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    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.

    PetroSun, Incorporated announced recently that it has formed PetroSun BioFuels Mexico to establish algae-to-biofuel operations in the State of Sonora, Mexico. PetroSun BioFuels Mexico will enter into joint venture agreements to develop algae cultivation farms and extraction plants in Sonora and southern Arizona that will produce algal oil, algae biomass products and excess electricity for the Mexican and U.S. markets. MarketWire - August 27, 2007.

    China's Yunnan Province hopes to reach an annual output of 2 million tons (approx. 417 million gallons) of fuel ethanol by 2010, according to the province's fuel ethanol industry development plan released recently by the Yunnan Economic and Trade Commission, state media report. Interfax China - August 23, 2007.

    Seven companies have teamed up to create Kazakhstan's first Biofuel Association. Its aim is to integrate interested parties for creating favorable conditions to have the country’s biofuel industry developed. An initiator and coordinator of the Association is the National Holding KazAgro, the Agriculture Ministry’s press service informs. KazInform - August 23, 2007.

    Canadian forest products company Tembec today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Chapleau Cogeneration Limited located in Chapleau, Ontario. The transaction closed on August 15 and 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. Newswire Canada - August 22, 2007.

    Taiwan's representative to Brazil, Chou Shu-yeh, is urging Taiwan's government and private enterprises to invest in Brazil's biomass energy sector. Chou was speaking at a workshop on global investment and trade opportunities in Taipei. RTi - August 22, 2007.

    An algae-to-biofuels startup by the name of Inventure Chemical has raised about $1.5 million to continue its development of a chemical process that turns algae into biodiesel and ethanol. One of the biggest backers of the company is Imperium Renewables, a biodiesel producer. Seattle Post Intelligencer - August 22, 2007.

    The government of India's Karnataka state has approved the blending of six million litres of ethanol with diesel for use as fuel in State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) vehicles. Automotive World - August 21, 2007.

    VeraSun Energy Corporation, one of America's largest ethanol producers, announced that it closed on its acquisition with ASAlliances Biofuels, LLC for three ethanol plants with a combined annual production capacity of approximately 330 million gallons (1.25 billion liters) per year. VeraSun - August 21, 2007.

    Fujitsu develops a biodegradable laptop chassis from corn-starch bioplastic. The material reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15% compared to a chassis made from petroleum-based plastics. CNET Asia - August 20, 2007.

    India's Rana Sugars Ltd has decided to set up a new plant for producing ethanol in Uttar Pradesh with an estimated investment of €9 to 10.9 (US$12.2 to 14.7). The facility will have a capacity of 180,000 liters per year and will generate, besides ethanol, 26MW of carbon-neutral power from bagasse. Economic Times India - August 20, 2007.

    Prominent pro-democracy activists staged a rare protest in Myanmar's biggest city Sunday, marching against a massive recent fuel price hike. "We are staging this performance to reflect the hardship our people are facing due to the government's fuel price hike," said Min Ko Naing, a leader of the 88 Generation Students' Group. Myanmar's ruling military junta imposed a surprise 100 percent hike on fuel at state-owned gas stations on Wednesday. The move was followed by increases in bus fares and commodity prices. The Star - August 19, 2007.

    Canada's Cavendish Farms, one of the country's largest food processing companies is to build a biogas plant to recycle spent cooking oils, starch and sludge from its waste-water plant to fuel its potato processing operation. Use of the carbon-neutral biofuel will limit the amount of bunker C fuel oil currently in use by the company. The plant, expected to be ready for operation by next fall, has received a $14-million loan from the Province of Prince Edward Island. CBC - August 18, 2007.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation explores forestry residues as biomass for energy

Every year, one million tons of green energy rots on the vast Adirondack forest floor in New York State. Now, the State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is studying ways to convert that material to a woody biomass fuel. The plan is being supported by conservation organisations and environmental groups, and is part of New York's goal to have 25 per cent of the state's electricity coming from renewables.

The DEC has secured a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to explore the feasibility of converting leftover wood from logging operations on private lands into a solid biofuel source. The $64,000 award will fund a one-year project to evaluate whether there would be enough potential users in and around the Adirondack Park to make woody biomass a go. Covering around 6.1 million acres (24,000 km²), the Adirondack Park in the Northeast of the state is one of the largest forested state parks in the United States - roughly the size of the state of Vermont. However, more than half of the land is privately owned.
This is an idea we really want to explore. As we look for innovative ways to enhance the economic and environmental health of North Country communities, harnessing locally grown energy sources such as low-grade wood might be part of the answer. Also, the program could help private forest land owners in the Adirondacks find new markets for low-grade wood, contributing to a sustainable economy for the Adirondacks and reducing the region's reliance on fossil fuels. - Pete Grannis, DEC Commissioner
Typically, biomass residues from forestry operations consist of the tops of hardwood and softwood trees, including maple, birch, beech, white pine, spruce and fir, that logging operations discard. The study would focus only on private lands.

Currently, about two million tons of wood chips harvested from private Adirondack lands go into the low-grade wood market, as pulp or biofuel. Some of that goes to two cogeneration facilities in the North Country. DEC estimates at least another one million tons gets left behind.

The potential customers would be community colleges, prisons, other state facilities and additional medium-scale energy users because they have the capacity to store the wood chips. Also their heating and cooling systems incorporate the appropriate emissions controls to protect air quality. Currently, these facilities predominately rely on oil for fuel.

The study would evaluate interest, storage capabilities, heating systems and engineering concerns. It also would look at whether prospective customers could switch to wood and meet air emissions standards. Plans also include hosting at least two regional workshops:
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New York State has set a goal to have 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2012. Woody biomass is one potential source. Further, State Forester Robert K. Davies said the project, if successful, could create a synergy between "benefits to the forest and biomass energy." Davies noted that DEC has been providing technical and other assistance to parties involved in the emerging woody biomass industry.

"The Northern Forest region of New York contains vast forestry resources that can be responsibly tapped to help meet our energy requirements in an environmentally sound way," Davies said.

The grants were awarded through the U.S. Forest Service’s Wood to Energy 'Jump Start' program.

"These grants are another step for the conservation of the hundreds of thousands of family forests in the Empire State. The future of private forests depends on markets that keep timberland valuable for use other than development," said Anne F. Archie, U.S. Forest Service Northeast Field Representative for State and Private Forestry.

The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, which recently helped form a new Adirondack Energy $mart Park Coalition, endorsed the woody biomass feasibility study.

"One of our goals is to make the Adirondacks a model of energy conservation and efficiency with an emphasis on renewable resources. The coalition considers the production of energy from woody biomass to be a critically important component of our vision for the region," said David Gibson, executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: DEC Explores Woody Biomass as Alt Energy Source - August 31, 2007.


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