<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2007.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2007.

    Tasmania's first specialty biodiesel plant has been approved, to start operating as early as July. The Macquarie Oil Company will spend half a million dollars on a specially designed facility in Cressy, in Tasmania's Northern Midlands. The plant will produce more than five million litres of fuel each year for the transport and marine industries. A unique blend of feed stock, including poppy seed, is expected to make it more viable than most operations. ABC Rural - February 25, 2007.

    The 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - From Research to Industry and Markets - will be held from 2nd to 6th June 2008, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre of FeriaValencia, Spain. Early bird fee registration ends 18th April 2008. European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - February 22, 2007.

    'Obesity Facts' – a new multidisciplinary journal for research and therapy published by Karger – was launched today as the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Obesity. The journal publishes articles covering all aspects of obesity, in particular epidemiology, etiology and pathogenesis, treatment, and the prevention of adiposity. As obesity is related to many disease processes, the journal is also dedicated to all topics pertaining to comorbidity and covers psychological and sociocultural aspects as well as influences of nutrition and exercise on body weight. Obesity is one of the world's most pressing health issues, expected to affect 700 million people by 2015. AlphaGalileo - February 21, 2007.

    A bioethanol plant with a capacity of 150 thousand tons per annum is to be constructed in Kuybishev, in the Novosibirsk region. Construction is to begin in 2009 with investments into the project estimated at €200 million. A 'wet' method of production will be used to make, in addition to bioethanol, gluten, fodder yeast and carbon dioxide for industrial use. The complex was developed by the Solev consulting company. FIS: Siberia - February 19, 2007.

    Sarnia-Lambton lands a $15million federal grant for biofuel innovation at the Western Ontario Research and Development Park. The funds come on top of a $10 million provincial grant. The "Bioindustrial Innovation Centre" project competed successfully against 110 other proposals for new research money. London Free Press - February 18, 2007.

    An organisation that has established a large Pongamia pinnata plantation on barren land owned by small & marginal farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India is looking for a biogas and CHP consultant to help research the use of de-oiled cake for the production of biogas. The organisation plans to set up a biogas plant of 20,000 cubic meter capacity and wants to use it for power generation. Contact us - February 15, 2007.

    The Andersons, Inc. and Marathon Oil Corporation today jointly announced ethanol production has begun at their 110-million gallon ethanol plant located in Greenville, Ohio. Along with the 110 million gallons of ethanol, the plant annually will produce 350,000 tons of distillers dried grains, an animal feed ingredient. Marathon Oil - February 14, 2007.

    Austrian bioenergy group Cycleenergy acquired controlling interest in Greenpower Projektentwicklungs GmbH, expanding its biomass operational portfolio by 16 MW to a total of 22 MW. In the transaction Cycleenergy took over 51% of the company and thereby formed a joint venture with Porr Infrastruktur GmbH, a subsidiary of Austrian construction company Porr AG. Greenpower operates two wood chip CHP facilities in Upper and Lower Austria, each with an electric capacity of 2 MW. The plants have been in operation since the middle of last year and consume more than 30,000 tonnes of wood chips and are expected to generate over €5 million in additional revenue. Cycleenergy - February 6, 2007.

    The 2008 edition of Bioenergy World Europe will take place in Verona, Italy, from 7 to 10 February. Gathering a broad range of international exhibitors covering gaseous, liquid and solid bioenergy, the event aims to offer participants the possibility of developing their business through meetings with professionals, thematic study tours and an international forum focusing on market and regulatory issues, as well as industry expertise. Bioenergy World Europe - February 5, 2007.

    The World GTL Summit will take place between 12 – 14th May 2008 in London. Key topics to be discussed include: the true value of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) projects, well-to-wheels analyses of the GTL value chain; construction, logistics and procurement challenges; the future for small-scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) projects; Technology, economics, politics and logistics of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL); latest Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) commercialisation initiatives. CWC Exhibitions - February 4, 2007.

    The 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference is announced for 26 - 27 February 2008. This joint CEPS/Epsilon conference will explore the key issues for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change. The conference focuses on EU and global issues relating to global warming, and in particular looks at the following issues: - Post-2012 after Bali and before the Hokkaido G8 summit; Progress of EU integrated energy and climate package, burden-sharing renewables and technology; EU Emissions Trading Review with a focus on investment; Transport Climatepolicy.eu - January 28, 2007.

