The International Energy Agency (IEA) says global biofuel capacity must double by 2020 if the world is to meet its green house gas emission targets according to Ethanol Producer Magazine.

Waste Management News reports a gasification plant is under construction in India. Work has begun on a waste to energy facility in the village of Venkatamangalam, India which will use gasification technology to process municipal solid waste from Tambaram and Pallavaram municipalities. Xxpected to be complete by mid-2014, the plant is designed to process some 300 tonnes of solid waste per day and generate around 3 MW of electricity from the syngas created by a waste gasification process.

Green Prophet tells us Abu Dhabi’s garbage will produce electricity. About half of this United Arab Emirates member’s trash will ‘burn’ into energy in a new $850 million power plant. A million metric tonnes of municipal solid waste will be burned every year to produce 100 MW of electricity. That  is the same amount of power as the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant which opened in March of this year in Abu Dhabi. The facility should be open by 2016 or 2017 and is expected to run for at least 40 years.

From Waste & Recycling News we learn that a landfill is producing electricity in the US state of Oklahoma. The facility in Sand Springs opened this week and is producing 3.2 MW of electricity from landfill gas. See also American Environmental Landfill Opens Waste-to-Energy Plant in waste 360.

Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in the US has a new landfill to energy operation reports Biomass Magazine. The 6.4 MW power generation system captures methane from decomposing trash and uses it to generate up to 50 million kilowatt-hours per year of electricity. this is enough energy to power 4,000 homes. A 4-mile power line connects the landfill energy project to the local electric grid.

Several posts this week focused on the negative economic and environmental aspects of bioenergy.

In The Other Side Of Cleaner Energy Biofuels Earth Techling noted in some cases be worse for the climate than fossil fuels. A report from Chatham House called The Trouble With Biofuels, finds they are expensive and can be worse for the climate as well as raise food prices.

Not only will they cost motorists more than ordinary petrol and diesel and increase fuel consumption: they will also make food more expensive.

Rob Bailey, the author of the report, says: “Current biofuels are at best an expensive way of reducing emissions. At worst they produce more emissions than the fossil fuels they replace and contribute to high and unstable food prices. Policymaking needs to catch up with the evidence base.”

The report estimates that as the EU target is reached, biofuels will cost UK motorists about £460 million ($700 million) in the year ahead. This includes the increased cost of the fuel, caused by higher prices at the pumps, and also the need to fill tanks more often because biofuels contain less energy…Biofuel use is also forcing up food prices. This threatens food security in poor countries and is also likely to contribute to higher emissions, as farmers respond to higher prices by expanding production, sometimes into rainforest or peatland.

This report was also discussed in FleetWorld, Biofuels worse than fossil fuels, finds new report, Chemistry World, Biofuels are expensive and unsustainable, report says, and Carbon Brief, Biofuels are too expensive – and they don’t always reduce emissions.

In a related post see The Guardian, The biomass industry should come clean about its environmental impact. The site notes burning wood from whole trees – the main source of UK biomass – results in higher greenhouse gas emissions than coal. “For example, the government’s own research has shown that using wood from whole UK conifers results in an increase in emissions of 49% compared with coal.”

The Bioenergy Site finds limiting bioenergy crops to marginal land does not work. Significant increases in global food prices have raised concerns that bioenergy crops are competing for land with food crops. However, new research suggests large-scale cultivation of bioenergy crops on marginal land is unfeasible. While limiting bioenergy crops to less productive land could reduce this sector’s impact on global food prices, the financial incentive to grow crops on more productive land may be too strong for landowners to ignore. In addition, large-scale bioenergy introduction would produce strong incentives for deforestation, in order to free up more land for growing crops.

Click Green observes that the UK’s biofuel policy could cost its motorists £13 billion by 2020. Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from biomass that can be substituted for either petrol or diesel for use in the transportation sector. As of this month, European Union law demands that 5% of the UK’s transport fuel must be biofuel. To date, these biofuels have generally been ethanol distilled from corn and biodiesel made from rapeseed, used cooking oil and tallow. The aforementioned study by Chatham House says the use of biofuels will cost motorists an extra £460 million this year and if the UK is to meet its EU obligations, the annual cost to UK motorists is likely to rise to around $2 billion (£1.3 billion) a year by 2020.  This conclusion is based on the fact that biodiesel made from vegetable oil is a more expensive source of energy than fossil fuels.

The EU biofuel mandates are also having hugely distorting effects in the marketplace. Because used cooking oil is regarded as one of the most sustainable types of biodiesel, the price for it has risen rapidly.

The Biogenergy Site also posted that returns have been small for the amount of subsidies given to bioenergy in Europe. This is the conclusion of the International Institute for Sustainable Development which found European taxpayers and consumers spent between 9.3 and 10.7 billion euros subsidising biofuels in 2011 with relatively small gains for the environment and the economy. See also Scoop, IISD Research Finds EU Biofuels Industry Receives Billions.






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