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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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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

India and Brazil sign key bioenergy pact on eve of IBSA Summit

On the eve of the first India Brazil South-Africa (IBSA) Summit that is kicking off in Brasilia today, India and Brazil have taken their bilateral relationship to a new high with the signing of nine key pacts, including two agreements and seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). The multi-million dollar trade and investment deals are aimed at improving co-operation between the two major emerging economies. The meeting is signalling a shift in global power relations with the South gaining more prominence. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - who can be situated on the left of the political spectrum - said strengthening ties formed part of a vision to create a more just economic world order.

The two agreements signed included one on promoting air services and another on cooperation in the field of science and technology. But us interests the energy pact the two sides inked. This pact is aimed at facilitating cooperation in energy research, development and diversification, with the aim of providing more efficient, affordable and cost effective energy technologies. Under the accords, both countries formed a Joint Biofuel Committee to look at more efficient, cheaper and green energy sources.

Several Indian companies have already evinced interest in exploring production opportunities in Brazil to meet the anticipated growth in ethanol, a substitute of oil taken out from sugarcane, which is used in India both for industrial and automobile use. And the Indian government suggested it would be interested in investing in Brazilian sugar cane land and production, in order to diversify its portfolio of energy sources:
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"Our bilateral trade has grown in the last five years. From a mere 500 million dollars in 2002, trade between our two countries has increased five-fold to reach 2.5 billion. We are hopeful of further rapid expansion in our bilateral trade in the coming years. Implementation of the India-MERCOSUR PTA and the proposed deepening and expansion of our trade relations in the framework of IBSA will be important steps in that direction," Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh stated in his joint interaction with the media with President Lula Da Silva.

Further it was also agreed that both countries would station defence attaches in each other's capitals (New Delhi and Brasilia) and establish a joint defence committee as per the defence agreement of 2003. India and Brazil also resolved to stand together to fight against international terrorism. UN reforms and the framework of the G-4 also figured high on the agenda.

"India and Brazil have a long tradition of cooperation in the international for a, including on global trade and economic issues," Dr. Singh said, adding, "We have worked together in the WTO and are both united in our desire for a successful conclusion of the Doha Round of negotiations."

The Doha Round recently collapsed over EU/US agricultural subsidies. Bioenergy and biofuels played a major role in the collapse.

"We have been partners in the G-4 efforts to work towards expansion of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council," Dr. Singh further said.

Under the MoU signed on conducting "Weeks of Indian Culture in Brazil and Weeks of Brazilian culture in India", the two sides announced that they would shortly be opening cultural centres in Sao Paulo and New Delhi. Promotion of people-to-People contact and the forging of institutional and academic linkages in a systematic manner were also discussed.

Attaching great importance to his visit to Brazil, Dr. Singh said: "It is indeed a pleasure and privilege to visit this beautiful country. I would like to thank President Lula for the extremely gracious reception and hospitality. My visit to Brazil is after a 38 year-old hiatus since the last visit by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The significance of this bilateral visit is further enhanced by the holding of the first IBSA Summit, which would be taking place tomorrow (Wednesday)".

Other pacts signed were in the fields of human settlements and plant health protection, pacts between the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Associacao Brasileira De Normas Tecnicas (ABNT), Petrobus and ONGC-OVL, Bharat Earth Movers Limited and Compania de Comercio e Construcoes (CCC).

More information:

BBCNews: Brazil and India strengthen ties - sept. 13 2006
The Financial Express: IBSA forum to witness major eco cooperation - sept. 13, 2006
SABCNews: IBSA summit hailed as emerging trinity - sept. 13, 2006


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