October news

31.10.07 Natural gasoline taxis for Basel

One year following the launch of its project, 27 natural gasoline or biogas taxis are on the road in the Swiss region of Basel. The goal is to build a taxi fleet of about 100 environmentally friendly vehicles until 2015 to serve the north-western part of Switzerland. In collaboration with several taxi companies, the regional energy provider of the region of Basel in Switzerland, IWB (Industrielle Werke Basel) began the project “HUT – 100 environmentally friendly taxies in the region of Basel” last year. 

According to a study conducted this year, the eco-taxis are very popular among customers. Almost 90% believe that natural gas taxis are a sensible alternative to regular taxis. 19 taxi companies have already joined the project.


(source: IWB, 15 October 2007)

30.10.07 Call for Papers - 16th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Feria Valencia, Spain, 2008

This week ETA – Renewable Energies Florence and its partner organisation WIP – Renewable Energies Munich announced a Call for Papers for the 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition to be held from 2-6 June 2008 at Feria Valencia, Spain. The event is supported by IDAE, the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce as well as the European Commission.
This international conference is aimed at stimulating public discussion and promoting awareness of the biomass community. Scientists, industry, suppliers, funding bodies and decision-makers are invited to meet the more than 1,500 expected attendees.

Submission deadline for abstracts is 30 November 2007.

Download Call for Papers  [PDF 288KB]

(source: www.conference-biomass.com, October 2007)

29.10.07 New EU biofuel regulations result in positive climate impact but also possible air pollution

New proposed EU regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when generating and producing fuels would result in a positive environmental impact, but also possibly create extra air pollition. This is the stance taken by the European Parliament, with respect to the European fuel quality guideline.


(source: GAVE-news, Oct 2007)

26.10.07 EU scales down on biofuel crop subsidies 

A special farm aid scheme aimed at developing Europe's energy crop sector will be scaled back, after it emerged that farmers have already massively shifted production towards biofuels, overshooting a two million hectare target, the European Commission announced recently.

The programme was introduced in 2004 in order to stimulate the European biofuels sector. At the time, just 0.31 million hectares were devoted to biofuel crops and the Commission hoped to raise this to 2.0 million hectares in 2007. But with applications already reaching 2.84 million hectares this year, the EU's €90 million budget is unable to cope. 


(source: EURActiv, Oct 2007)

24.10.07 Biofuel flights ready for testing as early as end of 2008

Air New Zealand plans to mount the first test flight of a commercial airliner partially powered by biofuel. The 747 flight is one part of a deal between the airline, engine producer Rolls-Royce and aircraft manufacturer Boeing. One of the four engines will run on a mixture of kerosene and a biofuel, and is set to take off in late 2008 or early 2009. It will not carry passengers.

Advances in technology have made biofuels a viable possibility for use in aviation sooner than anticipated, Air New Zealand's CEO, Rob Fyfe, says.

The New Zealand government recently declared the objective of becoming carbon neutral, and Climate Change and Energy Minister David Parker says the national airline's initiative would help achieve that goal.


(source: Biofuels International, October 2007 / Autoblog green)

22.10.07 European biodiesel sector wants import duty on US biodiesel

Last week European biodiesel manufacturers threatened to file complaints to the Commission and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concerning US biodiesel subsidies, which they say are threatening both European industry and the Union's ambitious target of achieving a 10% share for biofuels in transport fuel by 2020.


(source: EURActiv, Oct 2007 / GAVE-news, Oct 2007)

18.10.07 Largest biodiesel plant in the UK given green light

ABS Biodiesel, a UK-based biodiesel production company, will start construction of a new biofuel production facility in the UK, following a decision by Bristol City Council planning department on 3 October. The company will invest over €30 million (£21million) in the 24,500 square foot facility in Avonmouth Docks, which will cover three acres of undeveloped land at Bristol Port. The site will produce approximately 225,000 tonnes of biodiesel, with the capacity of the site enabling a potential increase to 500,000 tonnes.

The 191,000 tonnes of biofuels consumed in the UK is estimated to climb to 2.5 million tonnes by 2008.


(source: Biofuels International, October 2007 / Evening Post, Bristol)

16.10.07 European and American ethanol industries counter OECD report

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the European Bioethanol Fuel Association (eBIO) have called upon the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to disavow the paper issued a couple of weeks ago by the OECD criticising world ethanol production.

The highly publicised report prepared on the responsibility of the Chair of the Round Table on Sustainable Development at the OECD delivers some damaging news concerning the effectiveness of biofuels for climate protection.

Download letter from RFA and eBio to OECD [PDF 121KB]

(source: eBio, September 2007)

15.10.07 Pilot projects with local distillery - region of Bremehaven, Germany

In September 2007, the TTZ Bremerhaven (Technology Transfer Centre) started a regional biofuel project in the Rotenburg rural district, Germany. In collaboration with a local distillery, the TTZ is piloting the regional, small-scale production of biofuels with the goal of demonstrating that such a concept can be successful, cost-efficient and sustainable as well as economically beneficial for the region.

