gizmodo explains what biofuel is and where it comes from.

PR Newswire brings out attention to a report on  the European market for biofuel plants 2012/2013. Market researchers Research and Markets said last year there were about 380 biofuel plants operating in the Europe Union (EU) with a production capacity of about 1,055 peta joules (PJ). The number of biofuel plants are expected to continue to increase in the years to come – especially for the production of bioethanol and second generation or advanced biofuels. The EU Directive for Renewable Energies is the main factor for an increasing use of biofuels. It obligates the member states to increase their share of renewable energies in the transport sector to 10% by 2020.

Using wood for energy, thought to be cleaner than fossil fuels, could lead to greater carbon emissions than estimated, a recent US study found. UPI Energy Resources says the impact would come not from the burning of the wood but from large amounts of carbon released from deep forest soils as a result of disturbances such as logging, researchers at Dartmouth College reported this week. The findings show clear-cutting and other intensive forest management practices can lead to emissions from such deep soils, said to store more than 50% of the carbon in forest soils.  See also The Carbon Brief, Soil carbon makes biomass calculations even more complicated.

The Hindu tells us that India is testing coconut as a biofuel. IIT Madras has begun a three month trial of using coconut oil-based biofuel for running automobile engines. The tests will explore the possibility of using a mixture of biofuel derived from coconut oil and diesel. Coconut oil solidifies at temperatures below 24 degrees celsius, leading to clogging of fuel lines which is a major hurdle in making use of coconut oil. The problem could be overcome by blending coconut oil with about 20% diesel. Biodiesel is produced through a process called trans-esterification in which coconut oil is made to react with alcohol, forming an ester-coconut methyl ester or coconut biodiesel.

From Business Standard we learn Cuba is planning to build its first biofuels plant to generate electricity. The plant would be fueled by sugarcane residue. Construction of the 20 MW facility will begin at the end of this year at a sugar refinery in the western province of Matanzas. Large quantities of sugarcane residue are incinerated in Matanzas and the power plant will use this material to produce renewable energy. Only 3.8% of the electricity generated in Cuba currently comes from renewable sources, but this Caribbean island hopes to increase this amount to 12% over the next eight years.

EUWID tells us the growth in the worldwide market for waste to energy plants will slow beginning in 2015. A study by the consultancy firm Ecoprog finds sales are expected to weaken especially within Europe, as the UK market becomes increasingly saturated with these facilities. While sales in Eastern Europe will increase, growth on these markets will not be enough in the medium term to compensate for the slowdown elsewhere in the EU. Currently there are about 2,200 waste to energy plants worldwide. Together, they had a waste treatment capacity of around 255 million tonnes of waste per year. By 2017, it is estimated that another 180 plants with a combined capacity of around 52 million tonnes per year will be added to the total.  See also Ecoseed, Waste-to-energy market slows down.

From DAWN we learn that Norway leads the world in turning waste into energy. Norway is importing as much waste as it can get its hands on, in an effort to generate more energy by burning waste in vast incinerators. The Nordic country has the largest share of waste to energy in district heat production, according to Danish government-funded State of Green.

“Waste has become a commodity,” says Pal Spillum, head of waste recovery at the Climate and Pollution Agency in Norway. “There is a big European market for this, so much so that the Norwegians are accepting rubbish from other countries to feed the incinerator…It is cheaper for some UK towns to pay for us to take their waste than to pay landfill fees.”

See also SingularityHUB, Oslo Burns So Much Trash for Energy They’re Importing Rubbish.

And in a related post we find out from EUWID that the a waste-to-energy plant in Cologne, Germany is importing Dutch waste to produce energy.

Australian company Muradel is converting algae into ‘green crude’ in a pilot project, according to Climate Spectator. In the next phase of the project, Muradel will construct a scaled-up demonstration plant near Whyalla, South Australia. If commercialized, Muradel’s “green crude” could be used to substitute for diesel and aviation fuel. Australian Energy minister Gary Gray says biofuels made from algae have the potential to displace up to 30 billion litres of fossil fuels each year.

The New York Times reports on how Poland is reacting to strict European Commission directives for waste management by turning waste into energy..



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