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    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

    Timber products company China Grand Forestry Resources Group announced that it would acquire Yunnan Shenyu New Energy, a biofuels research group, for €560/$822 million. Yunnan Shenyu New Energy has developed an entire industrial biofuel production chain, from a fully active energy crop seedling nursery to a biorefinery. Cleantech - November 16, 2007.

    Northern European countries launch the Nordic Bioenergy Project - "Opportunities and consequences of an expanding bio energy market in the Nordic countries" - with the aim to help coordinate bioenergy activities in the Nordic countries and improve the visibility of existing and future Nordic solutions in the complex field of bioenergy, energy security, competing uses of resources and land, regional development and environmental impacts. A wealth of data, analyses and cases will be presented on a new website - Nordic Energy - along with announcements of workshops during the duration of project. Nordic Energy - November 14, 2007.

    Global Partners has announced that it is planning to increase its refined products and biofuels storage capacity in Providence, Rhode Island by 474,000 barrels. The partnership has entered into agreements with New England Petroleum Terminal, at a deepwater marine terminal located at the Port of Providence. PRInside - November 14, 2007.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kicks off the meeting in Valencia, Spain, which will result in the production of the Synthesis Report on climate change. The report will summarize the core findings of the three volumes published earlier by the separate working groups. IPCC - November 12, 2007.

    Biopact's Laurens Rademakers is interviewed by Mongabay on the risks of large-scale bioenergy with carbon storage (BECS) proposals. Even though Biopact remains positive about BECS, because it offers one of the few safe systems to mitigate climate change in a drastic way, care must be take to avoid negative impacts on tropical forests. Mongabay - November 10, 2007.

    According to the latest annual ranking produced by The Scientist, Belgium is the world's best country for academic research, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Belgium's top position is especially relevant for plant, biology, biotechnology and bioenergy research, as these are amongst the science fields on which it scores best. The Scientist - November 8, 2007.

    Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic ethanol company, today announced the acquisition of Celsys BioFuels, Inc. Celsys BioFuels was formed in 2006 to commercialize cellulosic ethanol production technology developed in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering at Purdue University. The Celsys technology is based on proprietary pretreatment processes for multiple biomass feedstocks, including corn fiber and distiller grains. The technology was developed by Dr. Michael Ladisch, an internationally known leader in the field of renewable fuels and cellulosic biofuels. He will be taking a two-year leave of absence from Purdue University to join Mascoma as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Business Wire - November 7, 2007.

    Bemis Company, Inc. announced today that it will partner with Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, to develop and sell renewably resourced flexible films using patented Plantic technology. Bemis - November 7, 2007.

    Hungary's Kalocsa Hõerõmû Kft is to build a HUF 40 billion (€158.2 million) straw-fired biomass power plant with a maximum capacity of 49.9 megawatts near Kalocsa in southern Hungary. Portfolio Hungary - November 7, 2007.

    Canada's Gemini Corporation has received approval to proceed into the detailed engineering, fabrication and construction phases of a biogas cogeneration facility located in the Lethbridge, Alberta area, the first of its kind whereby biogas production is enhanced through the use of Thermal Hydrolysis technology, a high temperature, high pressure process for the safe destruction of SRM material from the beef industry. The technology enables a facility to redirect waste material, previously shipped to landfills, into a valuable feedstock for the generation of electricity and thermal energy. This eliminates the release of methane into the environment and the resultant solids are approved for use as a land amendment rather than re-entering the waste stream. In addition, it enhances the biogas production process by more than 25%. Market Wire - November 7, 2007.

    A new Agency to manage Britain's commitment to biofuels was established today by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be responsible for the day to day running of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, coming into force in April next year. By 2010, the Obligation will mean that 5% of all the fuels sold in the UK should come from biofuels, which could save 2.6m to 3m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. eGov Monitor - November 5, 2007.

    Prices for prompt loading South African coal cargoes reached a new record last week with a trade at $85.00 a tonne free-on-board (FOB) for a February cargo. Strong Indian demand and tight supply has pushed South African prices up to record levels from around $47.00 at the beginning of the year. European DES/CIF ARA coal prices have remained fairly stable over the past few days, having traded up to a record $130.00 a tonne DES ARA late last week. Fair value is probably just below $130.00 a tonne, traders said. At this price, some forms of biomass become directly competitive with coal. Reuters Africa - November 4, 2007.

