<body><script type="text/javascript"> //<![CDATA[ try{(function(a){var b="http://",c="news.mongabay.com",d="/cdn-cgi/cl/",e="img.gif",f=new a;f.src=[b,c,d,e].join("")})(Image)}catch(e){} //]]> </script> -------------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home / Archive
Nature Blog Network


    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 €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.


Creative Commons License


Sunday, October 29, 2006

The bioeconomy at work: Brain and Degussa sign deal on novel biopolymer producing microorganisms

The rapidly growing 'bioeconomy' aims to replace petroleum-based products by biodegradable and renewable alternatives. Research efforts and applications result in products with a large market potential such as 100% petroleum free tires or safe and healthy natural rubber flooring for green hospitals, to ultra-high strength bioplastics or specialty chemicals for use in niche markets, many of which will be based on crops from the tropics (such as Vernonia). Advances in green chemistry and biorefining will eventually lead to an integrated complex similar to that of the petro-chemical industry: biomass streams enter as raw materials, and liquid and gaseous fuels, bioenergy, and hundreds of different intermediates and finished products leave the biorefinery.

German biotech company BRAIN AG and Degussa AG, a world leading specialty chemicals multinational, successfully completed a collaborative research and development project in this field. Aim of the cooperation is the supply of novel microorganisms for the production of novel bioplastics based on sugar beets, sugar cane and other renewable primary products. Following this strategy Degussa aspires to achieve an independency of petrochemical raw materials. In addition, environmentally compatible production processes will be developed. The project is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in its program for sustainable bioproduction ("Nachhaltige Bioproduktion").

Water soluble polymeric thickeners are of high economical value and widespread in industries like the food- and cosmetics industry. Other technical applications include uses as drilling adjuvants and flocculants in water treatment. The annual world demand for these products is in the order of several 100.000 metric tons per year. Currently often polyacrylates and their derivatives are used. Being comparatively cheap these materials also show good application properties. However, they fall short of being environmentally benign as they resist biodegradation. Furthermore, polyacrylates are made from diminishing and expensive petrochemical raw materials:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

This is the motive to accelerate the search for biological polymers in alternative sources as in technical applications these polymers still are grossly underrepresented. The goal of the project under leadership of Degussa and under involvement of BRAIN was to establish a competitive biotechnological route for the production of microbial biopolymers as water soluble thickeners.

Within the project BRAIN AG screened its comprehensive proprietary BioArchives and additionally performed extensive multi-focused screening activities in diverse habitats (e.g. fruits, diverse foods, marine- and sugar rich environmental habitats) to come up with numerous biopolymer producing microorganisms. These were evaluated and then transferred to Degussa for additional product analysis and viscosity evaluation. The microorganisms provided by BRAIN AG displayed a remarkably high frequency of hits despite a challenging performance profile set up by Degussa. The EPS producing microorganisms are currently processed at a technical scale and evaluated for market suitability and production.

Another focus of the cooperation between BRAIN and Degussa was the optimisation of a producer strain for the synthesis of scleroglucan [picture: fungus Sclerotium rolfsii producing the biopolymer scleroglucan], another innovative biopolymer with manifold technical applications.

"Through identification and implementation of novel polysaccharides we want to improve the economics of existing industrial production processes and at the same time expand our product portfolio", says Dr. Volker Sieber, Head of the BMBF-project at the Project House ProFerm at Degussa. "The intensive cooperation in this research and development program provides access to novel technologies and speeds up the transition from conceptual status to production process", explains Dr. Andreas Karau, Head of Project House ProFerm. "The identification of numerous novel biopolymer producing microorganisms through rational bioprospecting is another proof for the increasing importance of industrial biotechnology for innovative developments", says Dr. Jürgen Eck, CSO at BRAIN AG. He adds "We are pleased that in the concluded cooperation we could provide Degussa with many efficient producer strains for technical processes."