    Japan's Marubeni Corp. plans to begin importing a bioethanol compound from Brazil for use in biogasoline sold by petroleum wholesalers in Japan. The trading firm will import ETBE, which is synthesized from petroleum products and ethanol derived from sugar cane. The compound will be purchased from Brazilian petrochemical company Companhia Petroquimica do Sul and in February, Marubeni will supply 6,500 kilolitres of the ETBE, worth around US$7 million, to a biogasoline group made up of petroleum wholesalers. Wholesalers have been introducing biofuels since last April by mixing 7 per cent ETBE into gasoline. Plans call for 840 million liters of ETBE to be procured annually from domestic and foreign suppliers by 2010. Trading Markets - January 24, 2007.

    Toyota Tsusho Corp., Ohta Oil Mill Co. and Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., say it and two other firms have jointly developed a technology to produce biodiesel fuel at lower cost. Biodiesel is made by blending methanol into plant-derived oil. The new technology requires smaller amounts of methanol and alkali catalysts than conventional technologies. In addition, the new technology makes water removal facilities unnecessary. JCN Network - January 22, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Paper and SWISS COMBI - W. Kunz dryTec A.G. have entered a licence agreement for the SWISS COMBI belt dryer KUVO, which allows biomass to be dried in a low temperature environment and at high capacity, both for pulp & paper and bioenergy applications. Kauppalehti - January 22, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Friday, February 29, 2008

Bernanke favors lower tariffs on Brazilian ethanol

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he favors cutting high tariffs on Brazilian ethanol. He thereby joins a growing rank of world leading economists, energy experts, social scientists, international development institutions (like the IMF and the World Bank), economic think tanks (like the OECD), key food and agriculture analysts (like the FAO and the IFPRI) and development organisations, who have all spoken out in favor of international free trade in biofuels. Many of these analysts have said current high food prices are partly the result of protectionism in the biofuels market.

Biomass based fuels can be made in a far more efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective way in countries like Brazil and other nations in the Global South. Countries in the North should import these fuels, which would end pressures on food markets and benefit consumers. But both the EU and the US levy high tariffs on these biofuels, to protect their own inefficient, subsidized producers.

Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said in this context:
As you know, I favor open trade and I think allowing Brazilian ethanol, for example, would reduce costs in the United States.
Most of the ethanol made in the United States comes from corn, and domestic production is protected from much more efficient and cost-effective sugar-based Brazilian ethanol by a steep, US$0.54 per gallon tariff. This uncompetitive reliance on corn has distorted global food markets. Bernanke said it was hard to say how much current strong demand for ethanol was boosting food prices.
But it is the case that a significant portion of the corn crop is being diverted to ethanol, which raises corn prices. And there's some knock-on effects. For example, some soybean acreage has been moved to corn production, which probably has some effect on soybean prices. So there is some price effect on foodstuffs coming through the conversion to energy use.
Promoting free trade in biofuels combined with a framework that ensures environmental and social sustainability, will unlock a large and efficient biofuel potential that benefits consumers everywhere. According to researchers, such a global 'biopact' between the North and the South may help alleviate poverty in developing countries, where large rural populations can benefit from the new biofuels opportunity (previous post). Some analysts, like the WorldWatch Institute have even concluded that, with good policies, biofuels can help end hunger [entry ends here]
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::


Blogger rufus said...

You DO understand what the difference is between Sen Charles Grassley (Ia,) and Sen Ben (Over My Dead Body) Nelson (Neb,) and Ben Bernanke is don't you? The first two gentlemen will have jobs next year.

Ain't gonna happen guys. Everyone's had all they want of the B&B (Bush, and Bernanke) Boyz, right now. We'll let aboout 500 Million Gallons of Brazilian ethanol into the country Duty-Free this year; how many of our products will Brazil allow sans tariffs do you imagine. Zero?

We've got some serious work to do on "Cellulosic" Ethanol. Dropping those tariffs would destroy the financing for those projects, immediately. Bad for Us; Bad for the World.

Oil: $102.00/bbl - Dow off 2,000 - Country sliding into Recession. Swing states - Mn, Ia, Wi, Mi, Oh

Yeah, Good Luck wit dat.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Jonas said...

