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    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.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fuel Cell Energy signs 10-year manufacturing & distribution agreement for its biofuel capable fuel cells in South Korea


FuelCell Energy, Inc., a leading manufacturer of highly efficient, ultra-clean, biofuel capable fuel cell power plants for commercial and industrial customers, today announced an expanded agreement with its Korean strategic distribution partner, POSCO (Korea's largest steel manufacturer) and its subsidiary POSCO Power, the country's largest independent power producer, to increase sales in burgeoning Asia-Pacific green energy market.

Under the agreement, POSCO Power will become a provider of FuelCell Energy's Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants in Korea, and will manufacture the balance of equipment for the plants.

The Direct FuelCell gets its name from the fact that it can use both fossil and biofuels directly without the need to first create hydrogen in an external fuel processor.

Fuel Cell Energy makes components for its better known German partner firm MTU CFC Solutions, which is successfully demonstrating the use of climate neutral biogas in the fuel cells (earlier post, and here on a server farm using the cells for power and cooling). In a combined heat-and-power configuration and with the use of biofuels, this type of fuel cell is arguably the most efficient and cleanest energy system currently in existence.

Under the 10-year license and distribution agreement between Fuel Cell Energy and POSCO Power, the latter will create a fuel cell sales and service organization, and employ its expertise in power plant design and raw materials procurement to reduce power plant costs. Fuel cell stack modules will be manufactured by FuelCell Energy in Connecticut and shipped to Asian customers for installation with POSCO Power balance of plants. POSCO Power also will build a facility to manufacture the balance of plant (non-fuel cell stack portion of FuelCell Energy's DFC power plants) in Korea:
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In addition to Korea, POSCO has the right to sell DFC power plants worldwide except in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Capitalizing on POSCO's strong manufacturing capabilities and economies of scale, FuelCell Energy also has the option to purchase POSCO Power's balance of plants for sale to FuelCell Energy's customers in other parts of the world.

"Over the last three years we have forged a strong relationship with FuelCell Energy and are pleased to announce the expansion of our alliance into manufacturing and distribution for the Korean market, and key markets around the world," said Mr. Seung-Woo Lee, President and CEO of POSCO Power Corporation. "We recognize that ultra-clean fuel cell technology will be an important contribution to future environmentally friendly energy production, and we intend to move aggressively to be a leader in this industry."

The Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) has been a strong proponent of Korean energy independence. Last year, MOCIE announced a new renewable energy subsidy program, under which fuel cells powered by biogas and natural gas received subsidies in excess of the amounts allocated to wind power, biomass, and hydro, and second only to solar power. For fuel cells running on natural gas, the current subsidy is $0.28/kilowatt hour (kWh) and $0.023/kWh for those running on biogas, decreasing 3 percent annually for new installations up to a cap of 50 MW. A binding Renewable Portfolio Standards program is expected to be signed into law by 2009. With these policies in place, Korea is slated to become one of the world's leading adopters of clean energy technology.

"Over the past few years, South Korea has emerged as a global leader in the deployment of ultra-clean energy technology," said R. Daniel Brdar, Chairman and CEO of FuelCell Energy. "It is critical for FuelCell Energy to establish a leadership position in this market as a platform for growth in Asia and beyond, and we are confident that POSCO Power is the right partner."

Because the MOCIE subsidy requires that power from renewable sources first be exported to the utility grid, rather than consumed on-site, the law is expected to favor the installation of multi-megawatt power stations rather than smaller, privately-owned plants. POSCO Power, Korea's leading independent power producer (IPP), intends to focus its core marketing efforts in this sector. FuelCell Energy anticipates sales volume in South Korea of approximately 5 to 15 MW over the next several years, while POSCO Power establishes its local manufacturing facilities and continued sales growth for DFC stack modules following POSCO Power's launch of domestically produced balance of plants.

Fuel Cell Energy's ultra-clean fuel cell power plants generate electricity with twice the efficiency of other distributed generation plants of similar size and with virtually no air pollution. The DFC's range in size from 300 kilowatts (kW) to 2.4 megawatts (MW).

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