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.
Scientists from the University of Kassel prove that Germany can power itself entirely by clean renewables in a secure way. In an ongoing experiment called the KombiKraftwerk ('Combined Power Plant'), they link 36 decentralised biogas plants, wind, solar and hydropower installations in a robust network to demonstrate that distributed power can replace both fossil fuels and nuclear power. The network is just as reliable and powerful as a conventional large-scale power station.
The companies Schmack Biogas AG, Enercon GmbH and SolarWorld AG teamed up with the Institute for Solar Energy Supply Systems (ISET) at the University of Kassel, to defuse arguments against renewables by showing that they can secure 100 per cent of energy supplies in accordance with fluctuating demand - both continuous baseload and peakloads.
The Combined Power Plant shows that renewable energy sources can supply sufficient electricity, can be controlled at any time, function in combination and can be balanced out across the grid. - Ulrich Schmack, Board Spokesman of Schmack Biogas AG
The joint project supplies electricity around the clock regardless of weather conditions and electricity demand. It takes advantage of the unequally distributed energy potential across Germany and of a permanently stored source of solar energy, biomass.
The Combined Power Plant is scaled to meet 1/10,000th of the electricity demand in Germany. This scale corresponds to the annual electricity requirements of a small town with around 12,000 households. The Combined Power Plant therefore shows in miniature what is also possible on a large scale: 100 per cent electricity provision using renewable energy sources.
The wind and sun cannot be influenced and are 'intermittent' sources of power, which places particular importance on bioenergy, which is stored solar energy able to provide a desired amount of power ad hoc and at all times. It is this secure biomass baseload that makes the other renewables viable and debunks the 'baseload fallacy'. It also disproves those who say that wind and solar power stimulate the use of climate destructive fossil fuels like coal: energy :: sustainability :: climate change :: energy security :: biomass :: bioenergy :: biofuels :: biogas ::renewables :: distributed power :: decentralisation :: Germany :: But the real secret of the system lies in the simple fact that the whole - its distributed and regenerative nature - is more than its constituting parts.
Explaining the Combined Power Plant’s central control unit, Kurt Rohrig from ISET says the decentralised network enables wind, solar and biogas installations to be controlled like a conventional large-scale power station and thus meet Germany’s fluctuating energy requirements.
Germany has committed itself to phasing out all nuclear power plants within two decades. But Europe's largest economy still heavily relies on coal and imported oil and natural gas. The Combined Power Plant shows that the arguments against the 'intermittent' renewables (wind and solar) can be countered by coupling them to biomass systems.
The question now is whether distributed power systems can be scaled up. Projections show Germany has enough domestic resources to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear power, and the scientists think the country can achieve full renewables based energy autonomy by mid-century.
The renewables utilized in the demonstration system are all carbon neutral, helping in the fight against climate change. But in the future, the concept can be pushed even further and instead of merely avoiding the release of new carbon emissions, it can begin to take emissions from the dirty past out of the atmosphere. This can be achieved by coupling the bioenergy plants to carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
In such 'negative emissions' or 'carbon negative' energy systems, the energy crops used for the bio-power then act as machines that store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is consequently captured and buried under the ground in geological formations. Scientists project that if such systems were applied on a global scale, they could cool the planet and take us back to pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels by mid-century.
The Combined Power Plant project is part of 'Unendlich Viel Energie' (Endless Energy), an initiative to demonstrate the viability of large-scale distributed power generation in Germany and to speed up the transition towards renewables.
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