    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UK approves world's biggest (350MW) biomass plant: will power half of all homes in Wales

Plans to build the world's biggest biomass power station fuelled by wood chips have been given the go-ahead by the UK government. The £400 million plant to be located in Port Talbot will have the capacity to power not less than half of all homes in Wales. In other words, the station will meet the electricity needs of around 1.5 million people in a sustainable, renewable and carbon-neutral way. When completed, the 350MW biomass plant will produce about 70% of the Welsh Assembly Government's entire 2010 renewable energy target. This makes it the region's single strongest weapon in the fight against climate change.

London-based Prenergy Power Ltd will build the plant in the Port Talbot's docks area after being given the go-ahead by Business Secretary John Hutton of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Port Talbot is an industrial town with a deep water harbor in the traditional county of Glamorgan, south Wales, with a population of approximately 50,000. The project will generate 150 permanent jobs and stimulate the region's economy indirectly.

The renewable energy station will burn about 3 million tonnes of woody biomass shipped in each year from overseas (mainly from the United States and Canada), for the production of certified carbon-neutral electricity. Feedstock production - tree replanting and harvesting - is monitored to happen in a sustainable way. The plant in Port Talbot thus gives a major impulse to the already rapidly growing international biomass market.

The biomass plant has significant advantages compared to the majority of other renewable technologies such as wind power, solar and photovoltaic, which, whilst valuable contributors to combat climate change, are intermittent and can often only operate for 25% to 30% of the year. This requires back-up by other sources, which currently are obtained from fossil fuels. The biofuelled plant on the contrary offers a robust continuous baseload for more than 90% of the year. As such, the forecasting of energy generated by the renewable energy plant is more reliable. Because of this, the UK's national grid can better balance electricity supply with demand and maintain the integrity of the national electricity transmission system.

The proposed biomass plant will run via the following process:
  • Clean (virgin, unused) wood chip will be delivered to the development site in ‘Panamax’ vessels. Each vessel will hold approximately 45,000 tonnes of wood chip and will unload at the existing jetty. New cranes will discharge onto a new conveyor system which will move the wood chip to the fuel storage area.
  • The biofuel from the fuel storage area will be transferred to a Circulating Fluidised Bed (CFB) boiler by means of an enclosed conveyor belt system from one of three fuel blending silos. The CFB boiler will raise steam for a single 350 MW (electrical) steam turbine. Exhaust steam from this turbine will be condensed by means of a dry air cooled condenser and will therefore require no water for cooling purposes. Condensed steam will then be recirculated back into the CFB boiler.
  • After combustion, the flue gasses will pass through a fabric filter to remove 99.99% of the entrained dust, and will then flow up a 100 m tall stack designed for optimal flue gas dispersion.
  • There will be no need for sulphur or chlorine control as the wood fuel does not contain significant quantities of these components. Furthermore, wood ash is inherently alkaline in composition and will capture trace amounts of chlorine, fluorine and sulphur from the exhaust gas. The wood will also have minimal ash content, producing less than 150,000 tonnes per year of ash which will be sold to the cement and fertiliser industry and transported from the Renewable Energy Plant by sea and/or road.
  • Electricity generated from the Renewable Power Plant will be exported via a new 275 kV underground electrical line to the existing 275 kV electrical substation at Margam around 2 km away.
Construction of the renewable energy plant is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2007 and last around 36 months, with full operation in the first quarter of 2010. It will operate for 25 years as a baseload (full-time) plant, 24 hours per day and 8,000 hours per annum:
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Despite the many advantages over intermitten renewables, running biomass plants is a balancing act in itself because the feedstocks used are still carbonaceous biofuels which yield local emissions (carbon is taken back up by new tree growth, though) and they have to be physically transported which may affect the local environment.

Different impact assessments were therefor conducted checking the environmental, social and cultural impacts. The air quality impact assessment showed that emissions from the plant will not have a significant effect on air quality for surrounding areas. The PM10 contributions within the Air Quality Management Area (0.08 μg/m3) are considered to be insignificant based on current criteria. A number of mitigation measures have been identified to reduce or remove potential impacts. The model used predicted that cold weather will cause a visible moisture plume at the top of the stack for 14% of the year but his was predicted to be of minor impact.

The height of the tallest building within the development will be 65 metres; the height of the chimney will be 100 metres. Visual impact is therefor in keeping with the surrounding industrial area (existing versus predicted view, click to enlarge).

