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    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Brazil-Japan ethanol investment worth US$8 billion

A project between Brazil and Japan to help supply Brazilian ethanol made from sugarcane to the Japanese market could require a massive €6/US$8 billion in investments, Brazil's largest newspaper reported.

The money would be used to take minority stakes in 40 ethanol distilleries across Latin America's largest nation, ensuring Japan with a stable supply as it prepares to mandate an obligatory mix of ethanol in gasoline, the Folha de S. Paulo [*Portuguese] newspaper reported last weekend.

Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA had already confirmed it was negotiating a partnership with Japan's Mitsui & Co. Ltd. on the stakes, but the report quoting Petrobras executive Paulo Roberto Costa was the first time that an investment amount was disclosed. A Petrobras spokesman did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Saturday seeking comment.

Japan could require between 1.8 billion to 6 billion liters of ethanol per year, depending on the ethanol mix required — between 3 percent to 10 percent — according to Petrobras estimates. Brazil exported 3.4 billion liters abroad in 2006, of which less than 7 percent, or 225.4 million liters, went to Japan, according Brazil's Agriculture Ministry.

Japan's National Development Bank will help with financing the distilleries aimed exclusively for the Japanese market, which would be built or purchased, Folha reported:
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Costa told the newspaper that the investment in each distillery could total US$200 million (€150 million). Aiming to ensure long-term supply for 15 years, Petrobras and Mitsui would set up a Brazil-based subsidiary.

Costa told the newspaper that Japan is insisting on guaranteed long-term supply of ethanol, an increasingly popular fuel because of persistent high oil prices. Petrobras announced earlier this week that it signed a memorandum of interest with Mitsui and a Brazilian construction firm to study the construction of a pipeline in Brazil that would be used to help export ethanol to Japan. No amount was disclosed on how much the pipeline could cost.

The United States is the world's largest ethanol producer, but Brazil is in the No. 2 spot and is the planet's largest exporter, with more agricultural land available than in America to ramp up production. While Brazil makes ethanol from sugarcane, U.S. ethanol is produced more expensively from corn.

Brazil's ethanol industry is now making profits like never before amid heavy foreign investment. There is also huge domestic demand in Brazil, where eight out of every 10 new cars are "flex fuel" models that can run on gasoline, pure ethanol or any combination of the two. Most drivers choose ethanol, because it costs almost half as much as gas.

U.S. President George W. Bush will meet Friday in Sao Paulo with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to forge an ethanol "alliance" aimed at promoting use of the fuel internationally and setting quality standards so it can be traded as a commodity.


tanny said...

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We are looking for oversea investors to plant our jatropha.

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Thank you.

Tanny Lee

10:43 PM  

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