Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuels News

- EU divided over effects of indirect land-use change

- Biofuels manufacturers seek carbon permits

- Criteria for greenhouse gas emissions of palm oil, now out for consultation

- Despite difficulties, biofuels market in Latin America bouyant

- EU and China announce support for sustainable palm oil

- Algae blooming into promising biofuel

- Researchers outline consensus position on "beneficial biofuels"

- Proposal for a standardisation workshop on B30

2. Projects and Activities

3. New Publications and Resources

4. Event Highlights

Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

20.08.09 EU divided over effects of indirect land-use change

The European Union (EU) is currently divided with respect to the method used to calculate emissions resulting from the effects of indirect land-use change (ILUC). ILUC is the phenomenon whereby, by producing biomass at one location, rainforests are destroyed at another location. By destroying areas with a high natural value, not only is biodiversity threatened, but large amounts of greenhouse gases are released (that are stored in the soil and/or plants). In extreme cases, the application of biofuels can have a negative effect on the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The EU Member States, and a number of non-Members (such as Brazil), are currently discussing various ways to approach the effects of ILUC. >>more

14.08.09 Biofuels manufacturers seek carbon permits 

Manufacturers of biofuels in the U.S are lobbying the U.S Congress for a share of the free carbon permits needed to emit carbon dioxide under the Obama administration's proposed carbon-trading scheme.

The Bill passed by the House of Representatives last month would give away 85 percent of the permits to pollute to industries regarded as essential in the first years of a cap. The remaining 15 percent would be auctioned. The Bill earmarks 2 percent of the free carbon credits for the oil refining industry, but none for biofuels production, which also emits carbon, as does any industrial process. 

(source: Biofuels International)

13.08.09 Criteria for greenhouse gas emissions of palm oil, now out for consultation

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not-for-profit association uniting stakeholders from seven sectors of the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil, has recently published a draft version of modifications to the principles and criteria regarding the greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil production. Comments to the document (available on RSPO's website) should be submitted before 10 September 2009.

Based on the input provided during the public consultation, this document will be amended and elaborated, and ultimately be a background document for the GHG Working Group's recommendations to the RSPO Executive Board.>>more

10.08.09 Despite difficulties, biofuels market in Latin America bouyant

Biofuels is a 'hot' topic in Latin America with market participants strongly pursuing growth strategies to leverage this market according to a report from analysts at Frost and Sullivan.

The biggest fallout of the economic slump has been the lack of credit, which is reducing investments in biodiesel as well as bioethanol. Additionally, the decline in oil prices makes uncertain the viability of biodiesel as a cost-effective fuel. In Brazil, some mills were constrained to withdraw expansion projects for an undetermined period due to debits. Several mills also laid off employees that are likely to be cost burdens when the harvest period begins, and therefore, the companies will have to contract and train workers again. >>more

03.08.09 EU and China announce support for sustainable palm oil

The European Union has announced that it will support Indonesian palm oil manufacturers who make their production so sustainable that their emissions are reduced by at least 35 percent. Companies that fulfil the latter, and, who do not use land with a high biodiversity value or land with high carbon storage levels, may apply for investment support and tax reductions.

Large manufacturers and users of palm oil in China have also announced that they will provide more support for sustainable palm oil. China is the world's largest importer of palm oil, and a recognition of the importance of sustainable production could provide a significant boost to the global market for sustainable palm oil.

(source: GAVE-news / AGD)

29.07.09 Algae blooming into promising biofuel

Some call it pond scum, but algae is drawing increasing attention as a source of biofuel that can help replace petroleum or fuels made from crops like corn or soybeans. >>more

27.07.09 Researchers outline consensus position on "beneficial biofuels"

Noting that society "cannot afford to miss out" on the multiple benefits of biofuels "done right", but that society also "cannot accept the undesirable impacts of biofuels done wrong," eleven researchers suggest what they describe as a consensus position on beneficial biofuels, in a paper published on the 17 July in Science Magazine. >>more

23.07.09 Proposal for a CEN standardisation workshop on B30

In the framework of the Biofuel Cities project, NEN (the National Standardisation Institute for the Netherlands) organised a standardisation workshop to identify the needs for standardisation of biofuels in their application. One of the topics addressed at the workshop was higher level blends of biodiesel, such as B30, for which a standard was considered to help foster market development.

The next stage will address whether there is a need to hold a European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) Workshop to develop a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) on 'biodiesel at higher (up to B30) level blends for use in automotive diesel engines'. A CWA is a technical agreement, developed by the participants in a CEN Workshop who are interested in developing one or more reference documents where neither the lack of openness of a de facto standard nor the additional rigour and consensus of a European standard (EN) are judged to be appropriate. The first draft of the proposed business plan is now out for public consultation. Comments will be received until the 1 October 2009, and can be emailed to

Participation in a workshop is open to all interested organisations (European and non-European). The details of the workshop will be announced well in advance. If you are interested in taking part in such a workshop, you can also register your interest in advance (send an email to

Download draft document for consultation [pdf]

2. Projects and Activities

Highlights of the new projects and activities added to the Biofuel Cities Project Database at

Demonstration of 2nd generation vegetable oil fuels in advanced engines (2ndVegOil)

This 2ndVegOil project covers research and demonstration on 2nd generation vegetable oil fuels in advanced engines. It responds to well-known challenges such as engine adaptation, fuel quality control, emissions control and limits to overall production potential, while keeping the principle advantages of pure vegetable oil compared to other biofuels.

