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    According to The Nikkei, Toyota is about to introduce flex-fuel cars in Brazil, at a time when 8 out of 10 new cars sold in the country are already flex fuel. Brazilians prefer ethanol because it is about half the price of gasoline. Forbes - May 22, 2007.

    Virgin Trains is conducting biodiesel tests with one of its diesel engines and will be running a Voyager train on a 20 percent biodiesel blend in the summer. Virgin Trains Media Room - May 22, 2007.

    Australian mining and earthmoving contractor Piacentini & Son will use biodiesel from South Perth's Australian Renewable Fuels across its entire fleet, with plans to purchase up to 8 million litres from the company in the next 12 months. Tests with B20 began in October 2006 and Piacentinis reports very positive results for economy, power and maintenance. Western Australia Business News - May 22, 2007.

    Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui announces he will head a delegation to the EU in June, "to counter European anti-palm oil activists on their own home ground". The South East Asian palm oil industry is seen by many European civil society organisations and policy makers as unsustainable and responsible for heavy deforestation. Malaysia Star - May 20, 2007.

    Paraguay and Brazil kick off a top-level seminar on biofuels, cooperation on which they see as 'strategic' from an energy security perspective. 'Biocombustiveis Paraguai-Brasil: Integração, Produção e Oportunidade de Negócios' is a top-level meeting bringing together the leaders of both countries as well as energy and agricultural experts. The aim is to internationalise the biofuels industry and to use it as a tool to strengthen regional integration and South-South cooperation. PanoramaBrasil [*Portuguese] - May 19, 2007.

    Portugal's Galp Energia SGPS and Petrobras SA have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a biofuels joint venture. The joint venture will undertake technical and financial feasibility studies to set up a plant in Brazil to export biofuels to Portugal. Forbes - May 19, 2007.

    The Cypriot parliament has rejected an amendment by President Papadopoulos on the law regarding the use of biofuels that contain genetically modified substances. The amendment called for an alteration in the law that currently did not allow the import or use of biofuels that had been produced using GM substances, something that goes against a recent EU Directive on GMOs. Cyprus Mail - May 18, 2007.

    According to Salvador Rivas, the director for Non-Conventional Energy at the Dominican Republic's Industry and Commerce Ministry, a group of companies from Brazil wants to invest more than 100 million dollars to produce ethanol in the country, both for local consumption and export to the United States. Dominican Today - May 16, 2007.

    EWE AG, a German multi-service energy company, has started construction on a plant aimed at purifying biogas so that it can be fed into the natural gas grid. Before the end of the year, EWE AG will be selling the biogas to end users via its subsidiary EWE Naturwatt. Solarthemen [*German] - May 16, 2007.

    Scania will introduce an ethanol-fueled hybrid bus concept at the UITP public transport congress in Helsinki 21-24 May 2007. The full-size low-floor city bus is designed to cut fossil CO2 emissions by up to 90% when running on the ethanol blend and reduce fuel consumption by at least 25%. GreenCarCongress - May 16, 2007.

    A report by the NGO Christian Aid predicts there may be 1 billion climate refugees and migrants by 2050. It shows the effects of conflicts on populations in poor countries and draws parallels with the situation as it could develop because of climate change. Christian Aid - May 14, 2007.

    Dutch multinational oil group Rompetrol, also known as TRG, has entered the biofuel market in France in conjunction with its French subsidiary Dyneff. It hopes to equip approximately 30 filling stations to provide superethanol E85 distribution to French consumers by the end of 2007. Energy Business Review - May 13, 2007.

    A group of British organisations launches the National Forum on Bio-Methane as a Road Transport Fuel. Bio-methane or biogas is widely regarded as the cleanest of all transport fuels, even cleaner than hydrogen or electric vehicles. Several EU projects across the Union have shown its viability. The UK forum was lauched at the Naturally Gas conference on 1st May 2007 in Loughborough, which was hosted by Cenex in partnership with the NSCA and the Natural Gas Vehicle Association. NSCA - May 11, 2007.

    We reported earlier on Dynamotive and Tecna SA's initiative to build 6 bio-oil plants in the Argentinian province of Corrientes (here). Dynamotive has now officially confirmed this news. Dynamotive - May 11, 2007.