Besides Degussa and BRAIN an interdisciplinary team uniting biological and chemical expertise is involved in the project. Included were the academic partners Prof. Dr. Alfred Puehler from the University of Bielefeld, Prof. Dr. Ulf Stahl from TU Berlin as well as the SME´s INSILICO biotechnology in Stuttgart and DASGIP in Juelich.

Article continues

Hydrogen's false promises: a look at the debate in Europe

In 2002, Jeremy Rifkin published his best-selling book "The Hydrogen Economy", opening a very brief period of enthusiasm for the supposedly 'clean' gas. A few years later, Joseph J. Romm, a U.S. Department of Energy official responsible for leading renewable energy R&D, published his even better-selling "The Hype about Hydrogen", in which he systematically showed why a hydrogen future is not very likely to come about soon (if ever at all), and why reliance on bioenergy is far more realistic. Since then, excitement about hydrogen has waned, and biofuels have come into the spotlight instead.

In Europe, the hydrogen debate is particularly acute though, because in this era of rising energy prices, growing dependence on foreign oil and gas, and increasing geopolitical tensions resulting in questions about energy security, it is crucial for the EU to make the right investment choices towards a viable energy transition. The stakes are enormous and so is the amount of funds involved. Funds that may be spent on other projects and visions...

Transport accounts for some 71% of all oil consumption in the EU, with the automotive sector alone dependent on oil at 98%, according to the European Commission. To reduce oil dependency, the Commission has therefor set out an objective to substitute 20% of traditional automotive fuels with alternatives by the year 2020 (Green Paper: Towards a European Strategy for the Security of Energy Supply [*.pdf], 2000).

A year later, it presented a communication on alternative fuels, identifying three of them as the most promising: biofuels, natural gas and hydrogen. But criticism against investments in the latter is now growing. Sceptics are pointing out what they call the "illusions" of the hydrogen economy. Let us start by listing the most basic critiques first:
  • Like electricity, hydrogen is merely an energy carrier, not an energy source. In other words, the hydrogen economy will only be as clean as the original energy source it is made from (coal, nuclear, natural gas, or renewables like biomass);
  • a hydrogen-based transport system requires a network of fuelling stations that will cost vast sums of money to set up. In a study [*.pdf] published in December last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said trillions of dollars will be needed to develop infrastructure before the widespread use of hydrogen;
  • fuel-cell batteries that convert hydrogen into electricity through a chemical reaction have limited efficiency and storage capacity with power losses being made in the hydrogen-electricity conversion process, and;
  • fuel-cell batteries are still highly expensive (around €10,000 for a medium-sized vehicle), due to the materials used in their manufacture. These include platinum and Nafion, an acid membrane used in the electrolyte of fuel cells.
Public and private R&D efforts have therefore focused on reducing the cost of fuel cells, increasing their storage capacity and on finding ways to build up new infrastructure at the cheapest cost. At European level, a Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP) was launched in 2004 to accelerate research and deployment of hydrogen technologies. Led by industry, the platform brings together public and private researchers as well as public authorities and the financial community.

In March 2005, the platform presented a Strategic Research Agenda [*.pdf] to direct research and to encourage public and private investment in targeted R&D programmes (EurActiv 17/03/05). The programme targets commercialisation of vehicles in 2015 but many think that they will not become competitive before 2020 at the earliest.

The scientific community in Europe however remains highly critical of hydrogen and of the allocated research funds. Hydrogen is environmentally unfriendly (see below), economically unviable, and perpetuates the grip of large economic players on our energy infrastructure. Ulf Bossel of the European Fuel Cell Forum, an organisation that supports technical and scientific advances on fuel cells, is a leading critic who has made it his mission to expose 'the hydrogen illusion' [*.pdf]. Let us start by having a closer look at his main objections:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::


"Hydrogen is clean only if it is made from renewable electricity," says Bossel. But he adds that if a hydrogen-based economy becomes a reality, it will be characterised by a massive increase in demand for electric power, which he says is unlikely to be met by renewables alone.

