August news

30.08.07 Production of biofuels in Belgium delayed

Almost all the biofuel projects in Belgium are currently up to 12 months delayed, according to magazine De Tijd. Only Oleon (in Ertvelde) and Neochim (in Féluy) are producing a limited amount of biodiesel. Neochim is working at 50% capacity, because the demand for biodiesel is limited to just a few clients. In general, the oil companies in Belgium are not compelled to blend biofuels with conventional fuels. Blending biodiesel with fossil-based transport fuels is limited to being offered by Total and a few smaller companies.

The Belgian Government had assumed that biofuels would be available for motorists at filling stations around the country by October 2007. This currently only applies to biodiesel, and then only with limited availability.

The delay in implementing this strategy is the result of the significantly changed economic environment for biofuels. Two years ago the ingredients for making biofuels were relatively inexpensive. But now the prices for plant oils made from palm nuts and rapeseed have almost doubled. Prices for gains - the basis for bioethanol - have also risen considerably over the past two years.

(source: GAVE-news/De Tijd, August 2007)


29.08.07 USA opens largest biodiesel plant

Just outside Gray's Harbor (USA) a biodiesel plant has recently been opened that has an annual production capacity of 100 million gallons. This is more than the total biodiesel production in the USA for the year 2005. America currently has 148 biodiesel plants across the country, with a collective production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons. There are also another 96 plants under construction, and five existing plants are in the process of being expanded. Together these will account for another 1.9 billion gallons.

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(source: GAVE-news/National Biodiesel Board, August 2007)


28.08.07 European biotech industry releases policy on Biofuels in Europe

The EU association for bioindustries (EuropaBio) has released a consensus response to the 'integrated energy and climate change package' proposal, endorsed by EU Heads of State earlier this year and currently discussed in European Parliament. The association sets out a policy for first and second generation biofuels. The available biomass in Europe will need to increase in order to achieve ambitious goals of biofuel use set by the European Union (5.75% in 2010 and 10% in 2020) in a sustainable and competitive way. Cultivating energy crops on set-aside and non-cultivated land will contribute, but this will not be sufficient to fulfill all the demand.

The EuropaBio's recommendations call for EU initiatives to boost the use of biofuels and advocate a step-by-step approach from the current first generation to more advanced biofuels.

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EuropaBio (www.europabio.org) has 85 direct members operating Worldwide, 12 associate members and 6 bioregions as well as 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises involved in research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products.

(source: GAVE-news, August 2007)


21.08.07 Global potential and implications for biofuels for transport

Biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel can significantly reduce global dependence on oil, according to a recent report by the Worldwatch Institute, released in collaboration with the German Agencies for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Renewable Resources (FNR). The publication "Biofuels for Transport: Global Potential and Implications for Energy and Agriculture" is a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities and risks associated with the large-scale international development of biofuels. The book demystifies complex questions and concerns, such as the "food versus fuel" debate. Order your copy now through Earthscan and receive a discount!

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(source: Worldwatch Institute, August 2007)


17.08.07 UN calls for reconsideration of bioenergy strategy

The Secretary-General of the FAO, Jacques Diouf, has called for a high-level meeting to be held in June 2008 'to lay down rules for the international bioenergy market'. According to Diouf, the bioenergy strategy should focus on ensuring that a large percentage of the revenues generated from producing bioenergy actually benefit the farmers and rural economies in developing countries.

Access by these countries to the international bioenergy market should thus be improved by:

  • lowering the trade barriers implemented by some OECD countries to imported ethanol;
  • encouraging (including via micro-credits) collaboration between small farmers wishing to cultivate, process and trade in raw materials for bioenergy;
  • setting up a certification system to guarantee that the bioenergy traded meets certain environmental criteria

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(source: Gave-news/Financial Times, August 2007)


15.08.07 Cork City Council fuels the Earthrace Initative

Cork City Council, Ireland, recently underlined its strong committment to biofuels, by donating 1,500 litres of biodiesel to the Earthrace boat when it recently made a stopover in Cork Harbour on its round-the-world trip. Earthrace is a not for profit non-governmental organisation promoting the use of biodiesel by as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel.

In the words of Senior Executive Engineer, Brian Cassidy, the donation "highlights the capabilities of biofuels and the role they can play in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels" and is very much in line with Cork City's identity as the eco-capital of Ireland. The biodiesel that was donated was 100% locally grown and produced.

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13.08.07 Biofuels and PPP in Belgium

From 20 August onwards the Belgian bus company, De Lijn, will use a hybrid hydrogen bus on some routes near Antwerp. The bus in question is manufactured by Van Hool.

This scheme is an example of a public-private partnership, which sees public works made possible with private involvement. In this particular case, the partnership is comprised of the Flemish Government, UTC Power, Siemens, IWT-Vlaanderen, Air Liquide and De Lijn.

A similar effort is already in place in Amsterdam, where the local public transport company (GVB) has been running three Mercedes hydrogen busses on a number of routes. 

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08.08.07 Biofuel Cities Quarterly first issue online

The first issue of Biofuel Cities’ print newsletter, Biofuel Cities Quarterly, is now available online. With a different focus each issue, Biofuel Cities Quarterly keeps you informed about technology and policy developments related to the application of biofuels. The focus of this first issue is 'Pure Plant Oil'. See what is inside by downloading it [PDF 500 kB].


07.08.07 Task forces for biofuel standard harmonisation formed

Since biofuels is now becoming a global trading commodity, authorities in the USA and Europe have felt the need for global harmonisation on the quality standards. Together with Brazil, India, China and South Africa an International Biofuels Forum was set up in February. To make biofuels a success story, they agreed that joint standards were needed.  Therefore, two task forces with experts from Brazil, USA and Europe have been established. The aim is to review existing documentary standards and identify areas where greater compatibility can be achieved in the short and long term. A White Paper is to be submitted to the Brazilian, European and US authorities by the end of 2007, a document that will form the basis of further work at ISO level to establish global biofuel standards.

For further details on the progress of the taskforces or the background of the biofuel specifications, please contact Mr. O. Costenoble of NEN Energy Resources at energy@nen.nl.

Full article [PDF 143kB]


01.08.07 UK launches CO2 car-ranking website

The British government has set up a website designed to lure consumers towards buying the greenest cars available as the EU prepares to set binding caps on the amount of CO2 that new vehicles can emit.

The "Best on CO2" website, launched by the UK's Department for Transport on 31 July, aims to orient consumers to the cleanest car model within the vehicle category that they prefer, ranging from the "super-mini" and family car categories to executive, 4x4, luxury and performance cars.

Full article...

(source: euractiv.com 01.08.07)