Japan's Tsukishima Kikai Co. and Marubeni Corp. have together clinched an order from Oenon Holdings Inc. for a plant that will make bioethanol from rice. The Oenon group will invest around 4.4 billion yen (US$40.17 million) in the project, half of which will be covered by a subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plant will initially produce bioethanol from imported rice, with plans to use Hokkaido-grown rice in the future. It will produce 5 million liters per year starting in 2009, increasing output to 15m liters in 2011. The facility will be able to produce as much as 50,000 liters of bioethanol from 125 tons of rice each day.
Trading Markets - January 11, 2007.
PetroSun, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, PetroSun BioFuels Refining, has entered into a JV to construct and operate a biodiesel refinery near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algal oil produced by PetroSun BioFuels at algae farms to be located in Arizona. The refinery will have a capacity of thirty million gallons and will produce 100% renewable biodiesel. PetroSun BioFuels will process the residual algae biomass into ethanol.
MarketWire - January 10, 2007.
BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc, which develops and operates carbohydrate-based transportation fuel production facilities, has secured capital liquidity for corporate overhead and continued project development in the value of US$15 million with Quercus, an environmentally focused trust.
BlueFire Ethanol Fuels - January 09, 2007.
Some $170 billion in new technology development projects, infrastructure equipment and construction, and biofuel refineries will result from the ethanol production standards contained the new U.S. Energy Bill, says BIO, the global Biotechnology Industry Organization. According to Brent Erickson, BIO's executive vice president "Such a new energy infrastructure has not occurred in more than 100 years. We are at the point where we were in the 1850s when kerosene was first distilled and began to replace whale oil. This technology will be coming so fast that what we say today won't be true in two years."
Chemical & Engineering News - January 07, 2007.
Scottish and Southern Energy plc, the UK's second largest power company, has completed the acquisition of Slough Heat and Power Ltd from SEGRO plc for a total cash consideration of £49.25m. The 101MW CHP plant is the UK’s largest dedicated biomass energy facility fueled by wood chips, biomass and waste paper. Part of the plant is contracted under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation and part of it produces over 200GWH of output qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which is equivalent to around 90MW of wind generation.
Scottish & Southern Energy - January 2, 2007.
PetroChina Co Ltd, the country's largest oil and gas producer, plans to invest 800 million yuan to build an ethanol plant in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, its parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The ethanol plant has a designed annual capacity of 100,000 tons.
ABCMoneyNews - December 21, 2007.
Mexico passed legislation to promote biofuels last week, offering unspecified support to farmers that grow crops for the production of any renewable fuel. Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas said Mexico could expand biodiesel faster than ethanol. More soon.
Reuters - December 20, 2007.
Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high throughput screening reactors. The first will be used to speed up the development of catalysts for hydrodesulphurisation (HDS). The second will be used to further the development of catalysts for use in gas to liquid (GTL) and Fischer-Tropsch processes which can be applied to next generation biofuels.
AlphaGalileo - December 18, 2007.
According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Brazil's production of sugarcane will increase from 514,1 million tonnes this season, to a record 561,8 million tonnes in the 2008/09 cyclus - an increase of 9.3%. New numbers are also out for the 2007 harvest in Brazil's main sugarcane growing region, the Central-South: a record 425 million tonnes compared to 372,7 million tonnes in 2006, or a 14% increase. The estimate was provided by Unica – the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar.
Jornal Cana - December 16, 2007.
The University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. The announcement comes as the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, speaks at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali.
Eurekalert - December 13, 2007.
The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science.
AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.
Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels.
Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.
Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million.
Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.
New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20.
Grainnet - December 5, 2007.
According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands.
Mongabay - December 5, 2007.
Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels."
AFP - December 5, 2007.
In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent.
Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.
Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum.
Reuters - November 30, 2007.
SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals.
Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.
German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion.
Reuters - November 24, 2007.
Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars.
Canada.com - November 21, 2007.
South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.
Korea Times - November 19, 2007.
OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States.
France24 - November 17, 2007.
The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management.
ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.
In some circles, most notably those of so-called 'Peak Oil & Gas' authors, it is said that the looming energy crisis will result in the collapse of modern societies. Scientists are less pessimistic and see the substitution logic already at work: there is more than enough sustainable biomass potential to cope with a peak and decline in oil and gas production, and the substitution can happen fast enough.
A very important study now makes the point: the EU has a biogas production potential large enough to replace all natural gas imports from Russia by 2020. The projection is made by the Institut für Energetik und Umwelt, based in Leipzig, and by the Öko-Instituts Darmstadt. It shows that if current production trends continue, all of Europe's natural gas imports from Russia will be covered by locally produced biogas within 2 decades. Earlier, Ulrich Schmack, an energy advisor to the German government and manager of the world's largest biogas firm, came to the same conclusion, even though his projection created some controversy (earlier post). It seems like Schmack was right.
The EU currently imports some 40% of all its natural gas from Russia. In 2030, this dependency will have increased to 60%. This outlook worries many, as it opens obvious questions about energy security. Last year, gas disputes between Russia and Belarus and the Ukraine, affected energy supplies to the EU. The Leipzig report on biogas, entitled "Möglichkeiten einer europäischen Biogaseinspeisungsstrategie" ("The opportunities of a European strategy to feed biogas into the natural gas grid") puts this geopolitical question into an entirely different perspective.
The main findings of the study are:
Europe's potential for the sustainable production of biomethane is 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas equivalent (17.7 trillion cubic feet) per year. This is roughly the total amount of natural gas currently consumed by the entire European Union.
The entire EU's natural gas needs for the the medium-term future (2020) can be met by biogas; all imports from Russia can be replaced, while the excess can substitute petroleum and coal.
