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    A group of Spanish investors is building a new bioethanol plant in the western region of Extremadura that should be producing fuel from maize in 2009. Alcoholes Biocarburantes de Extremadura (Albiex) has already started work on the site near Badajoz and expects to spend €42/$59 million on the plant in the next two years. It will produce 110 million litres a year of bioethanol and 87 million kg of grain byproduct that can be used for animal feed. Europapress - September 28, 2007.

    Portuguese fuel company Prio SA and UK based FCL Biofuels have joined forces to launch the Portuguese consumer biodiesel brand, PrioBio, in the UK. PrioBio is scheduled to be available in the UK from 1st November. By the end of this year (2007), says FCL Biofuel, the partnership’s two biodiesel refineries will have a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes which will is set to grow to 400,000 tonnes by the end of 2010. Biofuel Review - September 27, 2007.

    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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Monday, October 01, 2007

Joint BioEnergy Institute receives early funding from U.S. DOE

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), one of three new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers, will receive $6.7 million in initial funding (FY2007) to begin research on biofuels – liquid fuels derived from the solar energy stored in plant biomass. This funding is in addition to $125 million DOE plans to invest in JBEI over the next five years, part of a total $375 million DOE investment in basic biofuels research.

JBEI is a partnership between DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories, DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, and the Carnegie Institution. JBEI will be headquartered in a leased building in the East Bay, central to all partners. In the meantime, work will begin in the Potter Street bioscience facility of Berkeley Lab and at other partner institutions.

DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond L. Orbach, whose Office of Science’s Biological and Environmental Research Genomics:GTL research program is funding the Bioenergy Research Centers, said:
Making biofuels cost-effective will require transformational breakthroughs in basic science. This early infusion of funds will enable JBEI to get underway immediately on the urgent quest for the breakthroughs our nation needs to usher in a new biofuels economy.
Research has shown that harnessing even a tiny fraction of the total solar energy available each year could meet most if not all of the U.S.’s annual transportation energy needs, and scientific studies have consistently ranked biofuels among the top candidates for accomplishing this goal. However, the commercial-scale production of clean, efficient, cost-effective next-generation biofuels will require technology-transforming scientific breakthroughs.
JBEI's focused research program will provide the scientific and engineering advances required to make biofuels a major component of the nation's energy supply. These supplemental funds highlight both the significance of the problem and the urgency to address it. - Harvey Blanch, JBEI’s Chief Science and Technology Officer, Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley
JBEI researchers intend to meet this challenge through the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into biofuels. Lignocelluose, the most abundant organic material on the planet, is a mix of complex sugars and lignin that gives strength and structure to plant cell walls. By extracting simple fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and producing biofuels from them, the potential of the most energy-efficient and environmentally benign fuel crops can be realized:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

To promote the rapid commercialization of JBEI results and in keeping with its Bay Area heritage, this DOE Bioenergy Research Center is uniquely organized along the lines of a biotech startup company, with very focused research objectives and a structure to enable it to quickly pursue promising scientific and technological developments. The goal of JBEI is to achieve measurable success within the next five years.
We are delighted that the formal agreement between DOE and the JBEI partners has been completed so that we can begin our work to solve one of the most important challenges of our time. DOE funding will enable JBEI researchers to perform research that can break down the most significant barriers to the development of affordable, renewable, transportation fuels from biomass. - Jay Keasling, JBEI’s Chief Executive Officer, Director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division and a UC Berkeley Professor of Chemical Engineering
With this new Institute, Berkeley Lab will continue to play a critical role in helping to solve the transportation fuel problem in the United States and the world. - Steve Chu, Director of Berkeley Lab
In addition to JBEI, a second DOE Bioenergy Research Center is being run by a partnership under the leadership of DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a third by a partnership led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University.

Berkeley Lab: Bay Area’s Joint BioEnergy Institute Gets Financial Kick-Start from DOE - September 28, 2007.


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