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    Greenline Industries, which designs and builds biodiesel production facilities, and ULEROM, one of Romania's largest agri-business corporations, today announced the formal opening of their largest facility in Vaslui, Romania. The plant will produce some 26.5 million liters (7 mio gallons) per year. The Romanian facility is the 17th example of Greenline's technology featuring waterless wash, computerized, continuous flow and modular construction. PRNewswire - August 1, 2007.

    US Renewables Holdings announced today that it has successfully closed on $475 million of third party capital commitments in its most recent private equity fund, USRG Power & Biofuels Fund II, LP and related vehicles (collectively, "Fund II"), ahead of the fund's original target of $250 million. PRNewswire - August 1, 2007.

    Malaysian palm oil company Kim Loong Resources Bhd has secured European energy trading group Vitol as buyer for all its carbon credits from its planned biogas plant in Kota Tinggi. The biogas facility generates methane from palm oil mill effluent, a waste product. The project is expected to generate over RM2 million (€423,000/US$579,000) of earnings annually. The methane capture and power generation project was registered and approved by the Clean Development Mechanism. The Edge Daily - July 31, 2007.

    GreenHunter Energy, Inc. announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary, GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., located in Houston, Texas has successfully acquired Air Emission Permits from TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) under TCEQ's Permit by Rule (PBR) programs. These permits open the way for construction of a 105 million gallon per year (mgy) biodiesel facility including a separate but related methanol distillation facility. PRNewswire - July 30, 2007.

    Together with Chemical & Engineering News' Stephen K. Ritter, the journal Environmental Science & Technology sent Erika D. Engelhaupt to Brazil from where she wrote daily dispatches of news and observations about biofuels research. In particular she focuses on a bioenerrgy research partnership between the American Chemical Society, the Brazilian Chemical Society, and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). Check out her blog. Dipatches from Brazil - July 28, 2007.

    Consultation is under way on a £50 million (€74/US$101million) renewable energy plant planned for the South Wales Valleys. Anglo-Dutch company Express Power plans to build a wood-fuelled biomass plant on Rassau Industrial Estate in Blaenau Gwent. The plant will generate an annual 160,000 MWh (Mega Watt hours) of green electricity for Wales from forestry, recycled wood and wood derivatives. ICWales - July 27, 2007.

    The price of New York crude leapt to 77.24 dollar a barrel on Thursday, marking the highest level since August 9, 2006, as keen global demand and tight supplies fuelled speculative buying, traders said. On Wednesday, the US government had revealed that inventories of American crude fell by 1.1 million barrels last week. France24 - July 26, 2007.

    Arriva, one of Europe's largest transport groups is trialling B20 biodiesel for the first time on 75 of its buses. The company is aiming to reduce total carbon emissions by around 14 per cent by using biodiesel as a 20 per cent blend (predominantly be a mixture of sustainable soya products, along with used cooking oil and tallow). The 75 buses in the innovative trial will carry around 130,000 passengers every week. Minimal engineering changes will be required to the fleet as part of the scheme. Arriva - July 26, 2007.

    Marathon Oil Corporation announces that it has completed two more projects adding biodiesel blended fuel at its Robinson and Champaign terminals in Illinois. The terminals now feature in-line ratio blending in order to provide soy-based B-2 (two percent biodiesel) and B-11 (eleven percent biodiesel). Marathon Oil - July 25, 2007.

    Norway-based renewable energy firm Global Green One has agreed to set up a € 101.6 million bioethanol plant in Békéscsaba (southeast Hungary), with more facilities planned for Kalocsa, Szombathely and Kõszeg, the latter of which was already a target for a €25 million plant in May this year. The Békéscsaba plant would process 200,000 tonnes of maize per year, employing around 100 people. The logistics part of the facility would also create 100 jobs. The company expects the factory to generate €65 million in revenues each year. Portfolio - July 25, 2007.

    A Canadian firm, Buchanan Renewable Energies, is to begin an investment into Liberia's biomass industry that will grow to US$20 million in October and offer 300 jobs by end of the year. The company will start shipping 90 major pieces of equipment to Liberia by the end of August. Daily Observer (Monrovia) - July 24, 2007.

