<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    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.

    Ethanol Statistics, a new industry information resource, reports that U.S. petroleum refiners Citgo and Valero are the top 2 ethanol importing companies in the United States in the first 6 months of 2007. Overall imports were up 7.64% compared to the same period in 2006, from 193,620 gallons to 208,404 gallons. Chevron imported 43% less, whereas Noble and ConocoPhilips' imports were up 255% and 372% respectively. Data are reported in 'The United States Ethanol Market 2007’, which also provides a breakdown of U.S. ethanol production costs and a detailed analysis of U.S. consumption and production. Ethanol Statistics - September 10, 2007.

    The government of British Columbia launches a $100,000 study into the production of biogas, heat, power and clean water from household waste streams. Raw sewage water can be cleaned by microbial fuel cells that deliver electricity as they clean the water; other technologies include classic anaerobic fermentation. Canada.com - September 10, 2007.

    Saudi Aramco in its Annual Review 2006 said that last year the company's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent, compared with the previous year. Crude oil production in 2006 averaged 8.9 million barrels of oil a day (b/d) and exports 6.9 million b/d. Saudi Aramco - September 9, 2007.

    Chinese packaging manufacturer Livan Biodegradable Product Co. Ltd. will build plants in Alsozsolca and Edeleny in eastern Hungary at a combined cost of €18 million by 2009, the Hungarian economics ministry says. The plants, which will employ 800 people, are planned to produce initially 50, 000 metric tons a year of environmentally-friendly packaging material, and double that amount by a later date. Livan will use corn to manufacture biodegradable packaging boxes with similar properties to petroleum-based plastic boxes used in the food industry. Dow Jones Newswires - September 7, 2007.

    South Korea aims to raise biodiesel content in domestic diesel to 3 percent from the current 0.5 percent by 2012, Seoul's energy ministry said today. The government was initially set last year to impose a mandatory 5 percent blend, in line with the level targeted by the European Union by 2010, but the country's powerful refining lobby opposed the move, forcing it to push back the target, according to market sources. Reuters - September 7, 2007.

    Virent Energy Systems, Inc. announced today that it has closed a US$21 million second round of venture financing. Investor interest in Virent was driven in large part by the Company’s continued development of its innovative BioForming process beyond its traditional hydrogen and fuel gas applications and toward the production of bio-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. Virent Energy Systems - September 6, 2007.

    The U.S. National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) announces that 31 models of motor vehicles will be offered in the U.S. with an E85 capable engine in 2008. Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Mercedes Benz will all offer flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the coming year. The NEVC expects 750,000 such FFVs will be produced in 2008. National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition - September 5, 2007.

    GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., has begun commercial operations with the start-up of a 1,500 barrel per day methanol distillation system. Methanol is an alcohol used to transesterify vegetable oils into biodiesel. The methanol production facility is a key element of GreenHunter's 105 million gallon per year biodiesel refinery, the largest in the U.S., slated for initial operations during the first quarter of 2008. PRNewswire - September 5, 2007.

    GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., has begun commercial operations with the start-up of a 1,500 barrel per day methanol distillation system. Methanol is an alcohol used to transesterify vegetable oils into biodiesel. The methanol production facility is a key element of GreenHunter's 105 million gallon per year biodiesel refinery, the largest in the U.S., slated for initial operations during the first quarter of 2008. PRNewswire - September 5, 2007.

    Spanish renewables group Abengoa released its results for the first half of 2007 financial year in which its consolidated sales were €1,393.6 million, which is a 27.9 percent increase on the previous year. Earnings after tax were €54.9 million, an 18.6 percent increase on the previous year's figure of 46.3 million euro. Abengoa is active in the bioenergy, solar and environmental services sector. Abengoa - September 4, 2007.

    Canadian hydro power developer Run of River Power Inc. has reached an agreement to buy privately owned Western Biomass Power Corp. in a $2.2 million share swap deal that could help finance development of new green sources of electricity in British Columbia. The Canadian Press - September 4, 2007.

    As of Sept. 1, a biodiesel blending mandate has come into force in the Czech Republic, requiring diesel suppliers to mix 2 per cent biodiesel into the fuel. The same rule will be obligatory for gasoline starting next year. In 2009 the biofuel ratio will grow to 3.5 percent in gasoline and 4.5 percent in diesel oil. CBW - September 3, 2007.

    Budapest's first biofuel station opens on Monday near the Pesterzsébet (District XX) Tesco hypermarket. This is the third station selling the E85 fuel containing bioethanol in Hungary, as two other stations are encouraging eco-friendly driving in Bábolna and Győr. Caboodle - September 3, 2007.

