Biogas and Second Generation Fuels at European Biomass Event

At the 17th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, which opened today in Hamburg, Schmack Biogas was awarded the EUBIA (European Biomass Industry Asociation) award for its innovative work in biogas. The company and the bioenergy sector have experienced record development. The Schmack brothers identified the potential at an early stage, starting with a 30 kilowatt plant. Having started small, the company now operates on an international scale.

Earlier in the day, the conference opened with German Minister for the Environment, Michael Mueller, speaking about the country’s ambitions for biomass – but stressing the importance that biomass buildup should be within strict sustainability criteria that the German government has now set out. Broad, transparent discussion is most important in maintaining sustainability criteria, he said. Mr Mueller was joined by European Commission representatives, and high-level speakers from the United States, Brazil and the Russian Federation.

Second-generation biofuels have a high profile at the event so far, and were the subject of intensive questioning at the event’s press conference this morning. When will the technologies be ready? The answer depends on what’s meant by ‘ready’. Jose Moreira, Director of Brazil’s CENBIO, said the world is still depending on technological breakthrough to achieve second generation fuels. And the more research effort is put in, then the greater the likelihood that breakthrough will be achieved.  As a scientist you can’t commit to a timescale, he said.

Other speakers were more bullish – Valri Lightner, Bioenergy Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, said it that while it would be hard to meet U.S. 2020 goals for second generation biofuels, but that ‘we believe the technologies will be available’.


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