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- 3-8 August 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting: Enhancing Ecological Thought by Linking Research and Education (Themes: environment, sustainability)
- 12-14 August 2008, Bielefeld, Germany: CeBiTec Symposium Solar Bio-Fuels 2008 (Themes: storable biofuel, biomethane, biohydrogen)
- 12-14 August 2008, Omaha, Nebraska, USA: 21st American Coalition for Ethanol Conference and Tradeshow. (Theme: ethanol)
- 18-22 August 2008, Bloomington, Minnesota, USA: Short Rotation Crops International Conference: Biofuels, Bioenergy and Bioproducts from Sustainable Agricultural and Forest Crops. (Themes: biofuels, bioenergy, bioproducts, crops, wood)
- 19-20 August 2008, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: International Conference on Oil Palm Biomass 2008. (Themes: oil palm, biomass)
- 19-22 August 2008, Houston, Texas, USA: International Conference on Sorghum for Biofuel (sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Research Service Office of International Research Programs and Texas A&M University). (Themes: conversion technology, sorghum, etc.)
- 24-27 August 2008, Atsugi (near Tokyo), Japan: World Conference on Agricultural Information and IT - (Themes: agriculture/agroinformatics, food, information technology, rural development)
- 27-29 August 2008, Portland, Oregon, USA: 2008 International Bioenergy and Bioproducts Conference. (Theme: biomass)
- 28-30 August 2008, Jyväskylä and Jämsänkoski, Finland: Forest Bioenergy Supply Chains 2008 Conference and Exhibition - (Themes: bioenergy, wood)
- Is Biomass Harvesting Sustainable?, late August 2008 (September 2008 issue) by Biomass Magazine: "Sustainability is a buzzword in the biomass industry. But sustainable can mean many things....A collaboration of researchers studied a biomass operation...in Minnesota to look at all the different components of a sustainable biomass harvesting operation."
- "Researchers from Minnesota and Wisconsin zeroed in on one particular system — small trees and undergrowth in the Superior National Forest — to gauge the environmental and economic costs of removing biomass from the forest."
- The study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) found that "there are many ways to interrupt a smooth supply of biomass to a market."
- Lead author Don Arnosti was quoted as saying, "What I have concluded is that biomass, at least woody biomass will likely forever be a coproduct....It cannot be seen as the single reason you are doing land management.
- Download the IATP study, Harvesting Fuel: Cutting Costs and Reducing Forest Fire Hazards Through Biomass Harvest.
- Biofuel buses could hit end of line, 26 August 2008 by the Globe and Mail (Canada): "Amid concerns over rising fuel costs and the growing worldwide debate over the environmental benefits of biofuels, Toronto's transit agency will consider abandoning the use of biodiesel for its massive bus fleet."
- UK 'should end biofuel subsidies', 26 August 2008 by BBC News: The UK "government should stop funding biofuels and use the money to halt the destruction of rainforests and peatland instead, a think tank has said."
- "Policy Exchange said the switch would have a bigger impact on climate change because trees and peatland remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."
- The RTFO [Renewable Transportation Fuel Obligation] is designed to cut up to three million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, but Policy Exchange said investing in the protection of peatland or rainforests could result in a '50 times greater amount of avoided emission'".
- Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth was quoted as saying, "Time and again the government has been warned that their policy of targets [for biofuels] without safeguards is madness....When will it admit it has got this wrong and bring in proper sustainability criteria for biofuels?"
- Download the Policy Exchange report, The Root of the Matter: Carbon Sequestration in Forests and Peatlands (PDF file)
- Roundtable Reveals International Biofuel Standard, 25 August 2008 by Worldwatch Institute. "Proponents praise the standards as an attempt to improve biofuel production even though the impact of the fuels is not fully known. Others argue that the standards will encourage the consumption of a fuel source destined to cause harm."
- Ethanol makers lose money after month of gains, 25 August 2008 by Reuteurs: "Ethanol makers lost money this week, after about a month of slim profits, as prices spiked for corn, the country's (Note: USA) main feedstock for the alternative motor fuel, analysts said."
- Biofuels, food crops straining world water reserves, 24 August 2008 by AFP: "Burgeoning demand for food to feed the world's swelling population, coupled with increased use of biomass as fuel is putting a serious strain on global water reserves, experts said".
