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    Saudi Aramco in its Annual Review 2006 said that last year the company's crude oil production declined by 1.7 percent, while exports declined by 3.1 percent, compared with the previous year. Crude oil production in 2006 averaged 8.9 million barrels of oil a day (b/d) and exports 6.9 million b/d. Saudi Aramco - September 9, 2007.

    Chinese packaging manufacturer Livan Biodegradable Product Co. Ltd. will build plants in Alsozsolca and Edeleny in eastern Hungary at a combined cost of €18 million by 2009, the Hungarian economics ministry says. The plants, which will employ 800 people, are planned to produce initially 50, 000 metric tons a year of environmentally-friendly packaging material, and double that amount by a later date. Livan will use corn to manufacture biodegradable packaging boxes with similar properties to petroleum-based plastic boxes used in the food industry. Dow Jones Newswires - September 7, 2007.

    South Korea aims to raise biodiesel content in domestic diesel to 3 percent from the current 0.5 percent by 2012, Seoul's energy ministry said today. The government was initially set last year to impose a mandatory 5 percent blend, in line with the level targeted by the European Union by 2010, but the country's powerful refining lobby opposed the move, forcing it to push back the target, according to market sources. Reuters - September 7, 2007.

    Virent Energy Systems, Inc. announced today that it has closed a US$21 million second round of venture financing. Investor interest in Virent was driven in large part by the Company’s continued development of its innovative BioForming process beyond its traditional hydrogen and fuel gas applications and toward the production of bio-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. Virent Energy Systems - September 6, 2007.

    The U.S. National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) announces that 31 models of motor vehicles will be offered in the U.S. with an E85 capable engine in 2008. Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Mercedes Benz will all offer flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the coming year. The NEVC expects 750,000 such FFVs will be produced in 2008. National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition - September 5, 2007.

    GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., has begun commercial operations with the start-up of a 1,500 barrel per day methanol distillation system. Methanol is an alcohol used to transesterify vegetable oils into biodiesel. The methanol production facility is a key element of GreenHunter's 105 million gallon per year biodiesel refinery, the largest in the U.S., slated for initial operations during the first quarter of 2008. PRNewswire - September 5, 2007.

    GreenHunter BioFuels, Inc., has begun commercial operations with the start-up of a 1,500 barrel per day methanol distillation system. Methanol is an alcohol used to transesterify vegetable oils into biodiesel. The methanol production facility is a key element of GreenHunter's 105 million gallon per year biodiesel refinery, the largest in the U.S., slated for initial operations during the first quarter of 2008. PRNewswire - September 5, 2007.

    Spanish renewables group Abengoa released its results for the first half of 2007 financial year in which its consolidated sales were €1,393.6 million, which is a 27.9 percent increase on the previous year. Earnings after tax were €54.9 million, an 18.6 percent increase on the previous year's figure of 46.3 million euro. Abengoa is active in the bioenergy, solar and environmental services sector. Abengoa - September 4, 2007.

    Canadian hydro power developer Run of River Power Inc. has reached an agreement to buy privately owned Western Biomass Power Corp. in a $2.2 million share swap deal that could help finance development of new green sources of electricity in British Columbia. The Canadian Press - September 4, 2007.

    As of Sept. 1, a biodiesel blending mandate has come into force in the Czech Republic, requiring diesel suppliers to mix 2 per cent biodiesel into the fuel. The same rule will be obligatory for gasoline starting next year. In 2009 the biofuel ratio will grow to 3.5 percent in gasoline and 4.5 percent in diesel oil. CBW - September 3, 2007.

    Budapest's first biofuel station opens on Monday near the Pesterzsébet (District XX) Tesco hypermarket. This is the third station selling the E85 fuel containing bioethanol in Hungary, as two other stations are encouraging eco-friendly driving in Bábolna and Győr. Caboodle - September 3, 2007.

    Canadian forest products company Tembec announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Chapleau Cogeneration Limited located in Chapleau, Ontario. The transaction includes a biomass fired boiler and steam turbine with an installed capacity of 7.2 megawatts. Consideration for the assets consists of a series of future annual payments to 2022, with a present value of approximately $1 million. Tembec - September 1, 2007.

