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    Record warm summers cause extreme ice melt in Greenland: an international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has found that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland´s shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context. Findings are published in the 15 January 2008 issue of Journal of Climate. University of Sheffield - January 15, 2007.

    Japan's Tsukishima Kikai Co. and Marubeni Corp. have together clinched an order from Oenon Holdings Inc. for a plant that will make bioethanol from rice. The Oenon group will invest around 4.4 billion yen (US$40.17 million) in the project, half of which will be covered by a subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plant will initially produce bioethanol from imported rice, with plans to use Hokkaido-grown rice in the future. It will produce 5 million liters per year starting in 2009, increasing output to 15m liters in 2011. The facility will be able to produce as much as 50,000 liters of bioethanol from 125 tons of rice each day. Trading Markets - January 11, 2007.

    PetroSun, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, PetroSun BioFuels Refining, has entered into a JV to construct and operate a biodiesel refinery near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algal oil produced by PetroSun BioFuels at algae farms to be located in Arizona. The refinery will have a capacity of thirty million gallons and will produce 100% renewable biodiesel. PetroSun BioFuels will process the residual algae biomass into ethanol. MarketWire - January 10, 2007.

    BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc, which develops and operates carbohydrate-based transportation fuel production facilities, has secured capital liquidity for corporate overhead and continued project development in the value of US$15 million with Quercus, an environmentally focused trust. BlueFire Ethanol Fuels - January 09, 2007.

    Some $170 billion in new technology development projects, infrastructure equipment and construction, and biofuel refineries will result from the ethanol production standards contained the new U.S. Energy Bill, says BIO, the global Biotechnology Industry Organization. According to Brent Erickson, BIO's executive vice president "Such a new energy infrastructure has not occurred in more than 100 years. We are at the point where we were in the 1850s when kerosene was first distilled and began to replace whale oil. This technology will be coming so fast that what we say today won't be true in two years." Chemical & Engineering News - January 07, 2007.

    Scottish and Southern Energy plc, the UK's second largest power company, has completed the acquisition of Slough Heat and Power Ltd from SEGRO plc for a total cash consideration of £49.25m. The 101MW CHP plant is the UK’s largest dedicated biomass energy facility fueled by wood chips, biomass and waste paper. Part of the plant is contracted under the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation and part of it produces over 200GWH of output qualifying for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which is equivalent to around 90MW of wind generation. Scottish & Southern Energy - January 2, 2007.

    PetroChina Co Ltd, the country's largest oil and gas producer, plans to invest 800 million yuan to build an ethanol plant in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, its parent China National Petroleum Corp said. The ethanol plant has a designed annual capacity of 100,000 tons. ABCMoneyNews - December 21, 2007.

    Mexico passed legislation to promote biofuels last week, offering unspecified support to farmers that grow crops for the production of any renewable fuel. Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas said Mexico could expand biodiesel faster than ethanol. More soon. Reuters - December 20, 2007.

    Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high throughput screening reactors. The first will be used to speed up the development of catalysts for hydrodesulphurisation (HDS). The second will be used to further the development of catalysts for use in gas to liquid (GTL) and Fischer-Tropsch processes which can be applied to next generation biofuels. AlphaGalileo - December 18, 2007.

    According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Brazil's production of sugarcane will increase from 514,1 million tonnes this season, to a record 561,8 million tonnes in the 2008/09 cyclus - an increase of 9.3%. New numbers are also out for the 2007 harvest in Brazil's main sugarcane growing region, the Central-South: a record 425 million tonnes compared to 372,7 million tonnes in 2006, or a 14% increase. The estimate was provided by Unica – the União da Indústria de Cana-de-Açúcar. Jornal Cana - December 16, 2007.

    The University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre have today released preliminary global temperature figures for 2007, which show the top 11 warmest years all occurring in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. The announcement comes as the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, speaks at the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bali. Eurekalert - December 13, 2007.

