24 November 2016 2016 10:36 AM GMT

Biofuels From Cultivated Biomass: A Sustainable Solution For Renewable Mobility

With the ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change, the signatory states will have to publish binding action plans for decarbonization, particularly, in the transport sector by 2020. At a global level, the decarbonization of transport is one of the most effective ways for realising the climate protection targets. Next to higher engine efficiencies and the simultaneous hybridization of engine technologies. Biofuels will have to play an important role in terms of a bridging function. There is a simple reason for this: they are already available and with biofuels from cultivated biomass, it will be possible to make an immediate and effective contribution to the lowering of emissions in existing vehicle fleets. Against this backdrop, the European Union should have an interest in pursuing post-2020 support policies in order to be able to continue to take part in the definition of sustainability requirements and the certification schemes that have been approved by the European Commission so far.

In this critical and also crucial environment as regards the future of biofuels in the European Union, the forum “Commodity markets in the context of international trade flows and price developments” during the 14th International Conference on Renewable Mobility will discuss facts and issues surrounding the question of how food security can be brought in line with the future demand for biomass for biofuel production. Keith Klein, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Center for BioENERGY and Sustainability, USA, will speak in detail on this topic.
These issues are closely linked to the question of what connection exists between the global biofuel market and the agricultural markets and how the oil price influences price formation. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Schumacher, an expert for agricultural markets at Agri Consult, will explore these interrelationships in his presentation including an overview of the actual amounts and end uses of agricultural crops.

The appropriate assessment of the biomass supply for biofuel production will be discussed with the participants both as regards the European Union and third countries. Brazil has already announced its intention to include its biofuel policy based on bioethanol from sugar cane into its national action plan. Other signatories of the Paris agreement will follow, according to market experts, not least because structural supply surpluses such as on the global vegetable oil markets make this kind of “market intervention” with the aim of stabilising supplies and prices necessary.

At this point, biofuel critics point towards the effects of the associated indirect land-use changes, arguing that the supplies withdrawn from the food markets need to be offset by making further land available. This criticism focuses mainly on the deforestation on peatlands and the additional emissions known as “iLUC factors”, which are released in the process. But can these effects, when calculated on the basis of indirect modelling methodologies, also be used to derive scientifically valid results for the drafting of corresponding policies and regulations? Hugo Valin from the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria, will take a stand on this question. His institute was in charge of the so-called “GLOBIOM project” for the European Commission, which had the objective of enabling a new assessment of the negative effects of emissions according to biomass feedstocks.

In view of the criticism leveled above all from environmental organizations on the use of palm oil not only as a biofuel, but also for use in many other fields of application in petrochemistry and at the level of the private households, Martina Fleckenstein, WWF Germany will provide an overview of the findings of a WWF study that has been conducted on this topic.

Given this controversy on the supply of commodities, the policy-makers have seen a way out in a stronger promotion of biofuels from waste and residual materials. But here, too, the availability, greenhouse gas efficiency and therefore also sustainability remain issues to be resolved. After all, the use of residual materials such as straw – which, ultimately, is also the result of biomass being produced on arable land – raises the question of whether the current legally prescribed emission factor of “0 g CO2 / MJ” is an appropriate solution when it turns a residual into a “valuable” material. In his presentation, Detlef Evers, Mittelstandsverband Abfall basierter Kraftstoffe, will take a closer look at the potential and the prospects of biofuels produced from these raw materials.

With this forum, the 14th International Conference on Renewable Mobility, Fuels of the Future 2017, which will take place from 23-24 January 2017 in Berlin, addresses highly topical issues influencing the public opinion, but, in particular, the opinion of political decision-makers when it comes to the prospects of biofuel policy beyond 2020. The conference will be held prior to the European Parliament’s voting procedure, which is expected for the spring of 2017, on the proposals of the European Commission envisaged for December 2016. In that sense, the conference will take place “at the right time” to engage in discussions with representatives from the industry, science and, above all, from politics, and to make an impact on the formation of opinions.

May 21st 2017
Russia: Abundance Of Renewables Can Fuel Growth; Quadruple Clean Energy By 2030

Russia can increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from roughly 3 percent today to more than 11 percent by 2030, according to new findings by IRENA. The growth in renewable energy use would represent nearly a fourfold increase in the share of renewables between 2014 and 2030. To implement the study’s recommendations, an annual investment of approximately USD 15 billion per year between 2015 and 2050 is required, but IRENA shows that the benefits can exceed costs when externalities related to human health and climate change are considered. According to current estimates Russia has the largest wind potential in the world.

June 23rd 2017
Wind Power Can Provide Energy On Coldest Days: Met Office, Imperial College

A new study by climate scientists has advanced the understanding of the potential for wind power to provide energy during the coldest spells of winter weather. The team, which involved scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Imperial College London and the University of Reading, compared wind power availability with electricity demand in winter and they found an interesting result. The team found that during the highest 5% of energy demand days, one-third produce more wind power than the winter average. “The very coldest days are associated with a mix of different weather patterns, some of which produce high winds in parts of the UK.

June 18th 2017
ČEZ Enters French Wind Energy Market With 100MW Portfiolio Initiated By ABO

ABO Wind reports its largest single transaction in the company’s history to date. The project developer has sold nine wind farm projects with a total nominal capacity of about 100 megawatts to the Czech supplier ČZ. 70 percent of ČZ is owned by the Czech government and it is by its own account among the ten largest European energy suppliers. ČZ operates wind farms in several European countries – including Germany – and will now enter the French wind market in cooperation with ABO Wind.

June 8th 2017
ABB Innovation Integral To The World’s Largest Floating Solar Plant Test-bed

Land scarcity has severely limited Singapore’s adoption of solar power, so the city-state, surrounded by water, has looked to floating solar panels as a viable alternative. Floating solar panels can be 11% more efficient than solar panels placed on precious land. ABB is providing critical components on a landmark 1MW floating solar photovoltaic test-bed. It measures 1 hectare or 1.5 football fields. The energy generated will be fed into the national energy grid, providing electricity for up to 250 households.