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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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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thai experts call to plant more eucalyptus trees for bio-oil production

Renewable energy experts from Thailand have called [*cache] on the government to expand eucalyptus plantations for production of carbon-neutral and renewable bio-oil, which can be used as a substitute for costly fossil fuels. Nikhom Laemsak, director of Kasetsart University's forestry research centre, said the university had been working with a Canadian firm on setting up a eucalyptus oil production plant after an initial study found that Thailand had the potential to become a bio-oil producer.

Scientist will use the fast pyrolysis process to produce eucalyptus-based biofuel. Fast pyrolysis is a thermochemical bioconversion method in which (renewable) biomass is rapidly heated to 450-600°C in the absence of air. The outcome of the process is bio-oil (70%), char (18%) and bio-gas (12%) (more info at the IEA Bioenergy Task 34 on fast pyrolysis, at the Pyrolysis Network - a global network of researchers and developers of fast pyrolysis, or at the EU's broader ThermalNet, researching thermochemical biomass conversion processes such as gasification, direct combustion and pyrolysis).

The economic viability of fast-pyrolysis technologies mainly depends on the cost of the biomass feedstocks. Tropical countries where forest plantations have high yields and grow very fast, have a competitive advantage over more temperate countries where biomass productivity is considerably lower. This is why fast-pyrolysis is an attractive technology for implementation in the Global South. Case-studies show that developing countries (like Mozambique) can produce a huge amount of bio-oil (up to 3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day), export it over vast distances (e.g. to Rotterdam) and still deliver a fuel competitive with petroleum, with a low GHG and a high energy balance. The reason: they have the agro-climatic, land and labor resources to produce biomass feedstocks (such as eucalyptus) at low costs (the Mozambican case-study - *.ppt)

Nikhom Laemsak knows this and wants a first pyrolysis plant to be built in Roi Et province, which has a wide range of eucalyptus plantations. However, he adds that Thailand would need more eucalyptus supplies if it was interested in producing bio-oil on a large-scale and if it wants to tap crucial scale-advantages.

"The plant would require at least 100 tonnes of eucalyptus a day to generate 75,000 litres of bio-oil, which can be used as a substitute for crude oil in electricity generation and vehicle gasoline", he said:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Thailand had failed to expand eucalyptus plantation areas due to strong opposition from environmentalists and local people, who claimed that the tree contains toxic substances that reduce soil quality and consume large amounts of water, causing dryness in the area.

Currently, most eucalyptus plantations are located in the northeastern provinces of Roi Et, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima and Chaiyaphum, and the eastern provinces of Chachoengsao and Prachin Buri.

Mr Nikhom said the idea of producing bio-oil from eucalyptus trees was in line with the government's policy of increasing the use of renewable energy supplies to 4% of the total energy supply.

Renewable energy use currently amounts to only 1.35% of the energy supply, so a bigger push would be needed.

Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, chairman of the Poverty Eradication Centre, who gave an opening speech at the seminar, backed the eucalyptus and bio-oil initiative.

He said commercial forest plantations would not only become a new source of fuel, but also a source of income for poor people, who could work in the plantations and sell trees to the bio-oil plant.

Article continues

The 'obscenity' of carbon trading

Kevin Smith is a researcher with Carbon Trade Watch, a project of the Transnational Institute which studies the impacts of carbon trading on society and the environment. He wrote the following essay for the BBC's series The Green Room. In it, he expresses the view shared by many that neo-liberal economic mantras are not the way forward to mitigate climate change or to bring environmental and social justice to the Global South.

If we want to curb climate change, carbon trading won't do, argues Kevin Smith in the Green Room this week. From the Stern Review to Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme, he argues, the aim of reducing emissions has been perverted by neo-liberal dogma and corporate self-interest.

In 1992, an infamous leaked memo from Lawrence Summers, who was at the time Chief Economist of the World Bank, stated that "the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable, and we should face up to that".