    Canadian forest products company Tembec announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Chapleau Cogeneration Limited located in Chapleau, Ontario. The transaction includes a biomass fired boiler and steam turbine with an installed capacity of 7.2 megawatts. Consideration for the assets consists of a series of future annual payments to 2022, with a present value of approximately $1 million. Tembec - September 1, 2007.

    Innovative internet and cable/satellite channel CurrentTV is producing a documentary on Brazil's biofuel revolution. Biopact collegues and friends Marcelo Coelho (EthanolBrasil Blog), Henrique Oliveira (Ethablog) and Marcelo Alioti (E-Machine) provided consulting on the technical, economic, environmental and social aspects of Brazil's energy transformation. ProCana - August 31, 2007.

    Oil major BP Plc and Associated British Foods Plc won competition clearance from the European Commission on to build a plant to make transport fuel from wheat in Hull, northeast England. U.S. chemical company DuPont is also involved. Reuters UK - August 31, 2007.

    The government of the Indian state of Orissa announced its policy for biofuel production which includes a slew of incentives as well as measures to promote the establishment of energy plantations. The state aims to bring 600,000 hectares of barren and fallow land under Jatropha and Karanj. At least 2 million hectares degraded land are available in the State. The new policy's other objectives are to provide a platform for investors and entrepreneurs, market linkages and quality control measures. Newindpress - August 29, 2007.

    Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said today it expects to reach large scale cellulosic ethanol production in 2015, with the first plant entering operations as early as 2011. Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant biological material on the planet, making up the bulk of the structure of wood and plants. In a first phase, Petrobras intends to use bagasse as a feedstock. Reuters / MacauHub- August 29, 2007.

    Seattle based Propel Biofuels, is announcing a $4.75 million first round of capital from @Ventures and Nth Power. The money will be used to help Propel set up and manage biodiesel fueling stations. BusinessWire - August 29, 2007.

    BioEnergy International, a science and technology company committed to developing biorefineries to produce fuels and specialty chemicals from renewable resources, announced today the closing of a major US$61.6 million investment that will provide funding for the Company’s three strategic initiatives: generating secure cash flow from its conventional ethanol platform, product diversification through the introduction of novel biocatalysts for the manufacture of green chemicals and biopolymers and the integration of its cellulose technology. BusinessWire - August 28, 2007.

    German company Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie, the biggest biofuels producer in Europe, says it is considering plans to invest up to €100/US$136.5 million in a biofuel production facility in Bulgaria. The company wants the new facility to be located close to a port and Bulgaria's city of Varna on the Black Sea is one of the options under consideration. If Verbio goes through with the plan, it would produce both biodiesel and bioethanol, making Bulgaria a major source of biofuels in southeastern Europe. Verbi currently produces around 700,000 tonnes of biofuels per year. Sofia News Agency - August 27, 2007.

    Czech brown-coal-fired power plant Elektrárna Tisová (ETI), a unit of the energy producer ČEZ, could co-fire up to 40,000 tons of biomass this year, the biggest amount in the company’s history, said Martin Sobotka, ČEZ spokesman for West Bohemia. ETI burned more than 19,000 tons of biomass in the first half of 2007. The company’s plan reckoned with biomass consumption of up to 35,000 tons a year. Czech Business Weekly - August 27, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Energy crisis in Zimbabwe fuels environmental crisis; bioenergy, renewables offer way out

Writing for The Herald in Harare, Zimbabwe, Jacob Mujokoro describes how the regional energy crisis there is leading to an environmental crisis. High fossil fuel prices result not only in disastrous social and economic consequences for poor countries (previous post), populations are also forced to deforest more and more in search for affordable fuel. In what experts call 'primitive biomass use', fuel wood is burned in an extremely inefficient way and leads to a major health crisis (indoor smoke pollution, killing up to 2 million women and children each year; more here).

Mujokoro thinks modern bioenergy, biofuels and other renewables offer a way out. The country and region has a large potential for the sustainable production of dedicated energy crops. Biofuels may have their own environmental problems, but these pale in comparison with the potential ecological disaster that could result from ever increasing oil prices.

Much has been said and written about the anticipated regional energy crisis in Southern Africa. Well, it's no longer anticipated, as many in the region, Zimbabweans included, find themselves in the midst of the crisis, Mujokoro writes.

