September news

29.09.08 Ireland's first biodiesel plant begins production

Green Biofuels Ireland has started production at Ireland's first commercial-scale biodiesel production facility. Construction of the 34 million litre a year facility began in March 2007 and was completed in June 2008.

The sustainable multi-feedstock plant (for the production of second-generation biofuels) is currently operating mainly on yellow grease and tallow.


(source: Biofuels International)

26.09.08 New Zealand passes legislation to enable sustainable biofuels

The New Zealand Parliament recently passed a Biofuels Bill which is seen to "stimulate the market for alternative transport fuels" in the country.

Under the legislation, oil companies are bound by a "biofuel sales obligation" which requires them to have 0.5% of their sales to be from biofuel sales. The obligation will increase in 0.5% increments up to 2.5% by 2012.

The sustainability principles included in the Bill will make sure biofuels sold towards the obligation will: Emit significantly less greenhouse gas over their life cycle than fossil fuels; avoid negative impacts on food production; and do not reduce indigenous biodiversity or adversely affect land with high conservation values.


(source: ISAAA / New Zealand government)

23.09.08 Study analyses the future global biofuels industry

A recent study by Accenture (a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company) says that "the creation of a global biofuels industry will be much more difficult to achieve than originally thought". The study entitled, "Biofuels' time of transition: Achieving high performance in a world of increasing fuel diversity", predicts that biofuels will eventually account for 10-15% of the future global energy mix, but getting there will be difficult, "reflecting the challenges involved in creating full-scale markets in biofuels feedstock, production, transport and distribution".


(source: ISAAA / Accenture)

19.09.08 Thermochemical biomass-to-liquid process provides high purity diesel

The German company Choren was awarded one of four European Business Awards for Environment for the development of a process that produces high-purity biodiesel from biomass.

This second-generation biofuel, which uses non-food plants, is low in pollutants and almost CO2 neutral and compatible with current and future diesel engine technology.


(source: ETAP newsletter September 2008 / Choren press release)

17.09.08 Study shows B99 performs as well as regular petrodiesel

A 13 week long study of vehicles in the United States was made by a renewable fuel retailer (Propel, Inc.) for a baking company (The Essential Baking Company), to assess the effect of fuel replacement from mineral (petro-) diesel to B99 (99% biodiesel blend) on its fleet of delivery vehicles.

The results of the study have shown that biodiesel in its almost pure form (i.e., 99% blend) performed equally, if not better than regular petrodiesel. Furthermore, the vehicles running on B99 showed a reduction of approximately 20,000 kilograms in carbon dioxide emissions, a 78% reduction in particulate matter emissions, a 60-80% reduction in air toxins emissions, and 100% reduction in the emissions of sulfur compounds.


(source: ISAAA / Biofuel Review)

16.09.08 Biofuel Cities Quarterly available now in Polish

The fifth issue of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter, which has a special focus on the developments in the South-Eastern part of Europe, is now available in Polish. Readers can gain an insight into the status quo and the future outlook of feedstock and biofuels production (in Romania, Greece and Bulgaria, for instance) as well an understanding of the market developments and the main barriers concerning implementation.

Download this issue [pdf file]

Subscribe now to receive the next issues

12.09.08 European Parliament backs a shift away from agro-fuels

European biofuel producers were disappointed by a key vote in the European Parliament yesterday (11 September), which, though confirming a binding 10% target for renewables in transport fuels by 2020, shifts the focus away from agro-fuels and provides for a "major" mid-term review, which producers say threatens investment in the sector.

The European Parliament's Industry and Energy Committee backed a report drafted by Luxembourg Green MEP Claude Turmes which calls for a 5% share of renewables in transport fuel by 2015 and a 10% target by 2020.

The text nevertheless specifies that at least 20% of the 2015 target and 40% of the 2020 goal must be met from "non-food and feed-competing" second-generation biofuels or from cars running on green electricity and hydrogen.

The European Bioethanol Fuel Association, eBIO, in response to the vote by the Parliament have said that the amendments are "counterproductive in reducing our dependency on imported and polluting fossil fuels".

