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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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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra rolls out two B100 capable SUV's

Earlier this month, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the leading Indian automotive manufacturer announced a landmark breakthrough in Indian alternative fuel technology. M&M formally demonstrated its commitment to the promotion of biodiesel by unveiling two B100-capable SUVs, the Scorpio and Bolero DI.

The Scorpio with indigenously developed CRDE technology is the first Asian vehicle in its class to run on 100% biodiesel. M&M also unveiled a 5% biodiesel tractor along with the utility vehicles, another first in the country.

Mahindra & Mahindra spearheaded two projects for it Biodiesel Programme, one in conjunction with the Indian Institute of Technology, and the other with Indian Oil Corporation’s R&D Centre and Lubrizol.
“The Mahindra vehicles are a landmark in the government’s sustainable energy goals. Such innovative use of technology will serve as a benchmark in India’s push for a sustained and more responsible use of valuable energy resources, will help energy security and national security. I am especially proud that this is an indigenous effort by the best minds in the private sector, the academia and the government.” - Murli Deora, India's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas
The vehicles will be run in a real world environment that will involve severe and demanding terrain including hot and cold weather operations at high altitudes. M&M is a pioneer in R&D of alternate propulsion technologies in India and had also set up its own biodiesel pilot plant way back in 2001. M&M carried our extensive studies on traditional engines and vehicles and realized the need to develop vehicles for contemporary and fuel efficient diesel engines like CRDe, meeting the world’s latest emission norms. M&M is also involved in the development of next-generation technologies that convert biomass into liquid biofuels:
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Mr. Keshub Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group said, “This is a landmark day in M&M’s history. We have grown in step with India since its inception and our business activities have been addressing the concerns of the Indian people. Our alternate fuel program addresses India’s fuel consumption needs and is, therefore, a natural extension of our priorities. Given the national importance of this initiative, we have proposed to the national government large-scale implementation throughout the country.”

Mr. Bharat Doshi, Executive Director-Finance and Corporate Affairs and President of its Trade & Financial Affairs Sector, said, “The Bio-Diesel Programme is one of Mahindra’s investments in India’s sustainable economic development. India is one of the world’s fastest developing markets with an automotive industry that hinges on sustainable fuel consumption. Mahindra’s biodiesel fuelled vehicles, serve a national cause for reducing dependence on oil imports.”

Speaking about the strides on the tractor segment, Mr. Manrao, M&M's Senior Vice-President and chief of Product Development & R&D Services of the company's Farm Equipment sector said, “Mahindra’s tractor division has been an Indian market leader and at the forefront on serving the needs of rural development. With rural technology development as an objective, M&M has initiated its Biodiesel programme for tractors and the 5% bio-diesel tractor is a result of this drive”.

“The vehicles being flagged off today by M&M emphasize the company’s commitment to the customer, environment, commitment to innovation and our commitment to encouraging collaborative research with energy providers and academia in biofuels and other technology areas in India,” concluded Dr. Arun Jaura, Senior Vice-President of M&M's Automotive Sector Product Development.

The US $3.8 billion Mahindra Group is among the top 10 industrial houses in India. Mahindra & Mahindra is the only Indian company among the top five tractor manufacturers in the world and is the market leader in multi-utility vehicles in India.

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