    Nigeria launches a national biofuels feasibility study that will look at the potential to link the agricultural sector to the automotive fuels sector. Tim Gbugu, project leader, said "if we are able to link agriculture, we will have large employment opportunity for the sustenance of this country, we have vast land that can be utilised". This Day Onlin (Lagos) - May 9, 2007.

    Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with the CEO of Portuguese energy company Galp Energia, which will sign a biofuel cooperation agreement with Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras. GP1 (*Portuguese) - May 9, 2007.

    The BBC has an interesting story on how biodiesel made from coconut oil is taking the pacific island of Bougainville by storm. Small refineries turn the oil into an affordable fuel that replaces costly imported petroleum products. BBC - May 8, 2007.

    Indian car manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra is set to launch its first B100-powered vehicles for commercial use by this year-end. The company is confident of fitting the new engines in all its existing models. Sify - May 8, 2007.

    The Biofuels Act of the Philippines has come into effect today. The law requires all oil firms in the country to blend 2% biodiesel (most often coconut-methyl ester) in their diesel products. AHN - May 7, 2007.

    Successful tests based on EU-criteria result in approval of 5 new maize hybrids that were developed as dedicated biogas crops [*German]. Veredlungsproduktion - May 6, 2007.

    With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation for Regional Economic Development (WIRED), Michigan State University intends to open a training facility dedicated to students and workers who want to start a career in the State's growing bioeconomy. Michigan State University - May 4, 2007.

    Researchers from the Texas A&M University have presented a "giant" sorghum variety for the production of ethanol. The crop is drought-tolerant and yields high amounts of ethanol. Texas A & M - May 3, 2007.

    C-Tran, the public transportation system serving Southwest Washington and parts of Portland, has converted its 97-bus fleet and other diesel vehicles to run on a blend of 20% biodiesel beginning 1 May from its current fleet-wide use of B5. Automotive World - May 3, 2007.

    The Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) and France's largest research organisation, the CNRS, have signed a framework-agreement to cooperate on the development of new energy technologies, including research into biomass based fuels and products, as well as carbon capture and storage technologies. CNRS - April 30, 2007.

    One of India's largest state-owned bus companies, the Andra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is to use biodiesel in one depot of each of the 23 districts of the state. The company operates some 22,000 buses that use 330 million liters of diesel per year. Times of India - April 30, 2007.

    Indian sugar producers face surpluses after a bumper harvest and low prices. Diverting excess sugar into the ethanol industry now becomes more attractive. India is the world's second largest sugar producer. NDTVProfit - April 30, 2007.

    Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet on Thursday signed a biofuel cooperation agreement designed to share Brazil's experience in ethanol production and help Chile develop biofuels and fuel which Lula seeks to promote in other countries. More info to follow. People's Daily Online - April 27, 2007.

    Italy's Benetton plans to build a €61 million wood processing and biomass pellet production factory Nagyatád (southwest Hungary). The plant will be powered by biogas. Budapest Sun - April 27, 2007.

    Cargill is to build an ethanol plant in the Magdeburger Börde, located on the river Elbe, Germany. The facility, which will be integrated into existing starch processing plant, will have an annual capacity of 100,000 cubic meters and use grain as its feedstock. FIF - April 26, 2007.

    Wärtsilä Corporation was awarded a contract by the Belgian independent power producer Renogen S.A. to supply a second biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant in the municipality of Amel in the Ardennes, Belgium. The new plant will have a net electrical power output of 3.29 MWe, and a thermal output of up to 10 MWth for district heating. The electrical output in condensing operation is 5.3 MWe. Kauppalehti - April 25, 2007.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Climate change threatens wild relatives of key crops

Wild relatives of plants such as the potato and the peanut are at risk of extinction, threatening a valuable source of genes that are necessary to boost the ability of cultivated crops to resist pests and tolerate drought, according to a new study released today by scientists of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The culprit is climate change, the researchers said.

