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Information about bioenergy in France.










  • According to an article by Reuters (Source),
"France has become one of the largest producers of biofuels in Europe after it set an ambitious policy that anticipates by two years the EU target on the blending of biofuels with standard fuels.
"To reach its incorporation objectives -- 7 percent of all fuels by 2010, and 10 percent by 2015 -- France put in place a system of quotas benefiting from reduced taxes in a bid to make them competitive compared to standard fuels.
"The policy prompted many companies to invest in the sector, building ethanol and biodiesel plants across the country."[1]



  • First EU sustainability schemes for biofuels get the go-ahead, 19 July 2011 press release by the European Commission: "In order to receive government support or count towards mandatory national renewable energy targets, biofuels used in the EU, whether locally produced or imported, have to comply with sustainability criteria. These criteria aim at preventing the conversion of areas of high biodiversity and high carbon stock for the production of raw materials for biofuels. In practice this means that biofuels made of crops that have been grown on land that used to be rainforest or natural grassland with a unique ecosystem cannot be considered as sustainable. In addition, the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole production chain need to be at least 35% lower compared to fossil fuels. That threshold will increase over time."
    • "Companies can choose whether to demonstrate compliance with these sustainability requirements through national systems or by joining a voluntary scheme which is recognised by the Commission."
    • "After a detailed assessment made by the Commission and various improvements the following schemes were recognised:
      • ISCC (German (government financed) scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • Bonsucro EU (Roundtable initiative for sugarcane based biofuels, focus on Brazil)
      • RTRS EU RED (Roundtable initiative for soy based biofuels, focus on Argentina and Brazil)
      • RSB EU RED (Roundtable initiative covering all types of biofuels)
      • 2BSvs (French industry scheme covering all types of biofuels)
      • RSBA (Industry scheme for Abengoa covering their supply chain)
      • Greenergy (Industry scheme for Greenergy covering sugar cane ethanol from Brazil)
    • "The Commission is currently discussing with other voluntary schemes how these can also improve their standard in order to meet the sustainability requirements for biofuels."[2]
  • Airlines in EU biofuels pact to cut pollution, 23 June 2011 by Reuters: "European airlines, biofuel producers and the EU Commission signed up on Wednesday to produce 2 million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020 even as debate rages over how green such fuels actually are."
    • "Involved in the project signed on Wednesday are planemaker Airbus, airlines Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa and biofuel producers including Neste Oil."
    • "Aware of the debate surrounding first-generation biofuels, participants at the Paris air show were keen to show a focus on what they feel are more sustainable crops."
    • "Lufthansa says jatropha is its crop of choice and plans to trial a biofuel mix on flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg for six months once certification has been received."
    • "U.S. firm Honeywell, which used biofuel produced by its UOP unit to fly a business jet from North America to Europe, said it uses camelina."
    • "British Airways, meanwhile, is looking at deriving fuel from waste and hopes to power its fleet using the fuel from 2015."[3]
  • Can Biofuels Make Flying Clean and Cheap?, 20 June 2011 by GOOD: "Over the weekend, the first two transatlantic flights to be powered in part by biofuels made it safely to Paris."
    • "The two planes were headed for the Paris Air Show, which is spotlighting alternative energy this year."
    • "Last week, the international standards association that oversees jet fuels provisionally approved specifications for the type of fuel used in this weekend’s flights, and if those standards become permanent, airlines could start using them in commercial flights."
    • "The Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, has predicted that by 2014, biofuels will be available in enough quantity for airlines to make a regular practice of blending them with jet fuels."
    • "But blowing that much fuel—even biofuel—to get somewhere still counts as an indulgence, and biofuels won’t change that calculus."
    • "Airlines like biofuel blends like the one that powered this weekend’s flight because they can run through the pipelines and engines already in use, saving airlines from the burden of investing in new infrastructure and allowing them to keep ticket prices down."[4]
  • European Commission Funds Global Project to Produce Ethanol, Biodiesel and Bioproducts From Algae, 24 May 2011 by PR Newswire: "Nine partners from seven countries have joined in an innovative project to show that ethanol, biodiesel and bioproducts can be produced from algae on a large scale."
    • "The BIOfuel From Algae Technologies (BIOFAT) project, largely funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program, aims to demonstrate that biofuels made from microalgae can offer energy efficiency, economic viability and environmental sustainability."
    • "BIOFAT seeks to maximize the benefits from algae while minimizing environmental impacts. Along the way, the project will introduce the world to the algorefinery, a facility that can produce high-value co-products in addition to biofuels."
    • "This project will be carried out by a transnational consortium drawn from the academic, industrial and public sectors and include the University of Florence (IT), A4F-AlgaFuel (PT), Ben-Gurion University (IL), Fotosintetica & Microbiologica (IT), Evodos (NL), AlgoSource Technologies (FR), IN SRL (IT) and Hart Energy (BE)."[5]