The recently released Stern Review on climate change, written by a man who occupied the same position at the World Bank from 2000 to 2003, applies a similar sort of free market environmentalism to climate change.

Sir Nicholas Stern argues that the cost-effectiveness of making emissions reductions is the most important factor, advocating mechanisms such as carbon pricing and carbon trading.

While dumping toxic waste in the global South might look like a great idea from the perspective of the market, it ignores the glaringly obvious fact of it being hugely unfair on those getting dumped upon.

In a similar way, Stern's cost-benefit analysis reduces important debates about the complex issue of climate change down to a discussion about numbers and graphs that ignores unquantifiable variables such as human lives lost, species extinction and widespread social upheaval.

'Junk economics'
Cost-benefit analysis can be a useful tool for making choices in relatively simple situations when there are a limited number of straight-forward options to choose from:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

But as Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, has observed: "The reality is that applying cost-benefit analysis to questions such as [climate change] is junk economics... It is a vanity of economists to believe that all choices can be boiled down to calculations of monetary value."

Some commentators have applauded the Stern Review for speaking in the economics language that politicians and the business community can understand.

But by framing the issue purely in terms of pricing, trade and economic growth, we are reducing the scope of the response to climate change to market-based solutions.

These "solutions" take two common forms:

* under emissions trading, governments allocate permits to big industrial polluters so they can trade "rights to pollute" amongst themselves as the need arises
* another approach involves the generation of surplus carbon credits from projects that claim to reduce or avoid emissions in other locations, usually in Southern countries; these credits may be purchased to top up any shortfall in emissions reduction

Such schemes allow us to sidestep the most fundamentally effective response to climate change that we can take, which is to leave fossil fuels in the ground. This is by no means an easy proposition for our heavily fossil fuel dependent society; however, we all know it is precisely what is needed.

What incentive is there to start making these costly, long-term changes when you can simply purchase cheaper, short-term carbon credits?

Forcing the market

In the current neo-liberal economic environment, trading rules inevitably succumb to the pressures of corporate lobbying and deregulation in order to ensure that governments do not "interfere" with the smooth running of the market.

We have already seen this corrosive influence in the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), when under corporate pressure, governments massively over-allocated emissions permits to the heaviest polluting industries in the initial round.

This caused the price of carbon to drop by more than 60%, creating even more disincentive for industries to lower their emissions at source.

There are all manner of loopholes and incentives for industry to exaggerate their emissions in order to receive more permits and thereby take even less action.

Market analyst Franck Schuttellar estimated that in the scheme's first year, the UK's most polluting industries earned collectively £940m ($1,792m) in windfall profits from generous ETS allocations.

Given all we know about the link between pollution and climate change, such a massive public concession to dirty industries borders on the obscene.

We are being asked to believe that the flexibility and efficiency of the market will ensure that carbon is reduced as quickly and as effectively as possible, when experience has shown that lack of firm regulation tends to create environmental problems rather than solve them.

Community interest
There is a groundswell of opinion that the "invisible hand" of the market is not the most effective way of facing the climate challenge.

The Durban Declaration of Climate Justice, signed by civil society organisations from all over the world, asserts that making carbon a commodity represents a large-scale privatisation of the Earth's carbon cycling capacity, with the atmospheric pie having been carved-up and handed over to the biggest polluters.

There is an urgent need for stricter regulation, oversight, and penalties for polluters. Effective action on climate change involves demanding, adopting and supporting policies that reduce emissions at source as opposed to offsetting or trading.

Carbon trading isn't an effective response; emissions have to be reduced across the board without elaborate get-out clauses for the biggest polluters.

There is an urgent need for stricter regulation, oversight, and penalties for polluters on community, local, national and international levels, as well as support for communities adversely impacted by climate change. But currently such policies are nigh-on invisible, as they contradict the sacred cows of economic growth and the free market.

There is, unfortunately, no "win-win solution" when it comes to tackling climate change and maintaining an economic growth based on the ever increasing extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.