Like many agricultural research organisations, CGIAR is worried about the effects of global warming on agriculture's capacity to provide food and fuel to growing populations. Because so many of the rural poor in developing countries depend on agriculture, the organisation has made the issue central to its research efforts, which include the development of new crops that can cope with climate change induced stresses (earlier post). But the irony is that in order to design and domesticate such climate resilient crops, plant breeders will be relying on wild relatives more than ever - that is, on the very species that are now found to face extinction.

According to the new CGIAR study, in the next 50 years as many as 61 percent of the 51 wild peanut species analyzed and 12 percent of the 108 wild potato species analyzed could become extinct as the result of climate change. Most of those that remained would be confined to much smaller areas, further eroding their capacity to survive. The study also examined wild relatives of cowpea, a nutritious legume farmed widely in Africa. It found that only two of 48 species might disappear. However, the authors predict that most wild cowpeas will decline in numbers because climatic changes will push them out of many areas they currently inhabit. The results of the study were announced on International Biodiversity Day, organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
"Our results would indicate that the survival of many species of crop wild relatives, not just wild potato, peanuts and cowpea, are likely to be seriously threatened even with the most conservative estimates regarding the magnitude of climate change. There is an urgent need to collect and store the seeds of wild relatives in crop diversity collections before they disappear. At the moment, existing collections are conserving only a fraction of the diversity of wild species that are out there." - Andy Jarvis, agricultural geographer at the CGIAR-supported Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture and at Bioversity International.
Jarvis, the study's lead author, says the extinction of crop wild relatives threatens food production because they contain genes for traits such as pest resistance and drought tolerance, which plant breeders use to improve the performance of cultivated varieties. The reliance on wild relatives to improve their cultivated cousins on the farm is expected to intensify as climate change makes it too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry for many existing crop varieties to continue producing at their current levels:
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Jarvis and his colleagues looked specifically at the effects of climate change on the three crops in Africa and South America. The scientists focused on the two continents because this allowed them to consider how known populations of wild plants would fare in a wide variety of growing conditions. They found the impact of climate change is likely to be more pronounced in some species than in others but that, in general, all three groups of species would suffer.

Though not apparent to the average consumer, the wild relatives of crops play an important role in food production. All food crops originated from wild plants. But when they were domesticated, their genetic variation was narrowed significantly as farmers carefully selected plants with traits such as those related to taste and appearance as well as to yield. When trouble arises on the farm - attacks by pests or disease or, more recently, stressful growing conditions caused by climate change - breeders tend to dip back into the gene pool of the robust wild relatives in search of traits that will allow the domesticated variety to overcome the threat.

In recent years, genes available in wild relatives have helped breeders develop new types of domesticated potatoes that can fight devastating potato blight and new types of wheat more likely to survive drought conditions. Wild relatives of the peanut have helped breeders provide farmers with varieties that can survive a plant pest known as the root knot nematode, and resist a disease called early leaf spot. In fact, according to the report, more than half of new domesticated peanut varieties developed in the last five years have incorporated traits from wild relatives. Cowpea wild relatives are known to be a reservoir of genes that could confer resistance to major insect pests. In the US alone, the value of the improved yield and quality derived from wild species is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Jarvis said the vulnerability of a wild plant to climate change can depend on its ability to adapt by, for example, extending its range as warming in its native regions becomes too hot to handle. One reason wild peanut plants appear to be so vulnerable to climate change is they are largely found in flat lands and would have to migrate a long way to reach cooler climates, a predicament exacerbated by the fact that peanuts bury their seeds underground, a meter or less from the parent plant. That limits the speed at which seeds can move into more favorable climates. By contrast, plants in mountainous locations could theoretically survive by extending their range slightly up a slope, even by only a few meters, to find cooler weather. What scientists must do, Jarvis said, is identify which wild relatives are most likely to suffer from climate change and give them priority for conservation.

"The irony here is that plant breeders will be relying on wild relatives more than ever as they work to develop domesticated crops that can adapt to changing climate conditions," said Annie Lane, the coordinator of a global project on crop wild relatives led by Bioversity International. "Yet because of climate change, we could end up losing a significant amount of these critical genetic resources at precisely the time they are most needed to maintain agricultural production.

