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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

China chooses ethanol, not methanol as oil alternative

Recently, several media jumped on a suggestion that China would consider using non-renewable coal-based methanol as an alternative to oil. The country is indeed looking into the option, but non-expert media exaggerated the news and -- using an unconfirmed source -- twisted it into a story that is out of touch with what's really going on. Some even went so far as to say, incorrectly, that the People's Republic now sees methanol as 'the official liquid fuel of the future'. We contacted several of these news outlets to warn them that they were distorting the real story, and that there is in fact a clear policy movement within the Chinese energy departments that is working against methanol. Earlier, we mentioned a senior Chinese official who firmly dismissded coal-to-liquids and methanol as 'irresponsible and inefficient' (earlier post).

Luckily, the Chinese government is now bringing more clarity into the issue. Li Shizhong, a member of China’s top bioenergy policy-making panel, says he is very unsure about the longterm prospects of methanol - which has no official nor legal backing whatsoever - as the coal-based fuel is toxic and causes pollution. In contrast, he is very sure about biomass-based ethanol as the alternative to oil, which has been promulgated officially as being one of China's fuels for the future. The difference is crucial, because it determines the choice between a green and renewable fuel policy, or a fossil-fuel based, climate destructive future.

Methanol is not an 'official' fuel
Li said methanol’s future as an alternative fuel in China remains uncertain. Used largely as a raw material in the manufacture of products such as resins, plastics and paints, experts have cited methanol’s considerable potential when blended with gasoline due to its comparatively low cost.

But methanol is toxic and can corrode car engines and technological breakthroughs are needed to overcome these problems, Li said. Methanol can also pollute the atmosphere when used as a fuel as one ton of methanol can yield 9.5 tons of carbon dioxide, worsening the air quality in the country, and contributing heavily to climate change, he said.

"The central government hasn’t approved methanol as a legal alternative fuel, but is still studying its proper usage"
Li said. He doubted a recent report by the China Chemical Industry News in November that the government had confirmed methanol as an alternative automotive fuel in a meeting held by the State Council, the country’s Cabinet. "I attended the meeting, but it was not a decision-making meeting - only a discussion with experts," Li said. "Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, who chaired the meeting, only said: 'We’ll continue to study the fuel’." The central government is unlikely to give final approval to methanol use in cars by 2010 without better technology becoming available, he said.

Ethanol, the official fuel of the future
Unlike methanol, ethanol is a fuel for which clear official policies and targets exist. “China targets to use ethanol-blended gasoline for 75% of its total gasoline demand by 2010, or around 50 million metric tons out of 70 million tons,“ says Li, who is also the deputy director of the Institute of New Energy Technology under Tsinghua University:

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

He says the official goal for ethanol output will be nearly four times as much as domestic production this year. China - the world’s third-largest producer of ethanol fuel after Brazil and the U.S. - will produce 1.3 million tons of ethanol this year, equivalent to 13 million tons of ethanol-blended gasoline. Ethanol is typically derived from cassava, sweet broomcorn, sweet potatos and other crops. China currently blends 10% ethanol with 90% gasoline, which can be used in vehicles without making changes to engines.

“The government is stipulating criteria governing access to the ethanol industry in a bid to encourage investment from both state-owned companies and private Chinese companies,“ Li said, adding that this policy is likely to be approved by the year-end.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from an ethanol trade company said: “If the government opens the industry to private Chinese companies, then it is likely to make it more efficient and the government can cut subsidies to the sector.“

Li said the government currently grants subsidies of CNY1,373 ($175) a ton of ethanol to producers.

But foreign companies are likely to find their entry to the sector barred for some time as the government strives to nurture the development of the industry, he said.

Big ethanol investments
Chinese state-owned oil and agriculture companies have been actively building ethanol facilities in an effort to corner the growing market.

CNPC, the country’s largest oil producer by capacity, wants to build a plant in the southwestern province of Sichuan by 2010 to produce ethanol from sweet potatoes, with an annual production capacity of 600,000 tons.

China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Corp., better know as Cofco, China’s largest grain trader, started building a CNY1 billion ($126.6 million) ethanol plant in October in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region with an annual capacity of 400,000 tons. It also plans to invest CNY1.2 billion to build another 300,000-ton ethanol plant in the northern province of Hebei. Cofco’s latest move was the trial operation of a pilot ethanol facility in the northern region of Inner Mongolia this week, Li said.

But the growth of the ethanol industry in China has led to a clash of interests between food security and the need to diversify the country’s energy sources. Li said the use of non-grain crops, such as cassava and sweet broomcorn, will help solve the conflict and the government is encouraging farmers to plant non-grain crops for ethanol production.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home