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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, February 10, 2007

Valencia to make ethanol from orange peels

Scientists in Spain's top citrus fruit growing region, Valencia, are looking into using the peels of the fruits as a feedstock for the production of ethanol.

Esteban González Pons, president of Valencia's Land and Housing council, explained that "with the introduction of a new processing plant, we will generate some 500,000 tons of orange waste from which we can derive an estimated 37.5 million liters of ethanol. This constitutes 16% of Spain's current national ethanol production, which stands at 240 million liters."

Revitalising the economy
Utilising residues from the orange processing industry allows "the creation of a new space of productivity, with which we can revive one of our region's traditional sectors, which was otherwise doomed to disappear. The new revenues will be large enough to turn the entire industry around. The money can be invested in combating erosion and desertification," Gonzáles Pons adds.

The revenues from the initiative will make it possible to regenerate and reclame 100,000 hectares of heavily degraded land in the interior of Valencia, while the desertification rate can be cut back by up to 30%, the president adds.

The combination of economic revival and bioenergy production "allows us to combine ecology and economy and to reduce our oil dependence as a region by 40%. It allows us to keep the 100,000 Valencian families who depend on the orange industry employed, and what's more, 2500 direct and 20,000 indirect new jobs will be created. In addition, we will obtain CO2 emission rights worth €40 million per year," the Gonzáles Pons said:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The president referred to trials in California, which have proved the feasibility of using this type of waste. According to González Pons, the project would produce enough biofuel to power 550,000 cars, around 25% of the entire fleet of the Spanish east coast.

The ethanol made from citrus and orange peels will reduce CO2 emissions in the region's transport sector by up to a third.

The initiative was presented to Al Gore, during a climate change conference in Madrid. Gore, who is on a European tour, was very enthusiastic and proposed to have the fuel called "zumos oil" ("juice fuel").

Within the context of the project, the region of Valencia is currently negotiating with Ford, who has a manufacturing plant there, to make bio-ethanol capable engines at its Almusafes plant. Likewise, the government of Valencia is talking to Spains largest fuel distributors, Abengoa and Acciona, who have shown very positive signals of interest.

Valencia currently grows oranges on some 190,000 hectares of land.

Photo: Al Gore and Esteban Gonzáles Pons at the Madrilenian Climate Change Conference.

More information:
Agroprofessional: Los coches del futuro funcionarán con zumo de naranja - Feb. 9, 2007.
Ambientum: La Generalitat valenciana propone convertir la pulpa de las naranjas en energía renovable - Feb. 9, 2007.


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