The project is a demonstration project co-financed by the European Commission (7th Framework Programme) and will run until mid-2011. The project brings together a consortium of nine organisations, including industry, a small and medium sized enterprise, a university, an energy agency, two agricultural organisations and a standardisation body. The project will push the former developments of pure vegetable oil powered engines so that they are ready to meet upcoming EU exhaust regulations. >>more

3. New Publications and Resources

 The Biofuel Cities Resources Database has over 450 different kinds of resources available on-line through an easy to use system. Publications on the results of studies, projects and conferences; on-line information (e.g. websites), press releases, fact sheets and presentations are some of the many resources available on the application of liquid and gaseous biofuels.

Some of the new resources that arrived at the editor's desk this month are reports, newsletters and case studies, including:

  • 'European Biodiesel Board Report 2008-2009: Resilience in the European Biodiesel Industry', published by the European Biodiesel Board (2009)
  • 'Can biofuels be sustainable by 2020? An assessment for an obligatory blending target of 10% in the Netherlands', published by Nature & Environment (2009)
  • 'Energy and Water - Preliminary Observations on the Links between Water and Biofuels and Electricity Production', published by the United States Government Accountability Office (2009)

All resources can be accessed through the Biofuel Cities Resource Database. Access to the Resources Database is for Biofuel Cities European Partnership participants only.

4. Event Highlights

 To keep up to date, plan your attendance and contribute to the biofuels debate, visit the Biofuel Cities Events Calendar

Organising an event related to biofuels? Send us the details and connect to your audience (

Highlights of some upcoming events:

Bioenergy 2009 - Sustainable Bioenergy Business
31 August - 4 September 2009, Jyväskylä, Finland

The 4th International Bioenergy 2009 Conference will take place in Jyväskylä, in the heart of bioenergy. The conference will focus on a variety of factors affecting the future of the bioenergy, biopower, biofuels in transport and biobased modern technologies and products. These include logistic systems, management, total procurement chains, the effects of the energy market, the influence of green marketing and other trends affecting forestry, agriculture, industry and climate.


European Biomethane Fuel Conference
7 - 9 September 2009, Goteborg, Sweden

The city of Göteborg, Sweden, will be the venue of the European Biomethane Fuel Conference on 7-9 September this year. The event is part of the EU funded Biogasmax project - a platform for research and innovation developments on biomethane as a vehicle fuel.

This event will draw together the expertise on the production, upgrading and distribution of biomethane, management of transport fleets and environmental assessment to make a strong case for the production of biomethane from organic waste, and its use in transport applications. Presentations will include, among others, good practice from Sweden, France, Switzerland and Italy, as well as insights about the gas vehicle market, and upcoming European Commission policies and visions for the future in this area.


Investment in Bioenergy in Serbia: Opportunities and Challenges
7 September 2009, Novi, Serbia

This conference will aim to develope a business driven biomass action plan (BAP) for Serbia. Session presentations will focus on the potentials of bioenergy, local implementation of biofuels and good practice examples of BAPs. Delegates will have the chance to network and to ask questions in panel discussions.


Clean Vehicles & Fuels 2009
16 - 18 September 2009, Stockholm, Sweden

Biofuel Cities achievements will be presented at Clean Vehicles & Fuels 2009, which will take place in ICLEI member city Stockholm (Sweden) on 16-18 September 2009. The event is held in association with the Swedish EU presidency.

The conference has an eclectic programme, with its two plenary sessions and 28 parallel sessions, as well as study visits, tours and side events. The focus will be on the practical implementation of bioenergy and sustainable transport systems.

On 17 September, Biofuel Cities co-ordinator Per Godfroj will share his expertise on calculation of GHG of biofuels. The last day a Guide to sustainable biofuels procurement in the fields of transport and the Handbook for successful implementation of clean vehicles and fuels will be presented by Peter Defranceschi and Floris Mulder. Biofuel Cities will be also present with a stand at the exhibition, running in parallel with the conference.


All these events as well as many other events on biofuels can be accessed through the Biofuel Cities Events database at

Would you like your event promoted through the Biofuel Cities Events database? Send details on the event to

5. Editiorial and Legal Information

The Biofuel Cities Update is a monthly e-newsletter that aims to keep you informed of developments in the field of biofuels and in the Biofuel Cities European Partnership.

The Biofuel Cities European Partnership is a forum for the application of biofuels. Open to all stakeholders in the area of biofuels for vehicles, it offers access to the information and exchange portal; workshops and study tours; news, publications and tools. The Partnership is supported by the European-Commission funded Biofuel Cities project. Participation in the Biofuel Cities European Partnership is free. To join more than 850 peers or to find out more, visit or write to

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Published by the ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH

Editors: Stefanie Lay (responsible) / Amalia Ochoa

Copyright © 2009 ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH, Freiburg, Germany

We welcome you to reproduce and / or translate any part of Biofuel Cities Update for further dissemination purposes, providing source is acknowledged.


This publication is part of the activities of the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium. The Coordination Action is funded by the Sixth Research Framework Programme of the European Union, under the Activity "Alternative Motor Fuels: Biofuels Cities".

Legal notice:

Neither the European Commission nor the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium nor any person acting on behalf of these is responsible for the use which might be made of this publication.

The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the source/author specified and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission nor the Co-ordination Action Biofuel Cities European Partnerships Consortium.

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