The distillery Rockstett has been equipped to produce the innovative biofuel E85, consisting of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline -  compatible with a wide range of usual gasoline-driven vehicles but causes significantly less CO2 emissions.

According to the project coordinator, Wolfgang Schulz, "the project will show that bio-ethanol can be produced at competitive prices in small and medium-sized agricultural distilleries. Central aspects of this project are its regional character and the strict compliance with sustainability principles". The project might also open up new economic perspectives for local agricultural distilleries, thus safeguarding employment in rural areas.

Full article in German...

(source: Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, September 2007)

12.10.07 Excise duty increase for biodiesel under discussion in Germany

The German government fears that the next increase in excise duty on biofuel, planned for 1 January 2008, will give small to medium-sized biodiesel manufacturers considerable problems. The government is currently considering cancelling this duty increase. In August 2006, German tax authorities began adding 9 cents per litre to the price of biodiesel. The plan was to slowly increase the excise duty until it reached a level (in 2012) of slightly less than fossil-based diesel. In practice, however, the 9 cents per litre has been sufficient to make biodiesel more expensive than conventional diesel. According to the Berliner Zeitung half of the current production capacity is now lying idle, or is running at reduced capacity.


(source: GAVE-news, October 2007)

11.10.07 Making your own biodiesel - an example from the UK

Since the authorities in the UK have exempted the first 2.500 litres of homemade diesel from excise duty, production has increased significantly. EcoTec Resources UK, the largest supplier of DIY (do-it-yourself) kits, has reported that 360 kits have already been sold. Homemade biodiesel is considerably cheaper than fossil-based diesel purchased from filling stations. According to Andrew Hodson from EcoTec, biodiesel can be made using the EcoTec DIY kits for 12 pence (17 eurocent) per litre, 'snackbars and restaurants are happy to give you their old frying oil, and if you collect it from them then you just have to pay the production costs'.

(source: GAVE-news, October 2007)

05.10.07 Abengoa suspends bioethanol production in Spain

Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa Bioenergy has suspended bioethanol production at the largest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. The company has cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol.

The plant, located in the province of Salamanca in central Spain, is 50% owned by food group Ebro and stopped for several months earlier in 2007 for similar reasons. The facility uses barley and wheat as feedstock. It began operating in 2006 and has an annual production capacity of 200 million litres (52.8 Mgal/year) of fuel-grade ethanol (FGE) of which 12.5% is from wine alcohol distillation, with a maximum of 230,000 tonnes/year of Dried Distillers Grain (DDGS).

Abengoa's other two plants have production capacities of 100 and 126 million litres.

Earlier this year, Abengoa said the bioethanol market needed the Spanish government to impose mandatory blending. The government has said it is considering this, but so far has talked about a mandatory 2% biofuel content, not the 5.75% target the European Union has set for 2010.

Spain so far produces little biodiesel, but a series of big plants are due to start up in 2008 and 2009.

(source: Biofuels International- News / Planet Ark-News)

02.10.07 European Parliament pushes for compulsory certification of biofuels

The European Parliament passed a resolution on the 18 September supporting a mandatory blend of biofuels at European pumps. The European Parliament supports the 10% biofuel objective for 2020, provided the biofuels are produced sustainably. In order to monitor the sustainable aspects of biofuels, the politicians at the European Parliament are lobbying for a compulsory certification, which also takes account of water stocks, biodiversity, and carbon reserves (due to a changing land use) and social problems, such as rising food prices and the relocation of local populations. Although they would not be classified as being "bad" biofuels, they could never benefit from tax exemptions or European funds.

(source: GAVE-news, October 2007 / Autoblog Green)

01.10.07 Biodiesel from cooking oil in Hungary

As a result of growth in tourism as well as the price increase in the raw materials for biodiesel production, it is expected that in this year 10% more - altogether 5000 tons of used cooking oil - will be collected in Hungary. As it was stated by György Deák, Chief Executive Officer of market leader Biofilter Co., this growth is mainly attributed to the increase in tourist numbers during the summer Hungarian restaurants. In one of Hungary’s main tourist areas (around Lake Balaton) almost 3 times more used cooking oil could be collected this year compared to last year. Currently only 3% of the total amount is collected from private households.

In addition to the used cooking oil collected in Hungary, the company also imports about 2-3000 tons of oil from Greece, Croatia and Romania, which it then converts into biodiesel base material at its factory in Csévharaszt. This state-of-the-art factory is run with only 20% production loss.

An important reason for the growth in the collection of used cooking oil lies in the fact that the increased use of biodiesel has driven up the prices of all oils and fats used for its production - including restaurant oils.

(source: ELTIS news, September 2007 / Hungarian News Agency)