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    Vegetable growers in North Queensland are trying to solve the problem of disposing of polyethylene plastic mulch by using a biodegradable, bioplastic based alternative. Trials are a collaboration of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries with the Bowen District Growers Association. Queensland Country Life - August 8, 2007.

    Hawaii's predominant utility has won approval to build the state's first commercial biofuel plant. It is the first substantial new power generator that Hawaiian Electric Co. has added in 17 years. HECO will build the $142.3 million facility at Campbell Industrial Park on Oahu beginning early next year, and expects to begin commercial operation in mid-2009. It will run exclusively on fuels made from ethanol or biodiesel. Star Bulletin (Honolulu) - August 8, 2007.

    PetroSun Inc. announced today that it conducted its initial algae-to-biofuel program held at Auburn and Opelika, Alabama. The company intends to hold a series of these programs during August and September with biodiesel refiners and firms that are researching the use of algal oil as a potential feedstock for jet fuel production. MarketWire - August 8, 2007.

    To encourage Malaysia's private sector to generate energy from biomass resources, national electricity company Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has increased the purchase price of electricity produced from palm oil biomass waste to 21 sen per kilowatt hour from 19 sen now. According to Minister of Enegry, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik the new price structure, under the Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreement (REPPA), will be implemented immediately. Such projects are eligible for the Clean Development Mechanism. Under the 9th Malaysian Plan, the country's government aims to achieve the installation of 300MW and 50MW of grid-connected electric power from renewable energy sources in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, respectively. Bernama - August 7, 2007.

    Aspectrics, which develops encoded photometric infrared and near infrared spectroscopy, will be launching a new range of biofuels analyzers designed to meet the demands of scientists and analysts to carry out biodiesel quality control and analyze biodiesel blend percentages in real time. Bioresearch Online - August 7, 2007.

    Irish start-up Eirzyme has secured a €10m investment from Canadian company Micromill System. The new company will produce low-cost enzymes to convert biological materials such as brewers' grains into bioethanol and biogas. RTE - August 6, 2007.

    Imperium Renewables says it has a deal to provide Royal Caribbean Cruises with biodiesel. The Seattle-based biodiesel maker, which is scheduled to inaugurate its Grays Harbor plant this month, will sell the cruise line 15 million gallons of biodiesel in 2007 and 18 million gallons annually for four years after that. The Miami-based cruise line has four vessels that call in Seattle. It is believed to be the single-largest long-term biodiesel sales contract to an end user in the U.S. Seattle Times - August 5, 2007.

    The J. Craig Venter Institute, leading the synthetic biology revolution, is expanding its Bio-Energy Program, seeking a senior scientist to head the new dedicated department. With ongoing research in biohydrogen, cellulosic ethanol, microbial fuel cells, and bacterial nanowires, the Environmental Genomics and Plant Genomics groups within JCVI are working on active components related to bio-energy. NatureJobs - August 5, 2007.

    Polish power and heat firm Praterm has decided to invest 50 to 100 mln zloty (€13.2-26.4 /US$18.1-36.4 mln) by 2013 in biomass production. The company has already bought Bio-Energia, an operator of four biomass heating plants with a total capacity of 14 MW. Wirtualna Polska - August 5, 2007.

    Brazil and Mexico will sign a cooperation agreement to collaborate on the production of ethanol from sugarcane, Gonzalo Mourão of the Brazilian chancellory's Departamento do México, América Central e Caribe said. Brazil's President Lula is on a tour of Central America and is currently in Mexico, after which he will visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Panama. He is set to sign several bilateral agreements on energy and biofuels with these countries. Reuters Brasil - August 4, 2007.

    Evergreen Pulp Inc. announced that it and Diversified Energy Corp. have been selected by the state of California for a $500,000, 36-month renewable energy project that aims to dramatically reduce natural-gas-use residue and natural gas at its Samoa mill. The Public Interest Energy Research Natural Gas Program, a part of the California Energy Commission, awarded four contracts for research, development and demonstration of technologies to replace natural gas with renewable resources, to four applicants from among a pool of 25. The state’s focus for the contracts was for biomass-to-gas and/or hybrid projects specifically addressing industrial and commercial process heating or combined heat and power needs. Eureka Reporter - August 4, 2007.

