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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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Friday, October 06, 2006

Gabon's biofuel dilemma

Gabon is one of Africa's most successful economies. As a major oil producer it succeeded in managing its petro-dollars exceptionally well, in contrast to many other African countries where the black gold is a real curse, leading to mass corruption, political instability and enormous social inequalities.

Because of this good management, other economic sectors have thrived, and more importantly, Gabon has been able to protect its precious environment. The rainforests of the country constitute one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. A fledgling eco-tourism industry has been built around it and large areas have been designated as natural parks and protected zones. Control mechanisms against illegal logging and poaching seem to be working [see Gabon's Biodiversity and Protected Areas profile at the World Resources Institute's Earthtrends website].

All these positive developments are due to Gabon's well managed oil wealth. But the country's petroleum production is facing a rapid decline: whereas today Gabon produces some 265,000 barrels per day, it is estimated that by 2010 this will have halved to approximately 140,000bpd. Obviously, the question then becomes whether the Central African country can keep both its economy growing and its environment intact when the petro-dollars stop flowing in.

Biofuels production in Gabon would be highly problematic, given its pristine ecosystems. The risk exists that a simplistic economic logic will prevail and that forests are going to be logged to make place for energy crops. However, the current government, and more in particular its Minister for Conservation, Enviroment, Science & Technology, Mme Georgette Koko, is clearly committed to protecting this resource. How to do this in a concrete manner, and given the pressure of declining oil revenues, is a very difficult matter.

Earlier we reported about a new idea that is being circulated to help developing countries like Gabon protect their ecosystems and more in particular their tropical rainforests. The concept is known as 'compensated reduction' and it comes down to putting a concrete monetary value on the resource (rainforests as carbon sinks), which can be translated into a carbon credit that can then be traded on the global carbon market. This approach is interesting, but hardly sufficient:
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The question is whether such a mechanism will ever succeed in stopping illegal deforestation and the conversion of forests into lands for energy crops. The hard economic truth tells us that 'compensated reduction' will fail if a price based on the mere market value for carbon is put on the forests. Energy crops bring in much more immediate cash profits. Moreover, when oil resources decline, prices for energy shoot up, making the case for biofuels even stronger (Gabon will experience this stress very soon within its own market). The price for carbon is not tied in such a straight manner to oil prices.

So what to think of compensated reduction? We have a reference point which shows whether this accounting system results in a compensation strong enough to counter the push towards erasing tropical forests in order to plant energy crops. Recently, scientists calculated the total value of all the eco-services of Boreal forests. These services include carbon capture and storage, water filtration and waste treatment, biodiversity maintenance, pest control, and so on. The total monetary value was estimated to be about US$160 per hectare of forest. Extrapolating this to tropical rainforests is very difficult, but even doubling this value (taking into account eco-tourism, discovery of plant pharmaceuticals, etc...) would still not be enough to compensate farmers whose alternative is to grow energy crops. An oil palm plantation brings between US$500-800 per hectare of net profits to a small farmer. Compensated reduction does not compensate enough.

So countries like Gabon face a very difficult dilemma. Unless oil consumers - that is all of us - start saving energy, or start building a global fund for the future protection of rainforests and biodiversity in the tropics, Gabon will probably not withstand the push towards producing energy crops. Compensated reduction, if merely based on carbon prices, will never tempt farmers to give up planting energy crops.

Another strategy might be found in introducing market barriers based on sustainability criteria for biofuels. The world's largest economies, the EU and the US, can decide to block market access for biofuels that were not produced in a sustainable manner. The problem is that a country like Gabon will look at its own energy needs first, and only if those are satisfied will it think of exporting bioenergy.
On the other hand, the EU/US are already losing power on the global market today, where growth in energy consumption is coming from rapidly emerging economies like China and India. It is highly unlikely to see the latter countries coupling market access for biofuels to stringent sustainability criteria. We are already seeing that China's 'no questions asked' attitude in Africa is extremely utilitarian. 'Soft' concepts like environmental conservation are not on its agenda. This means that a Gabonese farmer may decide to skip the EU/US markets, and simply sell to China or India. No questions asked.