Prenergy will receive the biofuel for the plant by sea only (or potentially in the future by rail), which is a key transport impact mitigation measure. Furthermore, all operational impacts dealing with the plant have been assessed as 'insignificant'.

Other assessments included a an analysis of impacts on the terrestrial ecology of the region, a flood consequence assessment, an investigation into possible noise pollution coming from the plant and its operations, effects on ground and surface water, and on cultural heritage and communications.

On all fronts, the results published in the Environmental Statement (the formal written statement of the findings of the development's environmental impact assessment) met the criteria and was therefor approved.

Just a week ago, the UK opened its first 'large' biomass power plant, a 30MW station that would run on domestically sourced waste wood and biomass from energy crops. The power station generates electricity for 30,000 homes (previous pots). Another large biomass plant is being built in Lockerbie, Scotland, that will be fuelled by short rotation coppice energy crops. The £90 (€133/US$178) million E.ON facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year and will generate enough electricity to power 70,000 homes, provides over 300 jobs in the forestry and energy farming sector, and displaces the emission of 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year (more here).

According to the UK's recently published Biomass Strategy, there is a large potential for both domestically and internationally sourced bioenergy. Biomass, biofuels and bioproducts are therefor set to play a major role in the UK's bid to meet the EU target of producing 20 percent of energy from renewables by 2020. The country's long-term strategy was expresed in the Climate Change Bill, published in draft in March 2007, which sets out a proposed UK target of at least 60% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and a strong new system of carbon budgeting.

Prenergy Power: Port Talbot Renewable Energy Plant website.

Prenergy Power: Port Talbot Renewable Energy Plant, non-technical summary [*.pdf].

Reuters: World's biggest biomass power plant coming to Wales - November 21, 2007.

Forbes: UK govt gives go ahead for construction of world's largest biomass plant - November 21, 2007.

South Wales Evening Post: Green Light for £400m power plant - November 21, 2007.

Biopact: UK outlines Biomass Strategy: large potential for bioenergy, bioproducts - May 28, 2007

Biopact: UK opens first large scale 30MW biomass power station - November 13, 2007

Biopact: UK's largest biomass plant approved, biomass task force created - June 16, 2007

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EU launches DECARBit project to research advanced pre-combustion CO2 capture from power plants

The EU kicks off a major research effort to study advanced pre-combustion carbon capture technologies for coal and gas-fired power plants. The DECARBit project [*.pdf] will be coordinated by Norway's SINTEF Energy Research, will last for four years, and has a total budget of €15 million (NOK 120 million), of which €5.6 milion (NOK 45 million) will go to research at SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim (NTNU). The project involves 14 partners from eight different countries.

Biopact tracks the latest developments in carbon capture technologies, because they can be applied to biomass to yield negative emissions electricity and fuels. The economics and carbon reduction potential of pre-combustion capture (and consequent storage of CO2) has been studied for biomass by different researchers. In one study, for the Interntional Energy Agency's Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, scientists found the technique, when coupled to biomass (eucalyptus/acacia) used in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants, could result in electricity with a negative carbon balance of -1030 grams of CO2 per kWh. In short, each time you were to use this electricity, you would be taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Such negative emissions systems, also called 'bio-energy with carbon storage' (BECS) are the only concept that can achieve this. All other renewables and energy sources (nuclear, solar, wind, etc) are all 'carbon-neutral' at best, that is, they do not add new emissions (0 emissions per kWh). BECS on the contrary goes much further and effectively takes emissions from the past out of the atmosphere.

Ultimately, the commercial feasibility of BECS depends on fossil fuel and carbon prices, and on the emergence of a global carbon market. Obviously, the higher the market price for CO2 emissions and fossil fuels, the bigger a winner bio-based negative emissions energy becomes. Many different projections have been made but they date from before the recent surge in fossil energy prices.

The EU's DECARBit project will deal with next-generation technology for CO2 capture in IGCC plants and will contribute to making future technology very much cheaper than the technology that is available for use today. The most mature technology for CO2 capture at coal- and gas-fired power stations utilises scrubbing of the flue-gases by means of chemicals to separate CO2 - socalled 'post-combustion' capture.