Market-based mechanisms such as carbon trading are an elaborate shell-game of global creative accountancy that distracts us from the fact that there is no viable "business as usual" scenario.

Climate policy needs to be made of sterner stuff.

Article continues

A look at the socio-economic drivers in implementing bioenergy projects: IEA Bioenergy Task 29

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has been running a comprehensive bioenergy research program for a number of years now. IEA Bioenergy aims to enhance international collaboration on research into biomass based fuels and systems, in order to accelerate the use of environmentally sound and cost-competitive bioenergy on a global scale to achieve a substantial contribution to future energy demands.

The IEA's bioenergy initiative is divided into several 'task forces', research groups with top experts in the field who focus on a particular aspect of biomass-based energy systems. 41 Tasks have been defined so far; Task 1 to 28 have been accomplished, whereas Task 29 to 41 are ongoing or have only recently been discontinued. They range from research topics as diverse as "Short Rotation Crops for Bioenergy Systems" (Task 30), "Biomass Combustion and Co-firing" (Task 32), "Pyrolysis of Biomass" (Task 34) to "Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems" (Task 38) and "Liquid Biofuels from Biomass" (Task 39).

We have been focusing a lot on Task 40 lately, which involves research into "Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade". This taskforce has done research into the global potential of biomass availability for bioenergy and exports (from which we learned that Africa has a huge potential), and studies how supply and demand can be balanced on an international scale. Amongst other things it also looked at international bioenergy transport costs and energy balance, and analysed steps towards the development of a certification system for sustainable bio-energy trade.

From these in-depth studies it becomes apparent that international bioenergy trade is feasible and offers a chance for the Global South to compete on a world market. But knowing that a world market in which biofuel and biomass feedstocks are traded as commodities is feasible, is not enough. If they want to participate in this market, countries in the South have to analyse carefully which social and economic strategies are most suitable to actually implement bioenergy production projects. After all, getting such projects off the ground involves much more than purely technical or engineering issues; in fact, they often strand on a lack of insight into precisely these social, economic, political and even cultural contexts.

IEA Bioenergy Task 29 addresses part of these important, broader questions and designs tools, techniques and methods to analyse them. This research group, uniting social scientists, economists and anthropologists alike, focuses on the "Socio-Economic Drivers in Implementing Bioenergy Projects". We want to have a closer look at its work.

For those who want a short-cut, here are some interesting videos on different socio-economic aspects of large-scale bioenergy projects: Bo Hektor talks about Jobs and/or Earnings from bioenergy projects [*.wmv/695 kB], Hayley Myles delves into 'Socio-economic modelling of bioenergy systems' [*.wmv/985 kB], Horst Scheuer stresses the 'Importance of socio-economic aspects in Styria' [*.wmv/799 kB] and Joe De Franceschi looks at the 'Role of biomass in development of remote communities' [*.wmv/1.080 kB].

Task 29 is an ongoing initiative with the following aims:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

*to achieve a better understanding of the social and economic drivers and impacts of establishing bioenergy markets at the local, regional, national and international level

*to synthesise and transfer to stakeholders critical knowledge and new information,

*to improve the assessment of the above mentioned impacts of biomass production and utilisation in order to increase the uptake of bioenergy and to provide guidance to policy makers.

The participating countries in the 2006 -2008 period are Austria, Canada, Croatia, Ireland, Japan, Norway and United Kingdom. In particular, the Task is seeking to investigate different regional and national achievements in recognition and evaluation of social and economic benefits of biomass utilisation and drivers in implementing bioenergy projects.

So far, the group published interesting country-based case-studies from Austria [*pdf], Croatia
[*pdf], Ireland and Japan [*pdf].

Task 29's main reports
The taskforce's major research programmes have resulted in a set of comprehensive reports, which highlight the complexity of analysing socio-economic drivers of bioenergy projects [all files are in *.pdf format]:

Reinhard Madlener and Hayley Myles, 2000, Modelling Socio-Economic Aspects of Bioenergy Systems - Report prepared for Task 29.