According to Bossel, a substantial part of the increased demand for power will therefore need to come from coal-fired or nuclear power plants with all the known consequences for the environment and for safety.

In addition, he says a substantial amount of energy is lost when the electricity is converted to hydrogen for storage in a fuel cell and subsequently converted back into electricity.

"About three quarters of the original energy is lost for electrolysis, compression or liquefaction, transportation, storage, transfer and re-conversion back to electricity with fuel cells," the Fuel Cell Forum said in a statement.

According to Bossel, this is because "a synthetic energy carrier cannot be more efficient than the energy from which it is made. Renewable electricity is better distributed by electrons than by hydrogen."

However, hydrogen promoters say that fuel-cell vehicles are just as efficient, if not more efficient, than conventional engines. "Internal-combustion engines in today's automobiles convert less than 30% of the energy in gasoline into power that moves the vehicle," according to Shell Hydrogen.

"Vehicles using electric motors powered by hydrogen fuel cells are much more energy efficient, utilising 40-60% of the fuel's energy," it points out.

Oil industry in favor of the hydrogen economy
About a year ago, a group of MEPs presented a Green Hydrogen Charter urging the EU to mobilise all forces to shift to a hydrogen economy by 2025. MEPs clearly expressed themselves in favour of a hydrogen economy based on renewables.

In the US, the Bush administration has earmarked $1.8 billion over five years for a Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and a complementary FreedomCAR project. The EU, the US and other partners are working together in an "International partnership for the hydrogen economy".

But the oil industry is most favorable to the development of a hydrogen economy in Europe. According to Shell Hydrogen, the biggest challenge is financial, not technical. "From a vehicle perspective, funding the transition from expensive prototypes to affordable mass production will be the key issue".

Shell estimates that Fuel Cell Vehicles can become competitive when annual production reaches one million globally. "Through the combination of the technical and manufacturing advances anticipated over the next five years, with the build-up of a reasonable global production over the following five to ten years, we believe attractive and affordable FCVs can become a commercial reality," Shell says.


Why hydrogen will not be 'clean'
Scientists are also beginning to focus on the environmental impacts of using hydrogen in the transport sector. In a recent review of scientific studies [*.pdf], British researchers found that contrary to most expectations, hydrogen is an indirect greenhouse gas with a potential global warming effect.

The researchers, led by Richard Derwent from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, said this occurs because emissions of hydrogen lead to increased burdens of methane and ozone and hence to an increase in global warming. However, they said that the climate effects would still be considerably less than in a fossil fuel economy.


Latest & next steps on the hydrogen front in Europe

* By end 2006: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform to produce implementation plan
* December 2006: EU to adopt 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7)
* Second half 2007: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform expected to deliver a European programme of industrial research, technological development and demonstration on hydrogen and fuel cells (Joint Technology Initiative - JTI)



More information:

General
Euractiv: MEPs caught up in hydrogen hype? - Updated Oct. 27, 2006

European Union
EU Commission (Directorate-General Research): Introduction to fuel cells
EU Commission (Directorate-General Research): Key advantages of FC technology
EU Commission (Directorate-General Research): Why is R&D needed for fuel cells?
European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP): DRAFT Implementation Plan - Status 2006
European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP): HFP Achievements and Perspectives 2006
European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP): Strategic overview (2005)

International Organisations
Int'l Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy: Website

Governments
U.S. Dept. of Energy: Hydrogen, fuel cells & infrastructure technologies program

EU Actors positions
Shell Hydrogen: FAQ: Environmental issues regarding hydrogen
Shell Hydrogen: FAQ: What about the future of hydrogen?
Shell Hydrogen: FAQ: Development of the hydrogen infrastructure

Fuel Cell Forum: Hydrogen Cannot Solve Energy Problems (20 July 2005)
Fuel Cell Forum: The hydrogen illusion (Ulf Bossel, April 2004)

Richard Derwent et al.: Global environmental impacts of the hydrogen economy Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (2006)



Article continues

Biogas technology to the rescue of rural people in Bangladesh

Only yesterday, we reported about the air pollution brought about by traditional biomass use in the developing world - both on a micro-scale (in the kitchen, where soot particles kill) and on a planetary scale (contributing considerably to global warming).
We indicated that small steps are required to switch to modern biomass use, in order to solve these problems. In this editorial, Shahiduzzaman Khan explains that both the government and rural people in Bangladesh are doing exactly that, by relying on household biogas production instead of firewood.


