Geneva biofuels conference hailed a success

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Hundreds of delegates from the world of biofuels attended the European biofuel conference in Geneva.
The two-day event at the Fairmont Hotel, in the heart of the city, focused on key policy areas including key biofuel market drivers, the long-term outlook for clean fuel as well as RED III updates and the impact of on biofuels.
The event was organised by S&P Global Platts over four days with the first two sessions concentrating on the sugar industry.
Tom Parsons, biofuels growth bp, said policies that could support advanced biofuels includes long-term, ambitious mandates for blending of advanced biofuels.
Additionally he said feedstock diversity within a strong sustainability framework was key, while financial support mechanisms to help new technologies to be deployed and proven at scale was also crucial.
He said: “Optimism is built when we have regulatory clarity and that is certainly something that industry definitely needs.”
However, on the other side of the coin Barbara Smailagic, policy officer, at Transport and Environment, argued that biodiesel, in particular, was not a good alternative as it was helping to ‘drive deforestation’.
Emmanuel Proenca, the CEO of Prio, in his address to the delegates put forward the case for higher blends of biodiesel for road vehicles.
He highlighted how, through extensive testing, B15 fuel for vehicles performed better than lower grades like B7, which is extensively used across Europe today.
He said: “So how following our supply of B15 we have not seen a single car that has broken down or has got into difficulties using the fuel.”
While day one focussed mainly on biofuel policies and feedstock supplies, the second session looked more closely at the future of biofuels.
Colin Cowan, head of HVO feedstock supply and trading at St1 Nordic, argued that there was no such thing as bad feedstock, only unsustainable feedstock.
He said: “In recent years there has been a lot more joint partnerships and cooperation between biofuel players and what we are also noticing is how large oil majors with deeper pockets are moving into the biofuel sphere.”
Cowan highlighted the case of Chevron that recently completed its acquisition of the Renewable Energy Group (REG).
Anselm Eisentraut, head of market intelligence and pricing at Neste, in his keynote address issued a start warning about quickly the planet was hotting up that has resulted in serious weather consequences.
He added: “In the last decade the weather across Europe has been the hottest it has ever been and, currently, Asia is facing some extremely hot weather conditions. We cannot wait, we have to do something now.”
Eisentraut in conclusion predicted that the next 10 years was going to be the decade of HEFA biofuel.

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