Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria.
The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets.
Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.
Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary).
Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.
Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet.
BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.
Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment.
Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.
Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid.
Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.
In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%.
New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily.
Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.
Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen.
Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.
In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany.
World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.
EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels.
EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.
The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry.
China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.
Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos.
Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.
Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest â¬6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas.
Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh.
Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.
The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel.
The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.
In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period.
The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.
Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it.
BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.
The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable.
Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.
The true sago palm, Metroxylon sagu, has been described as mankind's oldest food plant with the starch contained in the trunk used as a staple food in southeast Asia. Traditionally, hunter-gatherers use a complex and labor-intensive process of felling the tree, splitting it open, removing the starch and cleaning out its poisonous substances, after which it is ready to be consumed. The starch itself is very nutritious and some of us may have even tasted it because tapioca flour is made from it. As these sago-growing hunter-gatherers migrate to the cities, they abandon their healthy starch-rich diet and choose for fat and sugar food habits that don't differ much from ours.
But the sago palm remains, in the wild. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), which strives towards diversifying the world's agricultural crop base and maximizing the potential of less known plant species, considers the palm to be a typical "underutilized" crop. It published an easily accessible but comprehensive study about sago[*.pdf], in its series about "neglected and underutilized species". The study shows the potential of the crop, where and how it is currently used, which barriers there are to increasing its use, and which environmental problems could be associated with its cultivation.
One of the potential uses of the sago palm is ethanol. Throughout its lifecyle, the tree accumulates vast amounts of starch, reaching a maximum when it is about 15 years old, right before its (single) inflorescence occurs. In the wild, around 5 tonnes of starch per hectare can be harvested, but plantations show starch yields of up to 30 tonnes per year.
More importantly, the starch is of such a quality that ethanol conversion efficiencies of up to 72% can be obtained (for hydrated ethanol). Taking an optimistic yield of 20 tons of clean starch per hectare, this comes down to an alcohol yield of 14,400 litres, (1540 gallons per acre) making sago one of the most productive energy crops.
But this is theory. Contrary to palm oil, soya, coconut, cassava and most other tropical crops, sago suffers under a lack of research and development, most notably in crop improvement, phytopathology and plantation management techniques. Despite yearly symposia on sago, the palm has a long way to go before it will be used on a large scale.
Here and there, things are moving, though. The Malaysian government has started a 50,000 hectare plantation with sago palms in Sarawak, and considers it to be a crop with large potential for the development of a biofuels industry. Sago is set to become the second pillar [*.pdf] of Malaysia's bioenergy program.
This is just an introductory file which we will be updating regularly. Here at the BioPact we try to broaden the debate about biofuels, and we try to introduce underutilized crops into it.
Cassava has one of the highest rates of CO2 fixation and sucrose synthesis for any C3 plant. With this in mind, researchers from Ohio State University develop transgenic cassava with starch yields up 2.6 times higher than normal plants by increasing the sink strength for carbohydrate in the crop. This means cassava makes for a 'super crop' when it comes to both CO2 fixation and carbohydrate production, i.e. sugars, the feedstock for ethanol - Plant Biotechnology Journal - Volume 4/Issue 4 - July 2006
Vietnam's Institute of Tropical Biology to invest in Jatropha research - Le courrier du Vietnam - Sept. 6, 2006
Genetic study proves humans have pushed orangutans to the brink of extinction; genetic decline coincides with establishment of oil palm plantations in Malaysia/Indonesia since the 1950/60s- Public Library of Science / BiologyVolume 4/Issue 2 - February, 2006
Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, develops sorghum and millet processing technologies suitable for local conditions in effort to empower small farmers - IPP Media - Sept. 6, 2006
South Africa blocks GM Sorghum project for fears over contamination of local wild sorghums - Kruger Park - Aug. 26, 2006
Brazilian state of Acre intends to make cattle ranchers reforest land which they have cleared for grazing. The sustainable forestry policy is based on replanting economic tree crops such as mahogany, acai, Brazil nut and palms - BBCNews Sept. 27, 2006
Illegal deforestation of acacia for charcoal is becoming a serious problem in Kenya's Naivasha area. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement re-afforests with acacia but needs more support to win fight against illegal loggers - Kenya Times Sept. 5, 2006
Australian scientists are conducting a 'time-machine' experiment to see how eucalyptus trees cope with increased levels of CO2 and global warming. - University of Western Sydney Aug. 28, 2006
Bamboo planting can slow deforestation, scientists from the International Center for Research in Agroforestry in Nairobi, Kenya, say. Bamboo rapidly becoming economically beneficial crop with large potential for energy, bioremediation, and afforestation - Chosun (S.Korea) Aug. 30, 2006
"The beauty of miscanthus is that you only have to sow it once...Because of the way it grows, there is no need for fertilisers or chemicals", an English entrepreneur talks about his experience with Miscanthus as an energy crop - Grantham Today Aug. 8, 2006