Research that identifies crop wild relatives threatened by climate change is part of a broader CGIAR effort to anticipate and blunt the effects of global warming on agriculture. In the local, national, and international policy arenas, CGIAR researchers are generating innovative options to foster adaptation to climate change. In addition, new research at CGIAR-supported centers focuses on understanding the impacts of shifting climate patterns on natural resources, such as water, fisheries, and forests, and on planning for improved management of these resources to meet the needs of growing populations as the climate changes.

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Two handy books answer FAQs on Brazilian ethanol

UNICA, the São Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union, has produced two handy books answering some common questions about Brazil's sugarcane and ethanol industry. The publications are made available to larger audiences in the context of the upcoming Ethanol Summit 2007, to be held in São Paulo early next month.

In Production and use of fuel ethanol in Brazil - Answers to the most frequently asked questions Unica's consulting group takes the reader through all aspects of the production of sugarcane to its transformation into liquid biofuels and green power. For Sugar Cane's Energy, Twelve studies on Brazilian sugar cane agribusiness and its sustainability, Isaias de Carvalho Macedo condensed the insights of leading researchers and scientists, producers and officials related to Brazil's ethanol industry into a more in-depth panorama of the complex interactions between the biofuel sector and the environment, society and the economy.

It must be said, UNICA is the voice of the sugarcane agribusiness establishment. Its views on the social dimension of the sector can be safely called conservative, in that it mainly points to the employment opportunities it generates without dwelling on broader issues of the 'political economy' of modern agribusiness as such (ownership issues, struggles over land, social inequalities fuelled by a system that dates back to colonial times...). Other voices are far more critical in this regard. That said, the books offer a good introduction to the sector.

State of the industry: past, present and future

In a first part, the 'FAQ book' places Brazil's success story in the global context of the search for alternatives to petroleum. It discusses the energy balance of the fuel and the evolution of the volumes produced over the course of the years. The question which cars can use what kind of ethanol blend, and how the development of flex-fuel vehicles has changed the equation is answered.

An overview of the history of sugarcane growing and ethanol production in Brazil is provided, with an in-depth discussion of the National Alcohol Program (PROÁLCOOL) launched in the 1970s and how the State gradually withdrew from sugar-cane agribusiness activities. A quick look at whether the current regime for sugarcane, sugar and ethanol is compatible with the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is offered too. It shows which players use unfair trade practices, such as subsidies, trade barriers and dumping - and what Brazil's position is in this context.

Those interested in learning more about what it takes to set up an ethanol plant in the country are served: a section looks at the institutional and economic aspects of the industry, at its taxes, incentives and rules. Current land use and plans for expansion of sugarcane growing, with an eye on exports, are discussed as well, and include projections to 2012.

Environmental sustainability
In the second part of the book, the environmental and sustainability aspects of sugarcane and ethanol production are presented: soil and land use, the effects of expansion on food growing and protected areas, and the environmental laws dealing with the different steps and products in the production chain (burning residues, use of bagasse and vinasse, emissions and pollution regulations for bagasse powered boilers, and so on.)

An interesting section covers the questions on the conservation of soils and water resources, on the utilization of agrochemicals and fertilizers, agricultural practices, and the management of industrial waste streams.

A good overview of the greenhouse gas (GHG) balance of the fuel over its entire lifecycle as well as the direct emissions from using it in vehicles is provided. A comparison of the GHG balance of sugarcane based ethanol and the corn based variant shows the considerable difference between both fuels:
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Social sustainability
An important chapter is entirely devoted to the social impacts of the ethanol industry in Brazil. This is an issue that is receiving a lot of attention from both the government as well as civil society organisations.

Current labor legislation in the sugar-cane agribusiness is discussed in the book, as well as the role of unions and the mechanism in use in Collective Bargaining Instruments.

The Brazilian sugarcane and ethanol industry is not static, as relations between capital and labor change continuously. Some of these evolutions are highlighted in the book.

The sector now employs around 700,000 workers, with many more indirect jobs generated. An overview of Brazil's current labor market and the role of the biofuel sector in it is provided. The question as to how employment levels are expected to evolve in the face of increasing mechanization and automation is adressed.

Bioenergy technologies
The closing chapter of the handy book offers an basic look at current bioconversion technologies for the production of ethanol. Some scenarios on how these technologies may evolve are included.