It will be interesting to see how a country like Gabon deals with this dilemma. As its oil production declines, it will have to think very carefully on how to resist the temptation of abandoning its successful conservation policies in favor of biofuels production.

More information:

InfoPlus Gabon: A quand le biocarburant dans les stations d’essence du Gabon? - Sept. 27, 2006

InfoPlus Gabon: Le ministère de l’Environnement veut préserver les écosystèmes - Feb. 10, 2006

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France speeds up green energy effort - Chirac defends EU biofuel subsidies

Several developments in France show that the country is speeding up its efforts on biofuels. For Biopact, these steps are a mixed blessing.

The good news is that France is building a distribution infrastructure for biodiesel and ethanol, with the Ministry of Finance pledging support "without reservation" for the development of E85, a fuel made of 85% ethanol as "the first fuel of the post-oil era". Large-scale development of E85 should first and foremost serve the interest of consumers by remaining cheap. It will also serve France's energy independence. Concretely, from 2007 onwards, 500 to 600 ethanol pumps will be built in France, at the 'grandes autoroutes' network which connects most cities of the country with Paris.

Secondly, minister Thierry Breton announced that French car makers have committed to investing in flex-fuel cars that can effectively use the E85 fuel. He projects that by 2009, half of all new cars sold in France will be flex-fuel cars. If this level of market penetration can indeed be realised, the country's ambitious biofuels plan stands a chance of succeeding.

These two developments are good news, because it means that a green fuel infrastructure and fleet is going to come into existence. Our goal, however, is to have the actual fuel coming from the developing world. It is on this point that a third development is threatening. President Jacques Chirac announced today that France will defend biofuel subsidies for its farmers. France is a recipient of funds under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, the subsidies of which many see as a huge barrier to the development of agriculture in the Global South.

The recent 'Doha Development Round' of trade negotiations collapsed precisely because neither the EU nor the US were prepared to lower their agricultural subsidies. Some have said biofuels and bioenergy may offer the key to break this deadlock, even though if it simply means that agricultural subsidies are going to be replaced with biofuels subsidies, not much will change. Chirac's announcement contains a first and disappointing hint that this may actually be the future course of the EU.

Chirac called on the EU on Thursday to start planning for a future of non-food-based farming, saying that agriculture must remain "at the heart of the European ambition." Meeting with farmers, Chirac set out what he said were the "new frontiers" of agriculture — based on bio-technologies and non-food-based farming — and a continued central role in farming for France. While farmers leave the profession in growing numbers, agriculture remains "at the heart of this century's challenges ... and France is one of the best placed countries in the world to take it up," the president said.

France is an EU agriculture leader and its farmers are among the top beneficiaries of EU subsidies. Paris has scuffled with partners to maintain its hefty subsidies to farmers. Chirac warned that reforms of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy, or PAC, as well as financing, must not be thrown into question "until 2013 included," a reference to the EU budget of 2007-2013:
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At the same time, the World Trade Organization plans to eliminate farm export subsidies by 2013, including those in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.

For the period after 2013, "the new CAP must maintain community preference and public aid for the social and environmental aspects of agriculture," he said. Above, all it must expand to include non-food products.

He asked that European agriculture experts begin reflecting "starting now" on the farming of the years 2015-2020 and called for a European conference on the future of agriculture.

"I say it firmly. Europe was largely built on agriculture. It must remain at the heart of the European ambition," Chirac said.

More information:

BBC News: Chirac pushes for biofuel farming - Oct. 6, 2006

International Herald Tribune: French president pleads for non-food agriculture of future - October 5, 2006

Le Monde: Thierry Breton : "Un véhicule sur deux roulera au flexfuel en 2009" - Oct. 3, 2005.

