A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.
Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal.
Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.
The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications.
New Kerala - November 1, 2007.
A British development NGO, Oxfam, says the EU's biofuels policy could be "disastrous" for poor people if it means agro-industrial production models. However, it also recognizes that "biofuels may offer the potential to reduce poverty by increasing jobs and markets for small farmers, and by providing cheap renewable energy for local use".
Oxfam - November 1, 2007.
Massey University and Palmerston North City Council in New Zealand have found a way to increase the production of biogas to help drive the council's cogeneration engine to produce steam and electricity by co-digesting whey, an unwanted byproduct from milk processing, with sludge from a wastewater treatment plant. A full scale trial is under way at the Totara Road Treatment Plant to develop a cheap method of disposing of whey, increase gas production from the city's digesters and ultimately earn more carbon credits.
Manawatu Standard - October 30, 2007.
U.S. oil prices and Brent crude rocketed to all-time highs again on a record-low dollar, tensions in the Middle East and worries over energy supply shortages ahead of the northern hemisphere's winter. Now even wealthy countries like South Korea are warning that the record prices will damage economic growth. In the developing world, the situation is outright catastrophic.
Korea Times - October 26, 2007.
Ethablog's Henrique Oliveira, a young Brazilian biofuels business expert, is back online. From April to September 2007, he traveled around Brazil comparing the Brazilian and American biofuels markets. In August he was joined by Tom MacDonald, senior alcohol fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission. Henrique reports about his trip with a series of photo essays.
EthaBlog - October 24, 2007.
Italy's Enel is to invest around €400 mln in carbon capture and storage and is looking now for a suitable site to store CO2 underground. Enel's vision of coal's future is one in which coal is used to produce power, to produce ash and gypsum as a by-product for cement, hydrogen as a by-product of coal gasification and CO2 which is stored underground. Carbon capture and storage techniques can be applied to biomass and biofuels, resulting in carbon-negative energy.
Reuters - October 22, 2007.
Gate Petroleum Co. is planning to build a 55 million-gallon liquid biofuels terminal in Jacksonville, Florida. The terminal is expected to cost $90 million and will be the first in the state designed primarily for biofuels. It will receive and ship ethanol and biodiesel via rail, ship and truck and provide storage for Gate and for third parties. The biofuels terminal is set to open in 2010.
Florida Times-Union - October 19, 2007.
China Holdings Inc., through its controlled subsidiary China Power Inc., signed a development contract with the HeBei Province local government for the rights to develop and construct 50 MW of biomass renewable energy projects utilizing straw. The projects have a total expected annual power generating capacity of 400 million kWh and expected annual revenues of approximately US$33.3 million. Total investment in the projects is approximately US$77.2 million, 35 percent in cash and 65 percent from China-based bank loans with preferred interest rates with government policy protection for the biomass renewable energy projects. Full production is expected in about two years.
China Holdings - October 18, 2007.
Canadian Bionenergy Corporation, supplier of biodiesel in Canada, has announced an agreement with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. to partner in the construction of a biodiesel production facility near Edmonton, Alberta. The company broke ground yesterday on the construction of the facility with an expected capacity of 225 million litres (60 million gallons) per year of biodiesel. Together, the companies also intend to forge a strategic marketing alliance to better serve the North American marketplace by supplying biodiesel blends and industrial methyl esters.
Canadian Bioenergy - October 17, 2007.
Leading experts in organic solar cells say the field is being damaged by questionable reports about ever bigger efficiency claims, leading the community into an endless and dangerous tendency to outbid the last report. In reality these solar cells still show low efficiencies that will need to improve significantly before they become a success. To counter the hype, scientists call on the community to press for independent verification of claimed efficiencies. Biopact sees a similar trend in the field of biofuels from algae, in which press releases containing unrealistic yield projections and 'breakthroughs' are released almost monthly.
Eurekalert - October 16, 2007.
The Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program at Colorado State University received a $65,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to expand the use of woody biomass throughout Colorado. The purpose of the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program is to provide financial assistance to state foresters to accelerate the adoption of woody biomass as an alternative energy source.
Colorado State University - October 12, 2007.