We earlier pointed to the fact that Brazil succeeded in reducing ethanol production costs over the course of 30 years by up to 75%. The book looks at this trend and shows how it may continue.

In Sugar Cane's Energy, Twelve studies on Brazilian sugar cane agribusiness and its sustainability, twenty-three professionals from several fields have directly contributed texts either on the national or international context or, specifically, on aspects of the sugar cane agribusiness in Brazil. Isaias de Carvalho Macedo condensed their insights and bundled them into twelve chapters.

The author chose to group the topics by the type of impacts of the biofuel sector on different segments of society, as follows: the 'Impacts on the use of material resources' (energy and materials); the 'Impacts on the environment' (air quality, global climate, water supply, soil occupation, biodiversity, soil preservation, use of pesticides and fertilizers); the 'Sustainability of the agricultural production base', including resistance to pests and diseases; the 'Impacts on commercial actions', covering competitiveness and subsidies; and, in conclusion, some 'Socioeconomic impacts', with great emphasis on the creation of jobs and income.

More information:
Both publications can be downloaded for free at UNICA's website.

Isaias de Carvalho Macedo, Twelve studies on Brazilian sugar cane, agribusiness and its sustainability [*.zip/*.pdf format; in English and Portuguese], São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union, São Paulo, 2005.

UNICA Consulting Group: Production and use of fuel ethanol in Brazil - Answers to the most frequently asked questions [*.pdf], São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union, São Paulo, March 2007.

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U.S. House proposes US$4.5 billion for biomass research, biorefineries

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. government would underwrite up to US$2 billion in construction of biorefineries and bioproduct plants under a House Agriculture Committee plan being considered today. The bioenergy package would authorize a total of US$4.5 billion for biomass research and loan guarantees to biofacilities through fiscal 2012. The Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research is scheduled to discuss the package today.

The aim of biorefineries is to convert biomass into a range of products (biofuels, green chemicals and bio-based materials) in an integrated and efficient way, via thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes (chart, click to enlarge). Such facilities are part of the gradual transition towards the bioeconomy, in which petroleum products are systematically replaced or augmented by renewable and clean plant based products.

Under the loan guarantee program, at least 14 plants could be built. It would allow US$1 billion for projects costing up to US$100 million each and US$1 billion for projects costing US$100 million to US$250 million each.

Guarantees could cover up to 90 percent of the principal and interest on a loan for development and construction of biofacilities, said a draft prepared for the subcommittee. It says Congress would authorize the guarantees if lawmakers are unable to tap a reserve fund that requires offsets for all spending.

Major proposals in the package, along with the loan guarantee program, are:
  • US$1.5 billion for fiscal 2008-12 for bioenergy research into crops and cellulosic biomass, mill residues and agricultural and forest residue including used vegetable oils and animal waste;
  • US$500 million during fiscal 2008-12 for biomass research, mostly on less costly and more efficient ways to use cellulose in biofuels and bioproducts;
  • US$500 million in grants for development and use of renewable energy in rural areas during fiscal 2008-12.
Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, said the House vote early this year to repeal some tax breaks for oil companies should save enough money to pay for the committee's biomass initiatives:
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Like the loan guarantees, the three research and development programs would be financed by the reserve fund if possible. If not, Congress would be asked to appropriate the money.

Besides the funding proposed by Agriculture Committee leaders, the 2005 energy law calls for $200 million a year in research and development on biomass.

The funds come after a series of grants for bioenergy and biorefining programs made available by the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year, which totalled US$385 million for six biorefinery projects over the next four years (previous post).

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Fourteen grants to spur bioenergy development in Alberta

Last month, the government of Canada's Alberta province approved fourteen renewable energy projects that will receive grant funding to support the development and expansion of bioenergy facilities and technology. The grant recipients will receive a total of C$5 (€3.4/US$4.6) million in the first phase of funding.

The grants are a part of Alberta's 'Nine-Point Bio-Energy Plan', which helps support the integration of liquid biofuels, biogas and and biomass generated power with Alberta's traditional energy sources. The province is Canada's largest producer of conventional crude oil, synthetic crude, natural gas and gas products. It is also home to the Athabasca Oil Sands which have estimated non-conventional oil reserves approximately equal to the conventional oil reserves of the rest of the world.