Euractiv: France to gear-up biofuels use from 2007 - Sept. 28

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The question is not whether to invest in biofuels, but where

Quicknote bioenergy economics
For a piece entitled "Can biofuels become the next petroleum?", Reuters asked a group of oil, commodity and technology analysts to share their views on the long term viability of the global biofuels sector. The diversity of perspectives covers the entire spectrum, from those who think biofuels cannot be scaled up fast enough, to those who feel now is the time to invest because green fuels have arrived at a point of no return.

Paris-based consultant Delahouliere made the most interesting analysis when he summarised his vision as follows: "The question is not whether to invest but where to invest. I would do it in a poor country growing sugar cane with free access to Europe." Delahouliere refers here to the so-called ACP-countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) with which the EU has signed a deal under the Cotonou Agreement which allows these developing countries to enter the EU's (sugar) market without facing any trade barriers. At the same time, the EU is carrying out its long-awaited sugar reform, removing its sugar subsidies steadily over the coming years, with the goal of abolishing them entirely by 2009 for 49 of the world's poorest countries.
In short, some of the world's least developed countries, mainly in Africa, have both large unused land resources, would welcome employment, and have free access to the world's largest economy, both for ethanol as well as for biofuels feedstocks. Investing in these countries now makes sense.

Other analysts agreed that for the time being, only biofuels from the South are competive. In both the EU and the US, they need subsidies in order to survive. And with falling oil prices, this becomes even more the case. Taking into account the lower energy content of ethanol, when the biofuel is made from sugar cane in the South it survives petroleum prices of around US$40 per barrel. Palm oil biodiesel is viable as long as oil prices stay above US$50 per barrel.

Most analysts further expected the introduction of second generation biofuels (such as cellulosic ethanol or biomass-to-liquids), to be at least 10 to 15 years away from market introduction. This means that only tropical biofuels stand a chance of surviving on an open world market [entry ends here].
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Shell and Malaysian Palm Oil Board to cooperate on palm biodiesel research

Quicknote bioenergy research
Shell International Petroleum will undertake joint research with Malaysia to see whether so-called 'Envo diesel' is a viable alternative for diesel-powered vehicles. The giant oil company’s researchers will work with Malaysian Palm Oil Board experts on their ongoing trials with Envo diesel – the Malaysian B5 blend comprising 5% palm olein (vegetable oil) and 95% fossil fuel diesel.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin said two Shell research and retail heads would visit Malaysia soon to hold discussions on research and development collaboration. “They will help conduct further research into the possibility of using vegetable oil as a fuel for diesel cars,” he told journalists after meeting Shell vice-president (fuel development) Darran Messem.

Chin said apart from Petroliam Nasional Bhd, this would be the first time a multinational oil company was helping in the research. He said Shell and the Malaysian experts would conduct joint research using palm olein as a blend with fossil fuel diesel as fuel for cars. Palm oil-based biodiesel had been generally accepted worldwide as a fuel for diesel-engine cars, Chin pointed out. However, there had been reservations on whether using vegetable oil would clog up the vehicle’s fuel-injection system.

Chin said Shell would use its facilities in Kuala Lumpur to supplement ongoing tests on Envo diesel involving four government vehicles, a bus and two fishing trawlers. “If the research is succeeds in removing doubts about its usage, it will provide an alternative fuel for Malaysians,” he said, adding that he was happy Shell was actively encouraging the use of palm as the most cost-effective raw material to produce biofuel [entry ends here].
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Biofuels and the phosphorus end-game

In a recent essay, engineer Robert Bullard argues that biofuels may drain phosphorus resources. Oil, gas and coal may be finite resources, but so is phosphate rock, from which the key plant nutrient phosphate is made as a fertilizer. Bullard claims these resources are becoming 'scarce' and that a global phosphate 'end-game' will soon unfold. We agree with the fact that phosphate is a finite resource, but not that it is becoming scarce.

