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    Hungarian privately-owned bio-ethanol project firm Mabio is planning to complete an €80-85 million ethanol plant in Southeast Hungary's Csabacsud by end-2008. Onet/Interfax - March 29, 2007.

    Energy and engineering group Abengoa announces it has applied for planning permission to build a bioethanol plant in north-east England with a capacity of about 400,000 tonnes a year. Reuters - March 29, 2007.

    The second European Summer School on Renewable Motor Fuels will be held in Warsaw, Poland, from 29 to 31 August 2007. The goal of the event is to disseminate the knowledge generated within the EU-funded RENEW (Renewable Fuels for Advanced Powertrains) project and present it to the European academic audience and stakeholders. Topics on the agenda include generation of synthetic gas from biomass and gas cleaning; transport fuel synthesis from synthetic gas; biofuel use in different motors; biomass potentials, supply and logistics, and technology, cost and life-cycle assessment of BtL pathways. Cordis News - March 27, 2007.

    Green Swedes want even more renewables, according to a study from Gothenburg University. Support for hydroelectricity and biofuels has increased, whereas three-quarters of people want Sweden to concentrate more on wind and solar too. Swedes still back the nuclear phase-out plans. The country is Europe's largest ethanol user. It imports 75% of the biofuel from Brazil. Sveriges Radio International - March 27, 2007.

    Fiat will launch its Brazilian-built flex-fuel Uno in South Africa later this year. The flex-fuel Uno, which can run on gasoline, ethanol or any combination of the two fuels, was displayed at the Durban Auto Show, and is set to become popular as South Africa enters the ethanol era. Automotive World - March 27, 2007.

    Siemens Power Generation (PG) is to supply two steam turbine gensets to a biomass-fired plant in Três Lagoas, 600 kilometers northwest of São Paulo. The order, valued at €22 million, was placed by the Brazilian company Pöyry Empreendimentos, part of VCP (Votorantim Celulose e Papel), one of the biggest cellulose producers in the Americas. PRDomain - March 25, 2007.

    Asia’s demand for oil will nearly double over the next 25 years and will account for 85% of the increased demand in 2007, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) officials forecast yesterday at a Bangkok-hosted energy conference. Daily Times - March 24, 2007.

    Portugal's government expects total investment in biomass energy will reach €500 million in 2012, when its target of 250MW capacity is reached. By that date, biomass will reduce 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. By 2010, biomass will represent 5% of the country's energy production. Forbes - March 22, 2007.

    The Scottish Executive has announced a biomass action plan for Scotland, through which dozens of green energy projects across the region are set to benefit from an additional £3 million of funding. The plan includes greater use of the forestry and agriculture sectors, together with grant support to encourage greater use of biomass products. Energy Business Review Online - March 21, 2007.

    The U.S. Dep't of Agriculture's Forest Service has selected 26 small businesses and community groups to receive US$6.2 million in grants from for the development of innovative uses for woody biomass. American Agriculturalist - March 21, 2007.

    Three universities, a government laboratory, and several companies are joining forces in Colorado to create what organizers hope will be a major player in the emerging field of converting biomass into fuels and other products. The Colorado Center for Biorefining & Biofuels, or C2B2, combines the biofuels and biorefining expertise of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, and the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Founding corporate members include Dow Chemical, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell. C&EN - March 20, 2007.

    The city of Rome has announced plans to run its public bus fleet on a fuel mix of 20 per cent biodiesel. The city council has signed an accord that would see its 2800 buses switch to the blended fuel in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution. A trial of 200 buses, if successful, would see the entire fleet running on the biofuel mix by the end of 2008. Estimates put the annual emission savings at 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. CarbonPositive - March 19, 2007.

    CODON (Dutch Biotech Study Association) organises a symposium on the 'Biobased Economy' in Wageningen, Netherlands, home of one of Europe's largest agricultural universities. In a biobased economy, chemistry companies and other non-food enterprises primarily use renewable materials and biomass as their resources, instead of petroleum. The Netherlands has the ambition to have 30% of all used materials biobased, by 2030. FoodHolland - March 19, 2007.

