Saturday, May 16, 2009

EU –Dutch bio-diesel plants cease production

The seven bio-diesel plants located in the Netherlands have been more or less idle since last year, Gave News reports.

The plants have a combined production capacity of 500,000 mt, but only 80,000 mt of this was actually used, according to the secretary of the VNBI (Dutch association for the bio-diesel industry). Verbio said that sales of bio-diesel at German petrol stations have come to a virtual halt, Reuters reports.

Bio-diesel is currently more expensive than fossil diesel in Germany following a further tax rise on green fuels this year and a fall in crude oil prices. "Tax increases in combination with the falling prices for fossil diesel have brought the B-100 (petrol station) market to a virtual standstill," Verbio said.

Ad-hoc News adds that Verbio’s Q1 results show sales of Euro 122.0 million, compared to 125.1 million in Q1/2008, with the interim consolidated operating result at Euro -12.0 million (Q1/2008: EUR 0.7 million), mainly strained by high material costs, Ad hoc news reports.

Manufacturing costs based on the contracted raw material basis could be only partially passed on due to the price decline in fuel prices. In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, 42,788 tons (Q1/2008: 13,560 tons) of bioethanol were produced, with sales of Euro 31.2 million (up on Q1/2008, Euro 22.7 million).

Utilization of biodiesel was below same period last year, with 78,866 tons of biodiesel (Q1/2008: 93,907 tons) produced and revenues of EUR 83.9 million (Q1/2008: EUR 92.6 million). Verbio said that “current cyclical and economical general conditions do not allow a concrete (business) outlook for fiscal year 2009”.

But “a sustainable and explicit improvement of the situation of the biofuel industry and the business of Verbio is expected by the Management Board with the coming into force of the sustainability ordinance” because Verbio is already well prepared according to the expected required greenhouse gas reduction specifications.

The European Commission President said on Wednesday that eradicating GHGs from power stations and cars, trucks and aviation must be Europe's next policy move to tackle climate change, and Europe needs to come up “concrete policies to decarbonise our electricity supply and transport fuels and to transform the grid" Reuters reports. He said that was the task of the next Commission (due to take office later this year) “but it is not too early to be thinking about this”. The comments followed talks with UK economist Nicholas Stern and the chairman of the United Nations climate panel, on the chances for a global climate deal at Copenhagen in December. Fast growing emissions from transport are one of Europe's biggest challenges in the fight against climate change, a European Commission environment directorate chief also told the conference.

French oil and gas major Total has raised its annual budget for R&D in the renewable energy sector to EUR 30 million (USD 40.7m) from EUR 2 million, La Tribune reports. The company plans to invest in solar energy, carbon dioxide storage solutions and bio-fuels. (14 May 2009)

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