The production of 500 billion cubic meters of biogas, fed into the grid, will result in a reduction of 15% of Europe's CO2 emissions. The Kyoto protocol demands a reduction of 10%.
An efficient biogas-feed-in strategy will be build around the concept of 'biogas corridors': such corridors consist of biomass plantations established alongside the pipelines, so that the green gas can be fed into Europe's main natural gas grid without the need for new pipelines and infrastructures.
A Europe-wide biogas-feed-in strategy will result in the creation of 2.7 million new jobs within the EU. Employment will be generated mainly in agriculture, in the manufacture, construction and management of biogas plants and biogas purification plants.
The Greens, led by the party's energy and technology expert Hans-Josef Fell, will now present the findings to the German Federal Government and the European Commission and start political and legislative work aimed at creating a framework for the launch of a Europe-wide biogas-strategy.
Quicknote biogas German energy giant E.ON AG, one of the major public utility companies in Europe and the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider, has announced [*German] it has created E.ON Bioerdgas GmbH, a company dedicated to feeding biogas into Europe's natural gas network.
The new company will have its headquarters in Essen and will unite all of E.ON's biogas activities, in particular the purification process. Biogas is obtained by the anaerobic fermentation of biomass. Typical methane yields are 60-70%, with the rest being mainly CO2. Scrubbing out the carbon-monoxide allows producers to obtain a gas with a methane content similar to that of natural gas.
The green gas is experiencing a real boom in Europe. In Germany alone, €1 billion was invested in the sector in 2006, making it the fastest growing segment of all renewables. Some 10,000 people have found employment in this sector in Germany in 2006 (planning, construction, manufacture and operation of biogas plants; producing feedstocks), with some 3,500 medium-scale plants online, which produce approximately five billion KWh of electricity. The German Biogas Association projects the amount to double once again in the first half of this year (earlier post).
The Association concludes that at this pace and with current technologies, the industry will tap a potential that can replace half of all Russian gas imports 'in the near future'. Earlier, Ulrich Schmack, an energy advisor to the German government, who also heads the world's leading biogas plant manufacturer, projected that the biofuel can replace all natural gas imports from Russia by 2030 (earlier post).
E.ON's initiative is based on successful trials in Sweden, where the company experimented with feeding biogas into the grid for several years. In Germany, a number of biogas purification plants, owned by E.ON, are now under construction (earlier post). Meanwhile, the company is also building 150 biogas motorway filling stations to serve cars (earlier post).
Jürgen Lenz, technical director of E.ON Ruhrgas, says that "until now, 'normal biogas' was mainly used for the production of on-site electricity and heat. By feeding the gas into the natural gas grid, we can give it a much wider reach and make it available for the same applications as natural gas. The pipeline network becomes the bridge between the production site and the end-user."
Because the biofuel will be fed into the main gas grid, natural gas capable cars (CNG) will utilize it without noticing it. E.ON says that of all current and future biofuels (including cellulosic ethanol), biogas is the most efficient when it comes to the total well-to-wheel energy balance: per hectare of biogas crops (such as dedicated maize), an average CNG passenger car can travel 100,000 kilometers. This unparalleled efficiency explains Europe's growing interest in the fuel. The gas also has the lowest CO2 footprint of all biofuels (earlier post) [entry ends here.] biomass :: bioenergy :: biofuels :: energy :: sustainability :: energy balance :: biogas :: natural gas :: CNG :: Germany ::
Scientists in Spain's top citrus fruit growing region, Valencia, are looking into using the peels of the fruits as a feedstock for the production of ethanol.
Esteban González Pons, president of Valencia's Land and Housing council, explained that "with the introduction of a new processing plant, we will generate some 500,000 tons of orange waste from which we can derive an estimated 37.5 million liters of ethanol. This constitutes 16% of Spain's current national ethanol production, which stands at 240 million liters."
Revitalising the economy Utilising residues from the orange processing industry allows "the creation of a new space of productivity, with which we can revive one of our region's traditional sectors, which was otherwise doomed to disappear. The new revenues will be large enough to turn the entire industry around. The money can be invested in combating erosion and desertification," Gonzáles Pons adds.
The revenues from the initiative will make it possible to regenerate and reclame 100,000 hectares of heavily degraded land in the interior of Valencia, while the desertification rate can be cut back by up to 30%, the president adds.
The combination of economic revival and bioenergy production "allows us to combine ecology and economy and to reduce our oil dependence as a region by 40%. It allows us to keep the 100,000 Valencian families who depend on the orange industry employed, and what's more, 2500 direct and 20,000 indirect new jobs will be created. In addition, we will obtain CO2 emission rights worth €40 million per year," the Gonzáles Pons said: biomass :: bioenergy :: biofuels :: energy :: sustainability :: ethanol :: oranges :: waste :: Spain :: The president referred to trials in California, which have proved the feasibility of using this type of waste. According to González Pons, the project would produce enough biofuel to power 550,000 cars, around 25% of the entire fleet of the Spanish east coast.
The ethanol made from citrus and orange peels will reduce CO2 emissions in the region's transport sector by up to a third.
The initiative was presented to Al Gore, during a climate change conference in Madrid. Gore, who is on a European tour, was very enthusiastic and proposed to have the fuel called "zumos oil" ("juice fuel").
Within the context of the project, the region of Valencia is currently negotiating with Ford, who has a manufacturing plant there, to make bio-ethanol capable engines at its Almusafes plant. Likewise, the government of Valencia is talking to Spains largest fuel distributors, Abengoa and Acciona, who have shown very positive signals of interest.
Valencia currently grows oranges on some 190,000 hectares of land.
Photo: Al Gore and Esteban Gonzáles Pons at the Madrilenian Climate Change Conference.
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