    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

China's Tiger Ethanol to invest in sugar beet: claims farmers' income will see 60% boost

Tiger Ethanol International announced it has agreed with the local government to invest in sugar beet production in China's Fujian province, as a way to reduce its reliance on corn. The company is opting for a 'flex factory' model that can switch between producing fuel and sugar, depending on the market situation. It claims local farmers who will grow the new biofuel feedstock will see a boost of 60% in their farm incomes. Tiger Ethanol thinks sugar beet will result in increased ethanol production as compared to corn, while adding an additional source of income from refined sugar.

By the end of the implementation cycle of the plan, sugar beet will be growing on 300,000 acres (121,000 ha) of land to yield an estimated 1.5 million tons, there will be a capacity to produce 100,000 tons of ethanol and 100,000 tons of sugar.

The Chinese company has been experimenting with a range of biomass crops over the past months, concluding that using sugar beet to produce sugar and ethanol in Hami is not only a feasible solution for the production of ethanol, but can also bring substantial additional income to the company through the production of refined sugar. After pressing, the sugar beet juice is to be used for the production of ethanol and refined sugar, the remaining mass for the production of fertilizer.

On behalf of Xinjiang Yajia Distillate Company Limited, a joint venture 90% owned by Tiger Ethanol, CEO James Leung signed a Letter of Intent with the Hami government in Xiamen City of Fujian Province for the cultivation of sugar beet in the area. The result will be to secure the necessary mass of sugar beet. The local government has responded favorably and has committed to that effect in an agreement which was well received by the local media as to the impact on the local economy.

The District of Hami has more than 500,000 acres of farmland suitable for growing sugar beet. Because of favorable weather, this farmland can be switched from the single crop it is used for at present to a double crop. It was determined that barley could be grown and harvested from March to June, and sugar beet could then be grown and harvested from July to October.

This combination is said to be very favorable for the farmers, as the annual production yield would be about US$250 per acre, instead of the $150 they are now getting with a single crop such as cotton or corn. Historically, the Hami area has produced very little sugar beet as there has been a limited market for this crop.

The implementation plan is proposed as follows:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Phase 1 (2008-2009):
  • With the collaboration of the Hami government, the target is to utilize 100,000 acres (40,500ha) of farmland and reach an annual production of 500,000 tons of sugar beet in 2009.
  • Build a sugar refinery with a yearly capacity of 500,000 tons of refined sugar adjoined to the existing ethanol plant. Construction will take one and a half years at a cost of $15 million. At the current sugar price, the ROI is projected to be 3 to 4 years.
  • Expand the existing ethanol plant to 50,000 tons per year.
Phase 2 (2010-2012):
  • Add another 100,000 acres of farmland and reach an annual production of 1 million tons of sugar beet in 2012.
  • Expand the sugar plant to 75,000 tons and the ethanol plant to 75,000 tons
Phase 3 (2013-2014):
  • Add another 100,000 acres of farmland and reach an annual production of 1.5 million tons of sugar beet by 2014.
  • Expand the sugar plant to 100,000 tons and the ethanol plant to 100,000 tons.
CEO James Leung says the company's goal has been to accelerate growth while respecting the local economy and the impact on the food chain. "We are benefiting from a healthy increase in the price of ethanol in China and our securing an ongoing supply of biomass at a reasonable price places us in a favorable situation. The addition of a sugar refinery will diversify our source of income as we can switch our ratio of production of ethanol versus sugar following world prices for both commodities."

Sugar prices in China have been very volatile over the past 15 years, the company adds (graph, click to enlarge). Coupling biofuel to sugar production allows for a 'flex factory' model as widely found in Brazil's sugarcane based sugar and ethanol sector.

Tiger Ethanol International is a development stage company which owns 90% of Xinjiang Yajia Distillate Company Limited, a Chinese entity which plans to construct a facility to produce ethanol in the People's Republic of China (the remaining 10% of Xinjiang Yajia Distillate Company Limited is owned by Xinjiang Wangye Brewing Co. Ltd. and Guangdong Kecheng Trading Co. Ltd.). The Company intends to produce ethanol from agricultural products.

Tiger Ethanol International: Agreement Creates Availability of Alternative Biomass, Greatly Benefiting Local Farmers While Increasing Revenues for the Company - January 16, 2008


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