Phosphate rock resources are finite, but there are vast deposits left, enough to last for centuries. Let's have a look at the consumption and at the recoverable resources. We use the statistics from the FAO's The Use of Phosphate Rock for Sustainable Agriculture, 2004.
  • In 1999, total world production of phosphate rock was 145.5 million tons (most recent firm figure).
  • From 1975 onwards, phosphate consumption in the form of direct applications in agriculture has steadily declined, from 5.6% of the nutrient base, to a mere 1.4% in 1998. The trend is downward and expected to reach a mere 1% within a few years. So the growth rates in consumption as a percentage of the nutrient basis of crops, is downwards.
  • The total world rock phosphate reserve base is estimated to stand at between 37 billion and 112 billion tons. Of this amount, 2.2 to 7.8 billion tons are of high commercial value because their P2O5 concentration soluble in neutral ammonium citrate (NAC), is higher than 5.9%. At current consumption rates this easily recoverable resource is enough to last us between 15 and 54 years. Once the high concentration resource base is depleted, there is an amount of low-concentration phosphate rock left that will cover the same needs for between 127 and 386 years.
  • In the past 100 years, phosphate has been discovered at a rate that exceeds the rate of consumption.
  • Vast unexplored phosphate deposits can be found offshore. Deposits of this type occur along the southeast coast of the United States of America, on the Peru-Chile shelf, off the coast of Namibia, on the Chatham Rise off New Zealand, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, and off the Congo River delta. None of these offshore deposits is being mined, and they will probably not be mined while ample reserves exist onshore.
These figures allow us to conclude that only the high-concentration phosphate rock reserves are limited, but four factors assure the continuity of supply: (1) phosphate application rates are continuously declining (2), vast recoverable reserves with low to medium concentrations have long been identified, (3) historically, new phosphate deposits have been discovered at a rate that exceeds consumption and (4) vast (moderate to high-concentration) resources exist off-shore. These resources are currently not exploited because there are ample onshore deposits.

We do want to present Bullard's case, because he is correct about the limited amount of easily recoverable high concentration resources, which may, in the medium term, influence prices. Bullard: Tom Friedman's recent op-ed piece, "Brazil's ethanol lesson: Barrels from bushels works," was uncharacteristically simplistic. The title should have included, at least, "for now." The use of agricultural resources for energy production does nothing more than buy a little time, much as the farmer who has a couple of bad years and jacks up his mortgage to cover acute losses by incurring an addition to his already burdensome long-term debt.

The ultimate folly in bioenergy sources as a significant solution to our energy needs for many years to come lies not so much in the resulting devastation of terrestrial and aquatic natural ecosystems or the urgent need to deal with global warming by going beyond "carbon neutral" to "carbon reduction," rather in the fact that civilization is not energy or water-limited, but is phosphorous-limited.

There are no substitutes for phosphorous in organisms, albeit, some need only very minute amounts. The vast majority of food produced for humanity depends on our agriculturists adding phosphorous (fertilizer) to the cultivated land:
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The bad news is this phosphorous is mined from rather accessible, but not very numerous, ore deposits throughout the world, a significant one of which is nearing depletion down Interstate 4 from Daytona Beach in Polk and Hillsborough counties. The really bad news is that, except for a rather small fraction of the applied phosphorous that ends up as recyclable in the residues and waste products associated with cultivated plants, most applied phosphorous is either locked up chemically by soil reactions or, as it is released over time, is leached by rainfall or irrigation to deep soil beyond the reach of plant roots.

What all this means is that, as we deplete the minable phosphorous, as we are surely doing for oil, gas and coal, but for which there is virtually endless alternative energy from the sun, increasingly and unrelenting, human effort will be directed toward growing whatever can be grown on whatever phosphorous can be had from wherever.

Conceivably, that human effort at phosphorous production will involve the use of energy in an amount far greater than any produced by the ethanol end-game. For the doomsdayers, the last wars on our planet, not so long after we are gone, will not be fought over energy sources or ideology, but for the control of phosphorous, unless, of course, we can re-engineer the DNA of virtually everything on the planet to not need phosphorous for life.