Bo Hektor, 2001, Socio-economic management models for bioenergy sector - Report prepared for Task 29.

Julije Domac, Reinhard Madlener and Keith Richards, 2000, Socio-economic aspects of bioenergy systems – a new international research cooperation within IEA Bioenergy Presented at 1st World Biomass Conference.

Julije Domac and Keith Richards, 2002, Final results from IEA Bioenergy Task 29 Presented at 12th European Biomass Conference.

Julije Domac et al, 2004, Educational work of IEA Bioenergy Task 29, Presented at 2nd World Biomass Conference.

Julije Domac, Keith Richards, Velimir Segon, 2005, Old fuel for modern times Published in Renewable Energy World, July 2005.

Velimir Segon et al, 2004, Raising the awareness of bioenergy benefits: Results of two public surveys on attitudes, perceptions and knowledge, Presented at 2nd World Biomass Conference.

Ralph E.H. Sims and Keith Richards, 2004, Bioenergy for the global community
Article in 'Renewable Energy World'
, 7(1), 128-133 (James & James, London) .

Keith Richards and David Payne, 2002, Translating Renewable Energy Regional Strategy into Local Action (TRANS-RELATE) Paper to European Conference on Local Energy Action, Brussels, Belgium.

Keith Richards and Ralph E.H. Sims, 2002, Delivering the Bioenergy Triple Bottom Line to the Global Community, Paper to 7th World Renewable Energy Congress, Cologne, Germany.

A wealth of studies
But especially the group's workshops have resulted in a wide array of fascinating studies. Since these papers are not indexed and do not appear in search engines, we did the effort of opening the archives to present them here, so that they become more accessible to a larger audience. We can only highlight some topics.

Participants at the 2001 workshop in Alberta, Canada presented research about such diverse issues as:

‘From the Grandma-image to the must have-image’ The Styrian Story [*.pdf], Horst Scheuer.
Since its creation the Energy Agency Styria has been working on the promotion and expansion of Biomass-heating plants. In particular since the mid-80ies over 100 biomass district heating networks in Styrian communities have been installed under the intensive co-work of the Energy Agency Styria together with the national energy representative, the energy advisory bureau and the administrative chamber for agriculture and forestry. Here the task of the Energy Agency Styria was the counselling during the actual implementation, i.e e.g. pre-estimations about feasibility and economy. These aspects were calculated with individually developed EDP-programmes (BIOWIRT and BIOPLAN). A manual for operators of such plants was also written (manual distant-heating - district heating with Biomass), which describes the entire way from the original idea to the establishment of such a districtheating plant.
Another essential part of Energy Agency Styria's work in relation to Biomass-district heating was and is to help with the solution of problems as they occur ("trouble shooting"). Only through the establishment of a sample-grant application could the normally very long duration of the processing of such applications from the Government be accelerated enormously. Together with the energy advisory bureau of Styria the Energy Agency Styria also did some intensive advisory work for ultimate consumers who obtain heat from these plants.

Socio-Economic Modelling of Bioenergy Systems [*.pdf], Hayley Myles
The following paper presents two practical applications of using quantitative modelling tools to determine the socio-economic impact of bioenergy systems. By first presenting the differing drivers and therefore the output requirements of quantitative socio-economic modelling, the paper demonstrated two contrasting methodologies for capturing wealth and employment effects at national and regional level. In addition to the quantitative aspect, it also questioned the reasoning behind the analysis and how the input to, and output from, the investigation inter-play with project realisation in terms of stakeholder involvement.

Bioenergy Opportunities and Climate Change - an Assessment from the IPCC Third Assessment Report [*.pdf], Ralph E H Sims
The Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) shows there is a range of Renewable Energy options together with hundreds of Energy Efficiency technology solutions that could be implemented over the next 20 years to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Significant global business opportunities will result from the near term potential for such industries, their business earning capacity and their high employment potential. The IPCC report covers all six greenhouse gases, though this paper concentrates on carbon dioxide and the role that the Bioenergy industry might play in reducing its emissions.