    KNM Process Systems Sdn Bhd, has secured a RM122 million (€26/$36m) order to build a biodiesel plant in Pahang, Malaysia, for Mission Biofuels Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Australian biofuels company Mission Biofuels Ltd. The plant will have a biodiesel output of 750 tonnes per day and glycerine output of 82 tonnes per day. Malaysia Business Times - July 24, 2007.

    AlgoDyne Ethanol Energy Inc. confirms that its retail partner, Canadian Green Fuels, has entered into an agreement with Cansource BioFuels to open a new biodiesel production facility in Mayerthorpe Alberta. The deal will see the construction and development of a community based, integrated crushing and biodiesel facility to process 10 million litres of ASTM certified canola based biodiesel which will be scaled up to produce 40million litres by 2010. BusinessWire - July 23, 2007.

    The Center for Management Technology announces the second Biomass-to-Liquids Technology conference will take place in Vienna this year, from 12 to 13 September. The current state of BTL-technologies will be presented and discussed. Biomass-to-Liquids conversion pathways are seen by many as promising avenues into the world of second generation biofuels that relies on the use of a broad variety of possible biomass feedstocks. CMT - July 23, 2007.

    Gulf Ethanol Corporation, a Houston-based energy company, announced today that it has initiated negotiations with representatives of government and industry in Uruguay. Discussions, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, centered on the synergy between Gulf Ethanol's interest in exploiting the potential of sorghum as a non-food fuel stock for ethanol production and the ideal conditions for growing the crop in Uruguay. The company criticizes the use of food crops like corn for ethanol in the U.S. and is seeking alternatives. Yahoo Press Release - July 20, 2007.

    Dutch company Capella Capital N.V. announces its investment in BiogasPark N.V. and acquires a 20 % stake upon the foundation of the company. The remaining shares are held by the management and strategic investors. BiogasPark N.V. will invest in the field of renewable energy and primarily focuses on financing, purchasing and the maintenance of biogas plant facilities. Ad Hoc News - July 20, 2007.

    Bioenergy company Mascoma Corp. is to build the world's first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Michigan where it will collaborate with Michigan State University. The $100 million plant will rely on the biochemical, enzymatic process that breaks down biomass to convert it to sugars. One of the factors that attracted Mascoma to Michigan was the recent $50 million federal grant MSU received to study biofuels in June. MSU will help in areas such as pretreatment technology for cellulosic ethanol production and energy crops that can be utilized by the plant. The State News - July 20, 2007.

    PetroChina, one of China's biggest oil companies, aims to invest RMB 300 million (€28.7/US$39.6m) in biofuel production development plans. A special fund is also going to be jointly set up by PetroChina and the Ministry of Forestry to reduce carbon emissions. Two thirds of the total investment will be channeled into forestry and biofuel projects in the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Hebei, the remainder goes to creating a China Green Carbon Foundation, jointly managed by PetroChina and the State Forestry Administration. China Knowledge - July 19, 2007.

    Netherlands-based oil, gas, power and chemical industries service group Bateman Litwin N.V. announces it has signed an agreement to acquire Delta-T Corporation, a leading US-based bioethanol technology provider, with a fast growing engineering, procurement and construction division for a total consideration of US$45 million in cash and 11.8 million new ordinary shares in Bateman Litwin. Bateman Litwin - July 18, 2007.

    TexCom, Inc. announced today that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Biodiesel International Corp. (BIC), and is developing a plan to build an integrated oilseed crushing and biodiesel production facility in Paraguay. The facility, as it is currently contemplated, would process 2,000 metric tons of oil seeds per day, yielding approximately 136,000 metric tons (approximately 39 Million Gallons) of biodiesel and 560,000 metric tons of soy meal pellets per year. Initial feedstock will consist mainly of soybeans that are grown in the immediate area of the proposed production plant in the Provinces of Itapua and Alto Parana. MarketWire - July 18, 2007.

    Spanish power company Elecnor announced that it will build Spain's biggest biodiesel production plant for €70 million (US$96.48 million). The plant, in the port of Gijon in northern Spain, will be ready in 22 months and will produce up to 500,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year from vegetable oil. The plant will be one of the world's biggest. Spain has decided to impose mandatory blending of biofuels with conventional fossil fuels as part of European Union efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Elecnor [*Spanish] - July 18, 2007.

