January 2009 news

29.01.09 Text of new EU renewable energy guideline now available online

The European Parliament's website now includes the text of the new (however, not yet formally published) proposed European Directive on renewable energy. This new EU proposal includes sustainability criteria for biofuels. Sustainability criteria will apply to all biofuels that count towards European targets for renewable energy.

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(source: GAVE-news / European Parliament)


28.01.09 Used ground coffee for producing biodiesel

Scientists from the University of Nevada (United States) have shown that biodiesel need not be produced from cultivated bioenergy crops, but also from waste raw materials, such as spend coffee grounds. Scientists have found that used coffee grounds contain 11-20 percent recoverable oil by weight, which is about as much as traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, palm, and soybean oil.

Scientists at the university estimate that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world's fuel supply.

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(source: ISAAA / Science Daily)


23.01.09 Rotterdam subsidises filling-station owners to improve the supply of biofuels

Rotterdam (the Netherlands) aims to encourage its private citizens and business community to start running their cars on high blend biofuels (E85 and biogas). The local authority wants to ensure that motorists who tank their cars on high-blend biofuels can obtain that fuel at several filling stations in the town. In order to achieve this the local authority has allocated an investment subsidy for filling-station owners.

In addition to improving the supply of biofuels, Rotterdam also aims to improve the incentive to switch to biofuels. The Stadsregio Rotterdam therefore plans to provide more information to companies located around (potential) biofuel refuelling points, as well as organising workshops and implementing 'fleet scans' to highlight to use of biofuels.

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(source: GAVE)


19.01.09 Workshop on the Local Implementation of Clean(er) Fuel Policies in Europe, 19-20 February, Rotterdam, Netherlands

European clean fuel (biofuel) local authorities, industrial and commercial end-users, and public transport organisations are invited to the workshop on the Handbook with Guidelines for the Local Implementation of Clean(er) Fuel Policies in Europe, which is taking place on 19-20 February in Rotterdam (The Netherlands).

Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the Handbook with guidelines for best practice in implementing biofuel policies, which serves as a practical guidance on the local implementation of local clean(er) fuel and vehicles policies. The comments received will be used to finalise and improve the Handbook.

For more information, download the leaflet [pdf] and the programme [pdf] of the workshop, or contact Floris Mulder, SenterNovem at f.mulder@senternovem.nl, to register to the workshop.


15.01.09 Biofuel Cities Quarterly in Polish - sixth issue online

The sixth issue of the Biofuel Cities quarterly newsletter has a special focus on sustainable procurement of biofuels for transport. Readers can gain an insight into the availability and affordability of biofuelled transport as well as an understanding of how to address sustainability when procuring biofuels.

Detailed information and recommendations will be available in the forthcoming Biofuel Cities "Guide on sustainable biofuels procurement in the field of transport", authored by ICLEI, which will soon be available in print and online on the Biofuel Cities website.

With a different focus in each issue, the Biofuel Cities Quarterly keeps you informed about technology and policy developments related to the application of biofuels.

Download this issue in Polish [pdf file] or English [pdf file]

Subscribe now to receive the next issues


13.01.09 Switch from oil to bioenergy not risk free, says EU environment agency

According to the EEA report “Signals 2009. Key environmental issues facing Europe“ published last week, a move towards large scale bioenergy production bears considerable environmental risks. Even though the risks could be lessened with the right choice of crops and management, the EEA's Scientific Committee has warned that increasing the share of biofuels used in transport to 10 % by 2020 is overambitious and should be suspended.

Based on the analysis of Europe’s biomass potential, EEA recommends to prioritise bioenergy for electricity and heat generation using CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants rather than focus on fuel for transport, regarding this solution as more effective in terms of costs and climate mitigation.

EEA researchers believe that Europe should actively seek to generate as much bioenergy as possible domestically whilst sustaining a balance between food, fuel and fibre production, and without compromising ecosystem services. To achieve this, the report calls for more research, strong policies at international level and truly global debate, concluding: “We should move on from biofuels, and begin serious research and development of advanced biofuels. And let's do it in a way that considers all the environmental impacts, including effects on soil, water and biodiversity as well as greenhouse gas emissions. In this way the EU can take the lead in building a truly sustainable bioenergy sector”.

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(source: EEA)


09.01.09 First European bioethanol plant with CO2 capture

A new innovative bioethanol plant is being built on the Broeklanden industrial estate at Hardenberg (the Netherlands). This will be the first European plant to convert biomass into fuel, while also capturing and recycling the CO2 emitted from this process.

The plant will use the patented American GeneSyst process to convert the biomass waste into bioethanol. This production process converts cellulosic biomass into sugars, via a high-pressure cylinger (gravity pressure vessel) that is installed up to 700 metres below ground. The sugars obtained are then used to produce bioethanol.

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(source: GAVE-news/Stentor)


07.01.09 US states commit to low carbon fuel standard

The regional Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) initiative, signed by eleven US states on 31 December, envisions the creation of a market-based, technologically neutral policy to address the carbon content of fuels.

In the transportation sector, such a standard could potentially encourage the use of electric-powered and hydrogen fuel cells-powered vehicles, as well as the use of advanced biofuels made from non-food plant materials. The effort will discourage the use of biofuels that are likely to cause negative impacts such as crop diversion and land-use changes.

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(source: Green Car Congress/Biofuels International)