<body> -------------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive » Bioeconomy
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

Friday, November 10, 2006

The bioeconomy at work: German engineers develop printed circuit boards from biomass

Yesterday we had a look at how Finnish researchers succeeded in developing a printable, biodegradable biofuel cell that can power micro-tags. Today, news comes in from an interesting project in Germany, where engineers succeeded in creating printed circuit boards made entirely from biomass. The component was tested in a TV remote control. We focus on this kind of developments because they usher in an era of beneficial waste, cradle-to-cradle design, and post-petroleum high-tech innovation.

Electronic components used in computers, televisions, micro-wave ovens, iPods, cell phones and a whole series of other household, office and industrial products, have become a pollution and waste problem of vast proportions. Vast piles of "e-waste" are dumped in the third world where an army of poor and poisoned (child-)laborers "recycles" them. 70% of Europe and America's used computers ends up in China. There, children and poor slum-dwellers work unprotected with dangerous chemicals to recycle the components, leading to a health problem most of us don't want to know about. (See this overview of the current situation and of initiatives aimed at changing it.)

Even though projects aimed at "recycling" this electronic waste in a cleaner way are no doubt well intentioned, the future lies elsewhere. What if all these components were to be made entirely from biodegradable materials? What if throwing away e-waste would be a good thing to do because the components act as fertilizer for food, biomass and energy crops?

German scientists are working along the lines of this philosophy. They are making 100% biodegradable, printable electronic components out of lignin, plant fibres and natural resins. Soon their prototypes will be brought to mass production. The circuit boards consist of a matrix of straw lignin with short hemp fibres and cotton weave for reinforcement. The adhesive is a natural resin and expandable graphite acts as a flame-retardant. The need for halogenized flame protection media has been eliminated:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The assembly of the components is carried out using lead-free solder allowing electronic modules to be manufactured that are in conformity with the RoHS ("Restriction of Hazardous Substances") EU guidelines.

The material consists 100 per cent of renewable raw materials. The thermoplastic deformable substance used is called "Arborform", a natural resin. In order to test their suitability for practice, the double-sided contact circuit boards in the project were successfully built into a remote control for a television set. However, it was shown that the production process required further optimizing. Especially the temperature-pressure course during production needs reworking for larger installations. The researchers assume that they will overcome the present problems of the moisture absorbance and the insufficient copper adhesion.

The project is a collaboration effort of the German Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (Renewable Energy & Materials Agency), Tecnaro, Andus Electronic, Ingenieurbüro KEW Konzeptentwicklung, the Fraunhofer Institut's department for Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration (Reliability and Micro-integration) and Loewe.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home