Renewable Energy Integrated Power Supply Systems for Rural Communities
[*.pdf], Phil Murray and Ralph E. H. Sims.
Rural communities of New Zealand may have their electricity supplies and services cut in the future. The Electricity Act 1992 states that existing power lines must be maintained until 2013 but after this their fate depends upon the profit motives of the new and commercially orientated lines companies. An opportunity exists for rural communities to generate their own power using local renewable energy resources such as forest residues and sell excess power to the wholesale electricity market. Relevant to this are rapidly developing small scale bioenergy generation technologies; the global trend towards distributed electricity generation; New Zealand’s commitments to climate change and carbon emissions trading; power quality, controls and supply reliability; and the pending legislation changes which will encourage small scale embedded generation.

Socio-Economic Management Models for the Bioenergy Sector [*.pdf], Bo Hektor.
Energy programmes and projects include a wide range of various aspects and factors, i.a. technology, economy, security of supply, and basic elements for development and well-being. Thus, energy relates not only to techniques, but to a great extent to socio-economics. In the neo-classic economic models the socio-economic effects are expressed in terms of new jobs, and additional income formation. However, when regarding socio-economics from managerial points of view, socio-economics driving forces and obstacles are important in the management of planning, implementation, and operational phases, as well as for ex post evaluation of project and programmes. These driving forces and obstacles are based on the subjective perceived values of a project or a programme in the minds of individuals and organisations. In this paper three types of application areas of management models are identified and described. The application areas are distinguished by the leading roles of the various actors in the three typical cases.

The Contribution of Bioenergy Systems on a National Level – Case Study for Croatia [*.pdf], Julije Domac.
Economic development is closely correlated with the availability and utilization of modern energy sources. It is now clear that current approaches to energy are non-sustainable and not renewable. Together with hydro, wind, solar and geothermal energy sources, biomass is considered as essential factor of the future renewable energy strategies. Use of biomass and different biofuels offers a wide range of social and economic benefits and contribution, especially in remote and rural areas development. One of these additional benefits, which were gained attraction, is the opportunity to create new, local jobs. It is of course that high rate of unemployment in most parts of Croatia and associated high costs and loses, should lead to increased interest for creating new permanent jobs that are economically and socially useful. There are many difficulties in summarising or comparing effects of biomass use due to differences in biofuels supply systems, ways of calculation, definitions of limits, technology, etc. To calculate the manpower requirement in a new rapidly developing branch of business is no exact science, but rather a qualified estimate, especially in Croatian conditions. This paper deals with preliminary estimation of biomass usage contribution to creation of new jobs in Croatia. These results are a part of activities of the BIOEN Program (National energy program of biomass and waste use) and they are recognised and evaluated in recently published Energy Strategy of the Republic of Croatia.

Participants at the 2003 workshop in Stratley, UK wrote about such diverse issues as:

Contribution from bioenergy to local economic development - a Norwegian case study [*.pdf], Anders Lunnan.
Bioenergy projects make a significant contribution to rural communities. One indicator of this contribution is the direct and indirect employment caused by the projects. It can be argued that employment has an extra value in a rural context, in the Norwegian case this can be deduced from the public regional policy. In 1985 a study of the region of Hadeland was undertaken and the utilisation was of biomass for energy purposes was in the optimistic case estimated to increase from 40 Twh to 100 Twh. Built upon these prognosis possible employment effects was also estimated. A study in 2003 shows that bioenergy has grown from 40 to 60 Twh. The employment effects are much smaller than anticipated in the harvesting part of the value chain, but interesting enough some new jobs has been established in education, consulting and transport. The firm Energigården is the engine in the bioenergy development in Hadeland and the history of the firm is a good illustration of the importance of good extension work. In 2003 21 firms was asked about their views on future development of the bioenergy sector in Hadeland. More than half of the firms answered that they would increase their activities and they thought that bioenergy would be more competetive in the years to come.