    Innovative internet and cable/satellite channel CurrentTV is producing a documentary on Brazil's biofuel revolution. Biopact collegues and friends Marcelo Coelho (EthanolBrasil Blog), Henrique Oliveira (Ethablog) and Marcelo Alioti (E-Machine) provided consulting on the technical, economic, environmental and social aspects of Brazil's energy transformation. ProCana - August 31, 2007.

    Oil major BP Plc and Associated British Foods Plc won competition clearance from the European Commission on to build a plant to make transport fuel from wheat in Hull, northeast England. U.S. chemical company DuPont is also involved. Reuters UK - August 31, 2007.

    The government of the Indian state of Orissa announced its policy for biofuel production which includes a slew of incentives as well as measures to promote the establishment of energy plantations. The state aims to bring 600,000 hectares of barren and fallow land under Jatropha and Karanj. At least 2 million hectares degraded land are available in the State. The new policy's other objectives are to provide a platform for investors and entrepreneurs, market linkages and quality control measures. Newindpress - August 29, 2007.

    Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said today it expects to reach large scale cellulosic ethanol production in 2015, with the first plant entering operations as early as 2011. Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant biological material on the planet, making up the bulk of the structure of wood and plants. In a first phase, Petrobras intends to use bagasse as a feedstock. Reuters / MacauHub- August 29, 2007.

    Seattle based Propel Biofuels, is announcing a $4.75 million first round of capital from @Ventures and Nth Power. The money will be used to help Propel set up and manage biodiesel fueling stations. BusinessWire - August 29, 2007.

    BioEnergy International, a science and technology company committed to developing biorefineries to produce fuels and specialty chemicals from renewable resources, announced today the closing of a major US$61.6 million investment that will provide funding for the Company’s three strategic initiatives: generating secure cash flow from its conventional ethanol platform, product diversification through the introduction of novel biocatalysts for the manufacture of green chemicals and biopolymers and the integration of its cellulose technology. BusinessWire - August 28, 2007.

    German company Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie, the biggest biofuels producer in Europe, says it is considering plans to invest up to €100/US$136.5 million in a biofuel production facility in Bulgaria. The company wants the new facility to be located close to a port and Bulgaria's city of Varna on the Black Sea is one of the options under consideration. If Verbio goes through with the plan, it would produce both biodiesel and bioethanol, making Bulgaria a major source of biofuels in southeastern Europe. Verbi currently produces around 700,000 tonnes of biofuels per year. Sofia News Agency - August 27, 2007.

    Czech brown-coal-fired power plant Elektrárna Tisová (ETI), a unit of the energy producer ČEZ, could co-fire up to 40,000 tons of biomass this year, the biggest amount in the company’s history, said Martin Sobotka, ČEZ spokesman for West Bohemia. ETI burned more than 19,000 tons of biomass in the first half of 2007. The company’s plan reckoned with biomass consumption of up to 35,000 tons a year. Czech Business Weekly - August 27, 2007.

    PetroSun, Incorporated announced recently that it has formed PetroSun BioFuels Mexico to establish algae-to-biofuel operations in the State of Sonora, Mexico. PetroSun BioFuels Mexico will enter into joint venture agreements to develop algae cultivation farms and extraction plants in Sonora and southern Arizona that will produce algal oil, algae biomass products and excess electricity for the Mexican and U.S. markets. MarketWire - August 27, 2007.

    China's Yunnan Province hopes to reach an annual output of 2 million tons (approx. 417 million gallons) of fuel ethanol by 2010, according to the province's fuel ethanol industry development plan released recently by the Yunnan Economic and Trade Commission, state media report. Interfax China - August 23, 2007.

    Seven companies have teamed up to create Kazakhstan's first Biofuel Association. Its aim is to integrate interested parties for creating favorable conditions to have the country’s biofuel industry developed. An initiator and coordinator of the Association is the National Holding KazAgro, the Agriculture Ministry’s press service informs. KazInform - August 23, 2007.

