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    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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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

UK opens first large scale 30MW biomass power station

Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) has officially opened the UK's first large scale biomass power plant. The 30MW station is the first to produce renewable energy using naturally sustainable biomass without any input of fossil fuels. UK Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks, who oversees energy policy in the UK including sustainability and the environment, presided over the opening ceremony for the £64 million (€90.7/$132.5 million) biomass power station located at the Wilton International manufacturing site in Teesside in the Northeast of England.

The opening strengthens Sembcorp’s position as a first mover in green energy, as it is the first Singapore company to own and operate a biomass power plant in the UK. The plant is itself also the UK’s first large scale wood burning power station, and will use 300,000 tonnes of sustainably harvested biomass a year to generate 30 MW of electricity – enough to power 30,000 households. Moreover, the plant is the UK’s first power plant entirely fuelled by a renewable energy source, without any inputs of fossil fuels.

The biomass for the power station comes from four separate sources:
  • Recycled wood (80,000 tonnes) - this is received, stored and chipped at the UK Wood Recycling site at Wilton
  • Sawmills (80,000 tonnes) – the wood comes to the site already chipped as offcuts from sawmills
  • Managed forests (880,000 tonnes) - Sembcorp is working with the Forestry Commission of Great Britain and leading forestry company UPM Tilhill to utilise small roundwood logs from north east forests – items sometimes left on forestry floor after normal tree felling operations
  • Specially grown energy crops (55,000 tonnes) - Sembcorp is working with farmers and other landowners locally for the supply of energy crops, specifically a type of willow known as short rotation coppice. The plant would eventually require the growth of around 7,500 acres (2830 ha) of coppice in the region.
The fuels are mixed together to create hot gases, which are then passed over water to produce steam which turns a turbine to create 30MW of electricity a year to be sold to power giant EON, the UK's largest energy company.

With the plant, Sembcorp will save an estimated 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year compared with a conventional power station – the equivalent in greenhouse gas reduction terms of taking 67,000 cars off the road. The plant’s operations will also be classed as carbon neutral and will hence avail Sembcorp of unused carbon allowances to trade as carbon credits:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

In addition to carbon credits, Sembcorp’s biomass power plant is also set to generate a fresh stream of revenue for Sembcorp from the power sold, as well as from Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) and Levy Exemption Certificates (LEC’s).
This new biomass power plant strengthens our capabilities in producing power using different fuels. With this plant, Sembcorp now has 3,382 MW of power worldwide in operation and in development. This investment is also in line with Sembcorp’s push to provide innovative solutions to serve our customers’ utilities needs, while delivering value to our shareholders. - Tang Kin Fei, Sembcorp’s Group President and CEO
Sembcorp’s intention to build the UK’s first 100 per cent wood-to-energy power station was formally announced in March 2005. Work on the station began later that year and following commissioning, full commercial production has commenced.

The electricity generated by the plant is being sold to E.ON – the UK’s largest integrated energy company.

Sembcorp Industries: UK Energy Minister opens Sembcorp's new woodburning power station - November 12, 2007.


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