    Greenline Industries, which designs and builds biodiesel production facilities, and ULEROM, one of Romania's largest agri-business corporations, today announced the formal opening of their largest facility in Vaslui, Romania. The plant will produce some 26.5 million liters (7 mio gallons) per year. The Romanian facility is the 17th example of Greenline's technology featuring waterless wash, computerized, continuous flow and modular construction. PRNewswire - August 1, 2007.

    US Renewables Holdings announced today that it has successfully closed on $475 million of third party capital commitments in its most recent private equity fund, USRG Power & Biofuels Fund II, LP and related vehicles (collectively, "Fund II"), ahead of the fund's original target of $250 million. PRNewswire - August 1, 2007.

    Malaysian palm oil company Kim Loong Resources Bhd has secured European energy trading group Vitol as buyer for all its carbon credits from its planned biogas plant in Kota Tinggi. The biogas facility generates methane from palm oil mill effluent, a waste product. The project is expected to generate over RM2 million (€423,000/US$579,000) of earnings annually. The methane capture and power generation project was registered and approved by the Clean Development Mechanism. The Edge Daily - July 31, 2007.

    GreenHunter Energy, Inc. announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary, GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., located in Houston, Texas has successfully acquired Air Emission Permits from TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) under TCEQ's Permit by Rule (PBR) programs. These permits open the way for construction of a 105 million gallon per year (mgy) biodiesel facility including a separate but related methanol distillation facility. PRNewswire - July 30, 2007.

    Together with Chemical & Engineering News' Stephen K. Ritter, the journal Environmental Science & Technology sent Erika D. Engelhaupt to Brazil from where she wrote daily dispatches of news and observations about biofuels research. In particular she focuses on a bioenerrgy research partnership between the American Chemical Society, the Brazilian Chemical Society, and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). Check out her blog. Dipatches from Brazil - July 28, 2007.

    Consultation is under way on a £50 million (€74/US$101million) renewable energy plant planned for the South Wales Valleys. Anglo-Dutch company Express Power plans to build a wood-fuelled biomass plant on Rassau Industrial Estate in Blaenau Gwent. The plant will generate an annual 160,000 MWh (Mega Watt hours) of green electricity for Wales from forestry, recycled wood and wood derivatives. ICWales - July 27, 2007.

    The price of New York crude leapt to 77.24 dollar a barrel on Thursday, marking the highest level since August 9, 2006, as keen global demand and tight supplies fuelled speculative buying, traders said. On Wednesday, the US government had revealed that inventories of American crude fell by 1.1 million barrels last week. France24 - July 26, 2007.

    Arriva, one of Europe's largest transport groups is trialling B20 biodiesel for the first time on 75 of its buses. The company is aiming to reduce total carbon emissions by around 14 per cent by using biodiesel as a 20 per cent blend (predominantly be a mixture of sustainable soya products, along with used cooking oil and tallow). The 75 buses in the innovative trial will carry around 130,000 passengers every week. Minimal engineering changes will be required to the fleet as part of the scheme. Arriva - July 26, 2007.

    Marathon Oil Corporation announces that it has completed two more projects adding biodiesel blended fuel at its Robinson and Champaign terminals in Illinois. The terminals now feature in-line ratio blending in order to provide soy-based B-2 (two percent biodiesel) and B-11 (eleven percent biodiesel). Marathon Oil - July 25, 2007.

    Norway-based renewable energy firm Global Green One has agreed to set up a € 101.6 million bioethanol plant in Békéscsaba (southeast Hungary), with more facilities planned for Kalocsa, Szombathely and Kõszeg, the latter of which was already a target for a €25 million plant in May this year. The Békéscsaba plant would process 200,000 tonnes of maize per year, employing around 100 people. The logistics part of the facility would also create 100 jobs. The company expects the factory to generate €65 million in revenues each year. Portfolio - July 25, 2007.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jamaica ethanol exports earn $120 million in revenues

A joint-venture ethanol project between Jamaica's state-owned oil refinery Petrojam and Brazil's Coimex Group has generated some US$120 million (J$8.16 billion) in revenues since it began operation two-years ago. The Coimex Group says the plant had exported 250,000 cubic metres or 66.05 million gallons of ethanol to the United States over the period, representing 65 per cent of total ethanol exports from Jamaica to the United States (U.S).