    The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) conducted a feasibility study to determine the most economical solutions to provide biomass energy to the isolated Chugachmiut Tribal Community in the village of Port Graham, Alaska, located on the Kenai Peninsula about 180 miles southwest of Anchorage. The village is only accessible by air or water, making traditional fossil fuel sources expensive to deliver and alternative forms of energy difficult to implement. The case study based on decentralised bioenergy offers interesting parallels to what would be needed to provide energy to the developing world's huge population that lives in similarly isolated conditions. EERC - July 18, 2007.

    According to a basic market report by Global Industries Inc., world biodiesel sales are expected to exceed 4.7 billion gallons (17.8 billion liters) by 2010. Though Europe, with a share estimated at 84.16% in 2006, constitutes the largest market, and will continue to do so for the coming years, major growth is expected to emanate from the United States. The automobile applications market for biodiesel, with an estimated share of 55.73% in 2006 constitutes the largest as well as the fastest growing end use application. Other applications independently analyzed include the Mining Applications market and the Marine Applications market. PRWeb - July 18, 2007.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Global Brassica research community receives major boost as Canada donates DNA sequences

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announce they have released the single largest number ever of DNA sequences for Brassica napus (rapeseed, canola) and related species. 437,000 Brassica Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) generated at NRC-PBI and 160,000 ESTs generated at AAFC-SRC have been donated to the global Brassica research community. These sequences have been added to the global repository for DNA sequence information - the GenBank.

Not only does this mark a significant contribution to the international science community, it also positions Canada as a centre of excellence in the areas of environment, natural resources and health - priorities identified in Canada's New Government's new Science and Technology Strategy. With this contribution, the world is one step closer to creating an improved generation of versatile Brassica crops with multiple health, environmental and industrial benefits.

As a major contributor to Canada's agri-food industry, canola, an oilseed Brassica, accounts for an annual economic value of approximately $11 billion. The benefits of canola are far reaching; not only does it currently supply a high quality and healthy vegetable oil, it has also gained prominence as a potential source for manufacturing a wide variety environmentally-friendly products such as bioplastics and biodiesel.

In a world concerned with renewable fuels, Brassicas like canola and its derivatives present an interesting opportunity to address the pressing issues of climate change. This vital crop is particularly well-positioned to serve as a feedstock to fulfill the targets of Canada's pending Clean Air Act that will require two percent biodiesel blends in diesel and heating oil by 2012.

Boost to genetic research
As part of a long-standing cooperative research effort between the AAFC Saskatoon Research Centre (AAFC-SRC) and the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute, Canadian researchers have been working with Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) to understand how specific genes within Canola react to their environment and create compounds important in biofuels and healthy oils for foods.
This research focuses not only on an area of strategic importance to Canada but raises our profile in the International community. This latest accomplishment reinforces Canada's position as a leader in agriculture science and provides an enabling tool which will contribute to the development of a more prosperous and sustainable agriculture sector that will benefit farmers, industry, and all Canadians. - Dr. Isobel Parkin, AAFC research scientist and current Chair of the Multinational Brassica Genome Project
Rather than using traditional time-consuming methods to isolate genes, ESTs provide researchers with a quick and accurate view of fragments of a DNA sequence - the 'functional' parts of a genome where gene expression takes place. By using ESTs to study how genes are expressed within Canola, it is then possible to determine ways to manipulate these genes in order to improve crop yields and produce stronger and more-resistant seeds for food and industrial applications:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

In conjunction with two Genome Canada projects, 'Enhancing Canola through Genomics' (managed by Genome Prairie) and 'Designing Oilseeds for Tomorrow's Markets' (managed by Genome Alberta), NRC and AAFC have been using ESTs to examine how gene expression is involved in Canola seed development.

With 437,000 Brassica ESTs generated at NRC-PBI and 160,000 generated at AAFC-SRC, the submission of this joint collection marks the most significant DNA sequence contribution to the global Brassica research community representing nearly 90% of all submitted Brassica ESTs. The contribution of the EST collection is especially timely since it will be a valuable tool in annotating the Brassica rapa genome, which is being sequenced as part of an International community effort.

