Issues around diesel engines, and external considerations that the biofuels community need to consider concerning transportation fuels, were the primary topics of the workshop.
The 20 plus participants, meeting on 5 November, reviewed a variety of technical, public health and political issues concerning diesel engines and biofuels. Understanding such issues helped the participants in the next conversation, a discussion on alternative “introductions” to scientific papers and articles – and thus on what to emphasise in scientific endeavours. The discussion focused on replacing the usual “GHG, CO2, climate change, etc.” with more emphasis on the requirements for continued research concerning emissions; reference to human health impacts; and to how this fits with any new fuels the Bio4Fuels centre may produce.
It was concluded that it might be difficult, and in fact incorrect, to completely move away from the traditional GHG and CO2 -type emphasis. However, it was generally agreed that emphasis ought to be put on the actual end-user of the fuels – engines, as well as on emissions and public health aspects. Clearly, new fuels must meet GHG obligations but there must be a focus, too, on either reducing or, at a minimum, not making worse, emissions of soot, PM and NOx.
The findings reported by Oddvar Myhre from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health were especially well received, being outside the participants’ expertise. Mr Myhre, while covering a range of public health issues connected to air pollution, showed strong evidence that asthma and impaired lung function in children are strongly correlated to traffic-related air pollution.
The presentations included some in-depth questioning and discussions. Whilst there were some “engine people” in the room, most attendants had no engine background and found the presentations new, interesting and relevant to their work in providing an overview not previously considered.