Indian company Naturol Bioenergy Limited announced that it will soon start production from its biodiesel facility at Kakinada, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The facility has an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of biodiesel and 10,000 tons of pharmaceutical grade glycerin. The primary feedstock is crude palm oil, but the facility was designed to accomodate a variety of vegetable oil feedstocks.
Biofuel Review - October 11, 2007.
Brazil's state energy company Petrobras says it will ship 9 million liters of ethanol to European clients next month in its first shipment via the northeastern port of Suape. Petrobras buys the biofuel from a pool of sugar cane processing plants in the state of Pernambuco, where the port is also located.
Reuters - October 11, 2007.
Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, a leader in biomass-to-biofuel technology, announces that it has completed a $10.5 million equity financing with Quercus Trust, an environmentally oriented fund, and several other private investors. Ardour Capital Inc. of New York served as financial advisor in the transaction.
Business Wire - October 10, 2007.
Cuban livestock farmers are buying distillers dried grains (DDG), the main byproduct of corn based ethanol, from biofuel producers in the U.S. During a trade mission of Iowan officials to Cuba, trade officials there said the communist state will double its purchases of the dried grains this year.
DesMoines Register - October 9, 2007.
Brasil Ecodiesel, the leading Brazilian biodiesel producer company, recorded an increase of 57.7% in sales in the third quarter of the current year, in comparison with the previous three months. Sales volume stood at 53,000 cubic metres from August until September, against 34,000 cubic metres of the biofuel between April and June. The company is also concluding negotiations to export between 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of glycerine per month to the Asian market.
ANBA - October 4, 2007.
PolyOne Corporation, the US supplier of specialised polymer materials, has opened a new colour concentrates manufacturing plant in Kutno, Poland. Located in central Poland, the new plant will produce colour products in the first instance, although the company says the facility can be expanded to handle other products. In March, the Ohio-based firm launched a range of of liquid colourants for use in bioplastics in biodegradable applications. The concentrates are European food contact compliant and can be used in polylactic acid (PLA) or starch-based blends.
Plastics & Rubber Weekly - October 2, 2007.
A turbo-charged, spray-guided direct-injection engine running on pure ethanol (E100) can achieve very high specific output, and shows “significant potential for aggressive engine downsizing for a dedicated or dual-fuel solution”, according to engineers at Orbital Corporation.
GreenCarCongress - October 2, 2007.
UK-based NiTech Solutions receives £800,000 in private funding to commercialize a cost-saving industrial mixing system, dubbed the Continuous Oscillatory Baffled Reactor (COBR), which can lower costs by 50 per cent and reduce process time by as much as 90 per cent during the manufacture of a range of commodities including chemicals, drugs and biofuels.
Scotsman - October 2, 2007.
A group of Spanish investors is building a new bioethanol plant in the western region of Extremadura that should be producing fuel from maize in 2009. Alcoholes Biocarburantes de Extremadura (Albiex) has already started work on the site near Badajoz and expects to spend €42/$59 million on the plant in the next two years. It will produce 110 million litres a year of bioethanol and 87 million kg of grain byproduct that can be used for animal feed.
Europapress - September 28, 2007.
Portuguese fuel company Prio SA and UK based FCL Biofuels have joined forces to launch the Portuguese consumer biodiesel brand, PrioBio, in the UK. PrioBio is scheduled to be available in the UK from 1st November. By the end of this year (2007), says FCL Biofuel, the partnership’s two biodiesel refineries will have a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes which will is set to grow to 400,000 tonnes by the end of 2010.
Biofuel Review - September 27, 2007.
According to Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, one third of the value of all of Finland's exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies. Finland has invested in climate and energy technologies, particularly in combined heat and power production from biomass, bioenergy and wind power, the president said at the UN secretary-general's high-level event on climate change.
Newroom Finland - September 25, 2007.
Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa says it had suspended bioethanol production at the biggest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. It cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol. Earlier this year, the plant, located in Salamanca, ceased production for similar reasons. To Biopact this is yet another indication that biofuel production in the EU/US does not make sense and must be relocated to the Global South, where the biofuel can be produced competitively and sustainably, without relying on food crops.
Reuters - September 24, 2007.
