October news

30.10.08 Launch of commercialisation process for algae biofuels

Launched on the 23 October, the UK's Carbon Trust has begun an internationally leading research and development initiative on commercialising the use of algae biofuel as an alternative to fossil based oil by 2020.

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(source: Carbon Trust)


28.10.08 Environmental NGOs warn Barroso on land-use change

The four environmental NGOs - Transport and Environment (T&E), BirdLife, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) - wrote to the President of the European Commission earlier this month expressing 'deep concern over the direction the EU biofuels policy is taking' and asking him to order an immediate review.

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(source: T&E Bulletin, October 2008)


27.10.08 Bioethanol filling stations and clean buses in the Netherlands

The Tamoil filling station in the City of Alkmaar (Netherlands) is the latest to start selling bioethanol (E85). This brings the number of commercial filling stations in the Netherlands that sell bioethanol up to 21. One litre of E85 currently costs around €1.80.

Furthermore, the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management very recently allocated €1.8 million in subsidies for 23 investment projects that focus on building new filling stations for alternative fuels (natural gas and ethanol/E85). The amount is being made available via a Dutch scheme known as Tankstations Alternatieve Brandstoffen (filling stations for alternative fuels) which aims to achieve a nationwide network of filling stations selling alternative fuels to motorists. A further €10 million has been provided by the national government to test clean and efficient buses for public transport use - the first are scheduled to be on the road in 2009, two of which will run on biogas.

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(source: GAVE-news)


23.10.08 EU clinches deal on promoting clean road transport

The European Parliament has endorsed a Commission proposal to make public authorities use 'green' criteria, including energy consumption and CO2 and pollutant emissions, when procuring vehicles for public transport fleets.

The proposed directive, which aims to facilitate market-wide introduction of clean and efficient vehicles, received overwhelming support in the vote on 22 October.

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(source: EurActiv)


23.10.08 Ministerial order promoting biofuels in Spain

Publication of the approval (from the national Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade in Spain) in the Spanish Official Journal on the 14 October has been hailed as a fundamental step in the further promotion of the Spanish biofuel industry.

The Order is a fundamental step to set a mechanism that will enable the substitution of more than three million tonnes of oil equivalent from fossil fuels in two years, as was approved by the Hydrocarbon Sector Law of July 2, 2007. This Law provides for biofuels to represent 3.4% and 5.83% (percentages in energy content) of the total sales of gasoline and gasoil marketed in Spain for transport purposes in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

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(source: APPA Biocarburantes)


21.10.08 Join the Biofuel Cities Networking Corner

By joining the Biofuel Cities European Partnership - a forum for the application of biofuels - you can promote your organisation, projects and resources to a wide audience of stakeholders in the area of biofuels for vehicles.

Whether you are media, biofuel producer, distributor, feedstock provider, end-user or any other stakeholder, the Biofuel Cities Team offers to increase your visibility online by displaying a link to your organisation in the Biofuel Cities website.

Taking part in this exchange could not be easier. By displaying the Biofuel Cities link and/or banner on your website, you will allow any person interested in the biofuel issue to have faster access to you and to your activities, and illustrate to any visitor your active involvement in advancing the discussion on the applications of biofuels for transport.

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(source: Biofuel Cities European Partnership)


16.10.08 Interactive biofuels sustainability scorecard launched by IDA

The Inter-America Development Bank (IDB) recently released a web-based interactive tool, called the "Biofuel Sustainability Scorecard".

The Scorecard based on the sustainability criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels. The primary objective of the Scorecard is to encourage higher levels of sustainability in biofuels projects by providing a tool to think through the range of complex issues associated with biofuels.

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(source: ISAAA / IDA)


14.10.08 CEE Biofuels - Creating a more sustainable future

The second annual Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) biofuels conference will examine the key issues of the current global structure of the biofuels market and opportunities for CEE biofuel production and usage.Among the issues to be discussed at the conferences are EU legislation and directives on biofuels, financial and European market issues, food versus biofuels, sustainable ways of increasing biofuels production in Europe and country-specific case studies.

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(source: EastEuro Link)


13.10.08 European carmakers plead for EU subsidies

European automobile manufacturers are calling on the European Commission to follow in the footsteps of the US and provide them with billions in low-cost loans to help them develop environmentally friendly vehicles as global car sales drop.

In February 2007, the Commission proposed legislation that would force vehicle manufacturers to cut the average emissions of new cars from current levels of around 158 grammes of CO2 per kilometre to 130g/km by 2012. This 18% cut would have to be achieved via improvements in vehicle technology, while a further 10g/km reduction would have to come from improvements in other areas, including tyres, fuels and eco-driving. The legislation is currently being debated by the European Parliament and member states.

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(source: EurActiv)


09.10.08 Renewable Fuels Agency issues first interim quarterly report on use of biofuels in the UK

The UK's Renewable Fuels Agency released its first interim quarterly report on the 7 October which includes disclosure of company performance on the supply of biofuels under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO).

Several achievements can be noted since the start of the RTFO, which came into effect on 15 April 2008. For instance, the carbon reduction achieved by the use of biofuels (44%) during the first three months of the obligation is greater than the 40% target set by the UK government for the first year of the RTFO.

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(source: Renewable Fuels Agency)


07.10.08 Biofuels: the hottest clean technology companies in Europe

Clean technology is attracting billions of dollars of investment from around the world and carries the hope of a low polluting and sustainable future. The companies in the biofuels category of the 2008 Guardian/Library House CleanTech 100 include groups turning food waste into energy and world leaders in biomass conversion.

The list of companies chosen represents a mixed spectrum of companies, reflecting the diversity of technology within the cleantech sector through the "energy chain" from production, through to transmission and storage, to end-user application. Typically, companies in the list have leading-edge products and technologies that are just coming to market, or on the verge of commercialisation.

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(source: The Guardian)


02.10.08 Feedback encouraged for biofuels sustainability standards

On 13 August 2008, the Steering Board of the international Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels announced a new draft of sustainability standards for biofuels. These have been in the development process over the past year by stakeholders from around the world. The standards are now available in three additional languages: Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Another intensive round of stakeholder feedback is now underway and will be run until March 2009, when the standards are expected to be revised. Comments are encouraged and can be posted directly through http://wwwbioenergywiki.net and to rsb@epfl.ch.

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(source: Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels)


01.10.08 Commercialisation of bio-DME

During the second week of September, the Swedish BioDME project got underway with a kick-off meeting in Piteå, Sweden. Researchers hope this project will prove that it is possible to produce environmentally friendly synthetic biofuels from ligno-cellulose biomass on an industrial scale. The project team plans to demonstrate the production of dimethylether (DME) from black liquor. Black liquor is primarily known as a by-product from the Kraft process that is created when manufacturing paper pulp. Black liquor is a watery solution of lignin residues, hemicellulose fragments and other inorganic chemicals necessary for the paper production process.

In order to determine whether the bio-DME has commercial possibilities and can achieve the required technical norms, the fuel will initially be tested in a fleet of 14 Volvo lorries.

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(source: GAVE-news / Bio-DME project)