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    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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Monday, December 17, 2007

USDA: Biofuels lead to all-time record farm income in the United States

The United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) has released its annual Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook, showing that the biofuels revolution that has swept the US has led to net farm incomes reaching an all-time high. ERS is forecasting net farm income to reach $87.5 billion, up $28.5 billion from 2006 and exceeding the 2004 record.
This large boost is primarily the result of the increased demand for biofuels and agricultural exports, which has increased farm prices for corn, soybeans, milk, and other farm commodities. - USDA, ERS
In general, 2007 is proving to be a very good year for most U.S. producers of agricultural commodities, both crops and livestock. The boost in 2007 U.S. farm income is primarily the result of high commodity prices. These are caused by the confluence of a set of factors:
  • record economic growth and higher incomes in developing countries with large population leading to global wheat consumption exceeding production in recent years
  • inadequate rainfall in competitor countries that produce similar commodities combined
  • rising use of some major crops in biofuel production has increased the demand for these commodities and contributes to upward pressure on feed grain prices; corn is the primarily beneficiary of the increased production of biofuels; soybeans are used in the production of biodiesel.
  • the depreciation of the US dollar by 25 percent or more against major foreign currencies since 2002, further increasing demand for U.S. exports and boosting farm-level prices
As a result, the combination of reduced supplies and is translating into rising demand for farm commodities, regardless of where they are produced.

The value of crop production is expected to increase by $30.5 billion in 2007, the largest annual increase since 1984. The value of livestock production is expected to increase almost $20 billion.

Direct government payments in 2007 are expected to decline by $3.7 billion from 2006. Farm production expenses are forecast to rise to a record-level $254.2 billion in 2007.

Fuel price increases in 2007 are expected to be lower than the previous 4 years of consecutive double-digit annual percentage increases.

Average net cash income for U.S. farm businesses is projected to be $66,100 in 2007. This represents a 21-percent increase from 2006 and would be 23 percent higher than its most recent 5-year average:
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Farm sector equity is expected to continue rising in 2007 as the anticipated increase in farm asset value exceeds the rise in the value of farm debt. U.S. farm sector net worth is expected to exceed $2.0 trillion in 2007, up from $1.8 trillion in 2006.

The average household income (from farm and off-farm sources) of principal U.S. farm operators is projected to be up 7.7 percent in 2007, to $83,622. About 13 percent of the average farm operator household income is expected to come from farm sources in 2007. Income from farm sources increased by more than 30 percent in 2006-07, in contrast to a more moderate 5-percent increase in off-farm income.

For every year since 1996, average income of farm households has exceeded average U.S. household income. In fact, just the off-farm income component of average farm operator household income has exceeded the average U.S. household income from all sources since 1998. For the 15 major agricultural States where data are available, the average income of farm operator households in 2006 exceeded the average income of all households in those States.

In addition, farm households have significantly more net worth than the average U.S. household. Trends in averages mask a great deal of diversity in the financial position of U.S. farm operator households. The size of the farm operation, the commodities being produced, and the importance of off-farm sources of income all influence the level of farm household income and net worth, and how much it is growing or declining.

USDA Economic Research Service: Agricultural Income and Finance Outlook [*.pdf] - December 2007.


Blogger rufus said...

In other words: "This hardworking bunch is finally showing a little profit off of their huge investments, and back-breaking work."

Is that about it?

1:53 PM  

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