    Energy giants BP and China National Petroleum Corp, the PRC's biggest oil producer, are among the companies that are in talks with Guangxi Xintiande Energy Co about buying a stake in the southern China ethanol producer to expand output. Xintiande Energy currently produces ethanol from cassava. ChinaDaily - March 16, 2007.

    Researchers at eTEC Business Development Ltd., a biofuels research company based in Vienna, Austria, have devised mobile facilities that successfully convert the biodiesel by-product glycerin into electricity. The facilities, according to researchers, will provide substantial economic growth for biodiesel plants while turning glycerin into productive renewable energy. Biodiesel Magazine - March 16, 2007.

    Ethanol Africa, which plans to build eight biofuel plants in the maize belt, has secured funding of €83/US$110 million (825 million Rand) for the first facility in Bothaville, its principal shareholder announced. Business Report - March 16, 2007.

    A joint venture between Energias de Portugal SGPS and Altri SGPS will be awarded licences to build five 100 MW biomass power stations in Portugal's eastern Castelo Branco region. EDP's EDP Bioelectrica unit and Altri's Celulose de Caima plan to fuel the power stations with forestry waste material. Total investment on the programme is projected at €250/US$333 million with 800 jobs being created. Forbes - March 16, 2007.

    Indian bioprocess engineering firm Praj wins €11/US$14.5 million contract for the construction of the wheat and beet based bio-ethanol plant for Biowanze SA in Belgium, a subsidiary of CropEnergies AG (a Sudzucker Group Company). The plant has an ethanol production capacity of 300,000 tons per year. IndiaPRWire - March 15, 2007.

    Shimadzu Scientific Instruments announced the availability of its new white paper, “Overview of Biofuels and the Analytical Processes Used in their Manufacture.” The paper is available for free download at the company’s website. The paper offers an overview of the rapidly expanding global biofuel market with specific focus on ethanol and biodiesel used in auto transportation. It provides context for these products within the fuel market and explains raw materials and manufacturing. Most important, the paper describes the analytical processes and equipment used for QA testing of raw materials, in-process materials, and end products. BusinessWire - March 15, 2007.

    Côte d'Ivoire's agriculture minister Amadou Gon has visited the biofuels section of the Salon de l'Agriculture in Paris, one of the largest fairs of its kind. According to his communication office, the minister is looking into drafting a plan for the introduction of biofuels in the West African country. AllAfrica [*French] - March 13, 2007.

    Biofuels and bioenergy producers in Ireland, a country which just recently passed bioenergy legislation, are allocated excise relief for imported biomass. Unison Ireland (subscription req'd). - March 13, 2007.

    EDF Energies Nouvelles, a subsidiary of energy giant Electricité de France, has announced a move into biofuels, by sealing a preliminary agreement with Alcofinance SA of Belgium. Upon completion of a reserved issue of shares for €23 million, EDF Energies Nouvelles will own 25% of a newly formed company housing Belgium-based Alcofinance's ethanol production and distribution activities. Alcofinance's projects are located in the Ghent Bioenergy Valley. BusinessWire - March 13, 2007.

    Fuel Tech, Inc., today announced a demonstration order for its 'Targeted In-Furnace Injection' program, part of a set of technologies aimed at controlling slagging, fouling, corrosion, opacity and acid plume problems in utility scale boilers. The order was placed by an electric generating facility located in Italy, and will be conducted on two biomass units burning a combination of wood chips and olive husks. BusinessWire - March 9, 2007.

    At a biofuels conference ahead of the EU's Summit on energy and climate change, Total's chief of agricultural affairs says building environmentally friendly 'flexible-fuel' cars only cost an additional €200 (US$263) a vehicle and that, overall, ethanol is cheaper than gasoline. MarketWatch - March 8, 2007.

    During a session of Kazakhstan's republican party congress, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced plans to construct two large ethanol plants with the aim to produce biofuels for exports to Europe. Company 'KazAgro' and the 'akimats' (administrative units) of grain-growing regions will be charged to develop biodiesel, bioethanol and bioproducts. KazInform - March 6, 2007.

    Saab will introduce its BioPower flex-fuel options to its entire 9-3 range, including Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible bodystyles, at the Geneva auto show. GreenCarCongress - March 2, 2007.