The 1998 Ice Storms: Results from a Survey of Households in Eastern Canada and Northeastern US [*.pdf], Pamela Jagger et al.
Extreme weather events such as the ice storm that affected eastern Canada and the Northeastern US in January of 1998 have significant impacts on both human populations and forests. This case study examines the economic impacts of the ice storm on the residential market for fuelwood. It is hypothesized that demand for fuelwood will increase due to the failure of non-wood heating sources during the ice storm. In addition, damage to trees in the region should increase the supply of fuelwood; the net effect of these outward shifts of supply and demand on price is not known. A household level survey administered to over one thousand households indicates that less than half of the households in the affected region relied on wood burning technologies as a source of heat for their homes at the time of the storm. However, those households with wood burning technologies were better able to manage during the ice storm. Forest managers or forest product producers who have information regarding extreme weather events have the option to undertake various management strategies to lessen the economic and biophysical impacts of ice storms on forests.

Bioenergy Education and Training in Ireland – Experience and Future Priorities [*.pdf], Clifford Guest et al.
There is considerable potential to develop bioenergy as a major contributor to Ireland’s Total Primary Energy Requirement, however currently its contribution is low. In order to develop this potential various initiatives will be needed including the delivery of quality education and training to potential project developers, policy makers and development agencies. Tipperary Institute (TI) has been involved in this sector since 1996 and has participated in a number of projects including two which saw Institute staff being trained by expert partners in Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. In its work TI has seen a continual increase in the level of interest in bioenergy and a move from general enquires to more specific requests for information and training. In response TI have delivered many workshops and training sessions and launched a Certificate in Renewable Energy in 2001. It is hoped that this initiative will be followed with further certificates, diplomas, degrees and masters programmes in the longer term and that the Institute will continue to deliver one off training events workshops and conferences.

Climate protection and bio-energy - What’s in it for a politician? Sarah Nilsson and Bo Frank.
When promoting introduction of bio-energy at local level, local politicians is an important group. This paper contains two parts that describe how a base for understanding of and commitment to sustainable development is formed and lost.
The first part describes parts of the practical process to become a fossil fuels free city, successes and failures. The second part expresses the view of a conservative politician that is convinced of the importance of sustainable development and states the importance of taking responsibility at local level. The conclusion is that information, knowledge and dialog are the best tools to achieve political commitment but it has to be continuous and person-to-person.

Visualising socio-economic data at the regional level [*.pdf], K.M. Richards et al.
TV Energy (TVE), in partnership with Regional Government in the south east of England, has embarked on a new initiative called ‘SEE-Stats’ (South East England Renewable Energy Statistics) to track and monitor renewable energy projects. TVE will use methodologies developed for UK national, European and IEA statistics gathering and adapt them to local circumstances. The data to be gathered will show the size and nature of projects, recording MWhe and MWhth produced along with other physical data. In this way, TVE will enable regional and local Government and others to track developments and determine whether agreed targets are likely to be met. SEE-STATS will also record socio-economic data on a project-by-project basis. As far as is known, this will be a first attempt to carry out such a task. Data to be recorded will include: jobs created or sustained, new business start-ups, training and educational benefits, health benefits and community benefits. The initiative will link closely to the IEA Bioenergy Task 29 examining socio-economic issues. The results and ongoing work of SEE-STATS will be updated regularly on a website www.seestats.org.

The Socio-economic Analysis of Energy Use in a small New Zealand Rural Community – an update [*pdf], Ralph E H Sims et al.
The Totara Valley community is a collection of three farms and worker cottages 30 kms from Woodville, New Zealand. This community is currently heavily reliant on the electrical distribution network for their energy requirements but they, in close association with Massey University and IRL, are evaluating options to produce some of their heat and power demand from local resources. The site power demand has been monitored for over 3 years, the renewable energy resources have been identified and some conversion technologies installed.