    Canadian forest products company Tembec today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Chapleau Cogeneration Limited located in Chapleau, Ontario. The transaction closed on August 15 and includes a biomass fired boiler and steam turbine with an installed capacity of 7.2 megawatts. Consideration for the assets consists of a series of future annual payments to 2022, with a present value of approximately $1 million. Newswire Canada - August 22, 2007.

    Taiwan's representative to Brazil, Chou Shu-yeh, is urging Taiwan's government and private enterprises to invest in Brazil's biomass energy sector. Chou was speaking at a workshop on global investment and trade opportunities in Taipei. RTi - August 22, 2007.

    An algae-to-biofuels startup by the name of Inventure Chemical has raised about $1.5 million to continue its development of a chemical process that turns algae into biodiesel and ethanol. One of the biggest backers of the company is Imperium Renewables, a biodiesel producer. Seattle Post Intelligencer - August 22, 2007.

    The government of India's Karnataka state has approved the blending of six million litres of ethanol with diesel for use as fuel in State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) vehicles. Automotive World - August 21, 2007.

    VeraSun Energy Corporation, one of America's largest ethanol producers, announced that it closed on its acquisition with ASAlliances Biofuels, LLC for three ethanol plants with a combined annual production capacity of approximately 330 million gallons (1.25 billion liters) per year. VeraSun - August 21, 2007.

    Fujitsu develops a biodegradable laptop chassis from corn-starch bioplastic. The material reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15% compared to a chassis made from petroleum-based plastics. CNET Asia - August 20, 2007.

    India's Rana Sugars Ltd has decided to set up a new plant for producing ethanol in Uttar Pradesh with an estimated investment of €9 to 10.9 (US$12.2 to 14.7). The facility will have a capacity of 180,000 liters per year and will generate, besides ethanol, 26MW of carbon-neutral power from bagasse. Economic Times India - August 20, 2007.

    Prominent pro-democracy activists staged a rare protest in Myanmar's biggest city Sunday, marching against a massive recent fuel price hike. "We are staging this performance to reflect the hardship our people are facing due to the government's fuel price hike," said Min Ko Naing, a leader of the 88 Generation Students' Group. Myanmar's ruling military junta imposed a surprise 100 percent hike on fuel at state-owned gas stations on Wednesday. The move was followed by increases in bus fares and commodity prices. The Star - August 19, 2007.

    Canada's Cavendish Farms, one of the country's largest food processing companies is to build a biogas plant to recycle spent cooking oils, starch and sludge from its waste-water plant to fuel its potato processing operation. Use of the carbon-neutral biofuel will limit the amount of bunker C fuel oil currently in use by the company. The plant, expected to be ready for operation by next fall, has received a $14-million loan from the Province of Prince Edward Island. CBC - August 18, 2007.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Acid rain has a disproportionate impact on coastal waters

In a new study, atmospheric and marine chemists report that the release of sulfur and nitrogen into the atmosphere by power plants and agriculture plays a minor role in making the ocean more acidic on a global scale, but the impact is greatly amplified in the shallower waters of the coastal ocean.

The findings are important for the bioenergy community, because, compared to coal, the production of power from biomass substantially reduces all major emissions that lead to ocean acidification: sulfur dioxide (by up to 80%), nitrogen oxide (by up to 50%), and of course carbon dioxide. Even taking into account the emissions produced during the production of energy crops, the benefits compared to coal remain large (overview of data on lifecycle emissions of biomass for power generation at the U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Biomass Program).

Maps depicting the model-estimated atmospheric deposition rates of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur; alkalinity; and potential alkalinity to the ocean caused by human activity relative to conditions before the Industrial Age began. Source: Scott Doney et al, from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ocean acidification occurs when these chemical compounds mix with seawater, a process which lowers the pH and reduces the storage of carbon. Ocean acidification hampers the ability of marine organisms—such as sea urchins, corals and certain types of plankton, to harness calcium carbonate for making hard outer shells or 'exoskeletons'. These organisms provide essential food and habitat to other species, so their demise could affect entire ocean ecosystems.

