Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rising Demand for Biofuel 'will increase GHGs'

(25 March 2008)

Growing demand for biofuels could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions as farmers clear forests and grassland to create more cropland, according to a new US study.

Biofuels are not as environmentally-friendly as we think, the study claims

A team of researchers from Princeton University concluded land use change reduces the benefits of biofuels because it would release carbon sequestered by the land into the atmosphere.

Presenting the results of the study at Imperial College, London, Professor Tim Searchinger, one of the authors of the study, said increasing demand for food will put even greater pressures on farmers to convert land for agriculture.

He said: "There's already a carbon benefit being provided by land and previous analyses of the benefits of biofuels haven't taken that into account.

"Using cropland to produce biofuels will cause large increases in greenhouse gases from land use change."

According the team's calculations, biofuels produced from soybeans reduce emissions by 70% compared to regular fuel, but when land use change is factored in, this changes to a 50% increase in emissions.

The study - first published in Science magazine - calculated that it could take decades for biofuels to pay back their carbon debt if forests and grassland were converted to grow them or to grow the food crops displaced by biofuel crops.

Professor Searchinger recommended that national governments should stop setting mandatory levels of biofuel use, and should provide producers with incentives to get their biofuels from existing agricultural land.

It was vital to find new ways to increase crop yields to meet demand for both food and biofuels, he added.

He said: "We are going to need more agricultural expansion to feed everybody and we are going to need big yield increases to keep the impact down.

"We need a massive worldwide strategy to boost yields using existing agricultural land."

Kate Martin

More at Edie Net News. Biofuel demand 'will increase GHGs'

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Surprise UK Budget Subsidy Change Will Boost Biofuel from Biogas

There is an item about this in the Daily Telegraph:-

Which describes this biofuel subsidy removal as a negative, which it will be for the big petroleum companies, but for biogas producers it provides an additional incentive to further invest in the equipment to take their biogas and process it into biofuel (eg biodiesel).

All UK biogas producers should now consider biogas to biofuel investment. The reasons for this are explained in the following paragraphs which are provided using information provided by John Baldwin, MD of CNG Services Ltd at .

In essence, in Tuesday's Budget the Government has increased the RTFO buy-out price to 35 p/litre (from 15 p/litre) so customers pay for the shift to biofuels and not the Govt (in form of duty reduction). Yes, it is a stealth tax, but one that helps biomethane as biomethane still will have the same low fuel duty as it had previously.

If you run a vehicle on biomethane you will pay 13.7 p/kg duty, but you will now (as a result of this budget change) get back 35 p/kg. Before this budget you would have got back 15 p/kg. This means that you will now get paid 20 p/kg by the UK petroleum industry + Government.

How do you make biofuel from biogas? You clean biomethane up and compress it.

A small 400,000 kg clean up facility costing about £600k should provide a potential extra income of 80,000 pounds/annum from the RTFO credit (400,000 kg at 20 p/kg, and there will be no diesel to be paid for!).

Those with biogas should consider starting to clean some of it up fom now on, and running vehicles on it.

That way the biogas producer will get paid to save the planet.

Now that can’t be bad!

The vehicles are also already available to run on it, made by VW and MB. These are not conversions and still run on petrol.

We can’t see any downsides, and also some biogas operations will be able to run these vehicles on gas that would otherwise be flared!