<body> -------------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive » Bioenergy_sustainability
Nature Blog Network

    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.

Creative Commons License

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Malaysia denies rain forests being destroyed for palm oil cultivation

Recently, Malaysia announced that it has almost run out of suitable land for new oil palm based 'energy plantations'. It is now forced to invest in increasing yields and making harvesting and processing more efficient - or so the official message goes. Fears have always existed though, that the world's largest palm oil producer may begin to prey on its last tracts of rainforest. Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry today denied this. It also said that oil palm cultivation activities for biofuels have not destroyed tropical rainforests.

Here at the Biopact we are suspicious about the Malaysian government's recent announcements. We think that government is gradually launching a campaign that looks as follows:
  • public opinion both in the West and in Asia knows that new palm oil plantations are based on destroying rainforest
  • shift attention away from the actual topic of rainforest destruction by stressing that Malaysia has no more land to expand - push this message continuously (it seems like the Malaysian government is beginning to do this)
  • instead let us tell the world that we will be investing in intensification, biotechnology with which to increase yields, and in better processing technologies
  • meanwhile, continue business as usual in a 'stealth' way
This might be far fetched but we think that, at times, it may be wise to assume the worst and to not trust the government. After all, the country's most powerful men are either in the logging business or in the oil palm industry, or in both. There is no reason to assume that they will suddenly think about long-term sustainability. As businessmen they need to cash in quickly. Rainforests are up for grabs, oil palm prices are reaching record highs, the palm biodiesel opportunity is out there... In any case, satellite monitoring will reveal the truth about what is going on in Malaysia's remaining rainforests. And if these hotspots of biodiversity are being destroyed for palm biofuels, then indeed, they are worse than fossil fuel. Another cruel crude oil.

But let us give the word back to the ministry's parliamentary secretary, Datuk Dr S. Vijayaratnam. He says the accusation by non-governmental organisations and certain quarters in the West was wrong because the cultivation activities were carried out in existing plantations and farms. "We're only striving to enhance yields and also the oil extraction ratio. Presently, annual production by smallholders is 12 tonnes per hectare while the plantations between 16 and 18 tonnes.Through research and development, we will raise production to between 20 and 22 tonnes per hectare annually and the extraction ratio to 25 or 30 per cent," he said.

He was replying to Alexander Nanta Linggi in Malay newspaper Dewan Rakyat today on the prospect of palm oil being used as biodiesel. Linggi had said that the United States and European Union would not accept biodiesel made from palm oil on the grounds that the producing countries including Malaysia had destroyed thousands of hectares of tropical rainforests.

Vijayaratnam admitted that an article had been published in newspapers saying European countries would not readily accept biodiesel because it would probably cause the formation of sludge in engine cylinders and valves. However, he said this was mere speculation and had not been proven.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council had replied to the article in which it stated that biodiesel using palm oil had advantages compared to using soy beans or rape seeds, he added. He said the ministry was also conducting research on other crops which could produce biodiesel because all vegetable oils could be used as alternatives to fossil fuel. "Biodiesel is environmentally-friendly as it is produced using renewable resources and contains less sulphur and hydrocarbon compared to fossil fuel," he said.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home