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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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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Global Green to earn exclusive world rights for algae biofuel technology

Several companies have issued press releases about breakthroughs in algae biofuel production, these past few years (an example). None of them has begun wide-scale production though, and the many problems with costs remain (earlier post).
Today, Canadian company Global Green Solutions Inc. announced it has the right to earn the exclusive world rights to yet another algae biofuel technology known as 'Vertigro' from Valcent Products Inc. of El Paso, Texas.

Vertigro is a C02 sequestration system in high-density vertical bioreactors for the mass production of certain algae that consume up to 90% of their weight with C02 using sunlight as the energy source to drive photosynthesis. Approximately 50% of the dry weight of the algae is an oil suitable for biofuel blending with diesel and for other uses. Vertigro is designed as a continuous closed loop that uses little man made energy and nominal water. [Video of the reactor - no technical specifications or research results available; picture showing an experimental vertical photobioreactor developed at the University of Kiel, Germany].

Valcent claims that its continuously operating test bed facility demonstrated that yields up to 4,000 barrels of oil per acre (10,000 barrels per hectare), per year, at an estimated cost of US$20 per barrel are achievable on a commercial scale. As a comparison, soybeans typically yield 1.5 barrels/acre (3b/ha) per year at considerably higher cost; palm oil, with highest yield of conventional sources, delivers approximately 15b/acre (35b/ha) per year.

After a demonstration pilot plant, slated for July 2007, is in operation, several production units that may total 1,000 acres may be built which would have the potential of producing approximately 4,000,000 barrels of oil per year with significant carbon dioxide green credits and other commercial products. At that rate of production, Vertigro will sequester approximately 2,700,000 tons C02 per year which will be sold as a green credit within the emerging green credit system within the USA and within the Kyoto Protocols:
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Global Green has agreed to fund a demonstration pilot plant at an estimated cost of $2,500,000. The Plant will be built on Valcent's lands located in the El Paso area by mid July of next year and in doing so Global Green will have earned the exclusive world rights for commercialization. On completing the pilot plant, Global Green will have earned a 70% joint venture interest, leaving Valcent with a 30% carried joint venture interest with both parties subject to 4.5% third party royalties. Under the terms of the Joint Venture, Valcent retained the right to carry Global Green for a 30% Joint Venture interest if Valcent elects to produce a model for the consumer markets.

Studies report the world market demand for alternate energy and bio-fuels will grow dramatically. The US Department of Agriculture believes that demand for biodiesel fuels will grow astronomically and account for 200 billion barrels produced by 2010. According to Frost and Sullivan, world leaders in technology research, there is a 25% annualized growth rate for bio-diesel fuels at this time in Europe. The U.S Department of Defense, the largest consumer of fuel in the world, requires 75% of the new vehicles it purchases to be alternate fuel users. In all countries, the drivers are the same: concern for global warming, rising cost of fossil fuels, and a desire to be independent from oil producing nations.

Doug Frater, CEO of Global Green, noted, "We are experiencing significant early interest for Vertigro from power utilities, oil and gas production and petrochemical companies as well as international government institutions. We are looking forward to working with Valcent's scientists during the commercialization proces." Glen Kertz, CEO of Valcent, also commented, "In addition to its obvious commercial advantages, we are gratified to be assisting in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while producing a secure source of energy within the USA. We are also proud to note that Vertigro plants will not be built on existing agricultural lands."


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