- Scientists predict that "we will only be able to 'meet food demands by 2050 if we have a much more efficient use of water...That does not include the water we need for all that biomass'".
- FAO Calls for Information on Underutilized Bioenergy Crops, 21 August 2008 by Climate-L.org: "The Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)...in collaboration with the FAO Inter-Departmental Working Group on Bioenergy, has called for expanded, up-to-date information on genetic resources and breeding of selected underutilized species, together with detailed analysis of their potential as bioenergy crops adaptable to sustainable smallholder production systems."
- "Letters of Intention may be submitted to GIPB by 1 September 2008." Guidelines available here.
- Struggling forestries bet on biofuel boom, 21 August 2008 by Reuters: "European and North American forestry companies are increasingly investing in making biofuels out of wood residues, a market they say will be closely linked with their core paper business."
- New catalyst boosts hydrogen as transport fuel, 21 August 2008 by The Guardian: "Scientists have developed a cheaper way to make hydrogen from biofuel that could be a solution to previous difficulties with storage and transport of the gas".
- Can Biofuels Be Sustainable?, 20 August 2008 by ScienceDaily: "Research published this month in Agronomy Journal examines one biofuel crop contender: corn stover."
- The researchers "suggest that a portion of corn stover could be harvested for biofuel production without reducing soil organic carbon levels in high yielding systems. However, since this study did not study the direct impact of stover removal, that aspect remains to be evaluated."
- Biofuels Industry Continues to Take a Pounding as Feedstock and Construction Costs Keep Rising, 20 August 2008 by Wall Street Journal Marketwatch: "In the first half of 2008, not a single corn-based ethanol plant has started construction, and the biodiesel industry had only a handful of construction starts. Almost daily, projects are being canceled or being put on hold until market conditions improve."
- Water expert slams biofuels at global conference, 18 August 2008 by Forbes: British professor John Anthony Allan, "winner of the Stockholm Water Prize on Monday slammed the growing use of biofuels", and "said the effect of the growing use of biofuels 'is too frightening to even begin to realize.'"
- Compost bug offers hope for biofuel industry, 15 August 2008 by The Guardian: "A detritus-loving bug found in garden compost heaps has been genetically 'turbo-charged' to help it break down tough plant matter at speed, a process that could be about to transform the way the world makes biofuels"
- Sugar Supplies to Tighten Despite Big Stocks, 14 August 2008 (Reuters). "The world is sitting on a huge stockpile of sugar, but the global supply outlook will tighten into next year due to rain-induced crop problems in Brazil and falling output in India, auguring for higher prices."
- Genomics Of Plant-based Biofuels, 14 August 2008 by ScienceDaily: "Genomics is accelerating improvements for converting plant biomass into biofuel— as an alternative to fossil fuel for the nation's transportation needs, reports Eddy Rubin, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), in the journal Nature."
- Towards a biofuel standard to sort the green from the ungreen, 13 August 2008 by the WWF News Centre: "A global panel of experts have today lent their support to a draft standard for the use of sustainable biofuels that will inject some rigour into the murky debate about the embracing of biofuels that may cause more emissions than they save."
- "The new standard to allow environmental and social impact comparisons of rival biofuels was endorsed by the steering board of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB), and developed through a multi-stakeholder process that involves business, academics and environmentalists."
- "'With all of the mixed messages we hear about biofuels, there is a clear need for a standard that can differentiate the good from the bad,' said Dr. Claude Martin, formerly Director-General of WWF, and current chair of the RSB."
- Download "Version Zero" of the draft standard.
- You can also comment on the draft through the BioenergyWiki.
- PetroVietnam sets up biofuel firm, 10 August 2008 by VietnamNet: "The Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) is establishing a biofuel production and distribution company....The company will produce ethanol, from cassava".
- "The project is a part of the biofuel development programme, ratified by the Government last year. The programme aims to develop strategies for 2015 with a vision to 2025 for the production of renewable energy and the partial replacement of traditional fuels."
- "As part of the programme, around 250,000 tonnes of ethanol and vegetable oil will be produced to meet 1 per cent of the country’s petroleum demand by 2015."
- "Viet Nam has the potential to develop biofuel from sugar cane, cassava and seaweed, among other sources. In addition, by-products like rubber, fish fat, and recycled lubricants can be used to manufacture fuels that replace petrol."