The findings were published this week as an open access article in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; a printed version will be issued later this month.
Acid rain isn’t just a problem of the land; it’s also affecting the ocean. That effect is most pronounced near the coasts, which are already some of the most heavily affected and vulnerable parts of the ocean due to pollution, over-fishing, and climate change. - Scott Doney, lead author
In addition to acidification, excess nitrogen inputs from the atmosphere promote increased growth of phytoplankton and other marine plants which, in turn, may cause more frequent harmful algal blooms and eutrophication (the creation of oxygen-depleted 'dead zones') in some parts of the ocean.

Most studies have traditionally focused only on fossil fuel emissions and the role of carbon dioxide in ocean acidification, which is certainly the dominant issue. But no one has really addressed the role of acid rain and nitrogen:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Scott Doney, senior scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), collaborated to analyse these effects together with Natalie Mahowald, Jean-Francois Lamarque, and Phil Rasch of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Richard Feely of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Fred Mackenzie of the University of Hawaii, and Ivan Lima of the WHOI Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department.

The research team compiled and analyzed many publicly available data sets on fossil fuel emissions, agricultural, and other atmospheric emissions. They built theoretical and computational models of the ocean and atmosphere to simulate where the nitrogen and sulfur emissions were likely to have the most impact. They also compared their model results with field observations made by other scientists in the coastal waters around the United States.

Farming, livestock husbandry, and the combustion of fossil fuels cause excess sulfur dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides to be released to the atmosphere, where they are transformed into nitric acid and sulfuric acid. Though much of that acid is deposited on land (since it does not remain in the air for long), some of it can be carried in the air all the way to the coastal ocean.

Perturbation maps of simulated surface water pH, dissolved inorganic carbon, and total alkalinity trends and air–sea CO2 flux due to anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur deposition. Source: Scott Doney et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
When nitrogen and sulfur compounds from the atmosphere are mixed into coastal waters, the researchers found, the change in water chemistry was as much as 10 to 50 percent of the total changes caused by acidification from carbon dioxide (map, click to enlarge).

This rain of chemicals changes the chemistry of seawater, with the increase in acidic compounds lowering the pH of the water while reducing the capacity of the upper ocean to store carbon.

The most heavily affected areas tend to be downwind of power plants (particularly coal-fired plants) and predominantly on the eastern edges of North America, Europe, and south and east of Asia.

Seawater is slightly basic (pH usually between 7.5 and 8.4), but the ocean surface is already 0.1 pH units lower than it was before the Industrial Revolution. Previous research by Doney and others has suggested that the ocean will become another 0.3 to 0.4 pH units lower by the end of the century, which translates to a 100 to 150 percent increase in acidity.

Ultimately, acidification leads to a reduced capacity of oceans to store carbon. Together with plants, marine organisms play the key role in nature's way of cycling carbon dioxide. If this mechanism comes under strain, ecosystems risk to get out of balance and may reach a tipping point after which more carbon emissions result in ever stronger negative effects. This is why it is time to act now on reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere, while reducing sulfur and nitrogen emissions as well.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scott C. Doney, Natalie Mahowald, Ivan Lima, Richard A. Feely, Fred T. Mackenzie, Jean-Francois Lamarque, and Phil J. Rasch, "Impact of anthropogenic atmospheric nitrogen and sulfur deposition on ocean acidification and the inorganic carbon system", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Published online before print September 5, 2007, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0702218104

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Acid Rain Has a Disproportionate Impact on Coastal Waters: Research Suggests Sulfur, Nitrogen Emissions Play a Role in Changing Chemistry Near the Coast - September 7, 2007.

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Australia and China partner to develop carbon capture and storage technologies

Australia and China have signed a partnership agreement that will pave the way for the installation of a post combustion capture pilot plant in Beijing next year. The collaboration is a first step towards the development of 'clean coal' technologies that capture and store carbon. The pilot plant will be installed at the Huaneng Beijing Co-generation Power Plant, owned by the China Huaneng Group, a state-owned energy enterprise. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, is the partner.

