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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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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Vietnam to install 140,000 biogas facilities in 58 cities

With the help of the Dutch government, Vietnam's animal husbandry sector will be installing 140,000 biogas facilities in 58 cities and provinces during the 2007-2010 period.

VietNamNet reports that the €44.8 million grant, lies within the second phase of a Netherlands-funded project to promote the use of biogas. To this effect, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the second phase of the project was signed in Ha Noi on July 7 between the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and the Netherlands' International Development Organisation (SNV) representative Andy Wehkamp.

During the first phase, implemented from March 2003 to December 2005, with a total investment capital of 2 million euros, 12,000 biogas facilities were installed in 12 cities and provinces. In the transition period of 2006, the project is being carried out in 24 cities and provinces with an official development assistance (ODA) grant of 1.15 million euros from the Dutch Government.

Minister Phat described the project as the largest of its kind in Vietnam so far, adding that it aimed to help households reduce fuel expenditure, provide bio-compost as a replacement for chemical fertiliser in agricultural production, and reduce production costs.

The project also contributes to environmental protection, ensuring the sustainable development of Vietnam's animal husbandry sector, he added.

[Entry ends here]

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Sugar prices reach all time high on ethanol demand

Quicknote bioenergy commodities

Biofuels are really starting to influence commodity prices now that production of green energy is increasing rapidly and globally. Sugar prices climbed to match their all-time high on Thursday as record crude oil prices raised expectations for increased demand for alternative fuels like ethanol. Crude rose to an intraday record of $75.40 a barrel Wednesday after North Korea fired a volley of missile tests.

White sugar has climbed 77 percent in the past year, partly on speculation that higher oil prices will spur Brazil, the world's biggest sugar producer and exporter, to divert more of its harvest to making ethanol.

Farmers in the developing world, who were desperate because of low sugar prices that persisted for years, are beginning to feel the positive effects of the global shift to bioenergy.

"The ethanol link will really start to push prices higher. There is tightness in the domestic market in Brazil for ethanol demand." said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, an analyst with Barclays Capital in London.

White, or refined, sugar for October delivery climbed as much as $8.40, or 1.7 percent, to $497 a metric ton in London, matching the record it set May 12, according to Liffe exchange data going back to 1989. It later edged back to $489.

Raw sugar futures for October delivery rose 0.14 cent to 17.16 cents a pound on the New York Board of Trade. They earlier rose to 17.25 cents, their highest level since May 15.

Sugar gained 4 percent in London on Wednesday, the most in two months, after India, the world's biggest consumer, banned most exports through March to curb rising domestic prices.

"While the supply and demand of the market is roughly balanced, the prospect of higher oil prices could increase the amount of sugar that is diverted into ethanol production," Sucden, a London-based commodities broker, said in a report.

International Herald Tribune.

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Brazilian Ethanol Exports to US Surge Despite Tariff

Brazil exported upwards of a record 428 million liters (113 million gallons US) of ethanol in June due to surging demand from the US, according to UNICA, the São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union. Exports are likely to increase to 1.5 billion liters (396 million gallons US) by September.

The association now expects to revise up its 2006-07 ethanol export estimates sometime this month from its May forecast of 1.9 billion liters, Unica’s technical director told Dow Jones Newswires.

I think it’s possible that we’ll export 2.5 billion liters (661 million gallons US) this season, even if the US stops buying ethanol after September. I’d say that US demand accounted for over 80% of shipments in June, while direct shipments to the US accounted for over 60%. Exports will be strong until at least September, due to this demand.
—Antonio de Padua Rodrigues

Demand for ethanol in the US has surged given the phase-out of MTBE (which was deemed a public health hazard) as an oxygenating additive.

The US applies a $0.54 per gallon tariff on direct ethanol imports, although it imposes no duty on ethanol shipped via the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) nations. In 2004, Cargill caused a flap in Congress by proposing to import 63 million gallons of Brazilian ethanol into the US via the CBI to avoid the tariff.

By early July 2006, the price of ethanol on the spot market in the US had essentially doubled to $4.00+ per gallon, while the average rack price was $3.75 per gallon, according to AXXIS Petroleum. The wholesale price of Brazilian ethanol, by contrast, was $1.79 per gallon (R 1.02706/liter) last week, according to UNICA.

Unica’s estimate for June exports starkly contradicts export registration data compiled by the Trade Ministry and released by the Agricultural Ministry on Thursday, which pegged June ethanol exports at roughly 166 million liters, 38% lower than the roughly 268 million liters registered to be shipped out in the same period last year.

“I’m not sure why there’s such a big discrepancy in the numbers this time around, perhaps it was due to a strike at the export license division,” said Rodrigues. “The data I have right now is that ethanol shipments hit 428 million liters in June, but I think it will be higher than this. We’re still compiling the final numbers.”

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