Biogas, an alternative to conventional fuel oil or wood, is being increasingly used in Bangladesh. It is being used for cooking and other household purposes in rural areas of the country.

The consumers of biogas said they use it instead of wood and other fuels because it is cost effective and environment-friendly. The residue left after gas extraction is a good organic manure, free from harmful germs and pathogens.

Cattle dung, human excreta, poultry drippings and garbage are processed in the biogas plants under anaerobic conditions to produce biogas. Most of the biogas plants in the country have been set up to process cattle dung. Seven or eight cows are required for a plant. The dung is mixed with water in equal ratio and stored in a tank. After 10 to 12 days biogas is produced in the plant which is supplied to the ovens through plastic pipes. A family of five or six members can easily cook their food and light lamps in their houses with a plant.

About 70 per cent of the gas is methane which is better as fuel than firewood and the remaining gas is carbon-dioxide. People use the gas like natural gas. The biogas, supplied from the plant to the kitchen is used to run a two-burner cooker where the gas burns with clean blue flame, free of smoke or ash, much the same way a Dhaka city household burns Titas gas. The Biogas Pilot Plant Project of the Institute of Fuel Research and Development [*.pdf] under the Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) started installation of biogas plants in 1995. The cost of installation of a plant with a production capacity of 100 cubic feet gas daily was at Tk 14,000 [€165/US$210].

The institute adopted a plan to develop technology of biogas about three decades ago. After a few years of research, the Institute succeeded in developing a biogas technology in 1976. First they developed the floating dome biogas plant which could ensure gas supply for three to five years. But then the fixed dome model of biogas plant was used which ensures gas supply for at least 30 years:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The Biogas Pilot Plant Project provided a subsidy of Tk 7,500 [€88/$112] for each gas plant and the owner bore the rest of installation expense. The cost of a biogas plant with production capacity of 200 cubic feet (cft) gas is Tk 21,500 [€254/$323] ; that of a plant with capacity of 300 cft is Tk 29,000; a plant with capacity of 400 cft is Tk 40,500; a plant with capacity of 500 cft is Tk 47,500; and plant with a capacity of 1000 cft is Tk 75,000.

A plant with production capacity of 100 cft is sufficient for daily cooking of a family consisting of 7 to 10 members. Besides cooking, light, fan, radio and television can also be operated with biogas. For the operation of a plant 60 to 70 kilograms of cow-dung or 40 to 50 kilograms of excreta of poultry birds are required. The ideal place for setting up biogas plants is near the dairy and poultry farms as the cattle heads and poultry birds here produce required input.

Experts said the use of biogas can reduce dependency on natural gas and firewood, saving forests and increasing soil fertility. The poor people can save their hard earned money by using biogas as they need not to purchase firewood for cooking or kerosene for lighting.

In spite of being very insignificant in volume, the scope of wide availability of biogas to a very large number of rural people and remote areas make the technology very suitable and effective. There is no denying that commercially produced pipeline natural gas plays and will continue to play a vital role in the industrialisation of the country, but such gas has seldom chance of reaching the remote village households any time soon. In that respect there is no alternative to biogas for the millions of villagers.

