VCTs plough $360m into biofuels

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The Independent Online

Venture capital investment in crop-based biofuels reached $360m (£180m) worldwide in the first quarter, despite fears that the industry is taking farmland away from food production.

Of all renewable energies, biofuel investment was second only to the $450m spent on solar energy, according to the StrategyEye CleanTech Dealflow report.

"Everyone is investing in what are called second generation biofuels, ones which they hope will make more efficient use of land," said Thomas Boeckmann, the lead CleanTech analyst.

The EU and the UN have voiced concerns over crops being used as biofuels. Nearly one-third of US grain production has been subsidised for conversion into fuel.

Meanwhile, a UK parliamentary inquiry looking at ways to cut greenhouse gases from offices, shops and factories was launched on Friday. Buildings are the cause of nearly half of all the country's carbon emissions, although there are fears that the Government has focused too closely on new buildings, which represent only 1 to 2 per cent of the country's property stock.