    British oil giant BP plans to invest around US$50 million in Indonesia's biofuel industry, using jatropha oil as feedstock. BP will build biofuel plants with an annual capacity of 350,000 tons for which it will need to set up jatropha curcas plantations covering 100,000 hectares of land, to guarantee supply of feedstock, an official said. Antara [*cache] - March 2, 2007.

    The government of Taiwan has decided to increase the acreage dedicated to biofuel crops -- soybean, rape, sunflower, and sweet potato -- from 1,721 hectares in 2006 to 4,550 hectares this year, the Council of Agriculture said. China Post - March 2, 2007.

    Kinder Morgan Energy Partners has announced plans to invest up to €76/US$100 million to expand its terminal facilities to help serve the growing biodiesel market. KMP has entered into long-term agreements with Green Earth Fuels, LLC to build up to 1.3 million barrels of tankage that will handle approximately 8 million barrels of biodiesel production at KMP's terminals on the Houston Ship Channel, the Port of New Orleans and in New York Harbor. PRNewswire - March 1, 2007.

    A project to build a 130 million euro ($172 million) plant to produce 200,000 cubic metres of bioethanol annually was announced by three German groups on Tuesday. The plant will consume about 600,000 tonnes of wheat annually and when operational in the first half of 2009 should provide about a third of Germany's estimated bioethanol requirements. Reuters - Feb. 27, 2007.

    Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced that government vehicles in Taipei City will begin using E3 fuel, composed of 97% gasoline and 3% ethanol, on a trial basis in 2007. Automotive World - Feb. 27, 2007.

    Spanish company Ferry Group is to invest €42/US$55.2 million in a project for the production of biomass fuel pellets in Bulgaria. The 3-year project consists of establishing plantations of paulownia trees near the city of Tran. Paulownia is a fast-growing tree used for the commercial production of fuel pellets. Dnevnik - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Hungary's BHD Hõerõmû Zrt. is to build a 35 billion Forint (€138/US$182 million) commercial biomass-fired power plant with a maximum output of 49.9 MW in Szerencs (northeast Hungary). Portfolio.hu - Feb. 20, 2007.

    Tonight at 9pm, BBC Two will be showing a program on geo-engineering techniques to 'save' the planet from global warming. Five of the world's top scientists propose five radical scientific inventions which could stop climate change dead in its tracks. The ideas include: a giant sunshade in space to filter out the sun's rays and help cool us down; forests of artificial trees that would breath in carbon dioxide and stop the green house effect and a fleet futuristic yachts that will shoot salt water into the clouds thickening them and cooling the planet. BBC News - Feb. 19, 2007.

    Archer Daniels Midland, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, is planning to open a biodiesel plant in Indonesia with Wilmar International Ltd. this year and a wholly owned biodiesel plant in Brazil before July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The Brazil plant is expected to be the nation's largest, the paper said. Worldwide, the company projects a fourfold rise in biodiesel production over the next five years. ADM was not immediately available to comment. Reuters - Feb. 16, 2007.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost in the forest of green energy concepts? Try the Bioenergy Wiki

Quicknote bioenergy resources
The advantage of bioenergy is that it offers a multitude of different energy products (gaseous, liquid, solid fuels), derived from a great variety of biomass resources that are transformed into finished products by a considerable and growing number of different technologies. The field of bioenergy deals with a range of interacting scientific disciplines, from biology and agronomy, to chemistry, physics and even the social sciences. No wonder this complexity results in a vocabulary of specific terms that can be quite overwhelming to those who are new to the subject. 'BTL', 'Fischer-tropsch', 'transesterification', 'short-rotation coppice', 'thermal depolymerisation', 'synthetic biofuels', 'bio-energy with carbon storage', 'biohydrogen', 'pyrolisis oil', 'biobutanol'... it is easy to lose your way in this dense jungle of concepts, technologies and terms.

But no worry, the BioenergyWiki is here to help you out. The encyclopedia not only explains bioenergy related terms in a succinct and scientifically correct manner, it also offers news resources and networking opportunities. A growing list of organisations and the latest events in the sector are listed and updated regularly. Like any wiki, the portal is a collaborative effort, meaning entries can be edited by anyone, provided some basic rules are followed.

The BioenergyWiki was developed in cooperation with the CURES network and an international Steering Committee, which makes sure that the quality of the resource remains high. It is currently being hosted by the National Wildlife Federation with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Worldwatch Institute.

