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    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.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Branson sees future in African biofuels; regrets investments in U.S. corn ethanol

Billionaire biofuel investor Richard Branson has admitted that his investments in U.S. corn ethanol may have been a mistake, both financially and environmentally. The fuel is not very efficient, results in food price increases and cannot compete with far more efficient biofuels made in the South, unless it is heavily subsidized.

Instead, Branson is now looking at Africa, citing the example of a country like Mozambique, where sugarcane can yield up to 7 times more ethanol per acre.

Biopact is pleased to see an investor like Branson looking at the potential of Africa, instead of sticking to inefficient corn ethanol. Bioenergy and agricultural experts have repeatedly said the continent is waiting for courageous entrepreneurs to help kickstart the Green Revolution there.

Map of long-term sustainable bioenergy potential, based on the QUICKSCAN model; the potential is that obtained after meeting all food, fiber, and forest products needs of local populations first, and without cropping on forest land or protected land (conservation areas).

Africa is the continent with the largest sustainable bioenergy potential. It can produce more bioenergy than all the oil currently consumed world-wide, while providing enough food, fiber and forest products to its growing populations, and without negative impacts on the environment. In fact, bioenergy can help stimulate food production and conservation, by making African agriculture more efficient and productive.

Experts of the IEA Bioenergy Task 40, drawing on a model now also officially used by the FAO, have shown that the region can produce around 350 Exajoules of bioenergy by 2050, if modern agricultural techniques are utilized (see map, click to enlarge; and see previous post). That is around 50 percent more than all oil currently consumed on the planet. Next-generation biofuels produced in Africa can be highly sustainable and reduce emissions substantially (e.g. when based on polycultures of grasses, high yielding woody crops like eucalyptus, or even on first generation crops like sugarcane or sweet sorghum).

On the basis of these findings, Biopact has been trying to convince investors, non-profits, civil society and governments that we can create a win-win situation between the West and the South, by allowing farmers in Africa and Latin America to bring their efficient biofuels on the market (first their own, then global markets). This could help rural development in the poorest regions of the planet, and would be far more efficient than relying on low yielding biofuel production systems like U.S. corn ethanol.

However, this win-win idea requires major policy initiatives, trade and subsidy reform, and investments in modern agriculture and infrastructures in Africa. Perhaps Richard Branson could help kickstart this transformation?

Video: BBC News, February 12 [entry ends here].
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Blogger rufus said...

The Good Professor in the preceeding article was wrong. We didn't use anywhere near 1/3 of our corn crop for ethanol.

Follow me here. Field corn is grown to produce beef. The value of cattle feed is how much weight gain you get by feeding it.

Distillers Grains, in a 30% ration, yield 10% higher weight gain than corn.

10 acres of corn processed for ethanol will yield back the equivalent of 4 acres of corn in the form of distillers grains.

150 bu/acre x 2.8 =420

420 x 10/6 = 700 gal/acre

I guess we produced a bit less than 7 billion gallons in 07'; so that would be about 10 million acres (out of approx. 87 millions harvested,) or about 12%. Not exactly 1/3.

8:05 PM  

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