Always anticipated, as demand outstripped supply in Southern Africa due to growth and expansion of urban areas as well as reduced water levels due to successive seasons of drought, the question is as we focus on the energy crisis, who is minding the environment? Needless to say, the negative effects of the energy crisis are already being felt across Zimbabwe through increased deforestation.

It is thus crucial that the nation and indeed the region find alternative sources of energy to avert a major environmental crisis.

Population growth has been occurring without corresponding development in energy production, compelling many countries to increase resource exploitation and accelerating environmental deterioration. With increased urbanisation and industrialisation the situation is worsening, as more energy is needed.

As can be seen in Zimbabwe, urban centres have become a lucrative market for fuelwood because it seems to be relatively available and cheaper than modern fuels. Not only will the alternative forms of energy be a major boost to national economies but such environmental damage as global warming, partly responsible for the recurrent droughts in East and Southern Africa, can also be mitigated.

The Forestry Company of Zimbabwe recently indicated that the country is losing large swathes of forestry, as much as 400 000 hectares annually as a result of the energy crisis:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

More and more people are turning to fuelwood as the energy crisis takes its toll in sub-Saharan Africa. Urban demand for fuelwood is accelerating the degradation of woody vegetation.

In Zimbabwe, advanced deforestation and soil erosion in marginal areas with poor rainfall has forced many people to migrate to urban areas and in so doing increasing the demand for electricity.

Deforestation is affecting many rural people, and is caused primarily by the need for fuelwood for the curing of tobacco and tea, by excessive felling of timber for domestic and export markets, by agricultural production, by urbanisation, by bushfires, and, more significantly, by demand for fuelwood by both rural and urban households.

As more land around the towns and cities is further depleted of its remaining vegetation, a vicious cycle of soil erosion is set in motion.

Not only is the energy crisis affecting the generation of power but the use of fossil fuel is also impoverishing the majority of Africans as more and more funds of the national budget go towards the importation of oil and other petroleum products.

With world crude oil prices nearing US$80 a barrel, economies across Africa are suffering under soaring energy costs.

As long as clean energy alternatives are absent in these countries, hard-won achievements in economic development will continue to fall prey to oil prices.

Africa has plenty of opportunities to exploit renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and geothermal power. And renewable biofuel production is equally achievable. Countries thus need to develop tools to diversify their energy supplies away from conventional energy sources.

The acting operations manager of the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe, Mr Abedinigo Marufu, decried the effects of the power crisis saying Zimbabwe has witnessed a massive jump of a 100 percent in deforestation as people resort to firewood as a source of energy.

Despite the fact that Africa has abundant energy resources, it is estimated that 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity, and use wood for cooking and heating.

Four hundred thousand Africans, mainly women and children, also die every year of respiratory diseases related to the indoor air pollution from using wood and other traditional fuels.

Instead of relying on nature, Africa needs to move a step further and harness the massive opportunities presented by the good climate as well as the large swathes of land uninhabited for the generation of cleaner forms of energy.

With a larger land mass bigger than China, India, Western Europe, and the United States put together, thousands of miles of coastline and only 14 percent of the global population, Africa has vast potential for wind and solar power generation. Studies have shown strong potential for wind power generation.


Another alternative will be photovoltaics. This is a technology in which light, from the sun, is converted into electrical power.

With the introduction of low-cost PV cells from China, the market price is dropping dramatically making wide-scale PV application much more feasible.


Biofuels are another sector where Africa could rival major global producers and play a central role in meeting the soaring demand for ethanol in Europe, United States, and China.

Africa's agricultural economies are well suited for a wide range of energy crops capable of producing energy.

Jatropha has attracted a fair amount of attention in developing countries, Zimbabwe included.

One hopes the efforts will not come to waste but will be taken to their logical conclusion, with more people taking up Jatropha production to meet both local and export demand. Biofuel industries can create a high-value, clean energy product for export.

Southern African countries are rich in modern energy resources.

Many sub-Saharan African countries have great potential for the development of hydropower, which is the major source of electricity production.

Indeed, as Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said "The continent is rich in renewable resources which can benefit the majority of people within a few years."

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but rather transformed. We are continually changing one form of energy into another.

Indeed, it is high time that the Southern African Power Pool starts providing low-cost, affordable and environmentally friendly energy and to ensure that economic development in the region is not constrained by energy shortages.

Opportunities for the creation of cheaper, cleaner and environmentally friendly forms of energy are wide and the regional body needs to take the initiative in developing the sector.

The Herald (via AllAfrica): Zimbabwe: Energy Crisis Threatens Environment - September 18, 2007.


Anonymous said...

See the Tranmere Rovers website

11:35 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home