After a meeting between the Polish Minister for Agriculture and German Agricultural Minister, the German and Polish governments have agreed an alliance for cooperation on the development of bio-energy feedstocks, Biofuels International reports. The move establishes Bio-GEPOIT, a task force group that will be coordinated by the Polish Research Institute of Construction, Mechanics and Electricity, and the German Biomass Research Centre in Leipzig.
Both ministers agreed that the importance of food security takes preference over energy production, but added that bio-energy could contribute to energy security and the improvement of farm incomes.
In France, PSA Peugeot Citroën group want the government to study the introduction of B10, which would be the diesel equivalent of the new gasoline fuel SP95-E10 introduced in April, which contains 10% ethanol of agricultural origin, Autonews reports. "The CO2 emissions control would be strengthened, given the share of diesel vehicles in circulation," says PSA in a statement. "This will achieve the ambitious goals of bio-fuel incorporation that France set for 2010," the statement says.
Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO criticized electric cars as impractical and said his company plans to focus its clean energy efforts on bio-fuels and developing carbon capture and storage, AP/the New York Times report. “My milkman used to drive around in electric cars a long time ago, what’s new? I want Shell to be really big in one renewable, and that will be bio-fuel,” he said. He declined to say how much money Shell would invest in bio-fuels or carbon capture and storage in the coming year but said the company is hoping to increase gradually the mix of fuels it will supply with a special emphasis on advanced bio-fuels from sources such as algae. Shell is also a big player in Brazil's sugarcane ethanol industry.
The former UK government Chief Scientific Advisor writes in his latest quarterly bulletin published by UBS Investment Bank that second generation biofuels will make a significant contribution to the battle to find a sustainable solution for transport fuels and could come into play in 5-10 years. In ‘Biofuels: the route to a low carbon future?’ he says second generation biofuels could be a much more fuel efficient option than first-generation food-based fuels. His findings come after working with research teams from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, which are developing a system for producing petrol or kerosene from by-products of food crops and general waste.
The Financial Times reports that Defra (the UK Farm Ministry) is warning that a pesticide ban voted in by the EU Parliament would seriously damage agricultural output. The UK Environment Secretary told a British Parliamentary committee that the regulations could cause agricultural yields in the UK to decline by up to 30% for no recognisable benefit to human health.
The European Parliament has approved the use of 5 billion Euros ($6.7 billion) of unspent EU budget funds to boost green energy and Internet links across the EU, Green Momentum reports.
The endorsement means the EU can now start spending the money, which comes from unused EU farm subsidies, on a list of projects already approved by EU leaders at their March summit. The spending is meant to create jobs and stimulate economic growth across the 27-nation bloc. (8 May 2009)