Last year, the Alberta government committed C$239 (€163/US$220) million over five years to the plan to help build a viable market for bioenergy in the province and encourage further private investment.

Under the 'Bio-refining Commercialization and Market Development Program', fourteen grants go to the following organisations and projects:
  • Infinite Energy (Vegreville): Feasibility study on construction of ethanol plant (Vegreville)
  • Canadian BioEnergy Corp.(Vancouver): Biodiesel production from 114 million litre bio-diesel facility (Sturgeon County)
  • Climate Change Central (Calgary): Multi-season, ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) / biodiesel performance pilot study (Calgary)
  • ECB Enviro North America (Fort Macleod): Construction of a 3 megawatt green power biogas co-generation project (Lethbridge)
  • Highmark Renewables (Vegreville): Construction of a bio-based fertilizer commercialization facility (Vegreville)
  • Lignol Innovation Corp.(Vancouver): Completion of Lignol's proprietary bio-refining technology platform (Alberta site to be determined)
  • Olds College (Olds): Establish a split tank bio-diesel storage demonstration system. (Olds)
  • Rogers Sugar (Taber): Conduct a feasibility study on production of bio-ethanol facility (Taber)
  • Canadian BioEnergy Corp. (Vancouver): Conduct a study on diesel distribution infrastructure in western Canada and assess market for optimal integration of bio-diesel.
  • Kyoto Fuels Corp. (Lethbridge): Establish a 33 million litre bio-diesel processing facility based on vegetable oils and animals fats. (Lethbridge)
  • Western Biodiesel Inc. (Calgary): Establish a 19 million litre bio-diesel processing facility based on vegetable oils and animals fats. (Aldersyde)
  • West Coast Biodiesel Ltd. (Vancouver): Establish a 57 million litre bio-diesel processing facility based on vegetable oils and animals fats. (Calgary)
  • 1307350 Alberta Ltd. (Calgary): Market development to support a 378.5 million litre canola crush facility, a 378.5 million litre bio-diesel facility and a 378.5 million litre ethanol producing facility on a single site (Alberta site to be determined)
Five of those organisations receive further grants under the 'Bio-energy Infrastructure Development Program' (Western Biodiesel Inc., West Coast Biodiesel Ltd., Climate Change Central, ECB Enviro North America, Kyoto Fuels Corp). Highmark Disposals from Vegreville received a grant under this program from the construction of a Specific Risk Materials (SRM) destruction plant and dead stock-handling unit in Calgary:
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The funding will see the development of various facilities throughout the province producing various bio-fuels, including bio-diesel and ethanol, as well as launching studies to assess the long-term sustainability of the bio-energy marketplace in Alberta. The funding is drawn from the two programs' 2006-07 budget allocations.

The development of renewable energy, such as bio-fuels, supports Premier Ed Stelmach's plan to build a stronger Alberta. Other priorities for the government are to govern with integrity and transparency, manage growth pressures, improve Albertans' quality of life and promote safe and secure communities.

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U.S. ethanol imports down 33% in March

Quicknote ethanol trade
Monthly ethanol imports to the U.S. in March fell 33% to 629,000 barrels in 14 shipments, according to preliminary data supplied by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Imports of the plant-derived gasoline additive averaged about 20,300 barrels a day for 31 days in March, or about 35% under the 31,300 barrels a day for 28 days in February - also in 14 shipments - for a total of 939,000 barrels.

Seven out of the 14 March shipments were bound for East Coast ports. This compares with 10 out of 14 shipments in February.

