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    PetroChina Co Ltd, the country's largest oil and gas producer, plans to invest 800 million yuan to build an ethanol plant in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, its parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The ethanol plant has a designed annual capacity of 100,000 tons. ABCMoneyNews - December 21, 2007.

    Mexico passed legislation to promote biofuels last week, offering unspecified support to farmers that grow crops for the production of any renewable fuel. Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas said Mexico could expand biodiesel faster than ethanol. More soon. Reuters - December 20, 2007.

    Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high throughput screening reactors. The first will be used to speed up the development of catalysts for hydrodesulphurisation (HDS). The second will be used to further the development of catalysts for use in gas to liquid (GTL) and Fischer-Tropsch processes which can be applied to next generation biofuels. AlphaGalileo - December 18, 2007.

    According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Brazil's production of sugarcane will increase from 514,1 million tonnes this season, to a record 561,8 million tonnes in the 2008/09 cyclus - an increase of 9.3%. New numbers are also out for the 2007 harvest in Brazil's main sugarcane growing region, the Central-South: a record 425 million tonnes compared to 372,7 million tonnes in 2006, or a 14% increase. The estimate was provided by Unica – the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar. Jornal Cana - December 16, 2007.

    The University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. The announcement comes as the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, speaks at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali. Eurekalert - December 13, 2007.

    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

    In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent. Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.

    Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum. Reuters - November 30, 2007.

    SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals. Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.

    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. Canada.com - November 21, 2007.

    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Canadian researchers study co-firing of peat and biomass with coal

Peat Resources Limited announces it will collaborate with the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Energy (OCE), Lakehead University and other partners on two research programs to examine peat fuel harvesting and processing systems. Funding for the program is managed by OCE under the auspices of the provincially-financed Atikokan Bioenergy Research Centre. OCE has allocated $720,000 over two years to a project aimed at sustainably harvesting the resource, while $880,000 has been granted for research on co-firing peat and biomass with coal, to lower the carbon emissions from power generation.

The first project, 'Environmental Effects of Wet Harvesting Peat as an Alternative Energy Source for the Atikokan Generating Station', will be led by scientists at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) in conjunction with peatland experts from McMaster University (Hamilton). Peat Resources Limited is contributing to the project through provision of its unique knowledge and experience in peat fuel development and by providing access to peatlands in its licensed areas near Upsala (northwest Ontario) for demonstration and monitoring of restoration models. Results of related activities by the Company on its licensed peatland areas in western Newfoundland will also be contributed to the project.

In a second project partners will analyse the co-firing of peat and biomass with coal for power generation. This research is also being led by Lakehead University in partnership with CANMET Energy Technology Centre (Ottawa) and Ontario Power Generation. Peat Resources Limited will be supplying processed peat fuel pellets from its small-scale production facility in Stephenville (Newfoundland), firstly for pilot scale trials at CANMET and later, in 2008, for a large 500 tonne combustion trial by Ontario Power Generation at the Atikokan Generating Station.

Peat is found in deposits mainly in the earth’s north temperate latitudes. It is partially carbonized organic matter, originating from the decomposition of vegetation in bogs, marshes or heathland under waterlogged (anaerobic) conditions. Peat is an early stage of the development of coal and in the dried state is comprised of approximately 60% carbon:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Peat bogs develop over 10 to 12 thousand years, about 1 to 2 millimeters a year. A bog depends on rainfall to support its waterlogged condition. Generally the water table is very stable remaining within a few centimeters of the bog’s surface. The bogs contain both decomposed (fuel) and surficial (horticultural) peat, which is less humified and typically found in the top layers of the bog. Peat has two main applications: general soil improvement/growing medium (horticultural and agricultural) and increasingly as a fuel source for power generation.

World’s Peat Deposits
Peat has been used as a fuel for thousands of years, particularly in Northern Europe. Peat resources throughout the world are enormous. In Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Russia peat is a significant source of electrical energy. Operations in these countries have mastered the harvest of peat bogs and the use of peat as a fuel for electrical power generation. In Canada and the United States, peat has been used most commonly as a soil conditioner in horticulture. Canada’s peat resources in Ontario have been mapped and tested. Their development for power generation is overdue given the need for clean power at a reduced environmental impact.

Ontario’s Peat Deposits
Canada has the world’s largest peat fuel resources estimated to be 41% of the world’s total of 43 billion tonnes, equivalent to 29 billion tonnes of coal.

A large proportion of these resources is found in Ontario (map, click to enlarge). Reserves are equivalent to 14 billion tonnes of coal, sufficient to satisfy its use for energy for centuries. Peat fuel development will reduce dependence upon out-of-province energy supplies, and will help Ontario achieve energy self-sufficiency.

There would be an opportunity, through local initiatives, for northern communities to play a dynamic long term role in Ontario’s peat fuel future. Peat utilization and associated development with participation by private industries could spur economic revival across Northern Ontario.

Peat Fuel Characteristics
Basic requirements for peat fuel are high calorific value, low ash content, low levels of sulphur and mercury, and high bulk density. Raw peat in Ontario which has undergone sufficient in-situ decomposition, meets these requirements.

To use raw peat as a fuel, dewatering is essential. In various parts of the world, bulk peat is burned at 50% moisture content, achieved by air drying raw peat, with or without mechanical dewatering. At this moisture content, its calorific value typically will range from 4,000 - 5,500 BTU/lb, similar to lignite.

Company sampling indicates the probable average will be approximately 9,600 BTU/lb in the dry state within the area of interest.

For peat fuel to compete with higher calorific fuels, it must be dewatered to about 10% moisture content. At that level, its calorific value will increase to between 7,200 - 10,000 BTU/lb, with the higher range levels from pre-selected bogs.

Both new research projects will provide important scientific and technical data supporting the application of peat fuel as an economic and environmentally attractive alternative to fossil fuels, such as coal, for power generation in Ontario and other North American jurisdictions.

Peat Resources Limited was formed to explore, develop and produce peat fuel for use in electricity generating stations and other facilities that require a long-term assured supply of economically competitive, environmentally favourable, and consistent quality fuel. With a strong resource base in Ontario and Newfoundland, an expert management team and unique knowledge of peat processing technology, the company is positioned to be the pre-eminent leader in this new North American energy industry.

Peat Resources: Peat Resources Limited signs research collaboration agreement - December 12, 2007.

Ontario Center for Excellence for Energy.


Anonymous xoddam said...

How exactly is peat a 'clean' fuel?

1:54 AM  
Blogger Biopact team said...

I don't think they consider peat to be a clean fuel, nor a renewable one in the classic sense. We included the story because it involves a research project examining co-firing biomass with peat in coal plants. Biomass would be clean and renewable. And all co-firing studies are of relevance to the bioenergy community, aren't they?

Peat takes, what, millions of years to form itself? A time-scale dwarfing that of makind.

2:26 PM  

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