Who’s For Renewable Energy and Why? Answers from a Sample Survey in Reading [*.pdf], Deborah Støer and Keming Yang
Conducting an urban residential survey in a large town such as Reading was seen as an important public opinion survey, and a useful mechanism for exploring attitudes and perceptions of Reading residents towards environmental awareness, energy efficiency and renewable energy acceptance in the Borough.

The Growing European Bio-Energy Market - Bioenergy Programme in Russia (BIPIR) [*.pdf], Ole Veiby
The paper summarises findings in 2 studies conducted by the Vekst Foundation, funded by the Royal Norwegian Ministry pf Foreign Affairs and by grant from United Nations Fund for International Partnership (UNFIP)
(1) “The Growing European Bioenergy Market” dated August 2002 in cooperation with Bioenergy International an organisation associated with the Swedish Bio Energy Association, and (2) “Bio-Energy Programme in Russia (BIPIR) dated 2002.
The studies have been developed in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UN ECE) EE-21 Project and will be published as a UN ECE Energy Series. The studies are available on the Vekst web.site; www.vekst.no The studies discuss only bio energy in the form wood biomass from forests, forestry and wood processing industries Present use of Renewable Energy Sources (RE) in Europe is ~ 900 TWh (6% of gross domestic consumption) to be increased to more than 2000 TWh (12 %) by year 2010 to comply EU White Book on Energy.
The present market is characterised by; (i) lack of large scale commercial take-off, (ii) high biomass and technology cost, (iii) absence of stable legal framework and incentive schemes, (iv) lack of cooperation between Industry and Agriculture Organisation (on biomass supply), (v) lack of knowledge and information.
Key factors for improvements are; (i) effective low-cost biomass supply, (ii) standardisation of costeffective efficient technologies. (iii) integrated bio-energy complexes, (iv) national support and incentive schemes and foreseeable policy framework.

Recent Expansion of Bioenergy Utilization in Japan - Subjects and Countermeasures [*pdf], Tatsuo Yagishita and Shin-ichi Ueda.
After the last Croatia meeting, there are two major topics on Biomass. One is “Biomass Nippon” Strategy Plan, which is a total strategy from the harvest to the utilization, and another is Renewable Portfolio Standard. Some subsidies for bioenergy utilization are also provided from METI and NEDO. In this paper, we surveyed the facilities already installed and analyzed the distribution of the treatment scale.

In 2004 there was a workshop in Ysukuba, Japan where participants wrote about such diverse issues as:

Wood Fuel Sources and Markets [*.pdf], Auke Koopmans.
Woodfuels are an important source of energy for most of the member countries of the Regional Wood Energy Development Programme or RWEDP. Unfortunately, statistics on the consumption are hard to come by and this is equally true for related issues such as who is involved in the growing, cutting, transporting, trading, use, etc. However, by tracing woodfuel flows and by focusing on woodfuel market mechanisms some insight can be gained with regard to the understanding on how and under what conditions woodfuels move from a source to the users as well as on the importance of the various stakeholders involved. A major conclusion, which can be drawn from the studies is that, the woodfuel trade system can be very simple and straightforward but at the same time may be a complex system with sometimes up to 7-8 intermediaries involved. Both systems can co-exist; even in the same area e.g. one system does not exclude the use of other systems.

The Biomass Asia Project [*.pdf], Akio Nishijima
Since 2001, Japanese Government is promoting technology development and introducing bioenergy in local area. However, there are many barriers to utilization of biomass resources with large scale. On the other hand, the biomass potential of Asia is prominent at a world level. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) proposed a Concept Biomass Asia that will build collaboration between Asian countries. Now, we just launched forth into Biomass Asia Project.

