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    Timber products company China Grand Forestry Resources Group announced that it would acquire Yunnan Shenyu New Energy, a biofuels research group, for €560/$822 million. Yunnan Shenyu New Energy has developed an entire industrial biofuel production chain, from a fully active energy crop seedling nursery to a biorefinery. Cleantech - November 16, 2007.

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

CARMA: website reveals emissions from more than 50,000 power plants worldwide

A very interesting project, the Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) database, offers the first global inventory of emissions from more than 50,000 power stations on the planet. Its data is compiled by the Confronting Climate Change Initiative at the Center for Global Development (CGDev), an independent and non-partisan think tank located in Washington, DC. CARMA offers a perfect starting point for conducting comparative studies on local, regional and global emissions generated from the power sector.

CARMA's database includes more than 50,000 power plants of different sizes, 4,000 power companies, and nearly 200,000 geographic regions in every country on Earth. Users can view carbon emissions data for the year 2000, the present, and future plans. And all of CARMA’s data is updated quarterly to reflect changes in plant ownership and planned construction. The maps and database show each power facility in a region and give the plant its own page that reveals its location, ownership, power production, and CO2 emissions. Users can select individual plants from interactive maps or lists, search for specific plants, or filter and sort the data in multiple ways. The data also show which type of fuel or primary energy input the power facility utilizes to generate electricity.

CARMA thus provides the world’s most detailed and comprehensive information on carbon emissions resulting from the production of electricity. Judging by the sheer number of red dots on the maps, the database shows that a transition to a cleaner, low carbon future is a tall order indeed. On a lighter note, CARMA, with its satellites and eyes in the skies, also offers the perfect place to indulge in power plant voyeurism.
We hope that CARMA will equip millions of concerned global citizens – consumers, investors, political leaders, managers, professionals, and community organizers – with the information they need to take action and build a low-carbon future. - CARMA
The initiative is based on the notion that public disclosure of critical information can have powerful effects on environmental performance. CGDev believes that the time is ripe for rapid reduction of carbon emissions, and CARMA is intended to be its contribution to this effort. As a think tank involved in addressing development questions, the CGDev is particularly concerned because global warming threatens to undermine the poverty-reduction efforts of many developing countries.

First results: Australians worst emitters

A first study based on CARMA has already yielded interesting results. It shows the extent to which developed countries produce more carbon dioxide per head than emerging economies. Australians were found to be the world's worst polluters per capita, producing five times as much CO2 from generating power as China. The US came second with eight tonnes of the greenhouse gas per head - 16 times more than that produced by India. The US also produced the most CO2 in total, followed by China:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

CARMA points out that while US power plants emit the most CO2, releasing 2.5 billion tonnes into the atmosphere each year, Australian power stations are the least efficient on a per capita basis, with emissions of 10 tonnes, compared with the US's 8.2 tonnes.

China's power sector emits the second-highest total amount of carbon dioxide, pumping 2.4bn tonnes of the gas into the atmosphere annually. However, its emissions are only one fifth of Australia's when measured on a per capita basis.

CARMA's carbon worries
The bulk of humanity’s energy needs are currently met through the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. About 60% of global electricity generation relies upon fossil fuels to generate the heat needed to power steam-driven turbines. Burning these fuels results in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the primary heat-trapping, “greenhouse gas” responsible for global warming.

Over the past two centuries, mankind has increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from 280 to more than 380 parts per million volume, and it is growing faster every day. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has not been this high for at least the past 650,000 years. As the concentration of CO2 has risen, so has the average temperature of the planet. Over the past century, the average surface temperature of Earth has increased by more than 1.3°F (0.74°C). If we continue to emit carbon without restraint, temperatures are expected to rise by an additional 6°F (3.4°C) by the end of this century.

Climate change of that magnitude would likely have serious consequences for life on Earth. Sea level rise, droughts, floods, intense storms, forest fires, water scarcity, and cardiorespiratory and tropical diseases would be exacerbated. Agricultural systems would be stressed – possibly decimated in some parts of the world. A conservative estimate suggests that 30% of all species are at risk of extinction given current trends. It would be the greatest extinction of life on Earth since the K-T extinction event that destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. No one can imagine, never mind predict, the ecological consequences of such a radical loss of life.

Despite mounting evidence of the dangers posed by climate change, efforts to limit carbon emissions remain insufficient, ineffective, and, in most countries, non-existent. If the world is to avert the worst consequences of an altered climate, the status quo must change quickly. Given current trends and the best available scientific evidence, mankind probably needs to reduce total CO2 emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Yet each day emissions continue to grow.

In the absence of action on the part of governments, hundreds of millions of increasingly climate-conscious citizens can promote low-carbon alternatives by changing the ways they purchase, invest, vote, think, and live. CARMA thinks all we need is timely, accurate, publicly-available information about the choices we face. The Carbon Monitoring for Action website offers this information.

CARMA project.

Center for Global Development: Confronting Climate Change Initiative.

BBCNews: Australians named worst emitters - November 14, 2007.


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5:59 PM  

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