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May

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation and F.O. Licht close the eighth edition of World Biofuels 2009

May 29, 2009

Seville, 29 May 2009. The Focus-Abengoa Foundation and F.O. Licht today closed the eighth edition of the World Biofuels 2009 conference which has taken place over three days in Seville, bringing together more than 120 representatives from biofuel producers and associations, representatives from administrations in the European Union and the USA, oil companies, car manufacturers, investment banks, raw material producers and consultants.

As in previous years, conference participants once again noted the significant growth (more than 30%) in the demand for biofuels in the three major world markets (USA, Brazil and the European Union). In the second half of 2008 this increase was accompanied by a slump in the price of agricultural raw materials around the world, confirming the belief that biofuels' influence on the increase in these prices in 2007 and 2008 was minor.

Over the three days of the conference, the participating professionals debated the new stimulus regulations for biofuels, with new and higher targets for obligatory consumption, which have been approved and put into action in the USA and the EU and that could be decisive in the development of a world biofuels market. All of this despite the general criticisms made in 2007 and the first half of 2008, when biofuels were attributed with global problems of deforestation and food shortages, as if these issues were something new associated with the appearance of biofuels.

The new regulations in the USA and the European Union also require the industry to comply with strict sustainability criteria relating to greenhouse gas emissions in the biofuels lifecycle as well as about the origin of the raw materials used in their production. These regulations also include the implementation of systems to account for and verify greenhouse gas emissions and systems for certifying raw materials to allow regulators and the market to differentiate between biofuels that are useful and those that are not in the fight against climate change.

These control systems and tools must ensure that first generation biofuels are part of the solution and not part of the problem of global warming, becoming the necessary link to accelerate the development of more sustainable biofuels with lower net CO2 emissions. The conference listened to European business experiences about producing biofuels from enzymatic hydrolysis (bioethanol), gasification of cellulose biomass (diesel, bioethanol) and algae oil (biodiesel) and agreed that once the pilot plant phase has been passed, as in the USA, the industrial feasibility of the production process should be tackled by constructing larger scale plants.

Finally, the conference examined and debated the financial outlook for the sector's current situation and the expectations for oil prices, whose slide in the second half of 2008 caused a significant fall in the price of biofuels. The participants also looked at the prospects for financing operations and investment in the biofuels industry, which have also been considerably affected by the credit crunch over the last year.

The eighth World Biofuels Conference forms part of the activities of the Focus-Abengoa Forum on Energy and Climate Change that has been launched by Abengoa through the Focus-Abengoa Foundation with the principal objective of acting as a valid instrument for reflection and action at the highest level to promote understanding and the formation of public opinion in this area. This forum has focussed on those fields in which Abengoa can make a relevant contribution in the different areas of international, industrial and technological relations or in any other sphere, thanks to its business activities, in relation to the triple objective of economic, social and environmental development that define sustainable development.

Abengoa Bioenergy is one of the leading world producers of bioethanol with a combined installed capacity of more than 1.5 billion litres in the United States, Europe and Brazil. It currently operates ten bioethanol, sugar and electricity production plants. Abengoa Bioenergy is also one of the leading companies in the world for developing bioethanol production technologies using ligno-cellulose biomass.

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