The Midlands Consortium, comprised of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham, is chosen to host Britain's new Energy Technologies Institute, a £1 billion national organisation which will aim to develop cleaner energies.
University of Nottingham - September 21, 2007.
The EGGER group, one of the leading European manufacturers of chipboard, MDF and OSB boards has begun work on installing a 50MW biomass boiler for its production site in Rion. The new furnace will recycle 60,000 tonnes of offcuts to be used in the new combined heat and power (CHP) station as an ecological fuel. The facility will reduce consumption of natural gas by 75%.
IHB Network - September 21, 2007.
Nviro Cleantech plc, a company active in commercialising clean fuel technologies announced that its subsidiary, Vertus Technology Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CLP Power India Private Limited to develop its Vertus RTP technology for applications in both biomass and lignite coal treatment.
Vertus RTP, the group’s new 'reductive thermal process', simultaneously eliminates many environmental problems and decreases the consumption rate of coal and biomass so that reserves can be extended. This pre-combustion technology separates fuel and non-fuel components of coal and biomass through a short exposure to an environment of elevated temperature and low oxygen pyrolysis. The equipment for performing RTP is simple to operate. A pilot plant in Europe has been operational for five years evaluating the impact of RTP on both coal and biomass.
Under the agreement the two companies will conduct trials to test and assess the feasibility of developing a pilot production plant in India capable of pre-treating a range of carbonaceous fuels for cleaner power generation. If phase one is successful, Vertus will develop a Vertus RTP plant for use by CLP India. This would be the first established commercial demonstration site for Vertus technology in India, providing CLP India with suitable performance data for possible further development of the Vertus technology in their territory. Work on the agreed test programme will commence immediately, with a series of fuels being analysed at the Vertus laboratory in Hungary: energy :: sustainability :: bioenergy :: biofuels :: pretreatment :: emissions :: air pollution :: coal :: biomass :: CLP India is one of the largest foreign investors in India's power sector and is part of the CLP Group, which operates a vertically integrated electricity supply business in Hong Kong and is a leading private sector power company in Asia Pacific, including Mainland China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand. The CLP Group is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and in 2006 has a market capitalisation of almost US$20 billion.
We are delighted to form a working partnership with such a well established and experienced power generator as CLP India for our first foray into India, and we look forward to establishing a mutually profitable business development pipeline. Following our recently announced JV in China, Nviro now has a presence in two of the world's largest coal-fired power generating countries where its technologies can not only help reduce emissions from traditional fossil fuels, but also emerging biomass energy projects. - Chris Every, CEO of Nviro Cleantech and Chairman of Vertus
In China, Vertus has formed a joint venture with Balama Prima Engineering Limited, a Hong Kong affiliate of Newton Sino Group Limited, to create Balama Nviro Limited. The JV is committed to place the first two Vertus RTP units in China, installing one in a biomass power generating site and the other in a coal fired site.
Researchers at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute (TFRI) and North Carolina State University in the U.S. have developed genetically modified Eucalyptus trees that store far more carbon dioxide and contain less lignin. - Biopact Sept. 17, 2007
The International Eucalyptus Genome Consortium's sequencing effort has been taken up as a project under the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Joint Genome Project for the year 2008. - Biopact June 12, 2007
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
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 / Biology, Volume 4/Issue 2 - February, 2006
Synthetic Genomics and the Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology Sdn Bhd (ACGT) have created a multi-year research and development joint venture to sequence and analyze the oil palm genome. In-depth genomic analyses will be followed by subsequent studies that will analyze the oil palm’s root and leaf microbial communities, to identify biomarkers and metabolic pathways that affect the plant's growth and viability. Biopact - July, 2007
Researchers at the International Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics have developed a sweet sorghum for the production of ethanol. The new variety has a very high sugar content in its root. Average yields in trial fields in the Philippines were between 95 to 125 tons, considerably higher than those of sugarcane - ICRISAT - Feb. 28, 2007
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 authorities have given their fiat for field trials with genetically modified sugar cane plants. The Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (Cane Technology Center - CTC) will test three genetically modified varieties that are expected to yield 15% more sugar - GMO Compass
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