Towards “Intelligent Energy”
in S.E.Europe & E.Med 16 December, 2005
Towards “Intelligent Energy” and Biofuels
in S.E.Europe & E.Med
16 December, 2005
|Biodiesel – Towards “Intelligent” and Renewable Energy|
New EU policies, legislation pressures steaming from international agreements (i.e. Kyoto Protocol/ CO2 Emissions), high diesel prices, geography and access to raw materials, competitive production costs and weak current supply of biofuels, are amongst the key drivers for the future growth potential of Biodiesel in Greece and the region.
According to Strategic International SA, the Technology Consultants, Greece and the S.E. Europe/ E.Med region are providing able opportunities for the whole region to become a dynamic “intelligent energy hub” with very positive consequences for the national economies.
Promoting a Sustainable Energy Culture in Europe
Europe is experiencing major challenges in providing energy services to meet the future needs of its people and, in particular, the growing needs of developing countries. This challenge is enhanced by the need to provide these energy services with due respect to following factors:
What is biodiesel?
According to EBB- the European Biodiesel Board:
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from vegetable oils such as those from rape seed and sunflower seed.
In the transport sector, it may be effectively used both when blended with fossil diesel fuel and in pure form. Tests undertaken by motor manufacturers in the European Union on blends with diesel oil between 2% and 30% and 100% pure have resulted in guarantees for each type of use.
Minor modifications (seals, piping) is required for use at 100% pure, unless specifically guaranteed by car manufacturers.
The use of biodiesel as a transport fuel does not require any changes in the distribution system, therefore avoiding expensive infrastructure changes.Biodiesel is also used as an efficient heating oil.
Besides the lower atmospheric emissions compared to diesel, other properties of biodiesel which contribute to its positive environmental profile are:
Why use biodiesel?
Biodiesel has been demonstrated to have significant environmental benefits in terms of decreased global warming impacts, reduced emmissions, greater energy independence and a positive impact on agriculture.
Various studies have estimated that the use of 1 kg of biodiesel leads to the reduction of some 3 kg of CO2. Hence, the use of biodiesel will result in a significant reduced in CO2, particulate emissions and other harmful emissions. Biodiesel is extremely low in sulphur, and has a high lubricity and fast biodegradability. These are all advantages which have been confirmed by the Auto Oil II programme.
As such, an increased use of biodiesel in Europe represents an important step for the European Union to meet its emission reduction target as agreed under the Kyoto agreement. It is believed that reducing emissions alleviates various human health problems.
In specific cases, used vegetable oils can be recycled as feedstock for biodiesel production. This can reduce the loss of used oils in the environment.
Biodiesel production also plays a useful role in agriculture. Under the current Common Agricultural Policy, the arable raw materials needed for biodiesel production may be grown on set-aside land, land which would otherwise be taken out of production.
Biodiesel production uses around 1.4 million hectares of arable land in the EU.
Under appropriate economic conditions, biodiesel prodcution could represent a significant absorbing potential for additional acreage resulting from the accession of Central and Eastern European Countries to the European Union.
Production of biodiesel in the EU
Biodiesel has been produced on an industrial scale in the European Union since 1992, largely in response to positive signals from the EU institutions. Today, there are approximately 40 plants in the EU producing up to 1,350,000 tonnes of biodiesel annually. These plants are mainly located in Germany, Italy, Austria, France and Sweden.
Specific legislation to promote and regulate the use of biodiesel is in force in various countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.
The EU has also published strick guidelines in compliance with CEN Standardisation (EN14214) in order to insure quality and performance.
Biodiesel: The Products
There are three main lines of products from the production line of a Biodiesel factory:
A major advantage of the Biodiesel production process is that there is no chemical or other waste, making environmental permissions easier, rising R.O.I. and bringing break-even points closer in time.
Biodiesel in Greece
Greece has substantial diesel consumption, mainly due to high tourism, geography that demands long transportation routes and a vast and global nautical industry.
On the other hand, alternative fuels like ethanol or hydrogen were never warm-welcomed in Greece, either by the public or the private sector.
Contrarily to high demand, prices for diesel in Greece are not low as a result of commoditization. By the end of 2005, a litre of Diesel costs in retail around 0,91€, one of the highest prices in Western Europe.
On the other hand, and in view of the main problem of Biodiesel being higher than petro diesel oil, raw material for Biodiesel production in Greece remains at quite low price levels, as a result of nominal demand for energy crops in Greece.
The Greek government recently undertook the European Commission’s directive for the extent use of Biodiesel, at least for automotive purposes.
So, it made imperative by law that by 2010, consumption of Biodiesel has reached at least 150.000 tons, from almost zero that it is today.
As a serious motive for promoting Biodiesel production, the Greek government has announced a law that includes the detaxation of these quantities of Biodiesel, whose tax has been set to 0,26€ per litre.
On the occasion, Mr Costas Kataras, President and CEO of Strategic International said: “We need to re-evaluate the way the world produces and consumes energy. We need a new approach for achieving a more sustainable global energy policy. We need a very aggressive and very bold initiative that will encourage the production and use of renewable fuels.”
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