In order to respond to emerging global challenges and enhance the value and production of crops such as Canola, it is essential to develop methods to improve seed quality and yield through the application of the latest genomics technologies. By sharing these technologies, the global research community will be able to work together to harness the full potential of this vital crop.
Genome Canada is enthusiastic about the results of this genomics research, which will bring improvements not only to Canada's food and agriculture industry but to every citizen as an end result through health and economic advancements. - Dr. Martin Godbout, President and CEO, Genome Canada.
"Canola is 'Canada's plant'. The long-standing partnership between AAFC and NRC has been vital to the development of Canola. It is a vital part of our economy and it will be even more valuable in the future. Maintaining a scientific leadership position with this plant is critical to providing our industry with the knowledge base necessary to improve yields and diversify the applications towards which Canola can be applied", says Dr. Coulombe, NRC President.

Genome Canada
is a not-for-profit Corporation that acts as the primary funding and information resource relating to genomics and proteomics in Canada. Its main objective is to ensure that Canada becomes a world leader in genomics and proteomics research. The Corporation is dedicated to developing and implementing a national strategy in genomics and proteomics research for the benefit of all Canadians.

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Report: biofuels key to achieving Millennium Development Goals in Africa

If it exploits its enormous biofuel potential fully and effectively, Africa can defeat poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a team of experts underscored at the first high-level biofuel conference organised jointly by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the government of Brazil and the African Union (AU). The meeting was held at the headquarters of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The eight MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. Biofuels can contribute to achieving these development goals in a major way, the expert panel says.
"Promotion of the biofuels industry in developing countries has the capacity to propel such countries to achieve the MDGs through poverty reduction (especially job creation and economic enhancement), health impact and climate change".
The forum is deliberating on the effective and enhanced utilization of biofuels to tackle poverty in Africa. The experts drawn from various African Universities indicated that Africa presents significantly higher biofuel potentials than Europe and even North America and can aid farmers in the continent to earn better income for their produce due to the expanded biofuel markets. Biofuels are an engine for rural development and bring numerous added benefits, from investments in infrastructure to access to new markets and agricultural technologies.

Africa's sustainable bioenergy production potential under four scenarios by 2050, as compared to that of other regions. Source: Faaij, Smeets, Lewandowski (2004).
Experts working for the IEA Bioenergy Task 40 study group estimate that Africa's sustainable biofuel potential may reach 350 to 410 EJ under a high-tech scenario by 2050, when populations have increased considerably. This projection only looks at the explicitly sustainable potential, that is, production of biofuels after all food, fuel, fiber and fodder needs for local populations and livestock are satisfied and without deforestation.

To get a grip on the scale, consider that the entire world currently consumes around 400EJ from all sources (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables) (earlier post). Of all global regions Africa ranks first when it comes to the long-term sustainable bioenergy production potential (map, click to enlarge).

Disastrous impact of expensive oil
According to the report, the majority of African countries that are oil importers can avoid their expenses on oil by utilizing their biofuel resources. Biofuels can reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and increase energy security. There is a growing realization in the Africa that high dependency on imported fossil fuels is having a negative impact on the continent's economic development, the report said.

Some African countries are now forced to spend twice as much on importing oil than on health care. According to the experts, estimates show that recent changes in the price of oil caused, in some cases, losses as high as 3 % of GDP for energy intensive oil importing African countries:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

According to available information, out of 47 of the world's poorest countries, 38 are net oil importers and the majority of them are from Africa. A total of 42 countries in Africa are net oil importers vulnerable to the adverse macro-economic (particularly balance of payments) of high oil prices.

This is particularly true as economies of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are oil-dependent, according to the report.

According to the same report, biofuels use in Africa is expected to remain very modest, reaching only 3.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent by 2030. The report further recommended future policies of Africa to be designed to meet not only the domestic needs but also the growing international biofuels market. "The AU should be the coordinating body in implementing a common policy for biofuels in Africa," the report added.

FAO estimates that there are 379 million hectares of potential arable land available, of which only 43 million are utilized for food production in the countries forming the 'Pan-African association of Non-Oil Producing Countries' alone and varied nature of the feedstock's available in Africa to produce biofuels.

Map: Global bio-energy potentials by 2050 under four scenarios. Source: Smeets, Faaij, Lewandowski.

Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa): Experts Highlight Role of Bio-Fuel in Achieving MDGs - August 1, 2007.