Biopact tracks developments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, because they can be applied to biofuels. Such 'bio-energy with carbon storage' (BECS) systems result in the production of carbon-negative energy - the only energy system capable of doing so. Contrary to nuclear or renewables like wind or solar, BECS actually takes emissions from the past out of the atmosphere. Scientists have looked at BECS in the context of 'abrupt climate change', as the most feasible way of radically reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (previous post). If implemented on a global scale, BECS can take us back to pre-industrial CO2 levels by mid-century (earlier post, here and here).

The agreement between CSIRO and the China Huaneng Group involves post combustion capture (PCC), a process that captures CO2 from power station flue gases (more here on pre-combustion capture). PCC is seen as one of the key technologies that can potentially reduce CO2 emissions from existing and future coal-fired power stations by more than 85 per cent.

The PCC process (image, click to enlarge) involves four steps:
  1. pre-cooling the flue gas
  2. capturing the CO2 using water-based solvent
  3. low-temperature stripping the CO2 from the solvent
  4. compressing and liquefying the stripped CO2
After capture, compression and cooling the carbon-rich liquid is stored using geosequestration techniques. Carbon can be permanently buried in deep saline aquifers, depleted gas or oil reservoirs, deep unmineable coal seams and adjacent strata or other deep geological formations.

Researchers at CSIRO have already developed a transportable pilot plant that can be coupled to different types of power stations (for example for brown or black-coal-fired) to test different solvents:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The installation of the PCC pilot plant in Beijing forms part of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate initiative (AP6) which first announced funding for PCC research in November 2006. Low-emission energy generation is a key research area for CSIRO and is important for China, a country that relies on coal to supply 80 per cent of its energy needs.
China is a nation undergoing an immense period of growth and energy security and supply is vital to support this process. With issues such as climate change at the front of our minds, this research – and the development of a diverse range of low-emission energy technologies – is now more important than ever. This is a priority for both CSIRO and the China Huaneng Group. - CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Geoff Garrett
CSIRO has been working on collaborative projects with China for over 30 years, in areas as diverse as minerals and mining technology, plantation forestry, environmental sustainability, and crop science.

The AP6 program for PCC also includes a pilot plant installation at Delta Electricity’s Munmorah power station on the NSW Central Coast, with additional Australian sites currently under negotiation for PCC installation and demonstration.

PCC research in Australia is also taking place outside the scope of the AP6 program with the announcement of the Latrobe Valley post combustion capture project – a A$5.6 million endeavour that focuses on the reduction of emissions from brown coal power stations.

Top image
: A post combustion capture (PCC) pilot plant at CSIRO Energy Technology’s Newcastle site. Credit: CSIRO.

CSIRO: Australia and China partner for a low-emission energy future - September 6, 2007.

CSIRO: Rolling out low emission technology using post combustion capture research - s.d.

CSIRO: Post combustion capture (PCC), factsheet.

Biopact: Abrupt Climate Change and geo-engineering the planet with carbon-negative bioenergy - December 21, 2006

Biopact: Biopact to chair Sparks & Flames conference panel on carbon-negative biofuels - August 08, 2007

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U.S. soybean farmers asked to use biodiesel to harvest this year's crop

Some analysts have warned that the production and conversion of low yielding biofuel crops requires vast amounts of oil inputs, weakening the energy balance of the fuel. One of the arguments is that the large number of combines, tractors and trucks needed to harvest, treat and transport feedstock all rely on petroleum fuels. However, others argue that, in principle, all these machines can be fueled by biofuels produced on the farm.

This is precisely what a consortium of soybean industry organisations in the U.S. is now calling for: with the harvest season closing in, the United Soybean Board (USB), the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), are calling on American farmers to increase engine performance and create demand for their own soybeans by filling their tanks with soy biodiesel.