Case Studies of Bioenergy Projects in the Republic of Ireland [*.pdf], Kevin Healion.
Tipperary Institute has undertaken case studies of bioenergy projects in the Republic of Ireland. This paper outlines two of the projects examined. It summarises the drivers in implementing the projects, records the barriers encountered by the project developers, lists the impacts of the projects and identifies the stakeholders. The two projects have a number of drivers in common: a strong focus (commercial or philosophical); international linkages for expertise and technology; and financial support from EU or Government. It is hoped that this paper and the case studies themselves will improve the understanding of bioenergy project development in Ireland, and thus assist in the construction of additional projects which maximise bioenergy’s social, economic and environmental benefits.

Information for larger audiences

Besides these workshop presentations and reports, the IEA Bioenergy Task 29 website hosts a series of powerpoint presentations, brochures, videos and posters which explain its goals and work in simplified terms.

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New solid catalyst technology reduces cost of making biodiesel and biolubricants

New Century Lubricants (NCL) has entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement with National Chemical Laboratory (NCL-India), a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in India, to demonstrate and commercialize NCL’s new transesterification catalyst and process for the production of biodiesel fuels and biolubricants.

The new ENSEL process, according to company President William Summers, eliminates most of the existing drawbacks of conventional transesterification processes and offers a simpler, more direct process for the production of hydrocarbon fuels. The ENSEL process involves the reaction of vegetable oils or animal fats with C1– C5 alcohols at moderate conditions using a novel, solid, reusable mixed-metal catalyst (an insoluble double metal salt). The feedstock oil can be triglycerides or mixtures of fatty acids and glycerides.
We can use less expensive unrefined oils in a truly continuous process, and generate no waste water. Furthermore, our process can make biodiesel with either methanol or ethanol. ENSEL can also manufacture premium biolubricants by running the reaction with higher alcohols such as octanol.

Adding all the advantages, we expect that ENSEL will reduce the total cost of making biodiesel by 20-25% over current practices. This competitive edge will be especially welcome if the bioenergy industry experiences any turbulence due to rising feedstock prices, increased utility rates, or unexpected swings in supply and demand.—William Summers, NCL President
New Century intends to build and to operate a 1-ton per day ENSEL pilot plant in India to evaluate different feedstocks from all over the world, to generate scale-up data and to optimize catalyst performance. The pilot plant is being engineered and designed by Unitel Technologies, and will be operated under the technical supervision of NCL-India scientists. Dr. Paul Ratnasamy, former Director of NCL-India, an expert in industrial catalysis and Government of India’s Ramanujan Scholar, has agreed to serve on the New Century Board of Directors.

The ENSEL catalyst can be separated easily by centrifugation or by filtration and reused or further compounded into a solid suitable for fixed bed reactors. Conventional base catalysts incur additional expenses for catalyst separation:
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The catalyst is efficient—only a small amount (1 wt% of oil) is needed to carry out the reaction, for which conditions of temperature and pressure are only moderate (25 atm, 175° C, compared to ~60 atm, 180°C–220° C for some established catlaysts). Unlike the conventional base catalysts, the NCL-India catalyst is unaffected by the presence of water or free fatty acids in oil or fat feedstock. Hence, according to NCL, there are no limitations on the quality of oil that can be used.

The ENSEL process yields a diesel oil (products conform to ATMS 6751 and EN14214), from sources such as vegetable oil or animal fat, which can be either fresh oil or used oil or mixtures. Another feature of this process is the wide choice of alcohols which have been demonstrated to be effective, including methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, pentanol or their mixtures. The product hydrocarbon fuels comprise fatty acid esters in the range of C9– C23.

The ENSEL technology also provides a profitable solution to the glycerin glut now faced by the biodiesel industry. The glycerin recovered from the transesterification reaction is etherified with methanol, ethanol or butanol using another proprietary heterogeneous catalyst. The end products, primarily di- and tri-ethers of glycerin, are oxygenates for diesel fuels.

New Century is actively seeking the participation of strategic partners in North America and elsewhere.

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