International Biofuels Forum works toward harmonization, sustainability

By | April 25, 2007
Through a major move by countries most involved with biodiesel and ethanol-the United States, Europe and Brazil-and those most likely to be involved in the future-India, China, South Africa-the International Biofuels Forum has been formed. This working group for renewable fuels was announced at the United Nations in March.

The goal of the International Biofuels Forum is to bolster the acceptance and trade of biodiesel and ethanol through the sharing of information and technology, and harmonizing the standards and codes for biofuels use as much as possible among the countries. The forum would initially be established for one year and meet regularly to discuss ways to promote the sustained use and production of biofuels around the globe.

"The objectives of the International Biofuels Forum have merit," said Steve Howell, technical director for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and chairman of the ASTM Task Force on Biodiesel Standards. "Biofuels standards around the world have developed independently of each other since they are based on the blend level used and the base petroleum fuel they are blended into. These have different standards around the world. Therefore, more harmonization of fuel makeup could result in greater biodiesel cooperation on many levels."

He continued, "As we discuss ways to make biodiesel codes and standards more similar around the world, we will need to be sure they are based on performance, blend level and existing petrodiesel standards. This is critical for the U.S. biodiesel industry, as our biodiesel standard is performance-based on B20 blends and lower, and the European standards are based only on rapeseed oil biodiesel at the B100 level."

At press time, the European Union and United States were slated to hold a summit by the end of April to discuss the next steps for this group, among other topics. The NBB will be taking part in future meetings dealing with biodiesel cooperation on a more global scale.
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