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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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Friday, November 16, 2007

Eco2 Biomass to build 40MW biomass power plant in the UK

Renewable energy company Eco2 Biomass has submitted a planning application to the North Kesteven District Council in Linconlnshire to develop a new 40 MW straw fired renewable energy plant near the town of Sleaford. The £80 (€112/US$164) million station would generate enough climate friendly power for 90,000 homes each year and create 80 jobs in the Sleaford area. The project would save 250,000 tons of CO2 each year and create a market for straw worth £6million a year. The ash from the plant would be recycled for fertilizer.

Public consultation
Two public exhibitions held at the end of July, showed considerable support for the project. Surveys revealed that almost 90% of people were concerned about the effects of global warming and felt that action needed to be taken. In reference to the project itself, over half of those who attended the public exhibitions, were in support of the plant, while 22% were neither in favour nor against the project. Two thirds of all who attended believed that the project would have significant environmental benefits.

However, the BBC reports that a 'not in my backyard' sentiment, that plagues so many renewables projects, has now emerged. Some local citizens fear lorries bringing the straw to the plant would clog local roads. Moreover, the main building would be built close to the local football club's ground and would be the equivalent of a 12-storey block of flats. The station's architectural and landscape design has been conceived in such a way that it blends in with the environment, using 'sympathetic' materials, layout and colors - the developers say.

Wind turbines, biomass power plants and nuclear facilities - renewables and clean energy sources that can help tackle climate change - increasingly face tough questioning from locals whose immediate environment is often impacted by such facilities. However, a public consultation process often succeeds in convincing the citizens of the benefits of the project and of the larger context in which it must be placed. Still, public consultations and thorough social impact assessments remain a sine qua non for the long term success of any type of large industrial project.

Andrew Toft, commercial director for Eco2, said he welcomed tough questions being asked:
This is part of the democratic process that we have to go through. We submitted our proposals in July and an online poll showed 77% in favour. The difficulty is that as time goes on the people who think it's a good idea fall away and those who are against it come forward.
The public exhibitions gave members of the community the opportunity to ask Eco2 Biomass’s project team questions about the project and have a look at the proposed plans for the plant:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Many who attended felt that their questions had been answered and that they had a better understanding of the importance of the project, ECO2 says. From its perspective, it learned a lot about what concerns the community have about the project and the developers are confident that the planning application deals with those issues fully.

The plant will would be built on Boston Road, to the east of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, and will be designed to generate renewable electricity by burning straw in a highly efficient, clean combustion process. Operation will take place continuously throughout the year and is expected to export over 300,000 MWh of green energy into the local grid.

The fuel supply chain for the plant is expected to inject over £6m a year into the region, and the plant will create approximately 80 jobs - 30 of which will be created in the direct running of the plant and a further 50 in regards to fuel supply.

This biomass plant is the flagship development for Eco2 Biomass. Considerable effort has been put into the design of the plant, which features a high quality architectural treatment using sympathetic materials enhanced by landscaping and extensive planting of indigenous species.

The application for planning permission was accompanied by a full environmental statement covering all aspects of the plant including transportation, landscape and visual impact, ecology and nature conservation, noise, air quality, archaeology and heritage.

Eco2: Planning application submitted for new biomass renewable energy facility in Sleaford - September 11, 2007.

BBC: Straw power plant sparks dispute - November 16, 2007.

Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant, dedicated project website.


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