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

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Liquid biofuels company makes huge investment in Mozambique's energy sector: decentralised biomass power plants

In a very interesting turn of events, Mozambique Bio-Fuel Industries (MBFI) and its Indian partners announced they are investing €800 million (US$1 billion) to generate bio-electricity in Mozambique. This is a major boost to the African country's rapidly growing economy, where energy needs are increasing sharply. The company is radically choosing for a smart, decentralised approach, utilising locally produced biomass in small, modular power plants. The company, supported by the Mozambican government, is collaborating with India on the project, showing once again that South-South cooperation strategies offer advantages in addressing crucial development problems. The EU too has several bioenergy-related initiatives in the country (earlier post).

Africa’s potential for economic growth is limited by its inability to generate enough power, and this is exactly what would have impeded MBFI’s core business activity which is to produce liquid biofuels such as bioethanol from cassava and biodiesel from jatropha. The company has therefor taken matters into its own hand and will be investing in green electricity generation using a paradigm in which distributed energy and decentralisation play key roles.

Decentralisation key to African context
Traditionally, when African countries plan to generate additional power, they tend to opt for a Western approach based on economy of scale models. This results in concepts where centralisation and large plants concentrated in urban areas get priority. Mr Steenkamp, CEO of MBFI, says most of these western solutions are not suitable for the African context because they do not address Africa’s fundamental lack of infrastructures. Western approaches result in energy poverty for most Africans, and become push factors, driving people from the country-side to the cities.

"Therefore", Mr. Steenkamp says, "when we planned to produce biofuels on 3.5 million hectares in Mozambique, we never thought we were also going generate bio-power. But the cost to clear land, limited power capacity and the excess biomass forced us to consider alternatives. And to meet Mozambique’s needs we decided to introduce many modular power units throughout rural Mozambique, instead of one large power plant."

Earlier, we referred to a case-study which shows that Mozambique - still very much an agrarian society - has a huge bioenergy potential, amounting to some 6.7 Exajoules, or 3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, which it can generate in a sustainable manner (earlier post). Current per capita electricity consumption in the 20 million nation is around 365KWh per year (compare with France: 7585KWh - World Resources Institute, Earthtrends database.)

Mozambique Bio-Fuel Industries' research lead the company to look at another developing country, India, where it found extensive experience in modular bioenergy technologies:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

After many visits, MBFI announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Malavalli Power Plant Private Limited (MPPL) and CVC Infrastructure India to invest 800 million euros in Mozambique over the next ten years. The MOU provides for management and finance of modular five-megawatt biomass power plants throughout seven of the ten Mozambican provinces.

According to Mr. Steenkamp, "investors in Mozambique can, today, generate considerable profits, while at the same time, eradicate poverty. Investments can be made in biomass, bioethanol, biodiesel, and sustainable rural development in the fast growing economy of Mozambique”.

We will be tracking this project very closely, as it offers a fascinating example of how large-scale bioenergy initiatives result in positive contributions to the economies of some of the least-developed countries, both on a very local, micro-economic, as on a larger, macro-economic scale.

More information:
Case-study on Mozambique's potential: Martin Junginger, André Faaij, Biofuel trade issues [*.pdf], Launching conference of the European technology platform for biofuels, Brussels, 8 June 2006.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home