The Ecologist


biofuels: 1/25 of 62
next »

At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

Almuth Ernsting

30th September 2015

The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? more...
A nursery of loblolly pine – approx. 500,000 in view, all waiting to be dispatched and planted (c. 1,000 acres). Photo: Drax Group.

Biomass for energy is the common sense option

Matthew Rivers

5th June 2015

Today UK campaigners against burning biomass for power will deliver a 110,000 signature petition to DECC to protest at government subsidies for the practice. But in this 'Right of Reply' article Matthew Rivers, chairman of Drax Biomass, argues that biomass combustion is sustainable, benign, and helps to conserve forests worldwide. more...
Something to celebrate: an orangutan swings through the jungle near Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Nick Leonard via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Orangutans' reprieve: EuroParl votes to limit biofuels

The Ecologist

28th April 2015

Rainforests around the world and the wildlife they sustain have a rosier future after the European Parliament voted to limit the growth of biofuels such as palm oil in the transport sector. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...
A swamp forest in Louisiana, of the same kind that's already being clear-felled and chipped to supply fuel to Drax power station in Yorkshire on a fatuous 'low carbon' promise. Photo: J E Theriot via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UK plans first new coal power station since 1974 - and it burns forests too!

Almuth Ernsting

17th March 2015

A new coal and biomass-fired power station could soon be built at Drax in Yorkshire, already the UK's biggest coal burner, writes Almuth Ernsting. It comes with a weak promise of possible 'carbon capture and storage' - an expensive, inefficient technology shunned elsewhere. As the Government's nuclear dream fades, could this be its equally flawed replacement? more...
Researcher Mike Murphy holding laminaria saccharina sugar kelp algae, SE Alaska. Photo: David Csepp, NOAA / NMFS / AKFSC / Auke Bay Lab via NOAA Photo Library on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Seaweed problem could provide biofuel solution

Paul Brown

14th March 2015

Biofuels are controversial because they are often produced from food crops or grown on farmland, writes Paul Brown, creating extra pressure on land and forests. But a common algae found in abundance around coastlines and clogging up beaches may be the answer. more...
Suzano's eucalyptus plantations in Urbano Santos, Brazil, specifically planted to satisfy the EU's projected future biofuel demand.

EU biofuel demand is driving land grabs in the Global South

Oliver Munnion

11th September 2014

With the EU projected to source most of its 'renewable' energy by burning biomass, its policies are leading to widespread land-grabbing and forest destruction, writes Oliver Munnion. And because many of the biomass projects are purely speculative, 'sustainability standards' will do little or nothing to improve practice on the ground. more...
MP Liz Truss with wind turbine at the Family Action's Escape Allotment in Swaffham. Photo: Matthew Usher /

Britain's new Environment Secretary is a breath of fresh air

Oliver Tickell

15th July 2014

Britain's new Environment Secretary is young (38), female, blonde, believes in climate change, and has floated imaginative policies to deal with it from a carbon tax to 'personal carbon allowances'. As for badgers ... her silence on the topic promises well. more...
OuTrop researchers in the Sabangau Forest. Photo: Matt Adam Williams / OuTrop

Jungle living in Borneo

Matt Williams

21st January 2014

Living in the rainforest, tracking orangutans, protecting the swamp forest and fighting off swarms of mosquitos in 30 degree heat. For Matt Williams it was a childhood dream come true ... more...
A promising crop of hemp. Photo: CSLP / Craik Sustainable Living Project via

Hemp - the energy and industrial crop of the future?

Thomas Prade

5th January 2014

In 1980 The Ecologist published an iconic Special Edition' devoted to the multi-use 'wonder crop' hemp. 34 years on, Thomas Prade finds the case for industrial hemp is as strong as ever. more...

Fossil fuel subsidies soar to $544 billion

The Ecologist

11th December 2013

Four years ago OECD country leaders promised to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. Now IEA figures show they have soared from $300 billion to $544 billion. more...

Chatsworth: attic junk to renewable energy centre

The Ecologist

4th December 2013

Not all of us could raise £2.5m by selling the junk in our attics. But that's what the Chatsworth Estate achieved in 2010 - and now the money is funding a major renewable energy expansion. more...

biofuels: 1/25 of 62
next »

Time to take a tough stand on biofuels

October 23rd, 2013

In an open letter to the press 8 members of parliament, from 5 different political parties, ask the EU to push for a tighter cap on biofuels........ more...

Biofuels vote bad news for orangutans

Matt Adam Williams

12th September 2013

Matt Adam Williams explains why yesterday's European Parliament vote will likely have environmentally negative impacts on the other side of the world..... more...

Frontline Online: Where should we be looking for waste we can turn to energy?

January 13th, 2013

by Lorna Howarth

In her new weekly column, the Ecologist's Lorna Howarth reports on the stories that show standing up for what we believe in can and does make a real difference. more...
How green are vegetable and rapeseed oils?

How green are vegetable and rapeseed oils?

Rebecca Campbell

16th May, 2012

When it comes to oils we are spoilt for choice, with more than 130 million tonnes of oil consumed every year, according to the WWF. But with demand set to increase, what sort of impact is our appetite for oil having on the planet? And which is the green choice? more...
How green is your fuel?

How green is your fuel?

Andrew Simms

12th April, 2012

In an exclusive extract from 'Ampera We're Electric', Andrew Simms takes a closer look at what powers our cars and asks whether motoring has a greener future to look forward to more...
palm oil

Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster

Ben Martin

14th March, 2012

Palm oil is in our food, cleaning products and fuel. But it's destroying rainforest and contributing to climate change. Sustainable certification schemes have been set up, but campaigners increasingly question whether they work more...

Stop the biomass blackout: say no to the UK's destructive bioenergy policies

Ian Lander

7th February, 2012

Biofuelwatch warn of an unfolding 'biomassacre' as the UK is set to rely on a growing amount of wood-based biomass, driving landgrabbing, replacing old growth forests with plantations, destroying biodiversity and causing air pollution more...

Biomass is the next biofuel 'land grab' on tropical forests, warn campaigners

Tom Levitt

5th December, 2011

Just as biofuels have gobbled up farmland that should have been growing food so the push on biomass by Monsanto, Cargill and others will see an 'unprecedented' grab on land, plants and biodiverse-rich forests more...
Sugarcane plantation workers

Our sugarcane is greener than your corn: Brazil takes on US biofuel industry

Beth McLoughlin

4th October, 2011

Brazil claims to have clamped down on slash and burn tactics, slave labour and links to deforestation as it seeks to gain foothold in Europe’s lucrative biofuels market more...
Jathropa crop

UK scientists launch scathing criticism of EU biofuel targets


2nd June, 2011

Claims that biofuels have lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels are 'complete nonsense' and EU-wide targets to increase their use should be scrapped says letter to transport minister more...
Raju Sona is a smallscale farmer, seen with his only Jatrophal tree at his home farm

Campaigners should support aviation industry biofuel trials


20th April, 2011

The aviation industry deserves credit for being proactive about looking for alternatives to fossil fuels, says Paul Steele from the Air Transport Action Group more...
An airplane

Germany joins up with Lufthansa to sponsor biofuel six times worse than fossil fuels

William McLennan

19th April, 2011

Campaigners are outraged over airline Lufthansa and German government funding for jatropha biofuels trial more...

Sugar: why our favourite spoonful is not so sweet

William McLennan

13th April, 2011

Sugar can be produced from both sugar beet and sugarcane. Sugarcane production is of particular concern in terms of environmental degradation and human rights abuses, reports William McLennan more...


Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...