DECARBit deals with the challenges that arise from techniques to remove the carbon in carbonaceous fuels before they are sent to the power plant. If this 'decarbonisation' fuel route is chosen, the coal, natural gas or biomass will go to the processing plant, where it will be gasified into syngas, a hydrogen and carbon monoxide rich gas. The carbon monoxide is traditionally turned into CO2 via the water gas shift reaction (WGS), so that it can be captured and stored. The hydrogen rich fuel is then sent to the power plant and used as the fuel to generate electricity. The EU project will allow the SINTEF and NTNU scientists to contribute to new technologies that will cut the costs of separating out these components of the gas mixture (schematic, click to enlarge).

DECARBit consists of five stages:
  • In a first phase of the project, system integration and a techno-economic analysis will be carried out, alongside an assessment of operational requirements.
  • The second phase consists of developing advanced pre-combustion technologies on the basis of membranes, CO2 sorbents and novel sorbent systems.
  • Thirdly, advanced oxygen separation technologies will be created, further developing oxygen transfer membranes, hybrid membranes and advanced sorbent based technologies.
  • In the next phase, the other enabling processes will be tested to make pre-combustion capture a reality: H2-combustion itself (which delivers the energy for electricity), CO2 processing and compression, and fuel system integration. Handling and combusting hydrogen rich 'decarbonised' fuels is the key to zero emissions IGCCs
  • The final phase of the project consists of testing the technology in a pilot plant.
DECARBit is the first CO2 handling project in the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for research and development, which was launched in 2007:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The news about the EU contract for SINTEF arrived just a week after a proposal for next year’s Norwegian national budget was presented to the country's parliament. The proposal made it clear that the Norwegian government intends to freeze funding for research on CO2 handling at NOK 48.5 million. DECARBit's funds are three times as large - a major boost to SINTEF.

In the course of the next six years, the EU will invest no less than €390 million (about NOK 3 billion) in research and development on CO2 capture and storage – so called CCS technologies.
The initiative for this project came from us and this shows that we enjoy the confidence of Europe and confirms that SINTEF and NTNU are among the world’s leading centres of research in CO2 handling. - Nils A. Røkke, SINTEF’s director of gas technology research and Professor Olav Bolland, NTNU
DECARBit is the latest in a long series of EU projects that SINTEF and NTNU have joined during the past few years in the field of CO2 handling. SINTEF and NTNU lead five of these projects.

The Norwegian success within the EU research in this topic can partly be attributed to a “national team” spirit. The co-operation with StatoilHydro - which has developed large experience with carbon-capture from natural gas - is important, as is the CCS track-record of Norway - most recently added to this is the Snøhvit CCS operation.

Biopact wishes to add in this context that there is a much simpler way of capturing carbon dioxide from biomass, without the need to make the detour via gasification and complex high-temperature gas shifting and separation. The concept consists of capturing CO2 from biogas obtained from anaerobic digestion of biomass. Contrary to the gasification route, which involves high temperatures and the need for complex shift reactions and robust gas separation technologies that withstand the high temperatures (e.g. new membranes), CO2 capture from biogas is basically a 'cold process' and can rely on a range of existing gas separation technologies (add that new, highly efficient membranes have meanwhile been developed that would allow such a cold process - more here).

So why hasn't this 'cold' separation technique been used to capture CO2 from raw natural gas? The answer is simple: natural gas only contains small amounts of CO2, making pre-combustion capture from the raw gas futile. Biogas on the contrary contains up to 40% of CO2. The rest is methane and trace gases. Because of this large amount of CO2, cold carbon capture would be feasible, provided a large stream of biomass is available that can easily be digested in ultra-large facilities. Mind you, this concept is new and has not received much research yet.

Alternatively, carbon can be captured from ethanol production, which yields a pure stream of CO2 during the fermentation stage. But this CO2 makes up only a fraction of the carbon contained in the initial biomass feedstock. This means one would not obtain a carbon-negative fuel, but only an ethanol with a lower carbon footprint. And here again, coupling CCS to ethanol production would require ultra-large production facilities to legitimize the investment in carbon capture technologies for a relatively small stream of CO2.

Finally, and this concept has received much more attention, biomass and coal can be co-fed as feedstocks to produce synthetic liquid fuels with a zero-emissions footprint. Depending on the ratio of biomass versus coal, such 'coal+biomass-to-liquids' fuels coupled to CCS could once again become carbon-negative. On these ultra-clean, low carbon fuels, see a recent study conducted by the USAF and NET.

In the future, carbon-negative hydrogen from decarbonized biomass will be used in the hydrogen economy. Biomass is gasified, the CO2 captured and stored, and hydrogen with a negative emissions footprint is obtained that can be used in fuel cells and power plants.