  • World Bank, European governments finance illegal timber exports from Madagascar, 11 January 2010 by "...France, Holland, Morocco, and the World Bank have all been implicated in financing illegal logging operations in Madagascar's national parks over the past year. Even as foreign governments condemned the surge in illegal logging last year, many--either directly or through institutions they support--are shareholders in the very banks that have financed the export of illegal lumber".
    • "With so much capital tied up in existing stock, timber traders have come to rely on banks to finance their exports and their ongoing logging operations." [6]


  • Weak oil and imports turn EU biofuel boom to gloom, 24 February 2009 by Reuters: "European euphoria over biofuel has ended after slumping oil prices and cheap imports battered the sector last year, while the credit crisis has made the outlook even gloomier."
    • "Many companies across the European Union have abandoned or halted biofuel projects and more damage will occur if oil prices do not rise significantly in 2009 and the bloc does not manage to protect its market, producers and analysts said."
    • "European producers of biodiesel -- by far the main biofuel made in the bloc -- also blamed their troubles on cheap subsidized imports, mainly from the United States."
    • These quickly became direct competitors for European makers, notably in France, Europe's second largest biofuel maker, where refiners must blend a fixed amount of the plant-based fuels to avoid paying a fine but do not have to buy the local product."[7]
  • French biofuel tax revision threatens jobs -makers, 30 September 2008 by Reuters/The Guardian: "Thousands of jobs could be lost in the French biofuel sector if the government's proposal to scrap tax advantages for the grain-made fuels by 2012 is adopted, ethanol makers said on Tuesday."
    • "'A vote for this proposal as it stands would rapidly lead to a collapse of the French bioethanol sector and the destruction of thousands of jobs,' the organisation of French ethanol producers SNPAA said in a statement."
    • "The lobby said ending the tax reductions would open the door to cheaper Brazilian ethanol imports and threaten the domestic industry, which has invested nearly 1 billion euros to build new plants."
    • "To reach its ambitious targets for blending biofuels with standard fuels -- 7 percent of all fuels by 2010, and 10 percent by 2015 -- France introduced quotas with reduced taxes in 2003 to make the products more competitive with standard fuels.
    • "Under the proposal, the tax breaks on oilseed-made biodiesel, and cereal- and sugar-based ethanol would be reduced by nearly 40 percent in January and then gradually reduced to zero by 2012."[8]
  • France plans to end biofuel tax breaks by 2012, 26 September 2008 by Reuters/The Guardian: "The French government said on Friday it will phase out tax breaks for biofuels by 2012, arguing that higher oil and grain prices have removed the need for fiscal support."
    • "But the size and timing of the cuts represents a setback for the biofuels sector as it faces mounting criticism over its environmental impact and contribution to rising food prices."
    • "The French authorities said their move was in keeping with Germany's decision to end a tax break for biofuels blended with standard fuels."[9]
  • France to review biofuel use on environment worries, 29 January 2008, by Reuters: "France is envisaging changing its policy on the use of biofuels after doubts were expressed on the environmental impact of so-called 'green fuels,' the Secretary of State for Environment said on Tuesday." In light of concerns regarding impacts on climate change and food prices, ADEME, France's environment and energy agency, is to review the nation's biofuel policies, with a view toward promoting second generation technologies.


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