Edward Smeets, André Faaij, Iris Lewandowski, A quickscan of global bio-energy
potentials to 2050. An analysis of the regional availability of biomass resources for export in relation to the underlying factors
, Copernicus Institute - Department of Science, Technology and Society, Utrecht University, March 2004,

Smeets, Faaij and Lewandowski's report is part of the IEA Bioenergy Task 40's Fair Biotrade research program.

Biopact: A look at Africa's biofuels potential - July 30, 2006

Biopact: A closer look at Africa's 'Green Opec' - August 02, 2006

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Indonesian NGOs want biofuels policy to side with farmers

Indonesia is set to become one of the leading biofuel producers, with a variety of crops being promoted - from sugarcane and cassava, to jatropha and palm oil. Biofuels and bioenergy offer the country the opportunity to substantially reduce reliance on extremely expensive oil and to bring millions of jobs to the poor. Technically this may be possible, but success will depend on carefully crafted policies and legislation (previous post). Local NGOs support the transition towards the green fuels, but call on the government to do more to ensure that the poverty alleviating potential for smallholders - who are feedstock producers - fully materialises.

The Indonesian government has so far invested US$1.42 billion in the sector, with more than 67 projects for the production of liquid biofuels signed so far, and with 114 biomass power plants under construction across the archipelago (earlier post). The country plans to inject a total of US$ 12.4 billion over the coming 3 years (more here). The program is presented by the government as a way to alleviate poverty and to generate employment, as it expects some 2.5 million jobs to be generated in the sector (earlier post).

Istowo Setyandito, head of a group of small jathropa farmers said yesterday during a discussion on biofuel policy that a law and presidential decree on biofuels do exist, but there is yet to be a real and comprehensive implementation of the regulations:
"We have reliable and skillful farmers, but the government's policies are not siding with them, despite the fact that the agricultural sector is an important pillar of our country's economic development."
Deputy director Abet Nego Tarigan of NGO Sawit Watch shared the same view, saying that even though the agricultural sector had created new jobs for villagers, the government did not pay attention to their welfare:
"Indeed, the sector has reduced unemployment, but in fact more than 50 percent of plantation labors only get their daily wages without any insurance or social security scheme."
Darmawan Triwibowo from the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation Kehati said the group doubted that the current policies to promote biofuel use would have a direct impact on unemployment and poverty.
"The government assumes it's the perfect situation in every area. But in fact, it won't be that easy to employ workers, increase their welfare and solve their poverty problems. It really depends on the development scheme of the plantation industry. The situation will be worse if a land dispute occurs. [...] Farmers should have the right to cultivate their land without losing their ownership. On the other hand, they should also benefit from the biofuel business."
Many smallholders in Indonesia are leasing their land to biofuel and plantation enterprises and feel they are benefiting. An example of the often-quoted indirect effects of the arrival of plantations comes from Mangat Nuan, a small farmer in central Kalimantan:
"This used to be my land. But I rented it to a plantation company a little while ago. It was a good price - all the landowners round here did the same. Life before was difficult. [...] I couldn't even feed my family, not to mention send my kids to school. After the plantation took over, more people came and suddenly we had roads and schools. We've also opened a small shop, so it's improved our income significantly."
But not all Indonesians may be as lucky as Mangat Nuan, and after all he merely refers to his direct benefits, not to potentially negative indirect impacts on the environment. Moreover, Kehati's Darmawan Triwibowo said disputes over land ownership, either between farmers and the government or farmers and plantation companies, remain common:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

However, Evita H. Legowo, the first secretary of the National Biofuel Development Committee at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said that the policy on national energy development, which includes the promotion of biofuel, has drawn a clear target for providing more job opportunities and reducing poverty.

"By 2010, we expect that biofuel industry will have provided 3.5 million job opportunities for villagers and increased their wage at least up to the regional minimum wage by developing 5.25 million hectares of plants, which are sources of biofuel," she said.

"But the target should also be followed by a proper pricing policy that will benefit farmers."

Currently, the ministry, together with the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy and the Coordinating Ministry for People's Welfare, is working on a regulation that would make the use of biofuel mandatory in the hope that it would encourage the use of the environmentally friendly fuel.

The first areas to test the regulation will be Java and Sumatra, where there are several biofuel projects.

