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World Biofuels Symposium
November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

2nd Annual Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit
December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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February 5-8, 200
San Diego, California
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February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

November 9, 2001

EU Proposes Alternative-Fuel Plan

One-in-five automobiles in Europe could be running on alternative fuels rather than gasoline or diesel by 2020 under a plan to promote renewable energy put forward by the European Union's head office Wednesday.

The European Commission aims to use regulations and tax breaks to promote the use of alternative fuels, notably biofuels made from agricultural products such as vegetable oils, sugar beat, corn or animal waste.

``The transport market is today almost entirely dependent upon oil-based fuels,'' said Loyola de Palacio, EU commissioner for energy and transport.

In a statement, the Commission said its plan would help the EU meet commitments to reduce emissions of so-called greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol on global warming. The EU is supposed to cut emissions by 8 percent by 2010 under the Kyoto agreement.

The plan will also reduce Europe's dependence on oil imports and help the continent's farmers, the Commission said.

``The production of bio-energy can offer new sources of farm income,'' said EU agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler. ``It could become a concrete demonstration of a sustainable, multifunctional agriculture.''

The proposals - which must be approved by the 15 EU member nations - would require governments to ensure biofuels represent 2 percent of all vehicle fuel sales by 2005, and 5.75 percent by 2010.

To achieve the 20 percent target by 2020, the EU plan would also promote the use of other alternative fuels, such as natural gas and so called fuel-cell vehicles which use the power generated when hydrogen and oxygen combine.

Fuel cells using pure hydrogen creates only water vapor as an exhaust gas, but several technological challenges remain before they can be mass-produced. They need a low-cost hydrogen source, potentially costly fueling stations and fuel tanks that are both compact and safe to handle the ultralight, flammable gas.


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