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Ann,

we need to keep a number of things in mind when we read this article:

  - the EU consists now a 25 member states
  - the referenced web site states that the focus of biofuel feedstock
    will be in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Ukraine, so we
    are looking at the less populated countries of the former Warsaw Pact
  - Germany already ran out of space for growing rapeseed and is importing
    rapeseed oil
  - the per capita consumption of fuel in Europe is lower than in the U.S.
    so a 10 percent biofuels goal by 2020 is much easier to achieve in
    Europe than in the U.S.
  - in many European countries, more than 40 percent of the vehicles are
    diesel powered and by default have a higher fuel efficiency than
    gasoline powered cars
  - a gallon of gas/diesel is already at $8.50 in many European countries
    (given the weak dollar) and as such biofuels are more cost competitive
  - the second generation of biofuels they talk about are using biomass as
    feedstock, like Choren Industries has a process to produce "Sundiesel"
    from woody biomass:
      http://www.choren.de/  (the web site has an English and CHINESE version)
  - European cities have a higher density and better public transportation
    infrastructure and "share a ride" services are available for over 20 years
    and you can get rides from Berlin to Lisbon if need be, so there are
    alternatives when oil becomes scarce

What is really troubling to me is:

  - Europe wants to be at 20 percent biofuels by 2030
  - however, Matt Simmons believes that oil supply will fall to **60** percent
    of the current supply of 84 mb/day by 2030 (if not by 2020, I forgot which
    year). It's in some of this presentations:
      http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/research.aspx?Type=msspeeches
  - all you have to do is look at the decline in oil production of the UK, in
    1999, the UK was a net EXPORTER of oil, since then, they have experienced
    a 7 percent annual decline

So the real question to me is:

  - if we use the existing fossil fuel resources to build a renewable energy
    infrastructure based on wind and solar which will last for 25 to 30 years,
    WHERE DOES THE ENERGY COME FROM TO BUILD THE NEXT 25 YEARS OF RENEWABLE
    ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE???

As long as we had SOME fuel to burn, we were doing ok. What happens if  
we have to continuously "bootstrap" our energy infrastructure from the  
installed RE sources?

Right now, I don't have an answer for question.

    Harry

> Plenty of space for biofuels in Europe
> RenewableEnergyWorld.com, March 26, 2008
>
> "The REFUEL project, a report commissioned by the EU's Intelligent
> Energy Europe program to examine the biofuels potential in Europe,
> concludes that EU biofuels targets can be met with conventional
> feedstocks and current technology without major agricultural land use
> changes or environmental consequences. The two-year REFUEL-project is
> coordinated by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, and
> implemented by a consortium of seven European institutes with different
> disciplinary backgrounds.
>
> Biofuels targets can be met, says the report, without compromising food
> and feed supply. It also will not require conversion of forestland,
> grassland and nature conservation areas into arable land. Because there
> are new opportunities for increasing crop and livestock yields in some
> new EU member states, there will be more agricultural land for biofuel
> feedstock cultivation."
>
> http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=51959
>
> For further information, see the complete REFUEL report,
> "Eyes on the track, Mind on the horizon. From inconvenient rapeseed to
> clean wood: A European road map for biofuels", March 2008
> available at: http://www.refuel.eu/
>
> -- 
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