January 2010

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Bioenergy > Timeline > 2010 > January 2010

This page includes information on News and Events in January 2010. (News and events are archived here at the end of the month.)



'Just four per cent of biofuels imported from abroad are sustainably produced - the vast majority are causing deforestation and land use changes that are increasing climate changing emissions and pushing people off their land.
'Biofuels are not the answer to our energy woes - the UK should scrap its targets and must focus our attention on developing greener transport alternatives to cars, such as fast and affordable rail services and cycling and walking.'"[1]
  • U.S. Feeds One Quarter of its Grain to Cars While Hunger is on the Rise, 21 January 2010 press release by Earth Policy Institute: "The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels. More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year."
    • "In a globalized food economy, increased demand for food to fuel American vehicles puts additional pressure on world food supplies."
    • EPI calculates that "even if the entire U.S. grain crop were converted to ethanol..., it would satisfy at most 18 percent of U.S. automotive fuel needs."
    • "The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year....Continuing to divert more food to fuel, as is now mandated by the U.S. federal government in its Renewable Fuel Standard, will likely only reinforce the disturbing rise in hunger."[3]
  • 'Invasive' biofuel crops require monitoring and mitigation measures, 21 January 2010 by ENN/European Consumers Bioenergy Division: "Biofuel crops will impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems unless tightly controlled, says a panel of European experts."
    • The Bern Convention "adopted a recommendation on potentially invasive alien plants being used as biofuel crops (Recommendation 141, 2009). They warn that some biofuel crops are able to escape as pests, and in so doing impact on native biodiversity. As rural communities plan to grow more biofuel crops, the likelihood of new and harmful 'invasions' will increase apace."
    • "Therefore the Council of Europe made recommendations, which are legally binding on member states:
1. Avoid the use of biofuel crops already recognised as invasive;
2. Carry out risk assessments for new species and genotypes;
3. Monitor the spread of biofuel crops into natural habitats and their effects on native species;
4. Mitigate the spread and impact on native biodiversity wherever biofuel crops escape cultivation."[5]
  • DOE to Award Nearly $80 Million for Biofuels Research and Infrastructure, 20 January 2010 by EERE Network News: "DOE announced on January 13 its investment of nearly $80 million in advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
    • A majority of the money is going to, "two biofuels consortia that will seek to break down barriers to the commercialization of algae-based and other biofuels that can be transported and sold using the existing fueling infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines."
    • "In addition, the new infrastructure projects will allow the installation of new pumps and the retrofitting of existing pumps to dispense E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline."[6]
  • GEM Biofuels commences crude jatropha oil shipment to Australia & Germany, 11 January 2010 by BiofuelsDigest: "In Madagascar, GEM Biofuels will commence commercial production and shipment of crude jatropha oil later this month with 60 tons of oil shipping to Australia and East (sic) Germany."
    • "GEM has secured 50 year agreements giving exclusive rights over 452,500 hectares (in excess of 1 million acres) to establish plantations, ranging in size from 6,000 – 125,000 acres with a further 100,000 acres of natural forest containing substantial numbers of mature Jatropha trees." [8]
  • Lawsuit: LCFS violates US Constitution, 4 January 2010 by Todd J. Guerrero in Ethanol Producer Magazine: "In a case that will be closely watched throughout the country, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association recently filed suit in federal district court alleging that California’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) violates the federal Constitution."
    • "Adopted by the California Air Resources Board in 2009, the LCFS is intended to reduce California greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in California by an average of 10 percent by the year 2020. Carbon intensity is a measure of the direct and indirect GHG emissions associated with each step of a fuel’s full life cycle – the 'well-to-wheels' for fossil fuels and 'seed-to-wheels' for biofuels."
    • "For corn ethanol, indirect land use changes are a significant source of additional GHG emissions....Given the LCFS’ requirement of reduced carbon intensity, it’s not difficult to see that corn ethanol will be severely disadvantaged in California."
    • "In its lawsuit, the trade groups assert that the LCFS stands as an obstacle to Congress’ intent in adopting the Environmental Security and Independence Act of 2007," which "exempted existing corn ethanol producers from claiming or demonstrating GHG reductions." The lawsuit also alleges that the LCFS violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which concerns interstate commerce, in particular because it requires calculating land use changes that occur mainly outside the state.[10]
  • Bad year for biofuel ends on a dour note, 1 January 2010 by AP/Washington Post: "A federal tax credit that provided makers of biodiesel $1 for every gallon expired Friday. As a result, some U.S. producers say they will shut down without the government subsidy."
    • "Biodiesel's woes come on top of a year of problems for the fledgling biofuel industry - an irony given the push to cut down on greenhouse gases and ease the nation's need for foreign oil. A key driver for the alternative fuel - the high cost of oil - disappeared as diesel prices dropped 18 percent since the beginning of the recession. Then in March the European Union placed import-killing tariffs on biodiesel and other biofuels."
    • "The biodiesel industry is now operating at only 15 percent of its potential capacity, according to the National Biodiesel Board, largely because the price of traditional diesel has collapsed. There are close to 180 biodiesel plants operating in about 40 states."
    • "There is little chance that the U.S. will reach alternative fuel benchmarks of 36 billion gallons a year by 2022 in hopes of weaning the nation off foreign oil."[11]

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