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Mission Statement

The mission of the European Biofuels Technology Platform (Biofuels TP) is to contribute to the development of sustainable, cost-competitive, world-class biofuels technologies, to the creation of a healthy biofuels industry and to accelerate the deployment of biofuels in the European Union through a process of guidance, prioritisation and promotion of research, development and demonstration.


Welcome to the European Biofuels Technology Platform

© FNR 2007

Welcome to the first edition of the BiofuelsTP Newsletter, which has been issued to coincide with the launch of the BiofuelsTP website.

We aim through the website to keep you informed of what is going on within the platform, in a transparent manner, as well as to provide background information on the development of biofuels for transport in the EU.

Here you will find details of the background to the evolution of the Platform, the members (and how they were selected), the planned activities, the work carried out and the conclusions reached – as they become available.

In addition, this website will contain a wide range of background information, covering actions of the Commission, links to other sources of information, technical background, legislation, downloads of key documents, information about and from key stakeholders and much more.

Such information will be added on a continuing basis, so the site will grow from day to day. We realise that many of you will not be able to visit the site on a daily basis. Hence, we will endevour to keep you informed, covering both activities of the Platform and additions to the website.

In general the key activities will be covered by the periodic Newsletter, with four issues a year planned, while additions to the website will be covered by periodic emails. To receive notification by email - please register through the website.

As detailed below, over 300 individuals responded to the invitation to submit expressions of interest indicating a willingness to participate in the activities of the Platform. For reasons of logistics it has not been possible to accommodate every respondent in the direct activities. However, no one is excluded from contributing. Indeed, all contributions are welcome and will be taken into consideration in developing the Strategic Research Agenda over the next few months.

Contributions expressing views to be taken into consideration by the working groups should be addressed to the secretariat, while contributions to the website can be offered through the webmaster.

Whilst all contributions are welcome, the administrative bodies of the platform reserve the right to use these in the best way to further the aims and objectives of the activity and to place the material in the public domain. Hence, please do not submit confidential material or material subject to copyright by third parties.


Background to the European BiofuelsTP (EBFTP)

Over the last few years, since the launch of the Biofuels Directive, the Commission has set in place a series of coordinated actions to promote the use of biomass as biofuels. This included the  Biomass Action Plan, an EU strategy for biofuels and setting up the mechanism for the establishment for the  European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP).

In December 2005, the Commission adopted a detailed Biomass Action Plan designed to increase the use of energy from forestry, agriculture and waste materials that called for more than 20 actions to be implemented from 2006 onwards. It included a review of how fuel standards could be improved to encourage the use of biomass for transport, heating and electricity generation; it encouraged investment in research and focused in particular on the possibility of making liquid fuels from wood and waste materials.

Bioethanol production is ready for rapid expansion in Europe

Around a year later, in February 2006, the Commission adopted an ambitious ‘EU Strategy for Biofuels (120 Kb PDF) , detailing a number of potential market-based, legislative and research measures to boost production of fuels from agricultural raw materials (including forestry). The paper that, built on the biomass action plan, again focused on biofuels, encouraging the  large-scale use of biofuels by improving their cost-competitiveness and increasing research into ‘second generation’ fuels as well as the possibility of producing both fuels and other added value bio-based products in bio-refineries.

Both the Biomass Action Plan and the EU Strategy for Biofuels recommend that research and development biofuels should receive a high priority in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). To ensure that the work programme matched the needs and interest of the industrial sector the Commission established a high level advisory council with members selected from key companies and research institutes. This group, known as the Biofuels Research Advisory Council (BIOFRAC) delivered a final report Biofuels in the European Union – A Vision for 2030 and beyond (1.4 Mb PDF) that outlined the current situation as far as biofuels are concerned and presented a long-term view on how to overcome the technical and non-technical barriers for biofuel deployment, both in the European Union and worldwide.

The Vision Report recommended that a European Technology Platform for Biofuels should be established in order to encourage further development and deployment of current biofuels for transport as well as identify what needs to be done in order to promote the transition towards second generation biofuels.

