May news

30.05.08  Billions invested in Delfzijl bioenergy centre

Delfzijl in the northeast of the Netherlands has been chosen as the location of a new bioenergy centre. 1.5 billion Euro will be invested in the centre over the next few years and will focus on converting biomass into energy resulting also in the creation of 500 new jobs, according to a spokesperson for the company Ecofys (the investor).

The new bioenergy centre will be located on the industrial estate at Delfzijl, near the Bio MCM company, which manufactures biomethanol. The production capacity there will be increased considerably over the next few years, to one million tons of biomethanol per year, making it the largest biomethanol plant in the world. Electricity will also be produced, in addition to fuel, by two power plants that will use biomass as raw material.

(source: GAVE-news 21/05/08)

27.05.08  Biofuel Cities goes International, Rotterdam, 4-5 June

Come and visit the Biofuel Cities European Partnership at the first ever Biofuels International Expo & Conference, 4 - 5 June, The Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

While the Biofuel Cities team will be based at the exhibition, entry to which is free of charge, the conference promises to be very interesting, tackling key areas of importance to those in the bioethanol and biodiesel industries and addressing technological issues, as well as business concerns.

Conference delegates will benefit from presentations from some of the industry's leading producers and Mr Jan-Ake Johnsson, Managing Director, Saab Automobile AB will be the keynote speaker.

Download the full conference brochure [pdf 3,47MB]

The Biofuels International Expo & Conference will be well attended by delegates from all aspects of the biofuels chain and will certainly be a dynamic networking opportunity.

We look forward to seeing you there!

26.05.08  International Energy Agency's statement on biofuels

The International Energy Agency (IEA) plays the role of energy policy advisor to 27 member countries on issues related to providing “reliable, affordable and clean energy for their citizens”. The IEA website posted a recent statement on the agency’s views on the impacts of biofuels on food/energy security, economic development and reduction of greenhouse gases, as well as the importance of sustainable biofuels production.

Among the highlights of the statement are: (1) Biofuels production using “first generation feedstocks” (such as grains for ethanol and oil seeds for biodiesel) may compete with food, feed and fiber production, although “currently less than 2% of global agricultural cropland is used for biofuels production”. (2) Biofuels produced from “second generation feedstocks” (e.g. woody biomass and vegetative grasses) have “considerable promise for eventually providing more sustainable types of biofuels; however, support for research and development is important in order to lower production cost. (3) Ethanol production from sugarcane produced in tropical or subtropical countries like Brazil, Southern Africa, and India is a good example of properly managed production of sustainable biofuels. (4) Biofuels are becoming increasingly important in meeting the global demand for transport fuel; in 2008, an estimated 55% of the growth in non-OPEC oil supply can be attributed to biofuels.


(source: ISAAA Crop Biotech Update / IEA News)

21.05.08  Using fungus to produce ethanol

A spidery fungus (known as Trichoderma reesei) with a voracious appetite for military uniforms and canvas tents could hold the key to improvements in the production of biofuels, a team of government, academic and industry researchers has announced.

In the article, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, scientists explained that the fungus, which breaks down all kinds of cellulose-based materials can also be used to break down the cellulose in mono sugars, which then become raw materials for bioethanol.


(source: GAVE-news / Renewable Energy World)

19.05.08  Largest biorefinery in Europe to open in 2009

The largest biorefinery in the European Union could be operational in the first half of 2009. The refinery, which UK biofuels firm Ensus is building in northeast England, will make bioethanol and a protein rich animal feed co-product from about 1.2 to 1.3 million tonnes of UK wheat.

It will consume a substantial amount of the UK's exportable wheat surplus. The UK traditionally has an exportable wheat surplus of about 2.5 million tonnes. The plant is expected to supply one-third of UK demand for ethanol under the UK's Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) which mandates that 5% of motor fuel should come from renewable resources by 2010.


(source: Biofuels International, 16 May 2008)

15.05.08  Merkel calls for closer co-operation between government, industry and science

At a recent visit to the CHOREN Beta Plant in Freiberg, Germany, Chancellor Merkel emphasised the significance of Germany’s commitment to combating climate change in front of more than 130 guests. “The Freiberg project demonstrates what progress can be achieved in the development of climate protection technology when government, industry and science work hand in hand.”

The reason for the visit was the completion of the  plant's building phase. Over 150 suppliers and around 50 assembly companies, including many from the region, were involved in the building of the Beta plant. CHOREN designed and manufactured 180 main components itself.


(source: Task 39 Newsletter, May 2008)

13.05.08 New Ethanol REACH Association launched

In response to the legal obligation to register ethanol under the EU’s Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals  (REACH) regulation, leading ethanol manufacturers in Europe have come together to set up the Ethanol REACH Association to enable joint submissions of high-quality dossiers.

A joint submission of a fit for purpose dossier is required wherever possible under REACH. It is also highly desirable to produce a dossier that is of sufficient quality that it would pass the scrutiny of the competent authorities should the dossier be subject to evaluation.


(source: Biofuels International, 9 May 2008)

08.05.08 Biofuels 'scapegoat' in food price row, says EU farm chief

EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has rejected allegations that EU policies to promote biofuels are to blame for rising food prices amid calls by the UN to "cut back significantly" on agrofuel support programmes.

"Those who see biofuels as the driving force behind recent food price increases have overlooked not just one elephant standing right in front of them, but two," she said, speaking at a conference on 6 May.

According to Fischer Boel, the rising food demand and dietary shift towards meat in emerging countries like China and India, and the bad weather that hit the EU, US, Canada, Russia, Ukraine and Australia in 2006 and 2007, have each had "an enormous impact on commodity markets".


(source: Euractiv, 7 May 2008)

07.05.08 Uncertain future for first generation European biofuel industry

The third international Biofuels summit and expo, held last week in Madrid, Spain, concluded with a rather pessimistic scenario for first generation Biofuels producers in Europe.

Not so much because of the perverse and absurd manipulation of media, which seem to be easy victims in the hands of some interested parties who want consumers to believe the complete nonsense that Biofuels are now the worst of all evils, but because of the fact that this young industry does not seem able to set up an organised defence of their own interests and thus is doomed to disappear in the turbulences of the moment.


(source: Biofuel Summit and Expo, Press Release)

30.04.08 China Clean Energy: Production of biodiesel no longer profitable

China Clean Energy has currently suspended biodiesel production. The company says that production is no longer economically feasible, as it cannot pass on the extra cost of raw materials to its customers, due to a price ceiling imposed by the government.


(source: GAVE, 30/04/2008)