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    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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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Massachusetts leaders introduce biofuels bill: first to mandate home heating oil blend, first tax exemption for cellulosic ethanol

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi have announced an interesting piece of legislation they are jointly backing to promote advanced biofuels as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, capture clean-air benefits, and capitalize on clean-fuel research for economic growth and jobs. Part of the motivation for the action comes from a recent report [*.pdf] on biofuels in Massachusetts prepared by the Northeast Biofuels Collaborative for congressman Bill Delahunt, which shows the multiple benefits of biobased transport and heating fuels for the state.

The bill to be filed by Governor Patrick, Speaker DiMasi and Senate President Murray includes the following measures:
  • a requirement for all diesel and home heating fuel sold in the Commonwealth to contain a minimum amount of renewable, biobased alternatives in their blends, with that amount rising from 2 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2013. These mandates will help build Massachusetts’ emerging biofuel refinery and distribution sector. Three refineries are in the planning stages in Pittsfield, Greenfield, and Quincy, and several local and national distributors are preparing to compete in this arena. Several other states have biodiesel content standards, but Massachusetts would be the first to establish a biofuel standard for home heating oil – of particular significance because the Northeast makes much greater use of oil for home heating than other parts of the country.
  • it exempts from the state gasoline tax ethanol derived from sources such as forest products, switchgrass and agricultural wastes. Massachusetts would be the first state in the nation to provide a tax incentive for cellulosic ethanol, an environmentally beneficial next-generation biofuel that Massachusetts–based companies are now rushing to bring to market.
The legislators also announced they would create a task force to explore other ways to promote advanced biofuels for their environmental and energy benefits as well as the economic benefits of a growing clean fuels industry based in Massachusetts. The gas-tax incentive for cellulosic ethanol is projected to create 3,000 new jobs in Massachusetts and pump $320 million into the economy as the advanced ethanol is brought to market:
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We need to add clean fuels to the mix today, but we also have to look ahead to the renewable fuel that will do the most good for the Commonwealth’s environment, energy efficiency and economy. The state gas tax exemption for cellulosic ethanol is a big step in the right direction. - Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor

We stand together on a bold new biofuels initiative that we believe will make Massachusetts yet again a national leader – the same way we did with public schools, medicine, technology and health care reform. It’s not just the right thing to do for our environment and our energy independence, it is the right thing to do for our economy. - Salvatore DiMasi, House Speaker

With advanced biofuels coming from an array of new feedstocks, including agricultural waste, sustainable energy crops, algae, and even cranberry bog biomass, many companies in the Commonwealth are already developing these fuels.
- Therese Murray, Senate President
The state gas-tax exemption for cellulosic ethanol would be the first state tax incentive in the nation for the next generation of ethanol. While an important step toward energy independence, ethanol from corn is an intermediate step toward cellulosic ethanol, which offers dramatic environmental benefits and can utilize a potentially broad array of New England–grown feedstocks. The signal sent by the state gas-tax exemption, creating instant market demand for their products, will spur Massachusetts companies on in the race to commercialize cellulosic ethanol.
This is the kind of leadership that will make Massachusetts a global center for advanced biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol is a renewable fuel that will be better for the environment, better for energy independence, and better for the economy. And with the encouragement we are getting from state government today, the next generation of ethanol will be brought to market by Massachusetts companies. - Bruce Jamerson, CEO of Mascoma Corp, a developer of cellulosic biofuels, based in Cambridge
U.S. Representative William Delahunt released a report detailing the benefits of biofuels for the Commonwealth, and vowed to promote biofuels at the federal level. Prepared for the congressman by the Northeast Biofuels Collaborative, a Boston–based nonprofit, the report identified four key areas for our consideration – vehicles, fuels, market access, and state incentives.

Noting that Saudi Arabia alone made $160 billion in 2005 exporting oil, Delahunt said:
New England is addicted to foreign oil. In Massachusetts alone, we spend more than $9 billion a year on petroleum, and it is very clear where most of those dollars are going. Developing cleaner fuels is not only important for our economy and our environment, it is critical for our national security. As we develop federal policies to expand the use of renewable fuels, we can do so in ways that boost efforts here in Massachusetts. - William Delahunt, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department: Governor, Senate President, House Speaker unveil nation-leading biofuel measures - November 05, 2007.

Bill Delahunt: A proposed strategy to promote biofuels production and use in Massachusetts [*.pdf] - report prepared by the Northeast Biofuels Collaborative for U.S. Congressman Bill Delahunt (Massachusetts, 10th District), November 2007.


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