The EBFTP was launched in June 2006 as a focused initiative, focused on identifying the areas of research required to develop cost-competitive, world class biofuel technology, contribute to the creation of a European biofuels industry and accelerate the deployment of biofuels.


Structure of the EBFTP

The administrative and policy making body of the EBFTP is the Steering Committee. This has around 20 members, mainly with an industrial background. A number of these members had previously contributed to the Vision Report, They include stakeholders from all sectors of the overall biofuels production chain, from biomass production, though conversion and fuel production to end use in the motor industry. Universities, research institutes and European agriculture are also represented. The participation of stakeholders is on a voluntary basis, with the various organisations paying their own way.

The activities of the Platform are overseen by an International Mirror Group. This assists in setting aims and objectives, proposing actions and providing opinion and feedback on the strategies, activities and results generated through the platform operations. Participants in the Mirror Group are chosen representatives of Member States, Associated Candidate Countries and other Associated States that are involved in or associated with the EC RTD Framework Programme and have an interest in the development of biofuels for transport

In order to ensure the smooth running of the platform, the Commission is contributing to the support of a Secretariat that includes funding of the website, general administrative costs and setting up of a Stakeholder Plenary Meeting. The Secretariat was selected on the basis of open competition in response to a call for proposals under FP6.

© FNR 2007   WG1 focuses on production of biofuel crops

The main work of the Platform will be carried out through the activities of five Working Groups (WGs). Three of these will concentrate on the main areas of the production chain from the field to the end user. That is 1. Biomass Production, 2. Biomass conversion to fuels, covering both current (first generation) and future (second generation) processes and 3. Distribution and end use of biofuels in transport. In addition 2 further WGs cover broader aspects that cut across all aspects of the production and use of biofuels. WG4 looks at issue of sustainability such as land use, environmental impact and the balance between use of crops for food or fuel, while WG5 considers the market aspects, legislation and non-technical barriers to implementation.

© Ford 2007    WG3 concentrates on distribution and end-use

The composition of these workgroups is now settled. For reasons of expediency and operational efficiency the number of participants per workgroup was set at a maximum of  25. With over 300 expressions of interest an open and transparent selection procedure was established by the Steering Committee and put into effect by the Secretariat. Criteria for selection were drawn up and used, together with the information supplied by respondents, to produce short lists from which the Chair Persons were selected.

The selection criteria were as follows:

  • Technical competence of individuals based on their professional profile.
  • Individual commitment to the work involved.
  • Support from company or institution, company profile and formal commitment to allocate adequate resources to the task.
  • Recognized records of individual or company including previous contributions to the development of biofuels for transport, e.g. contributions to BIOFRAC, R&D programmes and publications.
  • A diversity of country representation from EU-25 since biofuels issues reflect significant regional and sectorial differences will be attempted without compromising technical competence and commitment to work.
  • In principle the maximum number of members for each WG was set at 20-25.
  • An adequate balance of industry vs. research/public centers was established in order to preserve the Platform as an industry-led body.

It was also suggested that any company or institute should only be represented by one expert per working group, although substitutes would be allowed

The chairs then met with members of the SC and Secretariat to draw up lists of candidates for each WG on this basis and set the dates for the first WG meetings that took place in Late January and early February 2007.


Terms of Reference

The Mission Statement has been expanded to produce a Terms of reference (187 Kb PDF), which is available for all to see on this website.  This serves as the guidance document for the activities and operational procedures of the Platform. The main objectives are:

  • Elaborate a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) with detailed identification of key RD&D working lines for the next 10 years necessary to achieve the Vision 2030.
  • Determine a Deployment Strategy which anticipates the key elements required to implement the SRA, such as mechanisms to mobilise investments, demonstration activities, regulations, educationand training actions and communication.
  • Identify on-going biofuels RD&D activities and players relevant to the Platform mission.
  • Facilitate the deployment of the SRA by stimulating EU private and public investment in RD&D projects that make best use of all available support instruments, such as the 7th Framework Programme 2007-2013 aimed at promoting public-private partnership.
  • Coordinate with other bodies and initiatives engaged in biofuels RD&D, including other EU Technology Platforms, Member State initiatives and international (ex-EU) cooperation.
  • Communicate the outcome of the platform activities above in order to supporting the mission objectives.