European Commission, DG Research: DECARBit project.

SINTEF: SINTEF to lead major EU project on the CO2 technology of the future - November 19, 2007.

On carbon-negative electricity from biomass used in a IGCC coupled to CCS, see:
H. Audus and P. Freund, "Climate Change Mitigation by Biomass Gasificiation Combined with CO2 Capture and Storage", IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme.

James S. Rhodesa and David W. Keithb, "Engineering economic analysis of biomass IGCC with carbon capture and storage", Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 29, Issue 6, December 2005, Pages 440-450.

Noim Uddin and Leonardo Barreto, "Biomass-fired cogeneration systems with CO2 capture and storage", Renewable Energy, Volume 32, Issue 6, May 2007, Pages 1006-1019, doi:10.1016/j.renene.2006.04.009

Christian Azar, Kristian Lindgren, Eric Larson and Kenneth Möllersten, "Carbon Capture and Storage From Fossil Fuels and Biomass – Costs and Potential Role in Stabilizing the Atmosphere", Climatic Change, Volume 74, Numbers 1-3 / January, 2006, DOI 10.1007/s10584-005-3484-7

Further reading on negative emissions bioenergy and biofuels:
Peter Read and Jonathan Lermit, "Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage (BECS): a Sequential Decision Approach to the threat of Abrupt Climate Change", Energy, Volume 30, Issue 14, November 2005, Pages 2654-2671.

Stefan Grönkvist, Kenneth Möllersten, Kim Pingoud, "Equal Opportunity for Biomass in Greenhouse Gas Accounting of CO2 Capture and Storage: A Step Towards More Cost-Effective Climate Change Mitigation Regimes", Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Volume 11, Numbers 5-6 / September, 2006, DOI 10.1007/s11027-006-9034-9

Biopact: Pre-combustion CO2 capture from biogas - the way forward? - March 31, 2007

Biopact: "A closer look at the revolutionary coal+biomass-to-liquids with carbon storage project" - September 13, 2007

Biopact: New plastic-based, nano-engineered CO2 capturing membrane developed - September 19, 2007

Biopact: Plastic membrane to bring down cost of carbon capture - August 15, 2007

Biopact: Pre-combustion CO2 capture from biogas - the way forward? - March 31, 2007

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Joint venture to produce biodiesel from purpose-bred camelina

Seattle-based bioscience company Targeted Growth has entered into a joint venture agreement with Houston biodiesel maker Green Earth Fuels to produce and market 100 million gallons (378.5 million liters) of biodiesel by 2010 from purpose-bred camelina. The oilseed crop belongs to the Brassicaceae family, in which the more commonly used biodiesel crop rapeseed can be found. The new company is called Sustainable Oils, Inc. and launches the single largest U.S. contract for the unique biodiesel-specific feedstock. Nearly all of the initial camelina production is expected to be grown in Montana.

Camelina sativa
(L.) Crantz., traditionally yields about 1,100 to 1,200 kg of seeds per hectare, with an oil content that ranges from 35 to 37.5%. Whereas other Brassicas like rapseed have been improved significantly through plant breeding (e.g. canola) and improved agronomic practices, camelina has largely not had these benefits (more here).

This has now changed. With knowledge of a growth-controlling gene discovered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Targeted Growth says it has bred a stronger, taller variety of camelina that yields 20 percent more oil than the standard variety and can be grown on marginal lands with little water or fertilizer. The crop can be harvested with traditional equipment.