Given that soybeans yield very low amounts of oil compared to more suitable biofuel crops, the call is not made out of environmental or energy efficiency concerns. This is merely a way to boost demand and drive up prices. Still, the experiment is worth tracking, and hopefully some scientific data on the experience will be produced. It would be interesting to see what the final energy balance of soy biodiesel will be, and how the logistics of on-farm biodiesel production and use turn out.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) representing Case IH, Cummins, Inc., and New Holland have joined the initiative.

Currently, soy biodiesel is used in approximately 700 commercial fleets, and more than 3,000 U.S. fuel distributors and retailers carry biodiesel. NBB estimates that 225 million gallons of biodiesel were used in the United States last year. Projections for this year top 300 million gallons. And it’s not just farmers using the product – truckers, heavy equipment operators and other general diesel users are catching on to soy biodiesel.

List of all known OEMs in the U.S. supporting soy biodiesel and their blend recommendations. Courtesy: NBB.
Industry support of soy biodiesel continues to grow. According to NBB, more than 20 OEMs across the U.S. approve soy biodiesel use at various blend levels in their engines (table, click to enlarge). Every major auto manufacturer approves the use of at least a B5 blend (5 percent soy biodiesel and 95 percent petroleum diesel).

Agricultural equipment manufacturers are also onboard in support of soy biodiesel, as Arctic Cat, Case IH Caterpillar, John Deere, Kubota and New Holland have recommended soy biodiesel use in their engines. New Holland is the first manufacturer to endorse up to a B20 blend in its engines:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The soybean checkoff is promoting soy biodiesel to general audiences this summer through its co-sponsorship of the National Tractor Pullers Association (NTPA). The checkoff is displaying the benefits of soy biodiesel as well as other soy-based products at six pulling events across the Midwest and South.

USB is made up of 64 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Customer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

Taking things a step further, researchers from Penn State University demonstrated earlier this year that B100 can be used in tractors without problems. For the past year, a demonstration program has been running two new, unmodified New Holland tractors on B100 biodiesel made from soybean oil with no petroleum-based component, with no ill effects.

In Europe, rapeseed producers often use pure rapeseed oil straight from their own farm to power their farm equipment. This, however, requires modifications to diesel engines.


United Soybean Board: Checkoff Asks Farmers to Fill ’er up with Soy Biodiesel During Harvest [*.pdf] - August 28, 2007.

Biopact: Penn State University demonstrates B100 in tractors - June 14, 2007

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Centre For Jatropha Promotion & Biodiesel announces biodiesel distance training program

The Indian Centre For Jatropha Promotion (CJP) announces it is introducing a distance training program on Jatropha biodiesel production. Thousands of power point slides and a number of images and video clips teach students step by step about the science of growing Jatropha curcas, the drought-tolerant, oil-seed bearing perennial that thrives in poor tropical and subtropical soils. Courses on Jatropha crop development and biodiesel production from farm to fuel will be made available, as well as basic management lessons for creating a successful Jatropha biodiesel business venture.
Jatropha curcas has become an agricultural and economic celebrity with the discovery that it may just be the ideal biofuel crop, an alternative to fossil fuels for a world dangerously dependent on oil supplies and deeply alarmed by the effects of global warming. The jatropha grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Whereas other biofuel feedstocks, such as palm oil or corn for ethanol, require reasonable soils on which other crops might be grown, jatropha is prepared to put down roots almost anywhere. - Manish K. Sharma, CJP director
The distance training program provides an opportunity to those stakeholders who are pre-occupied with other important business tasks and do not get the time to attend the CJP's 5 day training programmes.

The course material consists of a number of audiovisual materials covering all aspects of Jatropha growing and producing biodiesel. A practical "learning by seeing" approach is taken:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

According to the CJP each hectare of Jatropha can produce an average of 800 gallons (3000 liters) of biodiesel per year from its nuts as well as more than 7500 lbs (3400 kilograms) of waste biomass. For biodiesel, Jatropha yields more than four times as much fuel per hectare as soybean; more than ten times that of corn.

