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    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.

    In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent. Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.

    Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum. Reuters - November 30, 2007.

    SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals. Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.

    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. Canada.com - November 21, 2007.

    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.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Green cement: Indian producer opens 6MW rice husk fueled biomass plant

Indian cement producer Barak Valley Cements, announced its 6MW biomass-based thermal power plant is ready to be taken into operation to reduce carbon emissions and to ensure secure supplies of reliable energy. The bioenergy project, developed by its subsidiary Badarpur Energy Private Limited, will provide all the power for cement production and clinkerisation at Barak's cement plant in Badarpurghat, in India's Assam state.

Cement production, a highly energy intensive process, is one of the key contributers to climate change with 5% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions coming from this sector. According to the IEA, the non-metallic mineral sub-sector accounts for about 9% of global industrial energy use, of which 70 to 80% is used in cement production. CO2 is emitted from the calcination process of limestone, from the combustion of fuels in the kiln, as well as from power generated within the industry. India's cement industry alone releases around 89 million tonnes of CO2 per year, roughly 5 per cent of the country's total. Per ton of cement produced, around 0.9 tons of CO2 get released, putting India amongst the most carbon intensive producers (compare with the carbon intensity of Japan's and Europe's cement sector: 0.45 tons of CO2 per ton.)

A Report of the Working Group on the Cement Industry, commissioned by India's Planning Commission, suggested a reduction of CO2 emission levels in the next five years to about 80 million tons while output is growing (that is, reducing CO2 emissions to 0.5/tons per ton of cement) by adopting a range measures such as the increased production of blended cements, optimising the pyro-processing system, recovering waste heat for cogeneration of power, increasing the use of marginal grade limestone and switching to green fuels.

With increased energy prices, switching to renewable fuels like biomass has become a cost-effective way to cut the sector's emissions. Barak Valley Cements is choosing this option, using rice husks as a fuel in the biomass power plant, a major by-product of the rice industry in which Assam takes a leading place. The average cost of power is estimated to be about Rs 2.20 (€0.038 / $0.056) per kWh, highly competitive with fossil based electricity for industrial consumers.

The power generated by this plant will meet the entire energy requirement of the cement production facility and contribute towards conservation of fossil-fuels. The multi-fuel, environment-friendly power plant will be the first of its kind in the North-East of India.

The project in particular helps Barak Valley Cements solve its problems related to increasing power cost, frequent power cuts, variations in voltage and lack of energy at times of peaks in demand for cement products. Its access to quality power at cheaper rates puts it at an advantageous position vis-à-vis its competitors:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Badarpur Energy Private Limited was as a Private Limited Company in February ’2005. Barak Valley Cements Limited has acquired the 100% stake of this company in the financial year 2005-06. The 6MW biomass power plant had a total project cost of Rs 25 crore (€434,000/$638,000). Power generated in the plant will be transmitted through a dedicated transmission line to Barak's operating plant and its subsidiary’s plant Cement International Limited. The power project has been appraised by NEDFi (North Eastern Development and Financial Institution).

The North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007 announced by the Government of India, provided for a capital investment subsidy at 30% of the investment made in the plant and machinery.

BEPL's biomass plant has locational advantages resulting in the smooth production of power. The project is located on the national highway connecting Guwahati and Silchar due to which it has following locational advantages: access to a well-developed paddy growing area which will provide rice straw/husk, which can support 6MW power generation capacity; a railway station being only 2.5km away, which allows efficient transportation of the biomass and the presence of the River Barak, 1.5 km from the project site, which will act as source of water throughout the year.

Barak Valley Cement is a manufacturer of cements of different grades starting production in 2001 with a 300 ton per day capacity. The plant was upgraded an now produces 460 tons. The technology Barak uses in manufacturing our product is the Dry Process Rotary Kiln Technology with 4 stage Suspension Pre Heater technology.

The company is located in Assam and all the operations of the company are concentrated in the North Eastern region, where demand for cement is high. Its operations include raw material procurement, crushing, blending, grinding and packaging of cement. The company's product portfolio includes both Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC).

Picture: a view inside Barak Valey Cements' kiln in Badarpurghat. Credit: Barak Valley Cement.

India PRWire: Assam cement plant's biomass power unit ready now - January 9, 2007.

Badarpur Energy Private Limited.

Indian Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Dept. of Industrial Policy & Promotion: Cement industry.

International Energy Agency: Tracking Industrial Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions [*.pdf], 2007 [provides an overview of the energy and carbon intensity of the global cement industry].


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