Targeted Growth has spent the past three years applying its suite of yield and trait technologies to camelina to create the first Elite Camelina Seed. Specifically, it has used non-transgenic molecular assisted breeding programs to create a crop that is well suited to Montana’s climate and soil and that produces high quality biodiesel.
We have created a better feedstock for biodiesel. Camelina can be rotated with current Montana crops, it grows in land with lower agricultural value, and it doesn’t significantly increase the use of fertilizer or irrigation water. We think this will be a model for the development and use of other biofuel-specific crops. - Tom Todaro, CEO of Targeted Growth
Green Earth Fuels opened one of the country’s largest biodiesel production facilities this month, in Houston, and is successfully developing additional projects to provide biodiesel that meets quality and ratability standards to leading energy companies:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
This deal allows us access to a high quality feedstock at an extraordinarily competitive price. There’s an advantage to being vertically integrated – it closely aligns our interests with those of our feedstock suppliers. And because Camelina exists outside of the traditional commodity market, it should not be as volatile as other feedstocks. - Greg Bafalis, CEO Green Earth Fuels
Montana senator Max Baucus, who is also Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and who earlier this year sponsored legislation to provide federal crop insurance for Camelina, called the joint venture is good news for the state:
This is really, really big. With gas and energy prices on the rise, climate change breathing down our neck, and instability in the Middle East, America has to do something different. What’s most exciting about this new project is that Montana is going to be part of the energy solution. The fertile fields of Big Sky Country will be on the cutting edge of a bright energy future for America. And not only are we developing new cleaner energy sources, we are creating jobs and boosting Montana’s economy too. I take my hat off to everyone who came together on this project and I have great faith that it’s going to surpass all expectations.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Green Earth Fuels is a U.S. leader in the production and distribution of environmentally sound biodiesel with a vertically integrated business model representing end-to-end fuel production. Green Earth Fuels operates production and distribution sites that are independently located within existing petrochemical infrastructures in key U.S. coastal locations, improving industry integration and providing dedicated access to a nationwide production network alongside well-situated distribution channels. The company develops and invests in the production of new feedstock crops and adheres to best practices farming of current crops to promote feedstock sustainability, maximize processing benefits, and minimize environmental impacts.

Targeted Growth
uses agricultural bioscience to enable the long term success of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. This includes technology that improves the traits of crops themselves (yield increases, drought resistance, fertilizer requirements, etc.) and the ultimate performance of those crops once converted into biofuels (efficiency of refining, fuel performance characteristics). In addition, the company also develops, grows and markets biofuel specific crops (such as camelina) that are optimized and continually improved for use specifically as a feedstock for biofuels. The company has strategic partnerships with leading researchers and agribusinesses around the world. Targeted Growth is based in Seattle, Wash. with labs in Seattle, Saskatchewan, Ottawa and New Brunswick.

Targeted Growth: Targeted Growth and Green Earth Fuels Announce Landmark Deal
to Produce Camelina-based Biodiesel
[*.pdf] - November 20, 2007.

D.H. Putnam, J.T. Budin, L.A. Field, and W.M. Breene, "Camelina: A Promising Low-Input Oilseed", Handbook of Energy Crops.

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UNEP launches 70MW of bioenergy and small hydro projects in East African agricultural industries: poverty alleviation, rural development

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched two new renewable energy initiatives in the eastern and southern African agricultural sector aimed at strengthening access to energy in rural areas, greening power generation and alleviating poverty. The tea and sugar industries, which employ millions of farmers in the region, will become recipients of small hydropower and bioenergy projects, resulting in more than 70MW of decentralized sustainable energy. The UNEP recently published its new state of the world environment report - the Global Environment Outlook-4 - in which it stresses the urgent need to take sustainable development seriously and why clean energy lies at its core.

The two pioneering initiatives - Cogeneration for Africa and Small Hydro for Greening the Tea Industry - are being spearheaded by UNEP with the African Development Bank (ADB) as co-implementer and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Co-financiers are the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the EU's ProInvest. The projects, worth around $100 million in total, are being co-executed by the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) and the Energy, Environment and Development Network for Africa (AFREPREN/FWD).
These two new UNEP-led projects showcase the multiple benefits sustainable development can have for rural areas, offering social, economic and environmental benefits that help locally and globally. - Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility
The East African Tea Trade Association will begin its four year initiative to establish six small hydropower demonstration projects in at least four EATTA member countries generating a total of 10MW. The industry will use resources available at tea plantations to power the industry, rather than utilize expensive electrical resources. The demonstration is expected to stimulate 82MW of small hydro capacity in the region over the coming years. The project has been endorsed by eight countries in the region, namely: Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Meanwhile the sugar industry is preparing to produce its own electricity and heat in a series of cogeneration projects modeled on the success of biomass cogeneration in Mauritius, where up to 40 per cent of the country's electricity needs are met by waste by-products from the sugar industry. The sugar industry’s initiative will last six years and is expected to result in the development of 60MW of biomass cogeneration projects in its initial pilot phase, and eventually set the stage for the installation of over 200MW of cogeneration capacity across the region, out of a total current potential of 730MW (table, click to enlarge). The project thus seeks to significantly scale up the use of biofuels in efficient cogeneration systems in seven Eastern and Southern African countries, namely: Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Swaziland.

