October 2009 news

28.10.09 Interdisciplinary study into Jatropha

The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) and the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) are financing a five-year interdisciplinary research project, led by the Van Vollenhoven Institute, into biofuels made from Jatropha seeds (Jatropha curcas).

The research project will be a broad research study under the framework of the 'Agriculture Beyond Food' programme, into policies, legislation, technical opportunities and the socio-economic consequences of cultivating this plant in Indonesia. Because Jatropha grows in poor soil, supporters claim that the plant can be cultivated on marginal land, and that this does not compete with food crops.

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(source: GAVE-news)


26.10.09 UNEP: New report brings greater clarity to burning issue

According to a major report released on the 16 October by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a far more sophisticated approach needs to be taken when developing biofuels as an environmentally-friendly energy option.

The report, the first by UNEP's International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, says some first generation biofuels such as ethanol from sugar cane can have positive impacts in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. As currently practiced in a country such as Brazil, this can lead to emissions reductions of between 70 percent and well over 100 percent when substituted for petrol.

However, the report also highlights the importance of production methods, as a determinant for the level of greenhouse gas emissions.

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(source: GAVE-news / UNEP)


20.10.09 Biofuels meet EU CO2 target but gains vary, French study says

The current generation of biofuels meets a European target for cutting carbon dioxide emissions but its performance varies widely depending on the crop and production process used, an official French study has shown.

Biofuels made with grains and oilseeds mostly showed a fall in emissions of 60-80 percent versus fossil fuels, above a 35 percent objective set by the European Union for 2010, according to the study published late on Thursday by French energy and environment agency ADEME.

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(source: GAVE-news / Norden)


19.10.09 Biogas production and new city buses in Örebro

On 1 October 2009 the Municipality of Örebro (Sweden) put into action, in conjunction with other public sector organisations, local trade and industry, and local farmers, several parts of a widespread scheme to increase the production and use of biogas (methane). On the same day, new buses using biogas began to appear on the streets of the town. A new and expanded bus route network will be introduced six months later.

These changes to the municipality's transport system will result in the emissions of carbon dioxide are being reduced by approximately 20,000 tons per year. Just changing from diesel to biogas in the city’s bus traffic will reduce emissions by 3,000 tons per year.

Download [pdf file]

(source: Municipality of Örebro / ELTIS)


16.10.09 Nordic cooperation: Call for proposals in sustainable biofuels

The 15 October saw a new call for proposals on "sustainable biofuels" open within the Top-level Research Initiative (TRI) in Norway. The TRI is an initiative which involves various Nordic organisations and national institutions in the Nordic Region.

The Open Call for Proposals on "sustainable biofuels" aims to fund Nordic research projects which have a strong user involvement in the knowledge creation and diffusion throughout the project cycle. The rationale is that effective and efficient knowledge creation, adaptation and diffusion takes place as an integrated interaction and collaboration between producers and users of new technologies and systems.

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(source: GAVE-news / Norden)


12.10.09 Science and technologies of biodiesel at the 2nd International Congress on Bioedisel

Key scientific information and insights into future technologies in all of the biodiesel categories will be presented at the "2nd Congress on Biodiesel: the Science and the Technologies".

Taking place on 15-17 November in Munich, Germany, the conference will cover a wide range of topics, from operability and performance of biodiesel to future and developing production technologies. The entire last day will be devoted to biodiesel and sustainability issues as well as on large-scale transport and alternative (that is, not biodiesel) diesel engine fuels.  

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08.10.09 Call to European Local Governments for input - biofuels, energy, climate

Through the project LG Action - "Networking action to involve Local Governments in the EU and international energy and climate debate" - all European local governments (LGs) are invited to share their input on energy, climate, and biofuels (also other themes such as buildings, transport, waste, water, etc.). These topics are very relevant to the current EU climate and energy targets and debate.

The results collected during this 1st call for input (until the end of October 2009), will feed into the Local Government Climate Roadmap and the development of the first "European Local Government positionings" prior to the COP 15 (Conference of the Parties).

Please share your views, needs and challenges regarding energy and climate protection at the local level.
- What is blocking action?
- What works well?
- Are there country-specific problems?
This input can relate to policy, technical issues, financial aspects, or any other area relevant to municipal action as it is relevant to climate and energy.

We invite you to make use of the LG Action questionnaire, visit:
www.lg-action.eu  (in the "Share your needs" section). Alternatively, send us your items by email to Maryke van Staden and Carsten Rothballer (email: lg-action@iclei.org)


07.10.09 U.S. study questions need for tax incentives and urges broader look at environmental impact of ethanol

In a report that raises significant questions for the corn ethanol industry, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Friday (2 October) questioned the need for tax credits supporting the industry while urging the U.S. Congress to consider broad effects on air, water and wildlife before expanding biofuel production.

The report specifically recommends that Congress consider biofuels' impact on soil, air, water and wildlife, something that goes beyond the 2007 Energy Security and Independence Act, which sets targets for biofuels production. The law currently defines a biofuel based only on its greenhouse gas emissions, stipulating that a conventional biofuel like corn-based ethanol must produce 20 percent less greenhouse gasses compared with petroleum.

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(source: Climate Ark / Star Tribune)


05.10.09 Biofuel consumption predicted to double by 2015

Worldwide consumption of biofuel has been predicted to more than double by 2015. This is the prognosis made by Hart Energy Publishing’s Global Biofuels Centre, according to a new global analysis made of the biofuels industry. Brazil will remain the largest exporter of biofuel, whilst the greatest increase in the use of biofuel (30%) will occur in the USA. In Europe, Germany will continue to be the largest manufacturer of biofuel. The report also reveals that first generation biofuels will continue to dominate the global market, at least in the short term.

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(source: GAVE news / Green Car Congress)