Ironically, natural gas and imported oil are mostly out of reach of the vast majority of the country's rural people. It is the biomass energy source that is available to them and it consists of fuel wood, leaves, agricultural residues, cow dung and other organic wastes. These are defined as non-commercial energy and actually provide for the remaining 65 per cent of the total energy consumed in the country. About 80 per cent of the total population of the country or about 100 million people live in rural area. According to an estimate, only about 19 per cent of the country's total population has electricity, 4.0 per cent has natural gas connection in the households. In the rural area, only 5.0 per cent of the population use kerosene as fuel.

Gas supply to the vast multitude of the rural people is practically impossible for two reasons, i) it is not possible to build gas pipeline infrastructure to connect thousands of villages throughout the country, ii) even if that is possible, the rural population will not have the purchasing power to use pipeline gas in their households. Such a situation leaves the rural population to rely on the traditional biomass sources for household supply of energy.

This is, however, not only a case with Bangladesh, but with many other developing nations like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China etc. Over the last few decades there have been renewed interest and initiatives by many developing countries to innovate new and improved biomass energy technologies whereby the biomass energy sources can be used more efficiently and managed more scientifically. The most popular and widely used of these technologies has been the biogas technology in which biomass (cow dung, poultry dropping, agricultural residue etc) is converted into biogas.

The BCISR started its first five-year project in 1995 to install 5000 biogas plants in the country. A second phase of the project started in 2001 for four more years during which time 20,000 more biogas plants were scheduled to be installed throughout the country. Considering the level of interest among the rural people and the benefit this could bring to individual household, there should be more help from government and non-government organisations toward such projects.

Though the project has huge potentials to upgrade the social and economic status and standard of living of the rural population, there is not enough manpower assistance nor the required financial support to meet the countrywide demand existing at the moment. There is a lack of understanding as well as commitment on the part of the high officials in the administration about this kind of micro level project. Bangladesh remains far behind the neighbouring countries in developing biogas, as apparent from the fact that the number of biogas plants installed is about 3.0 million in India, 7.0 million in China, 70,000 in Nepal and only about 15,000 in Bangladesh.

According to Dr. Badrul Imam, a geology teacher of the Dhaka University, 40 million tonnes of fuel wood is used in rural areas for cooking purpose each year in Bangladesh. This destroys the country's forest and casts negative impact on weather, land and environment. Also, as other biomasses like leaves, cow dung and agricultural residues are burnt as cooking fuel, these can be of no more help as a natural fertiliser as a part of the cycle that keeps the balance in the ecosystem. On all these counts, use of biogas technology is expected to bring about benefits to the environment and the people. It certainly upgrades the age-old inefficient and poor energy use practice into a more efficient and scientific one.

Article continues

Malaysian group plans palm oil biodiesel plant in Johor next year

Quicknote bioenergy investments

Despite growing criticism against palm oil biodiesel in Europe (earlier post), in South East Asia investments in the sector are speeding ahead. A major Japanese oil company and automaker Toyota have recently entered the palm biodiesel industry with the aim of importing the biofuel into Japan (earlier post), and the Malaysian government has meanwhile stopped granting licences for new plants because the number of applicants skyrocketed (earlier post). One of the companies that received a licence is conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd. It has announded plans to build its first palm oil-based biodiesel plant in Johor next year, with an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes.

While the quantum of investment for the planned plant is not available, it generally costs about RM40 (€8.6/US$11) million to build a 60,000-tonne biodiesel plant. Sources said the group is still mulling over where to site the plant - either in Pasir Gudang or Kempas. "The company has called for biodiesel plant builders to submit their proposals for the tender which closes on November 8 2006," a source said.

With the plan, Sime Darby will join 53 other companies that have been granted approval by the Government this year to turn crude palm oil into biodiesel, known as B100 (100 per cent palm oil-based biodiesel).

The environment-friendly oil is sold to oil firms or retailers for blending with crude oil-derived diesel and used in conventional engines. Companies already exporting biodiesel include Golden Hope Plantations Bhd, Carotino Sdn Bhd, Carotech Bhd and the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), while those still on the drawing board include Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd [entry ends here].
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::


Article continues