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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, August 07, 2006

Palm biodiesel booming in SE Asia

One of Asia's largest plantation companies, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd, expects to produce close to 400,000 tonnes of biodiesel by 2008 CEO Datuk Sabri Ahmad told Bernama. "We should be producing nearly 400,000 tonnes by 2008," he told reporters after a visit by Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the company's biodiesel plant at Teluk Panglima Garang Industrial Estate here. As we reported earlier, Malaysia and Indonesia are beginning to cooperate on biofuels, with a grand vision of becoming Asia's regional production and distribution powerhouse. Both Malaysia and Indonesia control about 80 percent of the world's production of palm oil.

By next year, Sabri said a total of 20 biodiesel factories would have started their commercial productions in the country. "We anticipate about two million tonnes of palm products will be used as raw material," he said. Thus, Sabri added, there "is still a long way to go" to achieve the six million crude palm oil (CPO) that the government aims to allocate as feedstock for the production of biofuel and biodiesel. He also said that Golden Hope will send its first shipment of biodiesel to Japan in mid-August.

"It will be used for transportation," he added. Commenting on Susilo's visit, Sabri said the president wanted to explore business opportunities that both countries could collaborate. "We see the opportunity in biodiesel. We have the opportunity to develop the new industry to become the world leader in terms of supplying biodiesel," added Sabri.

In another development, Thailand’s PTT Public Company Ltd is working on two joint projects for the production of biodiesel. One is with Southern Palm Company for 300,000 liters/day (about 79,000 gallons US per day) and the other is with Bio Energy Plus Co. for 200,000 liters/day (about 54,000 gallons US per day). Palm oil will be used as the main feed stock.

The agreements will raise PTT’s existing 600,000 liters/day (159,000 gallons US per day) biodiesel production capacity of biodiesel to about 1.1 million liters/day (about 290,000 gallons US per day, or about 100 million gallons per year).

The projects, according to the Thai Energy Ministry, will attract more investment from interested private investors. In addition, it will also help create price stability of domestic palm and palm oil in the short term, and attract more farmers to grow palm: The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has set the planting target at 4 million rais (6,500 square kilometres) by 2009:
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Current total production capacity for bio-diesel made from used vegetable cooking oil, stearin, and crude palm oil is at 350,000 liters/day (92,470 gallons US per day or 33.8 million gallons US annually). Between PTT Public Company Limited (PTT) and Bangchak Petroleum Public Company Limited (BCP) there are 35 stations that sell biodiesel currently with a combined sales volume of 113,000 liters/day (about 30,000 gallons US).

PTT and BCP plan to expand their biodiesel service stations to reach 200 stations within the year.

The Energy Ministry also expects to promote biodiesel production and usage in 70 communities by the end of this year at a production capacity between 7,000 to 21,000 liters per day. Under the support program, the government will urge the local people to produce biodiesel by using local raw material such as used cooking oil, palm oil and jatropha. This biofuel will replace up to 2 million liters (528,000 gallons US) per year of petroleum diesel used in the agricultural sector.


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