Monday, January 30, 2012

Palm oil biodiesel fails?

" data comes from a leak obtained by EurActiv from the European Commission. The EC is considering what level of carbon emissions each type of biofuel causes once burned, after everything - including "indirect land-use change" - is taken into account.... The EU's scheme for certifying biofuels as sustainable requires them to emit 35% less CO2 than regular fuel, increasing to 60% by 2018, making palm oil, soy bean, rapeseed and sunflower looking all but dead.... Palm oil biodiesel also received another blow on Friday, with the US Environmental Protection Agency suggesting it fails to meet the US requirement of emitting at least 20% less carbon than diesel from crude oil....The European Union's target for 10% of all transport fuels to be biofuels by 2020 has been described as "unethical" because the production of some types violates human rights and damages the environment. But the same researchers described do nothing to find alternative to the fossil fuels that currently power transport as "immoral".... So the difficult task of distinguishing good and bad biofuels remains essential, as does the research of even more promising technologies, such as algae and seaweed."

Other news, Amazon rainforest mapped,

Older news, UK firm's failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers; The collapse of Sun Biofuels has left hundreds of Tanzanians landless, jobless, and in despair for the future

Khor Reports comment: The inclusion of indirect land-use change seems to throw out many feedstocks for biofuels - palm oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil. Palm oil with methane capture is only so much better than crude oil, it seems. Sugar cane passes muster, and so does maize. In tighter and more troubled economic times in Europe, one has to wonder at commitment to subsidies on biofuels?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conservation news links - on algae and REDD

GM microbe breakthrough paves way for large-scale seaweed farming for biofuels; Scientists have created a genetically engineered microbe that turns the algae into low-carbon biofuel, but must make the technique commercially viable;; "...using 3% of the world's coastal waters to grow seaweed would produce 60bn gallons of ethanol..."

Conserving biodiversity hotspots 'could bring world's poor $500bn a year'; Study puts economic value on the indirect ecosystem services provided by the world's poorest people;

Khor Reports comments:
a) Algal oils are a hoped for alternative source for biofuels and also for consumer product usage. Unilever is hoping to replace palm oil with algal oils in some of its Dove Soap products and others within 5 years or so.
b) Who pays for conservation? REDD+ programs seem to be at early pilot test stages. Norway has the USD 1 billion deforestation moratorium deal with Indonesia. Ecuador is offering not to develop a rainforest area if it gets paid 1/2 of the potential revenue from extracting the hydrocarbons there.