East Coast shipments:
  • four of the shipments or roughly 337,000 barrels, were received in New Jersey, which compares with 860,000 barrels to the region in February. Two of those shipments, totaling 81,000 barrels, came from El Salvador and two, totaling 256,000 barrels, were exported by Costa Rica.
  • New York took in 97,000 barrels in the only shipment from Trinidad, and the only two shipments from Jamaica, totaling 56,000 barrels, were sent to New Haven, Connecticut.
Canada exported four shipments:
  • Two, totaling 5,000 barrels, were sent to Blaine, Washington. Eastport, Idaho received one 7,000-barrels shipment, and Portal, N.D., took in 1,000 barrels.
Imports to Houston:
  • Imports here rose to 126,000 barrels, in three shipments, from none in the previous month. One 48,000-barrels shipment came from Brazil; two, for a total of 78,000 barrels, came from El Salvador.
Imports from Brazil declined by 524,000 barrels in March, to 48,000 barrels, and El Salvador's exports fell to 159,000 barrels compared to 212,000 barrels in February. Ethanol imports for March made up slightly more than 1% of total U.S. gasoline imports [entry ends here].
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World energy use to grow 57 percent between 2004 and 2030 - EIA

World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 57 percent between 2004 and 2030, according to the reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2007 (IEO2007) released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The IEO2007 shows the most rapid growth in energy demand for nations outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), especially in non-OECD Asia, where strong projected economic growth drives the increase in energy use (Figure 1, click to enlarge).

Global energy demand grows despite the relatively high world oil and natural gas prices in the reference case. However, rising oil prices dampen growth in demand for petroleum and other liquids fuels after 2015 and, as a result, reducing their share of overall energy use from 38 percent in 2004 to a projected 34 percent in 2030. In contrast, the energy shares of natural gas, coal, and renewable energy sources are expected to grow over this period (Figure 2, click to enlarge). Liquids consumption is still expected to grow strongly, however, reaching 118 million barrels per day in 2030. The United States, China, and India together account for nearly half of the projected growth in world liquids use.

To meet the increment in world liquids demand in the IEO2007 reference case, supply in 2030 is projected to be 35 million barrels oil equivalent per day higher than the 2004 level of 83 million barrels per day. Conventional resources account for about 27 million barrels per day of this increase, with a projected 21 million barrels per day increase in production by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a 6 million barrels per day increase in non-OPEC countries.

Unconventional liquids on the rise

In 2004, world production from unconventional resources [*.pdf, chapter 3], including biofuels, coal-to-liquids, gas-to-liquids and heavy crudes, totaled only 2.6 million barrels per day. In 2030, in the reference case, production totals 10.5 million barrels per day, an increase by nearly 8 million barrels per day. Unconventional liquids account for 9 percent of total world liquids supply in 2030 (click to enlarge).

Other report highlights include:
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• Coal consumption, which grows an average annual rate of 2.2 percent, is the fastest-growing energy source worldwide in the IEO2007 reference case projection, which assumes that existing laws and policies remain in effect through 2030 notwithstanding concerns related to the rising level of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. World coal consumption increased sharply from 2003 to 2004, largely because of a 17-percent increase—on a British thermal unit (Btu) basis—in non-OECD Asia (mainly China and India). With oil and natural gas prices expected to continue rising, coal is an attractive fuel for nations with access to ample coal resources, especially in coal-rich countries like China, India, and the United States. These three countries combined account for 86 percent of the increment in world coal demand by 2030 in the reference case projection.

• Higher fossil fuel prices, energy security concerns, improved reactor designs, and environmental considerations are expected to improve prospects for nuclear power capacity in many parts of the world, and a number of countries are expected to build new nuclear power plants. World nuclear capacity is projected to rise from 368 gigawatts in 2004 to 481 gigawatts in 2030. Declines in nuclear capacity are projected only in OECD Europe, where several countries (including Germany and Belgium) have either plans or mandates to phase out nuclear power, and where some old reactors are expected to be retired and not replaced.

In the IEO2007 reference case, which does not include specific policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise from 26.9 billion metric tons in 2004 to 33.9 billion metric tons in 2015 and 42.9 billion metric tons in 2030. From 2003 to 2004, carbon dioxide emissions from the non-OECD countries grew by almost 10 percent, while emissions in the OECD countries grew by less than 2 percent. The result of the large increase in non-OECD emissions was that 2004 marked the first time in history that emissions from the non-OECD exceeded those from the OECD countries (Figure 3). Further, because of the expectation that non-OECD countries will rely on fossil fuels to supply much of their future energy demand growth, carbon dioxide emissions from the non-OECD countries in 2030 are projected to exceed those from the OECD by 57 percent.

The full report can be found on EIA’s web site, here.

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