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    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

    Finnish engineering firm Pöyry Oyj has been awarded contracts by San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. to provide services for the first bioethanol plant in the Philippines. The aggregate contract value is EUR 10 million. The plant is to be build in the Province of San Carlos on the north-eastern tip of Negros Island. The plant is expected to deliver 120,000 liters/day of bioethanol and 4 MW of excess power to the grid. Kauppalehti Online - Feb. 15, 2007.

    In order to reduce fuel costs, a Mukono-based flower farm which exports to Europe, is building its own biodiesel plant, based on using Jatropha curcas seeds. It estimates the fuel will cut production costs by up to 20%. New Vision (Kampala, Uganda) - Feb. 12, 2007.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to use 10% biodiesel in its fleet of public buses. The world's largest city is served by the Toei Bus System, which is used by some 570,000 people daily. Digital World Tokyo - Feb. 12, 2007.

    Fearing lack of electricity supply in South Africa and a price tag on CO2, WSP Group SA is investing in a biomass power plant that will replace coal in the Letaba Citrus juicing plant which is located in Tzaneen. Mining Weekly - Feb. 8, 2007.

    In what it calls an important addition to its global R&D capabilities, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to build a new bioenergy research center in Hamburg, Germany. World Grain - Feb. 5, 2007.

    EthaBlog's Henrique Oliveira interviews leading Brazilian biofuels consultant Marcelo Coelho who offers insights into the (foreign) investment dynamics in the sector, the history of Brazilian ethanol and the relationship between oil price trends and biofuels. EthaBlog - Feb. 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has announced its renewable energy target: 12% of all energy should come from renewables by 2020. The plan is expected to revitalise Taiwan's agricultural sector and to boost its nascent biomass industry. China Post - Feb. 2, 2007.

    Production at Cantarell, the world's second biggest oil field, declined by 500,000 barrels or 25% last year. This virtual collapse is unfolding much faster than projections from Mexico's state-run oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos. Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2007.

    Dubai-based and AIM listed Teejori Ltd. has entered into an agreement to invest €6 million to acquire a 16.7% interest in Bekon, which developed two proprietary technologies enabling dry-fermentation of biomass. Both technologies allow it to design, establish and operate biogas plants in a highly efficient way. Dry-Fermentation offers significant advantages to the existing widely used wet fermentation process of converting biomass to biogas. Ame Info - Jan. 22, 2007.

    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited is to build a biofuel production plant in the tribal belt of Banswara, Rajasthan, India. The petroleum company has acquired 20,000 hectares of low value land in the district, which it plans to commit to growing jatropha and other biofuel crops. The company's chairman said HPCL was also looking for similar wasteland in the state of Chhattisgarh. Zee News - Jan. 15, 2007.

    The Zimbabwean national police begins planting jatropha for a pilot project that must result in a daily production of 1000 liters of biodiesel. The Herald (Harare), Via AllAfrica - Jan. 12, 2007.

    In order to meet its Kyoto obligations and to cut dependence on oil, Japan has started importing biofuels from Brazil and elsewhere. And even though the country has limited local bioenergy potential, its Agriculture Ministry will begin a search for natural resources, including farm products and their residues, that can be used to make biofuels in Japan. To this end, studies will be conducted at 900 locations nationwide over a three-year period. The Japan Times - Jan. 12, 2007.

    Chrysler's chief economist Van Jolissaint has launched an arrogant attack on "quasi-hysterical Europeans" and their attitudes to global warming, calling the Stern Review 'dubious'. The remarks illustrate the yawning gap between opinions on climate change among Europeans and Americans, but they also strengthen the view that announcements by US car makers and legislators about the development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing. Today, the EU announced its comprehensive energy policy for the 21st century, with climate change at the center of it. BBC News - Jan. 10, 2007.

    The new Canadian government is investing $840,000 into BioMatera Inc. a biotech company that develops industrial biopolymers (such as PHA) that have wide-scale applications in the plastics, farmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Plant-based biopolymers such as PHA are biodegradable and renewable. Government of Canada - Jan. 9, 2007.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Zambia Sugar plans major expansion, to produce ethanol

Zambia Sugar Plc, the country's largest sugarcane plantation and processing company, plans to raise sugar output by almost 70% to 440,000 tons by 2011 to meet rising local demand, to supply exports to the EU and to produce ethanol.

Zambia Sugar [*no website] said in an environmental assessment report submitted to the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) that it planned to increase sugar production to 440,000 tons in 2010/11 from 260,000 this year. The firm also plans to start producing bioethanol at its Nakambala Estate plantation in Mazabuka, 125km south of Lusaka, once permission is granted for its expansion programme.

Zambia Sugar did not indicate how much it would spend to expand its mill and area under cultivation to reach its new production targets. The report said the firm would increase its hectarage from its current 11,050 hectares to 16,995 hectares to lift cane production to a peak of 3,25-million tons by 2010/11 from 1,8-million tons currently.

Even though no details were released on how much ethanol the company will be producing, we can more or less deduce the potential, by looking at the feedstock. "It is envisaged that molasses produced at Nakambala will be used as a source for conversion to ethanol," said the report.

If 3.25 million tons of sugarcane yield 440,000 tons of white sugar, then Zambia Sugar has a cane conversion rate of around 7.4%. Molasses (all grades) has a residue-to-product ratio of around 0.2, meaning that for each ton of sugar produced, some 200kg of the feedstock becomes available (see FAO); in total, some 88,000 tons. At an average ethanol conversion ratio of around 35% (for all grades of molasses), the total biofuel production potential from the byproduct in 2011 would be around 31,000 tons. The company did not disclose whether bagasse, the major byproduct of sugarcane processing, would be used to generate electricity.

Maximizing the technology mix and taking a high input scenario, Zambia has some 9.5 million hectares of land suitable for rainfed sugarcane:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Zambia Sugar, majority owned by SA’s Illovo Sugar, currently exports 10% of its white sugar to the European Union under a preferential sugar export treaty, while 50% is consumed within Zambia and the rest exported to other southern and east African countries. The company said it would start to produce ethanol from sugar by-product molasses.

Mollasses was currently sold to farmers for stock feed and also exported to SA, it said. Zambia Sugar, which is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange), employs a total of 5 102 workers, about 3 346 of them as seasonal workers during the cane cutting peak period.

More information:
On land availability, see the data at the Global Agro-Ecological Assessment for Agriculture in the 21st Century, produced by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the FAO. Inside the website (optimized for Internet Explorer browsers), check under spreadsheets > additional > sugarcane.


Anonymous said...


sorry, not land availability but it is land suitability that is addressed in the FAO AEZ report.....

10:12 PM  

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