The joint Biofuture and Mission Innovation conference took place in New Delhi (Feb. 26-27) and resulted in the adoption of the “New Delhi Declaration” by eight attending countries.

Action in New Delhi: international conference reinforces consensus on the need to scale up sustainable biofuels

March, 8th, 2018

New Delhi, India. The use of fossil fuels for transportation contributes significantly to global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Sustainable, low carbon biofuels have the ability to reduce the GHG emissions load in relatively short term. Last February 26 and 27, in New Delhi, India, around 400+ experts and delegates from academia, governments and private sector from 19 countries came together to take stock of current knowledge, share information and best practices, and build consensus on the actions most needed to scale up sustainable biofuels.

The two day International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels (ICSB 2018) was jointly organized by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, and the Biofuture Platform at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The event was also held as part of the activities of Mission Innovation, specifically the Sustainable Biofuels Innovation Challenge, which is co-led by the governments of Brazil, Canada, India and China.

The conference emphasized advanced or second-generation biofuels produced from non-food biomass materials and specially grown high yielding plants or algae. They have high levels of emissions reductions and the best sustainablity scores, but mostly still remain in pre- or an early commercial stage of development and require further innovations, investments, and appropriate, supportive policies in order to to achieve competitive sustainable production.

To that effect, one of the conference´s highlights was a deep discussion of the opportunities and challenges ahead for India´s ambitious advanced biorefineries program, which will see twelve commercial scale second-generation ethanol refineries to come online in the next few years, and help India fulfill its new mandate of 10% blending ot ethanol into gasoline.

Another high moment was the presentation of Brazil´s recently enacted RenovaBio law, which shall reward the most environmentally efficient forms of biofuels via an innovative, technology agnostic market mechanism based on carbon life cycle analysis and tradeable emissions reductions certificates, “CBios”.

The conference included an exhibition in which 12 companies showcased their technologies in the area of biofuels. Delegates seized the opportunity to have in-depth discussion on the technologies of their interest with the experts.

The two day session was concluded by the adoption of the “New Delhi Declaration” by eight attending countries, including the four co-lead countries for Mission Innovation Sustainable Biofuels Innovation Challenge – Brazil, Canada, China and India, plus Biofuture Platform and/or Mission Innovation members Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands and Paraguay.

The New Delhi Declaration reaffirmed the need to further the actions in the Vision Declaration by the Biofuture Platform, issued during COP23 last November in Bonn, Germany, and focused on the need to reinforce international collaboration on research, develpment, demonstration and deployment of sustainable biofuels in order to mitigate climate change, enhance energy security, and promote economic development.