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EBRD Seminar Discusses Second Generation Biofuels

15 March 2013: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) organized a seminar, titled “Waste-to-Energy and Next-Generation Biofuels,” which brought together 18 agricultural companies, industry experts and investors from 12 countries to discuss the economic potential associated with agricultural residues, in particular for the production of second generation biofuels.

The seminar, which was held on 7 March 2013, included company case studies on current experiences with conventional technologies, such as biogas, and second generation biofuels, and presentations on investor expectations. Gilles Mettetal, the EBRD's Director for Agribusiness, noted that "Turning waste like straw or manure into biofuels or biogas can help agribusiness companies become less dependent on expensive external energy sources and as a result make them more sustainable and competitive."

Lessons learned from the seminar included: the environmental and especially climate benefits and commercial viability of non-food based biofuels production; a need for more research on the interactions of waste-based biofuels with other supply chains; a need for more liquidity to increase uptake of second-generation biofuels; and the possible role of the EBRD in supporting and facilitating further market development in terms of infrastructure to collect agricultural residue and securing long term feedstock supply.

The workshops fit within EBRD's Sustainable Energy Initiative, which aims to scale up sustainable energy investments and encourage market uptake. The EBRD has already invested €11 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, of which €400 million in the agribusiness sector, cutting industry carbon emissions by 0.9 million tonnes per year. [EBRD Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]