UNEP and GEF say that the two new projects offer the chance to develop new forms of indigenous energy generation that will assist with development in rural areas and help overcome poverty; reduce dependency on often imported and expensive fossil fuels while having the spin off benefit of contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Finally, the initiatives will greatly improve access to electricity on the continent where more than half a billion people go without this most basic of services (map, click to enlarge):
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The decision by some countries in East Africa to establish Power Purchase Agreements - contracts that allow unconventional generators of electricity to sell surplus power back to the Grid - has opened up a raft of new opportunities for cleaner and renewable energy generation. - Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director
Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility added that this latest partnership between GEF and UNEP is a concrete example of how under the right government policy framework, sustainable development can work, and does work.

Both regional initiatives were formally presented by Kenyan President, H.E. Mwai Kibaki, who stressed the need for rural electrification and alternatives to costly fossil fuels.
With the rising cost of oil in the world market, there is need to develop alternative sources of energy. In Africa, the status of rural electrification remains under 10 %. The small hydropower and cogeneration facilities, when installed, fit perfectly and would contribute to the rural electrification requirements of our region. - Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki
The importance of harnessing alternative forms of energy generation is highlighted in the latest assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and UNEP's new state of the world environment report - the recently launched Global Environment Outlook-4.
In December, in Bali, governments will meet to define the ground rules for a new international emissions reductions regime to kick in post 2012. UNEP's slogan is 'Transition to a Low Carbon Society'-this is a transition that is just as important for developing and for developed countries. There is no reason why nations of the South must or should follow the dirty development paths of the past. - Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director
The initiatives are co-financed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and ProInvest. REEEP funding for the project was provided by the Government of Ireland which targets sustainable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Energy lies at the core of the sustainable development challenge. Energy is essential for development and economic growth, yet our conventional energy systems are having a serious negative impact on our environment, as emphasized by the IPCC recently, and our environment’s potential to sustain that development and growth. Ireland is proud to support REEEP’s initiatives in Africa, which will ensure that social and economic development is consistent with minimizing climate change. - John Gormley, Irish Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
The contributions from the Irish Government enable REEEP to support projects in eastern and southern Africa, including Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The launch of the projects was followed by a two-day REEEP sponsored training workshop on “Financing Cogeneration and Small-Hydro Projects in the Sugar and Tea Industry in East and Southern Africa”. The workshop provided industry representatives with a clear understanding of the barriers to financing renewable energy and energy efficiency in the tea and sugar industries; provided a comprehensive grasp of the risks associated with lending to sugar and tea industries for energy projects and how to mitigate these risks; and increased awareness among financial institutions and investors of the opportunities for financing REEEP in agro-industries and options for managing risks.

The Global Environment Facility is an international financial mechanism with 178 member countries that addresses global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. GEF grants support projects in developing countries related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. Since its inception in 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record of support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $6.2 billion in grants and leveraging $20 billion in co-financing for over 1,800 projects in over 150 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), GEF has also made more than 7,000 small grants, up to $50,000 each, directly to nongovernmental organizations and community organizations.

The United Nations Environment Program is involved in a series of projects to address environmental consequences of energy production and use, and assists decision-makers in governments and the private sector to make better, more informed energy choices which fully integrate environmental and social costs. GEO-4, which was released on 25 October, is the latest in a series of flagship UNEP reports assessing the current state of the global atmosphere, land, water and biodiversity. It is the most comprehensive UN report on the environment, prepared by about 390 experts and reviewed by more than 1,000 others across the world over a five-year period.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is an active, global public-private partnership that structures policy and regulatory initiatives for clean energy, and facilitates financing for energy projects. Backed by more than 200 national governments, businesses, development banks and NGOs, REEEP is uniquely placed to contribute to international, national and regional policy dialogues. Our aim is to accelerate the integration of renewables into the energy mix and to advocate energy efficiency as a path to improved energy security and reduced carbon emissions, ensuring socio-economic benefits.

Picture: Sugar cane in Kenya being transported to a factory. ‘Cogen for Africa’ aims to get biomass-based CHP on the road for east and southern Africa. Credit: UNEP/Cogen for Africa.

UNEP: COGEN for Africa - project overview, with a wealth of information on bioenergy and rural development.

UNEP: Greening the Tea Industry in East Africa - project overview.

UNEP: Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) - October 2007.

UNEP-GEF, AfDB, REEEP, EATTA and AFREPREN/FWD: Joint Small Hydro and Cogeneration Projects Launch and Capacity Building Workshop - November 8, 2007.

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