location Worldwide dates 2008 – ongoing project team Julie Flood Carol Ellison Corin Pratt Peter Baker Janny Vos
biofuels information exchange
Biofuels, derived from biological carbon fixation, have been identified as a sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources such as wood, oil, coal and gas. They include transport fuel derived from oil crops such as Jatropha and sunflower, bioethanol from fermentation of plant sugars (eg. sugarcane), starches and lignocellulose (eg. crop residues), and algal fuels. Over the last five years, higher oil prices around the world and the perceived growing need for energy security have resulted in biofuels receiving increased attention from the public and the scientific community alike.
so what’s the problem? The production of some biofuel crops and the use of food crops for biofuel remains a contentious topic for both scientists and public. At CABI’s regional members’ consultations in 2007, member country representatives expressed a need for information to help them make decisions on biofuel policy.
KNOWLEDGE FOR LIFE
what is this project doing? Responding to this need, CABI developed the Biofuels Information Exchange – biofuelexperts.ning.com – which is free to join. The site has been set up to give experts in the field from around the world access to peerreviewed and unbiased information on biofuels and to allow them to discuss their research, experiences and findings. The professional website enables users to: • access 35,000 research records pertinent to biofuels from the CAB Abstracts database • become up to date on biofuels news • find out who is undertaking research and into which areas of biofuels • find colleagues in their region or field of expertise • read independent CABI reports on biofuel-related topics • discuss biofuels issues with people from around the world
results so far The Biofuels Information Exchange has been running since 2008 and now has nearly 600 members worldwide. During 2011, the website recorded close to 20,000 page views. Recent topics of debate on the forum include Jatropha, water hyacinth and pongamia. CABI regularly posts summaries on the Biofuels Information Exchange home page. These focus on publications relating to a particular aspect of biofuels such as Jatropha production, biofuel life-cycle assessments and ethical aspects of the biofuel industry. Papers exclusive to the site are also published; to date these have included “Land use change: science and policy review” and “Biofuels as invasive species”. There is also free access to CAB Review papers discussing biofuels. Site manager Carol Ellison says: “The Biofuels Information Exchange is an important resource to research institutes, extension staff, private entrepreneurs and investors in the biofuels industry. It also provides a forum for debate on biofuel topics of all kinds. It’s great to see scientists from around the world exchanging views and research on this topic.”
biofuelexperts.ning.com sponsors CABI Development Fund (CDF) Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) – UK
contact CABI, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9TY, UK T: + 44 (0)1491 829080 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cabi.org/uk
Carol Ellison, Site Manager