At last, some good news about biofuels

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Anyone reading the press over recent months would be forgiven for thinking that all biofuels are bad. However, that is not the case; the bulk of biodiesel being produced in the UK is from waste cooking oil or tallow. Worries about imported palm oil in the UK are over-hyped. In fact, due to the problems surrounding palm oil-based biodiesel tending to gel in our cool climate, its use in the UK has reduced significantly.

Efficiency in the collection and use of waste vegetable and tallow oils is helping to lower the UK's CO2 emissions. Government legislation has led to a boom in 'homebrew' biodiesel, which has in turn made waste oil a valuable commodity.

Clearly, new sources of sustainable vegetable non-food crop oils are needed. At the two-day Biofuels Conference, delegates will hear experts discuss the progress made with these second-generation feedstocks, in particluar Jatropha and Algae.

Also, the organisers are delighted to have Nick Rosen, author of How to Live Off Grid, at the conference to describe how to use bioenergy to reduce our bills, help the environment and move towards greater self sufficiency.

Focusing on The Good News about Biofuels, the conference will also explore the challenges and solutions of setting up a biofuels business and introducing biofuels into an organisation. An update on the RTFO legislation and its impact, in addition to the land displacement issues and taxation, will also be included on the agenda.

As the home heating oil market looks to adopt biofuels, and CO2 target legislation becomes a reality, we are pleased to be working with OFTEC to ensure that the conference includes coverage of the key issues in the home heating industry. UK home heating oil consumption is three billion litres per year and represents a biofuel growth market. OFTEC will be discussing the transition of home heating oil to a bio-based fuel and report on field trials that are currently in progress.

Two other alternative energy sources are biogas and wood energy. Both of these industries have taken off in Europe over the past few years and the UK has recently begun to follow suit.

The use of waste products to produce energy is one of the most sustainable options available. Biogas produced through anaerobic digestion is an excellent example of that. During the biogas conference the speakers will be exploring the industry and how to harness the energy into organisations and businesses.

The wood energy conference, organised in conjunction with the National Energy Foundation (NEF), covers both short rotation coppicing and the use of 'waste wood' as feedstocks for the production of pellets. These can be used on a small or large scale for homes or institutions.

The expo features a free-to-attend workshop with sessions that run every 30 minutes throughout both days. Subjects range from the latest technology in biofuel production to tax and duty and health and safety regulations. Study tours to local production facilities are also available from the show, enabling visitors to see production in action.

Biodiesel production is set to rise this year as the tax incentives for smallscale production and increased prices at the pump make producing and using biodiesel very attractive. Companies wishing to start a medium-scale production facility are well catered for at the show, with many exhibitors showing the latest equipment and production and purification processes, as well as storage, monitoring and distribution systems.

Among the exhibitors are those that offer home-based solutions for making biofuels. With legislation allowing the production of 2,500 litres of biodiesel per year tax free, there is an exciting opportunity to 'help yourself' reduce fuel bills.

Wednesday evening hosts a reception for delegates, speakers, exhibitors and visitors, providing an opportunity for informal discussions with peers, cultivating relationships with suppliers and exploring the latest developments in the industry with those in the know.

This year's Biofuels Expo & Conference on 15-16 October promises to be very busy and exciting.

The event is aimed at small and largescale producers, people planning a biofuel facility, end users of biofuels, including corporates, local authorities etc, who are assessing the potential of biofuels for their organisations.

For anyone with an interest in producing or using bioenergy, it is the place to find all the information, products and services they will require.