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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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Monday, February 05, 2007

Indonesian agro-industrial firm to invest in three bioenergy plants

As we transit towards the bioeconomy, land becomes a valuable resource. Asian plantation companies have singled out Indonesia as one of the countries with a lot of spare land capacity. They are massively investing in the island state (earlier post).

But on the home-front, domestic companies are equally active within the context of the country's ambitious €9.5/US$12 billion bioenergy plan (earlier post). Indonesia's state-owned agroindustry firm PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) is now planning to develop three bioenergy plants worth €45/US$58 million to produce bioethanol and renewable electricity by 2009, while expanding its rubber plantations.

RNI's director for business development, Son Ramadir, describes the capacity, investment and location of the bioenergy plants:
  • the first plant would be constructed at the company's Jatitujuh sugar factory in Cirebon, West Java, and would produce 100,000 liters of ethanol per day. The cost of the development would be €15.5/US$20 million, and it would be undertaken in cooperation with private-sector firm PT Indo Acidatama. The project is at the feasibility-study stage and will be completed by December 2008.
  • another bioethanol plant, with a capacity of 100,000 liters per day, will also see a €15.5/US$20 million investment and would be built at the company's Kebon Grati Agung sugar factory in East Java in cooperation with PT Choi Biofuel Indonesia, which is owned by a South Korean firm. The plant is slated to start operations in April 2009.
  • the third plant would be constructed at a cost of €14/US$18 million at the Jatitujuh sugar factory, and process the factory's sugarcane waste for the generation of electricity. It would have a capacity of 20 megawatts. RNI is collaborating with PT PSA Automatika of Russia on the pre-feasibility, with the feasibility study expected to be completed in June 2008.
Beside the bioenergy projects, the company also plans to increase the processing capacity of two sugar factories in Malang, East Java, expand its rubber plantations in South Sumatra, and construct a new sugar factory in Garut, West Java:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The two sugar factories' processing capacity will be increased from 8,000 tons of sugar per day to 11,500 tons, and the project will entail an investment of 205 billion rupiah (€17.5/US$22.5 million)

The expansion of the South Sumatra rubber plantations from 1,000 hectares to 16,000 hectares will require an investment of 400 billion rupiah (€34/US$44 million), while the new sugar factory and its associated sugarcane fields in Garut will be developed on a 12,000-hectare site, and will cost some 1.2 trillion rupiah (€102.5/US$132.5 million).

RNI has 54,600 hectares under sugarcane and 11 sugar factories with a total production capacity of 235,000 tons of sugar and 140,000 tons of molasses per annum.

In 2006, the company made 149 billion rupiah (€12.7/US$16.5 million) in net profit, a figure that is forecast to increase by 40 percent this year. (05)


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