Download press release from eBIO [pdf file]


(source: EURActiv / eBIO)

11.09.08 Nedalco backs away from bioethanol

The Dutch company Royal Nedalco, a leading producer of ethanol of agricultural origin in Europe, has provisionally cancelled its plans to construct a second generation bioethanol plant in Sas van Gent (Netherlands).

The decision regarding this new plant was postponed earlier this year until the Summer due to the uncertainty regarding biofuels. "The market conditions, particularly concerning the high raw material prices (such as wheat and corn) were not ideal. There is still no real clarity with respect to European directives for producing biofuels. There is simply too much risk involved to start up the project in Sas van Gent. We're not burying the idea entirely, but will save it until the conditions are right', says Mark Woldberg, Manager for Corporate Development at Nedalco in the Dutch Province Zeeuwse Courant.


(source: GAVE-news / Nedalco)

10.09.08 Comment on our Biofuels Technical Guidance

A Technical Guidance on biofuels and their applications is being developed as part of the Biofuel Cities European Partnership. This report will support those organisations and people interested in starting to use biofuels, but who lack the relevant knowledge on which to base their decision. Groups that may be particularly interested in this report are fleet managers and purchasing officers. It is our aim and ambition that our Technical Guidance report will provide the most relevant technical information needed in the field and thats why your input is invaluable.

Biofuel Cities Participants are invited to provide their comments and input to the current draft version of the Technical Guidance. All kinds of comments are welcome, though you may wish to focus on general issues based on your field of expertise, e.g.: - will this guide be useful for organisations and people that want to start using biofuels, why / why not? - does it cover the relevant information? - is the information provided correct? - are relevant users / projects missing in the list of interviewed people / organisations (see report annex)?

We would happy to receive and consider your comments until 19 September.

Interested in contributing? Please contact Per Godfroij (email: for a copy of the draft report.

09.09.08 Improved method of producing hydrogen from biofuels

Researchers at Ohio State University in the U.S.A have discovered a more efficient method of producing hydrogen from ethanol and other biofuels. A new type of catalyst produces hydrogen from ethanol at 90% efficiency, at a lower temperature and using inexpensive ingredients.

Umit Ozkan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State University, says that the cost advantages are primarily gained because the process does not use precious metals, such as platinum and rhodium.


(source: GAVE-news / Ohio State University)

03.09.08 Who is who and where in biofuels?

The second version of the Biofuel Cities report "who-is-who-and-where" in the biofuels field is now available.

The report lists persons and organisations active in the field of biofuels for transport within Europe and, as a result, forms a useful reference for contacts and colleagues.

The Biofuel Cities partnership aims to keep extending and improving the report. Updated versions of the who-is-who report are foreseen for early and mid 2009.

Interested in being featured or in contributing to the 2009 report? Participants in the Biofuel Cities European Participant enjoy publishing priority.

Not a participant yet? It is easy to register online. Just click here to enter your details and join this unique partnership.

Access the report

(source: Biofuel Cities Publications)

02.09.08 Can standards make biofuels sustainable?

As concerns about biofuels grow, a system that differentiates good biofuels from bad is in strong demand from consumers and suppliers alike. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels has developed the first international standard for biofuel production — now available for public comment. Proponents praise the guidelines as an attempt to improve biofuel production even though the impact of the fuels is not fully known. Others argue that the standard will encourage further consumption of a fuel source destined to cause harm.

The latest news on the development of such standards in Europe, however, is that the French EU Presidency will this week attempt to clinch a deal on sustainability criteria for biofuels. This aims to ensure that the EU's goal of increasing their share of biofuels to 10% of transport fuels by 2020 does not provoke major negative environmental side-effects.


(source: Worldwatch Institute and EURActiv)

01.09.08 Scientists call for more R & D in cassava

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) website reports that cassava scientists at a global forum have called for “a significant increase in investment in research and development needed to boost farmers’ yields and explore promising industrial uses of cassava, including production of biofuels”.

Cassava is an important staple crop in many developing countries, and is widely cultivated in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is also known as one of the cheapest sources of starch which can be processed into biofuels.


(source: ISAAA / UN FAO)