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EU Caps Food Crop Based biofuels at 7%

On April 28, 2015 European parliament finally gave its consent on a new law capping the food crop based biofuels at 7% within its total target of 10% renewable transport energy by 2020. The member states can even decide on lower proportions. The earlier legislation allowed up to 8.6% biofuels in the total renewable transport energy by 2020 while currently 4.7% biofuels are under supply.

The argument of food vs fuel and the high amount of greenhouse gas emissions due to land use change and deforestation went against the food crop based biofuels. The new legislation will limit the palm oil, soy, rapeseed and corn based biofuel industry. As EU is the biggest importer of oil for biodiesel the new legislation will also affect the major transporter of oil for biodiesel to EU like Indonesia, Malaysia and Argentina.

The use of land for growing crops for biofuel purposes pushes the clearing of more land for food crops production. This is termed as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and leads to increase in total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as against the decline of GHG emissions which was the basis of considering biofuels eco-friendly and pushing them initially.

Under the new law the European Commission and the producers will have to report the Indirect GHG Emissions. This will supposedly bring the transparency for assessing the impact of the policy.

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Karnataka to get $50 million dollars for biofuel

In India the Karnataka States’ Biofuel Development Programme  is set to get a boost in the form of  $50 million dollars from International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). The loan can be utilized in various activities such as plantation of biofuel crops and production. Biofuel Development Board of Karnataka has been active in promoting biofuels and  has established biofuel information and demonstration centres with about 100 l per day capacity in each district. These centres are being scaled up to 150-200 l capacity. The Board also owns a 500 litre biodiesel production plant at Hatti Gold Mines. The loan conditions include 1% interest with a 50-year repayment period.

China’s first commercial flight powered with biofuel was successfully completed

China's first commercial flight powered with biofuel was successfully completed between Shanghai and Beijing. The privately owned Hainan Airlines flight used biofuel made up from used cooking oil collected from the restaurants. The biofuel was supplied by China National Aviation fuel company and energy giant Sinopec. It was a Boeing 737 plane which used 50% biofuel blended in conventional jet fuel and carried more than 100 passengers to their destination.

India achieved only 1.4% ethanol blending this fiscal year

Problems between sugar mill owners and oil marketing companies have resulted in only 1.4% ethanol blending through february this fiscal year which is way less than the blending target of 5% and lesser than the last year's achieved blending level of 2%.The National Policy on Biofuels of India identifies the sugar cane molasses as the feedstock suitable under Indian conditions for ethanol production for blending purpose and that makes the sugarcane mills as the biggest suppliers of bioethanol. The high state-level levies on the biofuel and the requirement of obtaining permits from authorities have been sited as the major impediments for producing bioethanol by Sugar Mills. The government has set the selling price of ethanol for sugar mills @  Rs. 48.50/litre  if the depo of the oil marketing company is within 100 km from distillery and  @49.50/ litre  if the depo is beyond 300 km. The producers claim that the long distance transportation also reduces their margin. India needs approximately 115 crore litres of ethanol to meet the 5% target. Read more at http://www.financialexpress.com/article/markets/commodities/less-than-a-third-of-ethanol-blending-target-may-be-met/55503/