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 20th 2018
European Parliament Gives A Resounding Vote In Favour Of Clean Energy In Europe

European lawmakers have called for a renewable energy target of 35% for 2030 – rather than the 27% which the European Commission proposed in 2016. The MEPs have now backed measures substantially raising the European Union’s clean-energy ambitions. By 2030, more than one-third of energy consumed in the EU should be from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. The measures are intended to help cut carbon dioxide emissions. The EU is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States, releasing about 10% of global emissions. 

June 20th 2018
Growth Of Renewables In Peru As Enel Opens Largest Wind Farm In Country

Enel is now Peru’s leading renewable energy generator with around 1.1 GW of installed capacity following the commissioning of Wayra I which, with more than 132 MW, is now Peru’s largest wind farm. Built in approximately a year and comprising 42 wind turbines of 3 MW over each, it’s expected to produce 600 GWh per year; enough to avoid the annual emission of over 285,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The energy generated by the wind farm is being delivered to the Peruvian transmission grid (SEIN) through the Poroma substation. The project is supported by a 20-year energy supply contract with Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.

June 20th 2018
Battery Boom: Wind And Solar Can Generate Half Of Worldwide Electricity By 2050

Coal is to shrink to just 11% of global electricity generation by mid-century, from 38% now, as costs shift heavily in favour of wind, solar and batteries. Wind and solar are set to surge to almost “50 by 50” – 50% of world generation by 2050 due to reductions in cost. “Cheap battery storage means that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.”

June 12th 2018
Mission E: Porsche’s First Fully Electric Sports Car Is Named Taycan

Porsche have announced that series production of its first purely electric vehicle is set to begin next year. The “Mission E” concept study, the name currently used to describe Porsche’s complete electric offering, will be known as the Taycan. Two permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) with a system output of over 600 hp (440 kW) accelerate the electric sports car to 100 km/h in well under 3.5 seconds and to 200 km/h in under twelve seconds. This performance is in addition to a continuous power level that is unprecedented among electric vehicles.