BioenergyWiki is quickly becoming the most complete resource on the subject. So in case you have doubts about a concept, or want to learn more about a new biofuel technology, find out about it at the encyclopedia of green energy. Even better, if you know of interesting developments in the field, do not hesitate to contribute to the growing BioenergyWiki [entry ends here].
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World Bank can facilitate Brazilian biofuel technology transfers

The World Bank can help Brazil export its expertise for making sugarcane ethanol to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, the Bank's vice-president for Latin America thinks. "Brazil sees (sharing technology) as a way of helping to build an ethanol market in the world," Pamela Cox told Reuters in an interview. "As projects come up, we have a private sector arm that can help."

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank that makes loans to private companies, would be the instrument used to stimulate firms into helping spread Brazilian expertise in other developing countries. Cox said Brazil's decades of experience could potentially benefit needy countries all over the world, and the bank could help make it happen. "We can facilitate the transfer of information because development is about knowledge," she said.

To many developing countries, high fossil fuel prices and dependence on foreign energy supplies are extremely damaging to their economies. Least developed countries tend to have a high energy intensity (meaning their economies use more energy to grow than highly developed countries), which makes them highly sensitive to price increases. For this reason, energy security and alternatives to fossil fuels have now become the kernel of new lines of thinking in development economics (for a vivid illustration, see Professor John Mathews' Biofuels Manifesto).

In this context, Brazil's biofuels success is seen by many as a potential model for other countries in the Global South. Its highly efficient technologies and scientific expertise have been generating worldwide excitement since gasoline prices spiked and evidence of global warming became more convincing a few years ago. Assisted by top-agronomists, scientists, and technology leaders, local farmers have been making ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil since the 1970s and their fuel is competitive with gasoline as long as crude prices are trading above US$35-40 per barrel - versus roughly US$65 today:
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Cox said sugar and ethanol could become important exports for African countries such as Ghana, where Brazil's agriculture research agency Embrapa opened an Africa office last year (earlier post). The World Bank already gives extensive assistance to Ghana, she said.

Brazil has already agreed to develop ethanol projects with several countries including China and Japan, and this week state oil company Petrobras signed a joint venture with Italy's Eni to develop biofuel initiatives in Africa, possibly biodiesel projects in Angola and Mozambique.

Ethanol producers are counting on governments around the world to mandate more renewable energy use to create growing demand for the fuel. Cars can be made to run on ethanol mixed with gasoline or on pure ethanol, which is considered renewable because the crops used to make it can be planted again and again. It is also carbon-neutral because the CO2 emissions from cars running on ethanol, are taken back up by the biofuel crops as they grow.

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Ghana takes small steps to get biofuels off the ground

Late last year, Ghana hosted an UNCTAD-led international workshop on the development of a biofuels industry in West-Africa, which resulted in the establishment of a common fund, to which the Indian government contributed US$250 million (previous post). The initiative also saw the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development release US$35 million for biodiesel development in Ghana.

Aside from these committments by the UN and international organisations Ghana is stimulating the development of a local biofuels industry in its own right and through a series of small-scale initiatives. An example comes from the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, which recently organised a 'jatropha implementation workshop' in Mankessim. Metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and bankers from 24 districts in the country attended it; news from this workshop offers us a glimpse into Ghana's own efforts to launch biofuels.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, announced that the country's government has created a 15 billion cedis (€1.2/US$1.6 million) fund for the development of Jatropha curcas plantations accross the country.

Mr. Odoom, who is also the Chairman of the Jatropha Implementation Committee, specified that out of that amount some three billion cedis had been released for the production of seeds and seedlings (image), while the remaining 12 billion was ready at the banks to be accessed by persons interested in the cultivation of the jatropha in the districts.

The Deputy Minister added that at the moment quality seeds were available for cultivation of about 2,500 hectares of land and gave the assurance that by next year there would be seeds to cultivate nearly 5,000 hectares of land. Mr. Odoom cautioned the banks not to sit on the money but to release the funds in time for successful implementation of jatropha projects.

