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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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Friday, September 29, 2006

60MW biomass power plant for Kokstad, South Africa

News of the establishment of a 1.2 billion rand (€122/US$154 million) plywood production plant that simultaneously works as a biomass power plant fed by wood residues, has been greeted with jubilation by the mayor of Kokstad, Mbulelo Sithole. The integrated plant is being built by a partnership between Hans Merensky and the Spanish-based Finsa group.

Sithole said that there was great excitement about the creation of direct and indirect jobs that the project would bring. "We are overwhelmed, so honoured and very happy." He said the plant would not only improve the economy of Kokstad but that of surrounding areas too.

Sithole said getting the plant approved and negotiations between the municipality and the investors had gone smoothly. His only concern was a lack of accommodation in the area.

"We need more accommodation, but hopefully this will now trigger the building of more houses," he said. Work on the hi-tech plywood plant begins with a sod-turning ceremony at the construction site on Wednesday, when the civil and bulk earthworks contractors start work. Known as HM Kokstad, the plant will boast state-of-the-art plywood processing technology previously unknown in the country. Piet van Zyl, Executive Manager at Hans Merensky, said that locals were hailing this as the "best investment to happen in Kokstad in the last 20 years".

"Development on HM Kokstad will span four phases, which reach completion in 2010 and will create approximately 600 permanent jobs," Van Zyl said. "Approximately 23 000m3 of plywood is expected to be produced a year.

"The plant will be in operation by March 2007. Phase two of the project involves the establishment of a bio-energy plant, which will consume bio-waste including forest waste, pine bark and sawdust, and convert it to electrical power. The bioenergy plant will have the capacity to generate approximately 60 megawatts of heat energy.

"HM Kokstad will use 20 megawatts of the electrical energy, the surplus being made available for the national grid." The biomass plant is expected to be operational in 2008:
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"Also planned for start-up in 2008 is a sawmill and timber yard designed to process 600 000m3 of timber per annum.

"This phase of the development includes construction of a treatment plant to provide treated timber to the market. The final phase of the project, planned for completion in 2010, is the construction of a medium-density fibre board plant, which will cover an area of approximately 7ha.

"As part of phase four, the plywood plant is to be extended to include a veneer plant, which will produce high quality veneer wood products for the market," he said.

Van Zyl said HM Kokstad was committed to serving the best interests of the Kokstad community and had agreed to the necessity of traffic management, pedestrian protection and control measures at the site during a tribunal approval hearing held in the area recently.

The company had also pledged to employ as many local residents as possible and hoped to make use of local business to supply construction and other development needs.

HM Kokstad Project Manager Kobus Visser said where local companies were able to meet the demand and required specifications they would "certainly be given preference".

"An investment of this nature can only benefit the Greater Kokstad Municipality, contributing to poverty alleviation, uplifting the area and stimulating housing and other sectors of the local economy. Training and development of staff will also be a focal point as state-of-the-art technology is being utilised across all phases of the development," said Van Zyl.

The Mercury, via IOL: R1.2bn hi-tech plant for Kokstad, - Sept. 29, 2007


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