Inside this issue

1. Latest Biofuels News

- Scientists find key to creating clean fuel from coal and waste

- Passengers test biofuels flight

- Could abandoned mines help grow biofuel?

- Large-scale algae cultivation at coal-fired plant in Australia

- Risk of EU biofuel policy causing more harm than good

- Biogas production and utilisation in the Baltic States in the spotlight

- Biofuel as social fuel

- German bioethanol demand up four-fold

- Interdisciplinary study into Jatropha

- UNEP: New report brings greater clarity to burning issue

2. Projects and Activities

3. New Publications and Resources

4. Event Highlights

Editorial and Legal Information

1. Latest Biofuel News

26.11.09 Scientists find key to creating clean fuel from coal and waste

Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide could be prevented from entering the atmosphere following the discovery of a way to turn coal, grass or municipal waste more efficiently into clean fuels.

Scientists at Columbia University have adapted a process called "gasification" which is already used to clean up dirty materials such as coal before they are used to generate electricity. The results could have significant impacts on alternative transport fuels.>>more

24.11.09 Passengers test biofuels flight

It has been tested in aeroplanes before, but now biofuels have made new aviation headlines.

On Monday 23 November KLM Royal Dutch Airlines transported passengers above the Netherlands for 90 minutes with one engine powered with a 50 percent mix of biofuel and 50 percent kerosene, the typical air craft fuel, which fuelled the three other engines. >>more

23.11.09 Could abandoned mines help grow biofuel?

Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (U.S) are planning to grow algae for fuel in abandoned mines using light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Algae need light to produce lipids, or oil, but they work best when they use only the red and blue parts of the light spectrum and when they are given time in the dark to process the photons. That is where LEDs can come in as they can be tailored to emit only the needed light frequencies. >>more

20.11.09 Large-scale algae cultivation at coal-fired plant in Australia

The Australian company MBD Energy has ambitious plans to produce algae to be used for biofuels and protein-rich animal fodder in Australia. The company plans to utilise the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by coal-fired power plants and plans to build a 500 square metre demonstration plant in Townsville, Queensland.

MBD Energy and Australia's James Cook University have developed a CO2 capture system that will be coupled to the coal-fired power plant. The CO2 captured will then be transported to the algae farm and emitted there. The algae will also be fed on sewer water, animal waste and commercial fertilisers. >>more

18.11.09 Risk of EU biofuel policy causing more harm than good

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. >>more

16.11.09 Biogas production and utilisation in the Baltic States in focus

Use and production of biofuels in the European Baltic States is the focus of the 9th edition of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – the three Baltic States on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. Gradually, the three countries have been adopting the EU’s bioenergy policies and are now facing the target to increase the market share of biofuels in transportation to 5.75 percent.

This target cannot be achieved by focussing on biodiesel only. It is only recently that the unused potential of biogas has been recognised as an important means to diversify biofuel resources. The three countries have taken the first steps to remove obstacles and create financial incentives for the production of biogas, but the situation varies from country to country. Download the Biofuel Cities Quarterly

To read previous newsletter issues visit

12.11.09 Biofuel as social fuel

Based on the question how biofuels might become a synonym of social progress and global responsibility, the project 'Biofuel as Social Fuel' refers to the necessity of a socio-ecological transformation process into north and south. This includes technological development as well as changes in methods of production and consumption habits.

A new research group will examine two project regions Brandenburg, Germany, and Ribeirão Preto in Brazil, as examples to analyse whether the production of biogenic fuels conforms with the concept of sustainability in all its dimensions and where, in contrast, new problems are generated. These issues will also be discussed in Potsdam, Germany, on the 11 December 2009.>>more

06.11.09 German bioethanol demand up four-fold

Figures for the first half of 2009 show an improvement in Germany's bioethanol market. Data from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) shows that bioethanol production was up 61 percent during the first half of 2009, with demand standing at 453,000 tonnes. This figure is more than 3.6 times the demand for the same period in 2008, which stood at 91,000 tonnes.

(source: GAVE-news/Biofuels International)

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.>>more

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. Current and future approaches should include discussions about the types of energy crops grown and the processes used for converting plant materials into fuels.

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 100 percent when substituted for petrol.>>more

2. Projects and Activities

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

The production of sustainable diesel-miscible-biofuels from the residues and wastes of Europe and Latin America (DIABNET)

DIBANET is a research project funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. DIBANET will develop technologies to help reduce the need for fossil diesel imports in the EU and Latin America by advancing the art of producing ethyl-levulinate from organic wastes and residues.

3. New Publications and Resources

The Biofuel Cities Resources Database has over 500 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 include the following:
  • 'Green energy: another biofuels drawback. The demand for irrigation', published by Robert. F. Service (2009)
  • 'Towards sustainable production and use of resources: Assessing biofuels', published by the United Nations Environment Programme (2009)
  • 'World uses more grain for bioethanol', published by the Worldwatch Institute (2009)
  • 'REACH is a disaster for the biodiesel industry', press release published by AGQM Biodiesel e. V. (2009)
  • 'Recent progress on biofuels in Japan', published by by Professor Shiro Saka Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University (2009)

All resources can be accessed through the Biofuel Cities Resource Database at: 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:

International Algae Congress 2009
1-2 December 2009, Hamburg, Germany

This edition of the International Algae congress will highlight and focus on the theme of ‘performance and potential of photothrophic aquaculture - microalgae, cyanobacteria and microcrops’ and will include at least one session on biofuels.


2nd Jatropha World Americas
3-4 December 2009, Miami, USA

The main emphasis of this year's event is the Practitioner Roundtable. Leading jatropha growers from the region including USA, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru will share the ups of downs of planting and maintaining jatropha. Some of the issues they will address include: seed selection and pre-treatment, optimum soil conditions, fertilisation, pest and disease management, pollination, pruning, and cold tolerance which are especially important for projects situated in U.S.


7th European Motor BioFuels Forum
16-17 December 2009, Paris, France

This congress and trade fair will provide delegates with the latest developments and insights in European biofuel production, sustainability issues, international trade, emerging biodiesel technologies and second generation biofuels processing.


All these events as well as many other events on biofuels can be accessed 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

Over 4000 people receive the Biofuels Cities Update.

>> To subscribe to Biofuel Cities Update now

>> To unsubscribe from Biofuel Cities Update now

Please send your news and comments to:

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.

Logo SenterNovem Logo EXERGIA Logo INEM Logo IPIEO Logo NEN Logo Vito Logo ICLEI Funded by
the European
Logo Europe
If you don't want to receive this newsletter in the future, email to: