Willie Nelson, Daryl Hannah, work for green fuels and biodiesel


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A group of celebrity-led campaigners are setting up sustainable standards for biofuels in the United States to stave off fears that producing some green fuels may do more harm than good for the environment.

The Sustainable Biofuels Alliance, set up by actress Daryl Hannah together with country singer Willie Nelson  and biodiesel producers Bob and Kelly King, is bringing together activists and scientists to give consumers better guidance on clean fuels. 

It aims to have stringent norms for biodiesel in the world’s top fuel consumer set up by September, backed by checks on the supply chain that will accredit firms seen as producing green fuels, Hannah told Reuters on Friday.

“I haven’t been to a gas station in seven years and it feels fantastic,” said Hannah, who lives off-grid in the Rocky Mountains, using solar energy and driving a car run on biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil.

“I want biofuels that are grown and produced in a sustainable manner,” she said. “I would not buy biodiesel made from palm oil… or from a bunch of animals poured in a vat.”

Malaysia and Indonesia are directing increasing volumes of palm oil into feedstock for biodiesel, eyeing export openings from the U.S. to South Korea as governments mandate biofuel use to cut greenhouse gas emissions from engines and to improve domestic energy security.

“The most urgent issue is the global warming crisis,” she said in an interview.  Environmentalists say tropical rainforests have been cut down and burnt to make way for soy and palm oil plantations, producing emissions and killing wildlife, while the use of corn and other grains for ethanol fuel is pushing up food prices. 

“Greedy people are speculating people won’t care,” said the actress, better known for films such as Blade Runner and Splash. “It should be made illegal to burn down rainforest.”

After biodiesel standards, the alliance will move on to ethanol accreditation, likely to back cellulosic ethanol, made from microbes that break down non-food crops.

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