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Friday, May 26, 2006

Studies about the global biomass, biofuels and bioenergy potential

Rewritten after the blogger crash, needs update: post about studies on global biomass, bioenergy and biofuels production potential. See links in full-post.

Bioenergy production potential in 2050 for different scenario’s


Global Biofuel Potential – Sugarcane Contribution.

CIEP - Clingendael International Energy Programme

“IEA assessment of future transport fuels use and biofuels potential”

“Global biofuels potential and costs” Andre Faaij

Biofuels for Transport: An International Perspective
Germant Dev Agency.

Full article

Thursday, May 25, 2006

South-African Govt plans big investments in biofuels

One effect of high international oil prices was the production of biofuels had become more economically viable, South Africa's Minerals and Energy Minister Lindiwe Hendricks told MPs on Thursday.

Opening debate on her department's budget vote in the National Assembly, she said the production of such fuel had become a government priority as it sought to lessen its energy dependence on crude oil.

"The production of biofuels has been recognised as having significant potential for our country, not only because of the environmental benefits, but also to create a significant number of jobs in the agricultural sector and the second economy."

Private sector interested

It would also reduce the need to import oil.

Biofuels can be produced from a variety of agricultural crops, including sugar cane, maize and soya.

Hendricks said the private sector had responded very positively towards government's shift in policy towards biofuels.

"We are looking at significant investment in both the agricultural sector and in the manufacturing of these fuels."

She did not put a figure on this investment. On the diversification of South Africa's energy supply, Hendricks said nuclear energy offered a cleaner alternative to coal-fired power stations.

"For the Western Cape, which does not have coal in abundance, we must consider nuclear energy as a viable option."

However, there was a great deal to be dome before a new nuclear power station could be built in the region.

Hydropower development

"A decision on whether we want to consider this option will need to be made in the next few months in order to go through the proper consultative processes, and have a new nuclear power plant operational by 2015," she said.

On the development of hydropower, she said this showed the most "significant potential" for South Africa. In an apparent reference to tapping into the hydroelectric potential of the Congo River basin, she said such development would require "extensive regional co-operation in the construction of hydro-electric plants, and bringing electricity across several neighbouring countries".

Hendricks warned if oil prices continued to increase, a slowdown in world economic growth could result.

"This would have an impact on our economy... has necessitated that we in South Africa look at the alternatives in order to secure our energy supply," she said.


Full article

Monday, May 22, 2006

China to share farming expertise with poor nations

At least 3,000 Chinese scientists will spend three years working in rural communities in developing countries to help improve their food security, China's Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on Friday (19 May).

The arrangement is part of a strategic partnership between China and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that was agreed at the FAO's Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta, Indonesia last week.

"Chinese science and agriculture have much to offer, as intensive agriculture has been practiced on very small plots of land in China for centuries," said Tesfai Tecle, FAO assistant director-general for technical cooperation.

Tecle said China's commitment to helping other countries improve food security would be a major contribution towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015.

Over the next six years, Chinese scientists and technicians will be deployed for three-year assignments in host countries. They will share practical expertise relating to irrigation, agronomy, livestock, fisheries and post-harvest handling of agricultural produce.

The China-FAO collaboration is part of the South-South Cooperation Initiative that the FAO launched in 1996. The programme aims to increase food production by promoting cooperation among developing countries at different stages of development.

The recipient countries will be jointly selected from a list of potential beneficiaries provided by the FAO.

China has already sent more than 700 experts and technicians to at least 20 countries mostly in Africa and Asia, says Zhao Lijun, an official at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Zhao Huanxin
SciDev at AllAfrica.com.

Full article