National Co-ordinator of Community Based Rural Development Projects (CBRDP), Mr. Brown Matthew Oppong, highlighted the fact that a US$ 5 million fund managed by the Natural Resource Management Component of the CBRDP meant for the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems could also be accessed by jatropha projects. This is so because the crop can help prevent soil erosion, and re-green degraded lands:
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At the same workshop, a concrete example of a biodiesel project was presented by Mr. Onua Amoah, a Ghanaian industrialist whose company Anuanom Industries, has installed a 500-ton capacity machine for processing jatropha seeds into biodiesel at Gomoa Pomadze in Ghana's Central region.

The company has also installed a 2000-ton capacity equipment for producing organic fertilizer from the by-product of the biodiesel.

Mr. Amoah said since the biodiesel project was to reduce cost of importing diesel into the country, every effort would be made to ensure that production was done at minimal cost. He assured farmers that there is a ready market for the crop, allaying fears that jatropha would suffer the ordeal farmers went through in marketing crops like coffee, sunflower and cashew.

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China launnches rapeseed biodiesel initiative

Chinese scientists are working on new technologies and breeding oil-rich rapeseed varieties to fuel the People's Republic fast-growing economy with biofuels.

Experts attending an ongoing international conference on rapeseed say that China, whose annual rape production is 30 percent of the world total, should use more farmland to manufacture biodiesel, an effort that will reduce its dependency on petroleum-based diesel and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier, we reported that Chinese scientists succeeded in breeding rapeseed with a record high oil content (54.72 percent), nearly two percentage points higher than the previously reported highest variety. The new strain, named Zhongyou-0361 and bred by the Institute of Oil Crops Research of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, is disease resistant, early maturing, can be grown at high altitudes and is genetically unmodified.

Encouraged by these developments, Wang Shoucong, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture says: "The development of the global biodiesel industry offers China new opportunities. The government should foster research work to nurture high-yield rapeseed species, develop new technologies to increase biodiesel output and expand rape production in south China in the slack season."

It is unclear however how this push towards an expansion of rapeseed production for fuels fits into the official Chinese policy of reducing the use of food and grain crops for biofuels.

China currently grows around 7 million hectares of rape, with an annual output of 13 million to 14 million tons. But because of "backward" technologies the country is making only 100,000 tons of biodiesel a year out of rapeseed, said Prof. Huang Fenghong at the oilseed research institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences:
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As the world's third largest oil importer after the United States and Japan, China imported a record 36 million tons of refined oil last year, 15.7 percent up on 2005, to fuel its 10.7 percent economic growth.

Experts at the meeting say biofuels have become the fourth most important energy source after coal, oil and natural gas in China.

By 2020, China will be able to produce 12 million tons of liquid biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel, replacing some 10 million tons of refined oil products, predicted Han Wenke, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

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England to boost biomass industry to tackle climate change

A plan to boost the supply of environment-friendly woodfuel to cut greenhouse gases and produce enough energy to power 250,000 homes was unveiled by Britain's Forestry Commission. The commission developed the strategy in response to last April's Biomass Task Force report, taking into account the recommendations of the Stern report.

The Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Strategy for England, launched by Biodiversity Minister Barry Gardiner, aims to boost the woodfuel market with an extra two million tonnes of wood a year by 2020, saving 400,000 tonnes of carbon annually – the equivalent of taking 550,000 cars off the road.

Carbon released into the atmosphere by burning woodfuel is absorbed by growing more trees. As well as cutting carbon and producing renewable energy, woodfuel benefits biodiversity through sustainable management of neglected woodlands and boosts the rural economy.

Barry Gardiner visited a trailblazing woodfuel scheme in Bristol today. Blaise Plant Nursery's boiler uses clean recovered wood from Bristol’s parks to heat greenhouses, saving £19,000 a year on fuel bills and contributing to climate change targets.
Barry Gardiner said:
Using wood instead of fossil fuels means that sustainably managed woodland can be a significant resource for a low-carbon economy. Producing fuel from timber taken from well-managed woodlands benefits wildlife too.
Stimulating the woodfuel market is good for jobs too, and this new strategy gives people the tools to realise the broad range of benefits that woodfuel has to offer. Government, business, communities and local authorities can together make woodfuel work for everyone’s benefit.
- Biodiversity Minister Barry Gardiner.
Biomass such as woodfuel currently supplies only three per cent of total UK energy. The strategy recommends provision of capital investment and technical advice and support for the supply chain. It also highlights the need to find new ways to engage with owners of woodlands. There are an estimated 50-80,000 woodland owners in England:
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Forestry Commission Chairman Lord Clark of Windermere said:
“Over half of England’s woodlands are currently under-managed. This is a significant and sustainable resource that we want to tap into.
This will also bring additional benefits including biodiversity. Bringing more woodland back into management will benefit a range of flora and fauna including species such as nightingales and woodland butterflies. Using wood to substitute for fossil fuels means that well managed woodland can help to combat climate change. So woodfuel is a winner on many counts.”
Paul Isbell, Bristol City Council Energy Manager, said:

