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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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Monday, July 24, 2006

Europe investing in Mozambique's biofuels

Here at the BioPact we maintain that the EU should urgently develop a partnership with Africa's future 'Biofuel Superpowers' to create a win-win situation, whereby African developing nations with a huge bioenergy production potential get the funds, knowledge and technologies needed to exploit this potential, while exporting biofuels to the EU - in a mutually beneficial relationship. To achieve this goal, there is the European Union Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, but bilateral projects and investments are obviously welcome as well.
Some are sharing our vision. Amongst them, Sweden, which announced that it is working with the Mozambican authorities on supplying the local market with biofuels, according to Energy Minister Salvador Namburete, cited in Friday's issue of the Notícias, maintained by the Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.

Mozambique will feature in our series about Biofuels Superpowers, because the country has vast and underused agro-ecological potential for the development of a bioenergy industry. Together with Sweden, the country is looking at the possibility of producing ethanol even though Namburete did not say what raw material would be used. He did project that there was enough potential to supply the entire Mozambican market and export a surplus to Sweden. We have already pointed to this phenomenon as "energy leapfrogging", and Mozambique is gladly jumping.

Biofuels would reduce Mozambique's fuel import bill considerably. In the long-term, the country can become entirely oil-independent. Currently, Mozambique's fuel imports cost in excess of €133 million (US$ 168 mio) a year - a heavy burden on the poor developing nation. And that invoice could rise still further: speculators this week were able to push the price of oil up to 78 dollars a barrel, largely because of nervousness over the spreading conflict in the Middle East.

In addition to the Swedish interest in ethanol, the search for alternative fuels also involves several proposals for biodiesel. Thus in the Zambezia province, the company Madal has proposed to turn copra into biodiesel, taking advantage of the fact that Zambezia is home to the largest coconut plantation in the world. The Monapo Industrial Company in Nampula province intends to refine biodiesel from sunflower oil. But the most frequently mentioned source of biodiesel is the jatropha shrub, which President Armandoi Guebuza himself is urging peasant farmers to grow.

More information:
André Faaij, Emerging International Biomass Markets and the Potential Implications for Rural Development, Development and Climate Workshop: Rural development, the roles of food, water and biomass; opportunities and challenges. Copernicus Institute, November 2005. [*pdf], offers a case study of Mozambique's bioenergy production potential.
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henriqueoliveira said...


As long as the producers in developing countries of biofuels are not sure of which feedstock is the best-suited for ethanol conversion, how can we expect people in the industrialized world to follow any lead we give them?

Copra, jatropha, sunflower - which is it? None of them have been extensively tested. Why should people in Sweden switch from oil (whose dynamics they understand) to jatropha?

Once again, Brazilian sugar cane-derived ethanol is the only one with a proven track record (30+ years). Anybody understands that. Let's start promoting it more aggressively - and soon there will be a market for a number of other potentially-more-efficient feedstocks.

Henrique Oliveira

7:37 AM  

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