Activities to date and proposed plan of action

The Steering Committee has met on a regular basis to establish the work to be carried out, the mechanisms to be adopted and the setting up of the workgroups. It will continue to meet on a regular basis at intervals of a few months depending on the progress of the key activities being undertaken by the workgroups.

The first meeting of the Member State Mirror Group to the Biofuels Technology Platform was held on 11 December 2006 in Brussels.

Each workgroup will meet three times between January and May 2007 in order to prepare contributions to the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA). The dates and agenda for the first meetings have been set.

A draft SRA and Deployment Strategy (DSD) will be prepared for June 2007

These documents will be open for public Consultation, with the consultation process finalised by 15 Oct 2007

The Final SRA & DSD will be published on 1 November 2007

An Implementation plan will be finalised by 1 December 2007

A Stakeholder plenary meeting will be held in December 2007

The main route of exploitation of the recommendations from the SRA is expected to be the activities  of the Seventh RTD Framework Programme, together with contributions from National Activities.


Public Presence, Actions and Contributions

Members of the Steering Committee and/or Secretariat have attended or will be attending various meetings and conferences as follows and will be happy to meet with you at future events.

  • Launching Conference of the European Technology Platform for Biofuels, - Brussels, Belgium June 8 2006
  • European Conference on Biorefinery Research, Helsinki, Finland 19 - 20 October 2006

  • Industrial Biotech & Finance Forum (IBFF) Lisbon, Spain, 4-5 December 2006
  • The OECD Workshop on Bioenergy Policy Analysis, Umea, Sweden 22-23 January 2007
  • Seminar on RTD & Energy, Brussels, Belgium, 25 January 2007
  • FP7 - Research in the field of Biotechnology, Agriculture, Food, Fishery and Forestry - cooperation between EU, Balkan region and Eastern European neighbourhood , Bucharest, Romania, 25-26 January 2007
  • EUSEW: First EU Sustainable Energy Week, Brussels, Belgium, 30 January – 2 February
  • Informal Meeting of KBBE ETPs, Brussels, Belgium, 6 February 2007
  • European Technology Platforms on Energy. The contribution of innovation to the European energy strategy: what, when, how" in Rho (Milano) Italy 7 February 2007
  • Launching 7th Framework Programme - Information Multipliers Conference, Brussels, 7-8 February 2007
  • Workshop for ERA-Nets and TPs in the field of biotechnologies, agriculture, fisheries and food research, Brussels, Belgium, 27 February 2007
  • Bioenergía 2007 Madrid Spain, 1 -2 March 2007
  • European Technology Platforms for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) on in Brussels, Belgium, 8 March 2007
  • 15th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection - From Research to Market Deployment, Berlin, Germany,  7-11 May 2007
  • European Bioperspectives 2007 - En Route to a Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy, Köln, Germany, 30 May 2007


Meet the Secretariat

The secretariat is the first point of interaction between the BiofuelsTP and those interested in the activities The Secretariat is coordinated by the Swedish Energy Agency (STEM, Eskilstuna, Sweden) in association with Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V (FNR, Gülzow, Germany). The website and ‘public presence’ of the activity is the responsibility of CPL Press (CPL, Newbury, UK).

Members of the Secretariat; from left to right, Birger Kerckow (FNR), Sandra Pries (FNR), Ann Segerborg-Fick (STEM), Andreas Schuette (FNR), Katy Hall (CPL), Jim Coombs (CPL)

To ensure any communication is dealt with promptly, please address any comment or enquiries to the secretariat, rather than to any individual.