CJP being an international knowledge centre for Jatropha oil crop and has gained extensive experiences and expertise for creating a 'Jatropha Failsafe Fuel Farm'. It is the only global organization which organizes a 'Worldwide Jatropha Specific Training programme'.

Image: a bunch of mature jatropha nuts ready to be harvested. Courtesy: CJP.

Earthtoys: CJP announces Jatropha biodiesel distance training program - September 7, 2007.

Center for Jatropha Promotion: CJP Offers Jatropha Biodiesel Distance Training Programme - overview.

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Brazil and Mozambique sign biofuels cooperation agreement

Brazil and Mozambique have signed six bilateral agreements on social and economic cooperation, with the most important one being a commitment to join forces on the production of biofuels. Mozambique's president Armando Guebuza is currently in Brazil where he met with his counterpart and with biofuel industry leaders. Brazilian president Lula Inácio Lula da Silva has been extremely active in trying to help Africa benefit from its large biofuels potential. Promoting renewable fuels abroad has become his administration's top foreign policy priority.

The newly signed document establishes an action plan that will be drafted over the next 180 days, aimed at studying local conditions and at transferring technologies and scientific expertise on renewable bio-based fuels. The goal is to replicate Brazil's sustainable biofuel production model in the African country.
Cooperation on biofuels promises to open up a range of good opportunities for our companies and will serve many Mozambican citizens. Our country has an enormous potential for the production of raw materials for biofuels. - Armando Guebuza, president of Mozambique.
The leader of the African country stressed that this accord on technical cooperation serves his government's poverty alleviation strategies and helps protect the environment by fighting climate change.
The Africa policies of the government of President Lula show Brazil's commitment to helping the African continent overcome the constraints that hinder it to reach the development levels it is yearning for. - Armando Guebuza, president of Mozambique
President Lula said biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel will generate income and employment for the Mozambican population "who have all the necessary conditions to help supply the growing global demand for bioenergy".

The agreement further entails the training of Mozambican engineers and technicians, as well as the creation of a framework to help the African country create an internal and export-oriented market for biofuels.

Technical assessments show Mozambique indeed has suitable agro-climatic conditions and a large resource potential for the production of biomass, estimated to stand at around 7 Exajoules per year by 2015, roughly equivalent to the energy contained in 1.1 billion barrels of oil (i.e. 3 million barrels per day) (earlier post and here). It is no exaggeration to call the African country a potential biofuel 'superpower':
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

President Lula for his part said that Brazil would also help Mozambique develop its hydroelectric potential as well as its petroleum resources. Recently, the Maputo government announced that the East African country had launched an international auction for oil and gas exploration in several regions of the country.

Lula reaffirmed that the recent investment by Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce for the exploration of coal in the region of Moatize has triggered a new cycle of investment interest. Other Brazilian companies are currently studying infrastructure and energy projects in the African country.

Besides the biofuels agreement, the two countries signed collaboration deals on education, the fight against HIV/AIDS, agriculture and justice. Projects to be carried out by Brazil's International Cooperation Agency include building water purification and infrastructure projects in rural areas.

Importantly, president Lula announced his government's attention to establish a plant for the production of anti-retroviral drugs in Maputo. An office of the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) will be opened there as well. Fiocruz is a fund coordrinating technology transfers and expertise on the production of affordable anti-retrovirals. The Brazilian initiative is supported by the African Union.

Translated from Portuguese by Laurens Rademakers, Biopact 2007, cc.


Brazilian federal government: Brasil e Moçambique formalizarão acordo na área de biocombustíveis, informa diplomata.

Agência Brasil: Lula diz que biocombustível será nova fonte de renda e emprego para moçambicanos - September 6, 2007.

Agência Lusa: Brasil assina acordo de biocombustíveis com Moçambique - September 6, 2007.

Biopact: Mozambique's Petromoc seeks to invest $408 million in biofuels - August 30, 2007

References to a case-study on Mozambique's potential can be found here:
Biopact: Journal "Energy for Sustainable Development" focuses on international bioenergy trade - November 05, 2006

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