The Coimex Group has described the joint-venture as very successful. Manfred Wefers, head of Coimex's Alcohol Business Unit, says the Brazilian company was encouraged to consider new investments in that country. The impressive numbers have also prompted Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to invite representatives of the project to join President Lula during his biofuel diplomacy tour, currently underway in Central America.

The 150 million liter (40 million gallon) per year ethanol dehydration plant, which is run by Petrojam Ethanol Ltd. (PEL), was rehabilitated at an estimated cost of US$10 million shared between Petrojam and Coimex. The venture represents the single largest investment in the Caribbean by the Brazilian group, which trades coffee, sugar and ethanol in the European Union, Asia, Japan, U.S., Middle East, Canada and the Caribbean.

PEL exports ethanol to the USA under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) of 1983 which provides exemption of duty for fuel grade ethanol up to a quota of 7% of US domestic production. Exporters not falling under the CBERA are faced with an ethanol tariff of US$0.54 per gallon:
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The initial shipments to the U.S. consisted of hydrous ethanol from Brazil dehydrated at the Jamaican plant. The plan is to increase production to 250 million liters, relying on locally produced ethanol.

In 2006, Petrojam Limited and PEL also embarked on a program to introduce ethanol in gasoline for local use. The first phase of the program included a pilot study of the E10 blend (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) in a variety of cars over a period of six months. The objective was to validate existing data on E10 blend and this was successfully completed at the end of October 2006. The second phase is to introduce the E10 in all blends of unleaded gasoline in Jamaica. Assessment of infrastructural work for the refinery, loading terminals and service stations along with the reliability of supplies are currently in progress. The outcome of this assessment will determine the actual date of roll out to the consumers.

PEL continues its effort to partner with investors in the development of the local sugar cane industry for the production of fuel ethanol to export and for local consumption.

Partnership extended
Coimex said a study being conducted in collaboration with Petrojam to double production capacity at the dehydration plant was at an advanced stage and noted that it has extended its partnership in the facility to 2011. Petrojam's managing director Winston Watson disclosed recently that the refinery was currently searching for a suitable location to build a new 60 million gallon dehydration plant to expand local ethanol production.

This, according to Petrojam, would require the planting of 9,000 additional hectares of sugar cane. "We welcome this, but we will, of course, have to wait until they actually start using local feedstock so that any further planting can begin. We are certainly anxious," said chairman of the All-Island Cane Farmers Association, Allan Rickards.

Coimex also said it was collaborating with the Government in its plan to replace 10 per cent of the MTBE in gasoline with ethanol. It said it has been facilitating the training of Jamaican technicians in the use of the technology that was developed in Brazil to blend gasoline and ethanol.

The 59-year-old Coimex Group is among the top 100 businesses in Brazil. Last year the group recorded revenues of US$1.1 billion. The company currently operates businesses in logistics, infrastructure development and foreign trade. It is presently involved in the construction of a US$500 million port - the largest privately-owned port facility in the country.

Coimex is also among the nine companies recently shortlisted by the Government to bid for the assets of the Sugar Company of Jamaica, which owns and operates the five state-owned sugar estates.

Agrosoft: Coimex Trading responde por 65% das exportações de etanol da Jamaica para os Estados Unidos - s.d. (August 8, 2007)

Gazeta Mercantil: Brasil aposta na exportação de álcool via Caribe - August 8, 2007.

Jamaica Gleaner: Ethanol exports earn US$120m in revenues - August 9, 2007.

Jamaica Gleaner: Ethanol plant opened in Jamaica - Will supply an initial 150 million litres to US - November 24, 2005


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