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    According to Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, one third of the value of all of Finland's exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies. Finland has invested in climate and energy technologies, particularly in combined heat and power production from biomass, bioenergy and wind power, the president said at the UN secretary-general's high-level event on climate change. Newroom Finland - September 25, 2007.

    Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa says it had suspended bioethanol production at the biggest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. It cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol. Earlier this year, the plant, located in Salamanca, ceased production for similar reasons. To Biopact this is yet another indication that biofuel production in the EU/US does not make sense and must be relocated to the Global South, where the biofuel can be produced competitively and sustainably, without relying on food crops. Reuters - September 24, 2007.

    The Midlands Consortium, comprised of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham, is chosen to host Britain's new Energy Technologies Institute, a £1 billion national organisation which will aim to develop cleaner energies. University of Nottingham - September 21, 2007.

    The EGGER group, one of the leading European manufacturers of chipboard, MDF and OSB boards has begun work on installing a 50MW biomass boiler for its production site in Rion. The new furnace will recycle 60,000 tonnes of offcuts to be used in the new combined heat and power (CHP) station as an ecological fuel. The facility will reduce consumption of natural gas by 75%. IHB Network - September 21, 2007.

    Analysts fear that record oil prices will fuel general inflation in Kenya, particularly hitting the poorest hard. They call for the development of new policies and strategies to cope with sustained high oil prices. Such policies include alternative fuels like biofuels, conservation measures, and more investments in oil and gas exploration. The poor in Kenya are hit hardest by the sharp increase, because they spend most of their budget on fuel and transport. Furthermore, in oil intensive economies like Kenya, high oil prices push up prices for food and most other basic goods. All Africa - September 20, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Power has won an order to supply Kalmar Energi Värme AB with a biomass-fired power boiler for the company’s new combined heat and power plant in Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden. Start-up for the plant is scheduled for the end of 2009. The value of the order is approximately EUR 55 million. The power boiler (90 MWth) will utilize bubbling fluidized bed technology and will burn biomass replacing old district heating boilers and reducing the consumption of oil. The delivery will also include a flue gas condensing system to increase plant's district heat production. Metso Corporation - September 19, 2007.

    Jo-Carroll Energy announced today its plan to build an 80 megawatt, biomass-fueled, renewable energy center in Illinois. The US$ 140 million plant will be fueled by various types of renewable biomass, such as clean waste wood, corn stover and switchgrass. Jo-Carroll Energy - September 18, 2007.

    Beihai Gofar Marine Biological Industry Co Ltd, in China's southern region of Guangxi, plans to build a 100,000 tonne-per-year fuel ethanol plant using cassava as feedstock. The Shanghai-listed company plans to raise about 560 million yuan ($74.5 million) in a share placement to finance the project and boost its cash flow. Reuters - September 18, 2007.

    The oil-dependent island state of Fiji has requested US company Avalor Capital, LLC, to invest in biodiesel and ethanol. The Fiji government has urged the company to move its $250million 'Fiji Biofuels Project' forward at the earliest possible date. Fiji Live - September 18, 2007.

    The Bowen Group, one of Ireland's biggest construction groups has announced a strategic move into the biomass energy sector. It is planning a €25 million investment over the next five years to fund up to 100 projects that will create electricity from biomass. Its ambition is to install up to 135 megawatts of biomass-fuelled heat from local forestry sources, which is equal to 50 million litres or about €25m worth of imported oil. Irish Examiner - September 16, 2007.

    According to Dr Niphon Poapongsakorn, dean of Economics at Thammasat University in Thailand, cassava-based ethanol is competitive when oil is above $40 per barrel. Thailand is the world's largest producer and exporter of cassava for industrial use. Bangkok Post - September 14, 2007.

    German biogas and biodiesel developer BKN BioKraftstoff Nord AG has generated gross proceeds totaling €5.5 million as part of its capital increase from authorized capital. Ad Hoc News - September 13, 2007.

    NewGen Technologies, Inc. announced that it and Titan Global Holdings, Inc. completed a definitive Biofuels Supply Agreement which will become effective upon Titan’s acquisition of Appalachian Oil Company. Given APPCO’s current distribution of over 225 million gallons of fuel products per year, the initial expected ethanol supply to APPCO should exceed 1 million gallons a month. Charlotte dBusinessNews - September 13, 2007.

