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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, November 20, 2006

APEC launches Biofuels Taskforce

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit ended today with the 'Hanoi Declaration', presented at the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting where the heads of state of 21 Asian and Pacific countries convened. The over-arching theme of the Hanoi Declaration is "Towards One Dynamic Community for Sustainable Development and Prosperity" [*.pdf]. The APEC recognizes that Asian economies are growing at a rate unprecedented in human history, and that, in order to cope with such dramatic changes strong forms of multilateral cooperation and regional economic integration are needed.

Given record economic growth and the threat of climate change, energy security and global warming were high on the agenda of the APEC Summit:
We reiterated that energy security is critical for sustainable economic development. Noting the challenges of meeting rapidly growing energy demands while minimizing environmental effects, we urged member economies to continue to work to facilitate energy investments and cross-border energy trade, to develop new and renewable energy sources and technologies to ensure cleaner use of fossil fuels, to boost energy efficiency and conservation, to enhance emergency preparedness and to better protect critical energy infrastructure. We commended the launch of the APEC Biofuels Task Force. - Hanoi Declaration issued at the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, November 20th, 2006.
This taskforce will build on the already existing APEC Task Force on Biofuels headed by Austrialia, which was established in 2005 within the APEC Energy Working Group. As soon as more details on the new 'Biofuels Task Force' emerge, we will report on them.

Earlier, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, had announced that the role biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel could play in diversifying the fuel mix and addressing climate change was firmly on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation agenda. Mr Vaile said the Australian Government was taking a leadership role on climate change through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Australia's Prime Minister said he was going to use the APEC leaders' meeting in Hanoi this week to promote energy security, cleaner energy and measures to address climate change. Mr Vaile: "We have therefore been working to ensure that biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel are considered part of the solution for APEC countries looking to tackle environmental and energy security issues. APEC Energy Ministers, including my colleague Ian Macfarlane, are due to meet in Darwin on 29 May 2007 to discuss the role of biofuels in the context of high world oil prices and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from transport fuels."

Doha Statement
Expressing their strong preferences for a timely conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda round of WTO negotiations with an ambitious and overall balanced outcome, Leaders issued a separate statement [*.pdf] on this issue that includes practical measures to resume the negotiations:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

APEC countries reaffirm their collective and individual commitments to concluding an ambitious and balanced WTO Doha agreement. To meet this goal, there is an urgent need to break the current deadlock and to put the negotiations back on a path towards a timely conclusion. A successful Doha Round will contribute to global economic growth and to the alleviation of poverty. It must do so by creating new trade flows and by effectively addressing the development dimension.

The APEC economies say they are determined to resume without further delay negotiations to achieve a balanced and ambitious outcome that works for all WTO Members. Although agriculture remains the key to resolving the current impasse, they express the need to build an overall package covering market access for industrial goods and services, rules and trade facilitation.

The countries say they are ready to break the current deadlock and are committed to moving beyond their current positions in key areas of the Round. To them it means making deeper reductions in trade distorting farm support by major players [US/EU], creating new market access in agriculture, making real cuts in industrial tariffs, and establishing new openings in services trade, while dealing seriously with Members’ concerns and sensitivities. All APEC Members are ready to lead, but others also must signal their readiness and resolve, so the statement goes.

Furthermore, in its Hanoi Action Plan to Implement the Busan Roadmap towards the Bogor Goals [*.pdf], the APEC outlines a whole series of strategies to strengthen regional and global trade, refine and enhance investment climates and to support technological cooperation.


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