Indonesia mainly produces biodiesel, with more than 11 government-supported biodiesel plants under construction (earlier post), but the country wants to replace gasoline with ethanol as well. Its ethanol program is based on sugarcane and cassava.

To achieve its goals, Indonesia will be planting 2.25 million hectares to grow the crops, out of a total of 6 million that have been allotted for energy crops (see here).

Picture: workers load oil palm fruit bunches into a truck. Credit: Reuters.

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Energem acquires jatropha biodiesel project in Mozambique

Vancouver-based Energem Resources, an Africa-focused natural resources group, announces [*.pdf] that it has acquired a 70% controlling interest in a jatropha based biodiesel venture in Mozambique, one of the emerging 'biofuel superpowers' (more here, here and especially here). Furthermore, the company has taken on a senior management team with extensive experience of plantation management and biofuels in the region. This management team will retain a 30% interest in the venture.

The venture, which was initiated some three years ago, now renamed Energem Renewable Energy Limited, forms part of Energem's recently established Biofuels division. The venture has established jatropha seedling nursery facilities, and has commenced the clearing and planting of 1000 hectares of land in Mozambique. Core to the project is three years of research and development into the use of jatropha in Mozambique as a crop to produce oil for transesterification and further refining to biodiesel.

Energem has acquired its 70% equity interest in the venture in exchange for a commitment to fund the further development of the project for an amount of up to US$5.5 million. This amount is expected to be required over the next year to fully plant the initial 1000 hectares, clear and commence planting on a further 5000 hectares, acquire additional land of up to 60,000 hectares (presently under application from the Mozambiquan Government), and produce a first crop of unrefined jatropha seed oil to confirm expected yields and oil quality.

This acquisition is consistent with Energem's recently announced, redefined strategic focus, primarily on the mid-stream oil and gas infrastructure and biofuels sectors. As part of this process, the Company has established a new operating division, Energem Biofuels, with the Kisumu Ethanol Plant in Kenya at its core.

The company believes that these core sectors have enormous potential and scalability across the African continent - an assessment echoed by, amongst others, Mozambique's Minister of Energy, Salvador Namburete (see his presentation at the landmark International Conference on Biofuels organised by the EU and held last month in Brussels). Researchers have put the country's annual sustainable biomass production potential at around 7 Exajoules (map, click to enlarge), an amount of energy roughly equivalent to around 3 million barrels of oil per day:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Jatropha is a hardy plant which produces high yields of oil suitable for refining into biodiesel. Jatropha is not suitable for either human or animal consumption and will not compete with food crop production, as the land to be used is not suited to the growing of food crop, the company says. The land to be used does not require the clearing of any indigenous forest.

Energem Resources Inc. is a natural resources company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange with projects in the energy and mining sectors in a number of African countries. Energem is committed to developing niche high margin natural resource projects in Africa and is currently active in 16 countries. Ventures encompass diamond mining and mineral exploration, mid- and up-stream oil and gas projects, energy and mining related manufacturing, trading and trade finance businesses operating off a common logistics platform and infrastructure. The company has offices and/or logistics and support infrastructure in Johannesburg, London, Beijing and a number of African countries.

Energem is not the first company to invest in Mozambique's biofuel potential. Others include the Dutch ESV Group (earlier post) and Chinese and Portuguese companies (previous post). Italy's ENI group is collaborating with Brazil's stat-owned oil company Petrobras in Mozambique, in a typical South-North-South type of cooperation (here).

Finally, Mozambique also signed a biofuel cooperation agreement with India, aimed at using green fuel production as a lever for poverty alleviation (more here).

Salvador Namburete: Mozambique's Experience on Bio-fuels [*.pdf], Minister of Energy of the Republic of Mozambique, presentation at the International Conference on Biofuels, Brussels, July 5-6, 2007.

Batidzirai, B., A.P.C. Faaij, E.M.W. Smeets (2006), "Biomass and
bioenergy supply from Mozambique"
[*abstract / *.pdf], Energy for Sustainable Development, X(1),
Pp. 54-81

Faaij, A.P.C., "Emerging international biomass markets and the potential implications for rural development" [*.pdf], Development and Climate Project Workshop: Rural development, the roles of food, water and biomass; opportunities and challenges; Dakar, Senegal, 14-16 November 2005.

