New Delhi: international conference reinforces consensus on the need to scale up sustainable biofuel


International Conference on Sustainable Biofuels

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. 

New Delhi Declaration

Mission Innovation Challenge – Sustainable Biofuels(IC#4) and the Biofuture Platform

We, representatives of the member countries of the Mission Innovation – Sustainable Biofuels Innovation Challenge (IC#4), and of the Biofuture Platform, having participated in the International Conference on Sustainable Biofuel – 2018 during 26-27th February, 2018, at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, reaffirm our commitment to intensify our collaborations on research, development, demonstration and deployment of sustainable biofuels in order to mitigate climate change, enhance energy security, and promote economic development.  

We resolve to continue to further the actions affirmed in the Vision Declaration issued by the Biofuture Platform on November 16, 2017, in Bonn, Germany, regarding the urgent need to scale up the low carbon bioeconomy. We also reaffirm our commitment under Mission Innovation to promote information and data sharing on research and development of sustainable biofuels and encourage collaboration, networking and dissemination of acquired knowledge and experience. We affirm the importance of those goals and actions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We will strive for production of sustainable biomass and to develop clean technologies for affordable and sustainable biofuels, to ensure unequivocal carbon savings on a life cycle basis. We resolve to continue working on the development and commercialization of novel sustainable bio-based fuels and products by encouraging early stage technologies and nurturing cross-innovations with the objective of ensuring speedy commercialisation.

The International Conference on Sustainable Biofuel – 2018 resolves to seek international collaborations for

  • Rapidly accelerating research and development, with the goal of achieving performance breakthroughs and cost reductions for large-scale production of advanced biofuels with enhanced private sector investments.
  • Research into new bio-based processes and products and conversion systems optimized for commercialisation of sustainable biofuels.
  • Development of cutting edge technologies in areas of ethanol production, algal biofuels, drop-in bio-fuels and integrated bio-refineries leading to lower GHG emissions.
  • Transformative biofuel utilization technologies and systems for transport and stationary applications and ways to increase the share of sustainable biofuels in the energy mix.

In keeping with our Mission Innovation and Biofuture Platform commitments, we shall also continue to:

  • Identify and, where possible, create opportunities for greater private sector engagement in Sustainable Biofuel innovation challenge, in the spirit of Mission innovation Strategic Dialogue on Public-Private-Partnership initiated in Mexico in early September 2017.
  • Exchange technical and policy advice for supporting government initiatives and policies for the advancement of bioeconomy, including under the Biofuture Platform.
  • Work closely with FAO, GBEP, IEA, IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme, IRENA and other international organisations and initiatives to build on existing knowledge and expertise.
  • Explore the avenues for a greater and sustained public funding support for national, bilateral and multilateral cooperation including engagement with international agencies to foster the objectives of this declaration.
  • Build capacity, including international exchange of researchers, students and innovators amongst the IC#4 and Biofuture Platform member countries.
  • Contribute to the larger Mission Innovation goals aimed at accelerating affordable clean energy innovation.

Members of the following Mission Innovation IC#4 and Biofuture Platform countries:

Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Paraguay.