Bullard, R. Biofuels drain phosphorus supply, Community voices, Daytona Beach News Journal Online - Oct. 6, 2006.

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India to mix biogas with natural gas - for automotive fuels and for electricity

After implementing its ambitious liquid biofuel policies, India's federal government is now thinking of mixing biogas with natural gas to increase the share of alternative fuels in the total energy portfolio of the rapidly growing country. The strategy is part of India's ambitious national biogas programme, which in turn falls under the country's general bioenergy framework. The biogas-NG mix will both be used as an automotive fuel as well as for the generation of electricity.

The Indian Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) announced that it is going to stimulate the private sector engaged in the production of biogas to consider feeding biogas into the natural gas pipelines for urban gas projects that are being planned in different cities of the country. Mixing biogas with natural gas will follow two separate tracks: one aimed at fuelling cars with Compressed Biogas (CBG) (consisting of methane derived from both natural gas and biogas, in a ratio of 60 to 40 maximum), the other aimed at generating electricity.

"Biogas can be purified and compressed to meet the requirements of the city gas projects and thus throw a good opportunity for development and growth of biogas plants in the country," MNES secretary Shri V. Subramanian said. Subramanian was speaking at the MNES-sponsored national workshop on ‘A Policy Framework for the Biogas Programme for the Next 10 Years’ [*.pdf] at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

The Indian Supreme Court has meanwhile given its mandate on the first track: supplying biogas as an automotive fuel to urban centres other than 'metropolitan cities' (which have a special status) is now allowed.

Looking at Europe and Pakistan
India is looking at examples in Europe and in Pakistan, where biogas and CNG have established themselves as viable automotive fuels and where compressed biogas vehicles (bi- or tri-fuel) have arrived on the market. Scandinavia and Central Europe are experiencing a real biogas boom with governments, consumers, auto-manufacturers and fuel distributors investing collectively in biomethane production, distribution and incentives aimed at stimulating consumption. Even though it can be produced from organic waste streams coming from agriculture, municipalities, households and industry, many European countries are beginning to use dedicated energy crops for the production of the gas, such as specially developed hybrid maize varieties and exotic grass species. New technologies for purifying the green gas before mixing it into the natural gas network are also being developed (earlier post).

Pakistan on the other hand is proving that radically switching from a gasoline/diesel to a CNG-infrastructure is feasible. In a crash program that lasted less than two years, the country built a CNG-distribution infrastructure and got 1 million CNG-vehicles on the road (earlier post). These two developments and strategies are now going to be combined in India.

The most environmentally friendly of all fuels
The main advantage of Compressed Biogas (CBG) is that, of more than 70 possible (bio)fuel pathways, it releases the smallest amount of CO2 when the entire well-to-wheel trajectory of the fuel is analysed. Depending on the feedstock, bioconversion process and propulsion technology being used, biogas can even be carbon-negative (earlier post):
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Besides the potential of the biogas/natural gas mix as an automotive fuel, India will also rely on it to generate electricity, both in metropolitan areas as well as in smaller urban centres. "These smaller cities can be focused on for effecting a synergy between biogas plants and the city gas distribution network coming up in those areas," Subramanian said. At the workshop, Subramanian also asked the participants to deliberate upon the various challenges that the programme to popularise biogas plants in the country would face.

He also underlined that the renewable energy sector is not only supplying electricity produced from renewable and non-conventional sources but also helping in sustaining the environment by decreasing the use of firewood and fossil fuels. He said 19 billion Kwh of electricity generated from renewable energy sources was supplied last year. "The total installed capacity of power from renewable energy sources has crossed 8,500 MW," he said. The Workshop is being attended by the heads of rural development departments and state nodal agencies of various states implementing national biogas programme. The heads of Regional Biogas Training Centres, senior scientists of ICAR Laboratories, among others, are also participating.

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