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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, March 07, 2006

A message from President Lula: Join Brazil in planting oil

Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been a staunch advocate of promoting the renewable energy paradigm his country has become famous for. He was instrumental in reviving Brazil's ethanol program, that had witnessed a slow-down in the years preceding his presidency. Mr Lula da Silva wrote the following essay for The Guardian:

Join Brazil in planting oil

Only radical solutions will overcome the energy and environmental crises while promoting equality
By Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

The 21st century will be marked by a crucial debate: how can we make economic and social development compatible with the preservation of our natural environment?

The challenge is faced by developed and developing countries alike, but the burdens need to be more equally shared. The width of the divide between rich and poor countries has doubled over the last 40 years. While the developed world has benefited from the prosperity generated by economic progress, poor countries suffer the consequences of environmental degradation resulting from uncontrolled growth. Rich countries have unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. They are responsible for 41% of total carbon dioxide emissions, and their overall consumption of raw materials is four times greater than that of all other countries combined. With those conditions, there is no possibility of a sustainable future.

The scale of Brazil's natural assets is extraordinary: the Amazon region contains 20% of the planet's fresh water, and almost two-thirds of the country is still covered by natural vegetation. Against this backdrop we have been implementing policies that directly address our most pressing environmental concerns.

When I began my term of office, the rate of deforestation in Brazil had been increasing by an average of 27% per year. From the second half of 2004 onwards, however, we put measures in place to monitor tree-felling and to address the issue of land distribution, with the result that the rate of deforestation has fallen dramatically. In a country that suffers from profound social inequalities, however, the success of environmental policy ultimately depends more than anything on economic and social measures that are themselves geared towards the preservation of our environment.

Over the next 10 years we will place an additional 13m hectares of the Amazon region under a management regime that will guarantee the forest's regeneration cycle. And our commitment to a responsible approach extends well beyond our own territory. It is imperative that we put into practice the commitments of the Kyoto protocol to combat the potentially devastating impact of global warming.

In the search for new, sustainable economic models, the international community is coming to recognise the need for a radical rethink in relation to the generation of energy, and Brazil is responding by using clean, renewable, alternative energy sources to an ever-greater extent. More than 40% of Brazil's energy comes from "green" sources, in comparison with around 7% in rich countries:
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The ethanol Brazil produces from sugar cane is attracting worldwide interest, for it is one of the cheapest and most dependable types of fuel derived from renewable sources. Three-quarters of the cars now being produced in Brazil have "flex-fuel" engines, capable of running on either ethanol or petrol, or any mixture of the two.

The government has implemented environmental initiatives that are also bringing social benefits - for example in the form of the biodiesel project. Produced from oil-bearing plants, biodiesel is significantly less polluting than conventional petroleum-based diesel. As it can easily be produced by small farmers in some of the poorest regions of the country, the project combines environmental protection with rural development, and reduces social inequality. There is a great potential for biodiesel in Africa.

Brazil is actively preparing itself for a new development paradigm that will meet the environmental and social challenges of the coming decades. Ethanol and biodiesel are the key components of our approach, and we are determined to "plant the oil of the future". I invite you to join us in our endeavours.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the president of Brazil.
Email: [email protected]

Original: The Guardian.

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