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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

Renewables in Germany in 2007: 9.1% of total energy consumption, 115m tonnes of CO2 avoided

Germany's national association for renewables (Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie, BEE) today presented its annual overview of the state of clean energy production in the country. According to BEE, 219.5 billion kilowatt hours or 9.1 per cent of all of Germany's primary energy is currently generated from renewables. With this, the country prevented around 115 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. Its reduced dependence on imported oil, gas, coal and uranium is now worth €5.9 billion. When all externalities are taken into account, Germany prevented an estimated €8.6 billion worth of environmental damages resulting from the use of fossil fuels.

Despite these encouraging figures, the association warns that laws and policies remain a stumbling block for some forms of clean energy, particularly for renewable transportation fuels which have been plagued by trade and tax related problems.

In 2007, a total of 219.5 billion kilowatt hours worth of electricity and thermal energy were produced from renewables in Germany. Energy from biomass - for electricity generation, heating and transportation fuels - achieved by far the largest share with a total production of 149.6 bn kWh, up from 142.5bn kWh the previous year. Wind (38.5 bn kWh) and hydropower followed (27.1 bn kWh), with solar and geothermal growing but remaining marginal (figure 1, click to enlarge).

BEE notes that the output of electricity from both wind and biomass have grown in 2007, even though investments have decreased slightly compared with the record year 2006. Still, the share of renewables in Germany's electricity production is now 14.3 per cent, up from 11.9 per cent the year before and from 10.3 per cent in 2005. Expressed in kilowatt hours, some 86.71 billion kWh were produced, up 13.67 bn kWh, or the equivalent of the entire annual electricity production of a nuclear power plant.

Fewer new wind turbines have been installed this year, but existing ones have been upgraded, explaining the increased power output to 38.5 bn kWh.

Electricity production from bioenergy (23.5 bn kWh) for the first time surpassed that of hydropower, the output of which has remained virtually stagnant. The fastest growing bioenergy sub-sector is electricity generated from dedicated biogas production (most often in efficient CHP plants): whereas biogas only provided 2.5 bn kWh in 2005, today it accounts for 8.5 bn kWh. Other biomass sources used in Germany for electricity are solid and liquid biofuels, as well as organic waste and landfill gas. Their share keeps growing gradually.

Even though photovoltaic electricity remains tiny compared to wind and bioenergy, it continued its steady growth, from 2.2 to 3bn kWh (figure 2, click to enlarge).

Renewable heat
The BEE notes that a large potential for renewable heat production exist in Germany, but that it remains underexploited and seems to be stagnating, contrary to its growing use in neighboring countries. Currently, heat from biomass, solar thermal installations and geothermal achieves a share of 6.4 per cent in Germany's total heat consumption, equivalent to 89bn kWh. Of this, bioenergy makes up the bulk, with 83.1 bn kWh (figure 3, click to enlarge):
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Transport fuels
Liquid biofuels - biodiesel and ethanol - now make up 7 per cent of Germany's total transport fuels, up from 6.6 per cent the year before. The modest growth is the result of the increased taxes on biofuels that came into effect on January 1, 2007. Before that date, biofuels were exempt from fuel taxes.

BEE warns that this policy threatens to put some producers out of business, because they will not be able to compete with manufacturers abroad, notably Brazil for ethanol.

Of the liquid biofuels, of which 4.29 million tonnes were sold, only biodiesel grew significantly, seeing a consumption of 31.9 bn kWh equivalent, up from 28.93 bn kWh. Pure plant oil, used in converted diesel engines and by farmers, grew slightly, while bioethanol declined marginally (down from 3.57 bn kWh eq. to 3.5 bn kWh eq.)

The organisation calls for 'an immediate abandonment of the tax' on liquid biofuels, to reverse the trend.

Savings through renewables
The association states unambiguously that renewables are by far the most effective tool to fight climate change. The combined production of energy from biomass, wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal systems, avoided 115 million tonnes of CO2. This is 14 million tonnes per annum more than in 2006, the equivalent of taking 5 million passenger cars off the road, or of preventing the total emissions of a city the size of Cologne.

The reduced reliance on fossil fuels has benefits to the global environment. Even though a difficult exercise, applying environmental economics to the increased use of renewables, allows the BEE to conclude that an estimated €8.6 billion in environmental damages were avoided. Direct savings from reduced imports of oil, gas, coal and uranium were worth €5.9 billion in 2007.

Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie: Erneuerbare Energien: Rekordwerte trotz gebremsten Wachstums - January 8, 2007.

Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie: Präsentation mit den Jahreszahlen 2007 [*.pdf] - January 8, 2007.


Blogger David B. Benson said...

A good start. Better than here in the U.S.A., I think.

Still, a long way to go...

3:12 AM  

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