Biopact: Journal "Energy for Sustainable Development" focuses on international bioenergy trade - November 05, 2006 (has a case study on Mozambique's potential).

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Dynamotive and Mitsubishi Corporation sign cooperation agreement

Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, dedicated to producing second-generation biofuels from cellulosic biomass via fast pyrolysis, and Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan's largest general trading and investment company, signed a letter of agreement whereby development and strategic opportunities for cooperation are identified and protocols are established to jointly advance them.

The comprehensive agreement between Mitsubishi’s New Energy Business Unit, Business Innovation Group, and Dynamotive lays out the framework for exploring areas of cooperation in project development, finance, technology development, product research and application, and fuel supply and trading. It also recognizes Dynamotive's market potential in the field of cellulose based biofuels providing it and its partners a unique opportunity for growth.

The companies have worked cooperatively for the past 18 months, having previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsubishi Canada Ltd., and have identified projects and commercial opportunities that are earmarked for early development. Each opportunity described in the letter is subject to negotiation of a definitive agreement between Dynamotive and the corresponding business unit of Mitsubishi.
  • Biofuel production: included in the project opportunities are Dynamotive's current development in Argentina where it is building 6 pyrolysis plants (earlier post) and other projects in Latin America, project development in China where Dynamotive has worked in cooperation with the National Development and Reform Commission, project opportunities in the US where Dynamotive has an operating subsidiary and new project opportunities in Japan and South East Asia, among others that are introduced by Mitsubishi.
  • Project finance: in addition, the agreement envisages project finance and supply of equipment by Mitsubishi in line with the previous MOU signed between Dynamotive and Mitsubishi Canada. Specifically, the Companies have agreed to initiate preliminary discussion for the refinancing of Dynamotive’s current plant and equity participation in West Lorne. This plant has an asset value of approximately U.S. $18 million, with the full output of West Lorne contractually committed (earlier post).
  • Fuel supply and trading: the agreement framework establishes parameters for the possibility to supply BioOil from Evolution Biofuels (Guelph Plant, previous post) to Mitsubishi for testing and market development purposes as part of an overall expansion strategy. This plant's production capacity is rated at 50,000 tonnes annually.
  • Technology licensing: Mitsubishi has requested the licensing of Dynamotive’s technology for small plant capacity (20 tonnes and under) for fabrication and marketing in Japan. Dynamotive is evaluating, as a result of this request, the opportunity to deliver a 15 tonne per day plant to Mitsubishi. Dynamotive currently has a plant of this capacity that could be refurbished for this purpose.
BioOil or pyrolysis oil is an industrial fuel produced from cellulose waste material, such as wood chips. The company's fast pyrolysis technology heats dry biomass to medium temperatures in oxygen-free conditions, turning it into pyrolysis oil. When combusted this oil produces substantially less smog-precursor nitrogen oxides (‘NOx’) emissions than conventional oil as well as little or no sulfur oxide gases (‘SOx’), which are a prime cause of acid rain:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

BioOil and Dynamotive's 'BioOil Plus' (more here) are price-competitive replacements for heating oils #2 and #6 that are widely used in industrial boilers and furnaces. They have been EcoLogo certified, having met stringent environmental criteria for industrial fuels as measured by Environment Canada’s Environmental Choice Program. BioOil can be produced from a variety of residue cellulosic biomass resources and is not dependent on food-crop production. The product can be further refined into liquid fuels for transportation.

Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan's largest general trading & investment company (sogo shosha). Together, with its over 500 group companies, Mitsubishi employs a multinational workforce of approximately 54,000 people. Mitsubishi has long been engaged in business with customers around the world in virtually every industry, including energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, food and living essentials.

Its new Energy Business Unit, Business Innovation Group, works on the development of new energy to supplement and replace fossil fuels, such as solar batteries, fuel cells, and biomass fuels. In addition, the group finances a variety of businesses by creating a clean energy fund.

Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation is an energy solutions provider headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with offices in the USA, UK and Argentina. Its carbon and greenhouse-gas-neutral fast pyrolysis technology uses medium temperatures and oxygen-free conditions to turn dry, waste cellulosic biomass into BioOil for power and heat generation. BioOil can be further converted into vehicle fuels and chemicals.

Earlier this year, Dynamotive announced it was going to test biochar soil sequestration, which results in carbon-negative biofuels (previous post).

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