29.07.07 EU may free up land for biofuel crops
Biofuels, destined to partially offset a coming oil shortage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will require much more farm land, forcing the European Union to cultivate fields that have lain fallow.
With global cereal production falling, the European Commission said in July it would propose ending restrictions in effect since 1998 that had forced farmers to let some land lie fallow. Currently around 10 percent of EU farmland is affected by the measure, or around three million hectares (7.4 million acres). Allowing it to be cultivated would increase cereal production by 10-17 million tonnes next year, the Commission estimated.
According to Loek Boonekamp of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an increase of 20 percent in the price of basic agricultural products results only in a rise of 1.0 percent on store shelves.
(source: AFP 2007 / eubusiness.com)
27.07.07 Biofuels: Impact on agriculture 'modest' says Commission
Amid growing public concern about the impact of biofuels production on land-use and cereal prices, the Commission has found that 10% biofuels use in transport by 2020 would produce only limited pressure on agricultural markets.
(source: euractiv.com 27.07.07)
18.07.07 Biofuels hampered by 'scale problem'
First-generation biofuels - such as ethanol - must be seen as a ''stepping stone'' for the development of new, environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as fuel made from waste, because it will never be possible to produce them on a sufficiently large scale - according to UOP, a leading developer of refining processes and technology.
Carlos Cabrera, president and CEO of UOP, company which upgrades petroleum to end products, believes that second-generation fuels can play an important role in reducing CO2 emissions from transport. But, in an interview with EurActiv, he outlined a number of challenges that must be addressed before this can be achieved.
(Source: euractiv.com 18.07.07)
12.07.07 Participate in European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform
Now is the time to register your interest in participating in the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform. The main goal of the platform is to facilitate and accelerate the development and deployment of cost-competitive, world class European hydrogen and fuel cell based energy systems and component technologies for applications in transport, stationary and portable power. If you wish to be involved in the work of the steering panels and initiative groups or participate in platform operations, please click here for more details.
(Source: kowi newsletter 760 2007, European Commission - DG Research)
11.07.07 MEPs call for strong EU renewables policy
The Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee has given strong support to upcoming Commission proposals designed to increase the share of renewable energy in the EU's future energy mix. On 10 July, MEPs in the ITRE committee voted in support of an own-initiative report presented by Danish Socialist MEP Britta Thomsen. While the report is non-binding and not connected with any existing legislative proposal, it provides an indication of how the Parliament may position itself with respect to the Commission's upcoming package of legislative proposals on renewables, expected in September 2007.
Read full article here.