- Most biofuels (in UK) fail to meet environmental standards, 8 August 2008 by MotorsToday, UK: "Less than a fifth of biofuels in UK vehicle tanks meet environmental standards, new data on the fuels shows."
- "The first monthly report on the supply of biofuels showed that 19% met standards aimed at preventing problems such as deforestation, loss of wildlife, pollution and water contamination".
- "The report from the Renewable Fuels Agency also showed that both the plant crop used and the country it came from are only known in slightly more than half (57%) of biofuels".
- "It also said greenhouse gas savings of 42% on conventional fuels were achieved - but that did not take into account the possible emissions associated with "indirect" impacts such as clearing forests for cropland."
- Climate Camp targets biofuel site, 7 August 2008 by BBC News: "Environment demonstrators have targeted a biofuel depot in Essex [(UK)] as part of a week-long Climate Camp being held across the River Thames in Kent."
- "The climate activists are concerned about the impact petrol and diesel, made from plant materials, are having on the environment."
- "'Far from being a solution to climate change, agrofuels are so damaging they make petroleum look green,' said Climate Camp spokesman George Monbiot."
- Additional coverage from The Guardian (7 August 2008): "The protesters said companies such as Greenergy and Tesco, which use the depot for biofuel supplies, were causing food price rises, world hunger, ecosystem destruction and accelerated climate change."
- "Julia Brownlow, one of the protesters, said: 'Agrofuels are destroying the very ecosystems which can stabilise the climate - with the collapse of the Amazon possibly just a few years away I am left with no choice but to take action.'"
- Texas Biofuels Waiver Request Shot Down, 7 August 2008 by Environment News Service: "The Bush administration today denied a request by Texas to cut the U.S. biofuels mandate in half, rejecting the claim that the massive increase in corn-based ethanol is causing economic harm to the state's livestock industry and raising food prices."
- "Today's announcement came in response to a request made in April by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cut the RFS mandate by 50 percent."
- "Perry ... argues that demand for ethanol is responsible for corn prices that reached record levels in June, up nearly 120 percent from 2007. Those high corn prices that are harming his state's cattle and poultry farmers, Perry said in his request, and are being passed onto consumers in higher food costs."
- "But the head of the EPA disagreed. The RFS mandate is not causing the "severe economic harm" required by law to waive the requirement, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said today."
- EPA Keeps Biofuels Levels in Place after Considering Texas’ Request, 7 August 2008 by EPA Newsroom: "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson today announced his decision to deny a request submitted by the State of Texas to reduce the nationwide Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). As a result, the required total volume of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, mandated by law to be blended into the fuel supply will remain at 9 billion gallons in 2008 and 11.1 billion gallons in 2009."
- CBD Invites Submissions on Experiences on Tools Relevant to the Sustainable Production and Use of Biofuels, 6 August 2008 by Climate-L.org: "The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has invited submissions regarding experiences in the development and application of tools relevant to the sustainable production and use of biofuels, as well as relevant information from research on, and monitoring of, the positive and negative impacts of the production and use of biofuels on biodiversity and related socioeconomic aspects, including those related to indigenous and local communities."
- Malaysia, Indonesia to cooperate on biofuels, 5 August 2008 by Reuters: "Malaysia and Indonesia will cooperate in a biofuel development program, and may use the same biofuel specifications and amount of blending, Malaysia's commodities minister said on Tuesday."
- "Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's top two palm oil producers, together account for more than 80 percent of the world's crude palm oil output."
- "Indonesia's state oil firm, Pertamina, uses a 2.5 percent blend of biofuel in diesel fuel, and plans to increase the blend to 5 percent, depending on the biofuel price."
- Experts clash over viability of biofuels, alternative energy, 3 August 2008 by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Pre-eminent UC Berkeley scholars clashed Saturday over whether biofuels will help solve the energy crisis. ... The university's College of Natural Resources hosted a panel discussion called 'The Future of Biofuels?'".
- "Biofuels "hold particular significance at UC Berkeley because the university recently teamed with oil giant BP to discover better biofuels and research other alternative energy sources."
- "Tad Patzek, an outspoken critic of the biofuels industry and a geo-engineering professor...said biofuels are vastly overhyped. ... Patzek said it would take food for 36 billion people - or six times the population of the Earth - to make enough ethanol to power the cars of every American."
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What is bioenergy? | Benefits/Risks | Who is doing what?