation of biofuels their application. One of the topics addressed at the workshop was higher level blends of biodiesel, such as B30, for which a standard was considered to help foster market development.

The next stage will address whether there is a need to hold a European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) Workshop to develop a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) on 'biodiesel at higher (up to B30) level blends for use in automotive diesel engines'. A CWA is a technical agreement, developed by the participants in a CEN Workshop who are interested in developing one or more reference documents where neither the lack of openness of a de facto standard nor the additional rigour and consensus of a European standard (EN) are judged to be appropriate. The first draft of the proposed business plan is now out for public consultation. Comments will be received until the 1 October 2009, and can be emailed to energy@nen.nl.

Participation in a workshop is open to all interested organisations (European and non-European). The details of the workshop will be announced well in advance. If you are interested in taking part in such a workshop, you can also register your interest in advance (send an email to energy@nen.nl).

Download draft document for consultation [pdf file]

21.07.09 Study urged on water demands of next-generation biofuel feedstocks

Extensive studies are needed to understand the water needs of biofuel production from cellulosic feedstocks or other next-generation sources, federal auditors said in a preliminary report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The effects of corn-based ethanol production on water quantity and quality are well understood, the GAO report says, but less is known about next-generation feedstocks that have not been grown on a commercial scale.


(source: Climate Ark / New York Times)

16.07.09 Sustainable biofuels: practical step by step guidance for European purchasers

The month of July has already seen several new publications from Biofuel Cities, with the 'Guide to Sustainable Biofuels Procurement for Transport' just hot off the press!

Public sector demand is considered to be an important driver to increase the number of cleaner vehicles on the market, and considering the total size of public sector purchases of transport vehicles, sustainable purchasing can contribute towards more sustainable communities.

The Biofuel Cities guide highlights the current discussion on sustainable biofuels and provides advice for other challenges related to implementing biofuelled transport. The recommendations for sustainable procurement have been inspired by the experiences from the pioneer cities in this field, such as Stockholm, Rotterdam, Lille and Graz.


(source: Biofuel Cities European Partnership)

15.07.09 U.S EPA extends comment period on biofuel standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to extend the comment period on a draft rule that aims to cut greenhouse gases emitted by biofuels. The proposed changes to the 2007 U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) attempt to make production of corn-based ethanol more efficient and increase output of advanced biofuels.

The comment period on the rule has been extended by 60 days, from July 27 to September 25.


(source: Biofuels International / Planet Ark)

14.07.09 Penalties imposed to protect European biodiesel

The European Union plans to implement anti-dumping penalties in order to protect European biodiesel manufacturers against subsidised American imports. This was decided by EU Finance Ministers at a recent meeting in Brussels.


(source: GAVE-news / De Tijd)

13.07.09 Not all biodiesels are the same - City of Seattle looks for greener fuel alternatives

The city of Seattle, U.S, recently put a temporary stop on buying biodiesel fuel for its fleet of vehicles because of concerns that the soy-based mix it was using was more harmful to the environment than regular diesel.

But Brenda Bauer, director of Seattle's Fleets and Facilities Department, said the city could start using a different type of biodiesel made from waste grease -- byproducts of food production.


(source: Climate Ark / Seattle Post Intelligencer)

10.07.09 Committee to answer sustainability questions set up by Dutch government

In a recent decision taken by the Dutch government, Jacqueline Cramer, the Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands has set up a Committee to take on sustainability questions for biomass. The Committee will act as a platform for discussion on the sustainability of biomass, particularly when applied as a transport fuel.


(source: GAVE-news)

08.07.09 Biofuels in Central and Eastern Europe under the spotlight

The production and use of biofuels in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has been given special attention in the 8th edition of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter.

Fives years after joining the EU, the newsletter reflects on the problems and achievements of introducing biofuels to the market in CEE countries. An interview with Dr. Krzysztof Biernat, Coordinator of the Polish Technology Platform for biofuels, also reveals the achievements of the Platform in Poland since it was created.

Download this issue [pdf file]

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07.07.09 New green commodity index targets biofuels

Bache Commodities Group has launched the Bache Commodity Green Index (BCGI) to offer investors a tool to invest in commodities with a focus on biofuels.

The BCGI comprises two components - the Bache Biofuel Composite and Bache Clear Air Composite. The Bache Biofuel Composite includes agricultural commodities such as corn and sugar used for ethanol production, along with oilseeds used for biodiesel production.


(source: Biofuels International / New Energy World Network)

06.07.09 Recommendations for successful biofuel policy

'Local implementation of clean(er) fuel policies in Europe' is the title of the new Handbook published by Biofuel Cities, which includes recommendations for a successful transport biofuels policy. The Handbook covers a number of important points relevant for developing local policies to encourage the use of biofuels for transport purposes. These include: creating local demand for biofuels, providing market security, and implementing a good communication strategy. 


(source: Biofuel Cities European Partnership)

02.07.09 EU issues template for national renewables plans to meet its targets on time

The European Commission yesterday (30 June) adopted a template for national renewable energy action plans, requiring Member States to detail how they intend to reach their national targets for the share of renewables in their energy mix. The action plans are a feature of the new EU Renewables Directive and require Member States to fill in the template with sectoral targets for the share of renewable energy in transport, among others, and offer a trajectory for getting there.


(source: EurActiv)

01.07.09 Ghent to host Biofuel Supply Chain Summit 2009

The Biofuel Supply Chain Summit 2009 will be a unique occasion, uniting the major players within the value chain to debate and address all the key issues within the biofuels industry.

The event takes place from 15 - 17 September in Ghent, Belgium, and will feature leading authorities from both Europe and Brazil who will discuss their experiences. Participants will be encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of the latest EU policies, legislation and economic effects, and discover the current developments and future initiatives for the transportation and logistics of biofuels.

The summit provides an excellent opportunity to network with experts in the field of biofuels as 2009 is the year that marks a fundamental turning point for EU's biofuels industry. The demand for biofuels is dramatically exceeding the supply and biofuel supply chain has been presented with many challenges of its own.