“Bristol City Council is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 3% each year to 2020 and by 60% by 2050.
“The Blaise project is the first of its kind in Bristol and it has already encouraged two further biomass projects: at Florence Brown Special Needs School in Knowle and the Netham Sports Pavilion. Four new secondary schools to be built in Bristol will also be installing woodfuel boilers resulting in one of the largest biomass heat clusters in the UK.
Heating the plant nurseries with woodfuel will save more than 100 tonnes of CO2 per year, making the growing of bedding plants at Blaise virtually carbon neutral.”
The Forestry Commission will be working with delivery partners, including Regional Development Agencies, local authorities and private businesses, to produce a detailed implementation plan to support the strategy.

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After the tortilla crisis: Mexico to cooperate with Brazil on biofuels

Even though biofuels were in no way to blame for the 'tortilla crisis', which affected Mexico, mainstream media perceived it as such. The main causes of the increase in corn prices are (1) the protection by tariffs of inefficient corn-based ethanol in the U.S., (2) the subsidisation of this fuel, (3) the vast corn subsidies in the U.S. and (4) a free trade agreement that both put millions of Mexican maize farmers out of business since the mid-1990s and made the country dependent on imported corn (see earlier). This has resulted in the massive and irresponsible use of a crop to make a biofuel that is not worth the energy (corn ethanol has a very bad energy balance) and that is not beneficial to the environment.

Today, given record prices, Mexican farmers have picked up growing the maize again, and are making unprecedented profits. This stimulates Mexico's rural economy and somewhat levels out the effects of the tortilla crisis (previous post). However, if the massive U.S. subsidies for the corn lobby and the tariff on efficient tropical ethanol were to disappear, the situation in Mexico would normalise much faster and the country that was once a self-sufficient producer could compete once again.

Biofuels were not to blame. U.S. 'lobby ethanol' was to blame. It is important to make this distinction, because Brazilian and other biofuels are not as inefficient as corn ethanol. The best illustration of the difference between the two was given yesterday, when the foreign ministers of Brazil and Mexico agreed to expand cooperation in the development of 'Brazilian biofuels' and energy.

Celso Amorim of Brazil and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano of Mexico created a commission that increases energy cooperation between the two nations, often described as rivals for leadership in Latin America:
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The ministers declined to give details about agreements the two countries could sign regarding petroleum and biofuels. They said only that Mexican oil giant Pemex and Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras, could expand a 2005 agreement to search for oil in deep offshore waters.

Those topics could be the subject of a memorandum of understanding when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visits Mexico in August, Amorim said.

Mexico "is interested in technological cooperation for deep-water exploration, and we are interested in more direct participation by Petrobras," Amorim said. "They also are very interested in ethanol and biofuels." Mexico no longer has doubts about the viability of biofuels, Amorim said:

"There's a very clear difference from times past," he said. "There was a certain skepticism (in Mexico) about biofuels, and now I no longer see this. On the contrary, I believe there is enthusiasm, so much so that we discussed cooperation not only between Brazil and Mexico, but also in third countries."

It seems Brazil cannot be stopped in its mission of bringing green energy cooperation to other countries. After creating a technology transfer cell in Africa, it closed agreements with France, the UK, Sweden, the EU, the US, Indonesia and most recently Italy, to cooperate on biofuel production and technology development, bilaterally and in so-called 'South-North-South' exchanges.

Mexico's interest in biofuels (an in deep-sea exploration) can be partly explained by the fact that output at its Cantarell oil field - the world's second largest by volume - has begun to decline rapidly after hitting its peak late last year.

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