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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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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Large coconut biodiesel project in the Philippines with aim to export to Japan

Earlier we wrote a short overview of coconut power in the Pacific, showing that several countries are investing in the humble nut for the production of biofuels. Coconuts can be used as a feedstock for different fuels: its oil can be transesterified into biodiesel, whereas its woody shell makes for a solid biomass stock with a relatively high energy content that can be used to generate electricity (co-firing with coal or in dedicated biomass power plants).

Philippine company Bio-Energy NL Inc. announced [*cache] it is now planning to make a major investment of up to 15 billion pesos (€228/US$300 million) for an intensive coconut based biodiesel project in the country's Northern Luzon province. The biodiesel will be exported to Japan.

Industry sources report that Bio-Energy had requested the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to fund the project. In a letter to Bio-Energy president Arnold Caoili, JBIC director for policy and strategy coordination Kazuhiko Amakawa, said that the multilateral institution has approved the company’s request to fund the feasibility study for the multi-million dollar biodiesel project.

The feasibility study on the proposed biodiesel project is seen to be completed by August 2007 or after six months. If the feasibility study shows positive results, the project proponents will start planting coconut and construct a biodiesel refinery in Northern Luzon.

The coconut plantation will be established on not less than 500,000 hectares of idle land with the refinery expected to have a capacity of 300 million liters of biodiesel per year (roughly 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent). It would take three years to construct the integrated coconut crushing and refinery plant. The new coconut plantation is expected to yield its first fruits within 4 years:
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According to sources, Bio-Energy has considered Northern Luzon as a potential site for the project since it is here that the best chances are found to integrate the project in a pro-poor program that will strengthen the livelihoods of the coconut farmers.

"This will be a new product for the province since the tobacco industry is dwindling. They will plant new coconut trees so that it would not compete with the local coconut producers. One of the requirements of the Ministry of Environment of Japan is for the plant owners not to get [fruits] from existing trees but plant new ones," the sources said.

The biodiesel is said be aimed for exports to Japan. "The capacity of the new plant will serve a little over 10 percent of the five percent biodiesel demand of Japan (2.5 billion liters)," the sources said. The five percent annual demand for biodiesel for Tokyo metropolitan alone is estimated to reach 300 million to 400 million liters.

Consistent with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, the Japanese government mandates for the use of a five percent blend of biodiesel by March 2007. This biodiesel blend is seen to increase to 20 percent in 2020.

Japan has limited potential for biofuel production of its own. This is why it is actively investing abroad. Earlier this year, Brazil started delivering ethanol to the country, under an agreement that will see Brazil satisfy 10% of all of Japan's biofuels by 2010.


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