Just keeping up the conceptual or moral pressure, Rufus! So you guys effectively make cellulosic ethanol a reality sooner than planned. Cause that would benefit us all.

You've got the scientific and research capacity to pull this off. So do it.

5:09 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

They done got me to "drinkin" the stuff *Hic*, Jonas. :)

BTW, I've been linking your Biomass stuff around some of the "Peak Oil" websites. I think a few of them are starting to "get it."

Probably, GM is going to be voted "MVP" when this is all over. Their support of Coskata is powerful medicine. The Oil Companies are scared to death, and fighting like Tigers; but, GM's support insulates the cellulosic industry, somewhat. It just might turn out to be the crucial push.

This long-time Ford Owner will be driving a flex-fuel HHR this fall (yeah, Americans Really Do Think that way.)

Corn was a Necessary First Step, gentlemen. It built the Political support, necessary. Besides, any time you can take 35,000 btus of nat gas, and diesel, and come up with a replacement for 116,000 btus of gasoline it's not a "Bad" Thing, right?

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheaper, more efficient Brazilian ethanol is offset by other factors that make it less desirable. The expense to ship Brazilian ethanol to the U.S. using fossil fuels. Compare this with locally produced and consumed ethanol in the U.S. – no shipping cost and no fossil fuels used to ship it, also less pollution produced. Localized biofuels also create thriving local economies. In contrast, Bernanke represents the International Bankers who control the Federal Reserve and milk the American people with debt instruments. By infiltrating the U.S. Government, the Fed has driven the Nation Debt up to $9 Trillion, on which they are collecting floating interest. The U.S. is currently importing 60% of its oil from foreign countries, and is also paying for its foreign oil trade deficit with Federal Reserve debt instruments. Importing ethanol would be similar to importing foreign oil. The trade deficit on imported ethanol would also be paid for with debt instruments. That benefits the Fed, because the privately owned Federal Reserve Corporation collects floating interest though the IRS on National Debt and Trade Deficit debt instruments. And that interest is laundered through a secret trust fund in Puerto Rico. The Federal Reserve is not a government agency, and neither is the IRS. These same International Bankers who control the Fed also control Big Oil, which is now threatened by new American policies favoring biofuels. Importing cheaper ethanol from Brazil into the U.S. will compete with the domestic ethanol industry and weaken it. In the eyes of the Fed, the U.S. biofuels industry is out of control and getting too big for its britches. Fed-Big-Oil is now trying to limit U.S. biofuels, in order to protect its heavy position in crude oil and to keep petroleum based fuels dominant. That would be accomplished by disrupting or slowing down the momentum of the thriving U.S. biofuels industry. If the U.S. lowers tariffs and imports more Brazilian ethanol, it will become dependent on imported ethanol, instead of the foreign oil it displaces. What’s the point in trading one dependency for another? The whole push in the U.S. for alternative energy and biofuels is to become totally energy independent – to end its dependency. This is not a pipedream. It’s a goal that can and will be achieved. Brazil is a perfect example. We should help every country in the world to become energy independent and to end its dependency on imported oil and imported ethanol.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Jonas said...

Anonymous, you're partly right: most of the new ethanol produced in Brazil will go to the domestic market.

However, it may be opportune for producers to export, when demand from the local market has been met and they want to expand.

Guaranteed markets offer important signals informing investment decisions.

Your point about the shipping costs is in fact irrelevant: these costs are extremely low. Ethanol is exported in large ships which are very efficient in transporting the commodity over vast distances.

There's quite some good research showing these extra costs are extremely small and have almost no impact on the energy balance of Brazilian ethanol. Check the IEA Bioenergy Task 40 and its reports about biofuel logistics, trade chains and costs.

Best, Jonas

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonas – You’re skipping most of the shipping and handling costs. Account for shipping Brazilian ethanol from the ethanol plants in the interior of the country to an oceangoing port. Account for loading it onto a tanker. Account for shipping it using fossil fuels to the destination port. Account for transferring it off the tanker into holding tanks. Account for loading it from the holding tanks to fossil fuel powered trailer trucks and then shipping it to where it will be consumed. Each one of these steps consumes energy and fossil fuel and contributes to global warming. Now compare this to local production and consumption of ethanol which stimulates local economies.

9:42 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home