    Oil prices reach record highs as the U.S. Energy Information Agency releases a report that showed crude oil inventories fell by more than seven million barrels last week. The rise comes despite a decision by the international oil cartel, OPEC, to raise its output quota by 500,000 barrels. Reuters - September 12, 2007.

    OPEC decided today to increase the volume of crude supplied to the market by Member Countries (excluding Angola and Iraq) by 500,000 b/d, effective 1 November 2007. The decision comes after oil reached near record-highs and after Saudi Aramco announced that last year's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent. OPEC - September 11, 2007.

    GreenField Ethanol and Monsanto Canada launch the 'Gro-ethanol' program which invites Ontario's farmers to grow corn seed containing Monsanto traits, specifically for the ethanol market. The corn hybrids eligible for the program include Monsanto traits that produce higher yielding corn for ethanol production. MarketWire - September 11, 2007.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Community biogas plants preferred waste management option amongst citizens of Kochi, India

Highlighting the need to decentralise solid waste management, a study conducted by the SCMS Group's Centre for Socio-Economic Research in Kochi, a city of 1.5 million in India's southern Kerala state, found that the majority of respondents in the city preferred setting up community biogas plants for waste treatment.

Waste management is a huge problem in most of the developing world's rapidly growing cities. A lack of waste treatment technologies and policies often results in a very tangible health risk to the population. Organising integrated waste management requires an insight into how people deal with household waste. Researchers from the SCMS therefor conducted their survey, with the objective to analyse the best financial support and intervention strategies, and to see how different social classes should be approached. Other developing world cities could benefit from similar social science approaches to discover how waste management should be organised most effectively (also have a look at the enormous waste problem in Africa's second largest city, Kinshasa, and its choice for biogas - earlier post).

The basic survey was conducted in 832 households in 15 wards. The areas included Elamakkara North, Thrikkanarvattom, Karukappilli, Kaloor South, Kathrikadavu, Elamkulam, Thammanam, Kadavanthra, Vaduthala East, Puthukkalavattom, Edapally, Devankulangara, Vennala, Chalikkavattom and Thevara (map, click to enlarge).
We should take into account the minute details of the waste management problem in order to solve it - A. P. M. Mohammed Hanish, Kochi District Collector
It was found that 488 households preferred biogas plants while 186 voted for vermi-compost units. Interestingly, 19 per cent of the respondents said that they did not want assistance for installation of biogas or vermi-compost units, said Radha Thevannoor, project co-ordinator and director of the SCMS School of Technology and Management.

Preference for biogas plant installation was found high among people in the income category of Rs 5,000 (€89/$126) and below and those in the category between Rs5,000 and Rs15,000.
The low income group seems to be more practical in the case of waste management. [...] Many of the people whom we approached were of the opinion that it is the government's responsibility to manage the segregation and disposal of waste. Some of them were not even ready to consider the segregation of waste at home - Poornima Narayan and N. Rajagopal, Centre for Socio-Economic Research
Pointing towards the public perception on the feasibility of various intervention strategies on waste disposal, Thevannoor said that the majority preferred financial aid rather than technical help from the part of the Government.

Moreover, it was found that 80.5 per cent of the total respondents preferred common facilities than individual ones. The responses in favor of communal biogas plants were high among all the income categories:
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N. Rajagopal and Poornima Narayan, research team members, said that 45.9 per cent respondents depended on organised groups for waste disposal while 27.6 per cent dumped the waste in Corporation bins.

The study found that waste generated from organic matter/ vegetables constituted 31 percent of the total waste followed by garden waste with 20 percent. Plastic and rubber constituted 12 per cent of the total waste.

The researchers observed that there was no system of separating organic, inorganic and recyclable waste at the household level.

Residents also supported Kudumbasree units engaged in waste collection. Lack of space for setting up bio-gas plants was found in apartments in the city.

Recommending that financial intervention strategies on waste management should be primarily targeted at middle and lower income categories, the team suggested setting up model community biogas plants in areas coming under the Kochi Corporation, which is responsible for waste treatment.

Newindpress: Community biogas plants mooted - September 25, 2007

Newindpress: Project report on waste management submitted - September 25, 2007

The Hindu: Study finds preference for biogas plants - September 25, 2007.


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