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    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.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Brazil's biomass electricity auction attracts 118 factories with 7.8GW capacity

The Brazilian federal government recently launched a grand plan to source a substantial amount of renewable energy from biomass, as a 'Green Reserve' to make Brazil energy secure as it faces potential future electricity shortages. The country's state energy administration agency - the Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE) - will buy and distribute bio-electricity from companies that cogenerate heat and power for their own processes and feed excess power into the grid. The program's first and exclusive bioenergy auction will be held on April 30 this year. EPE has so far registered 118 interested producers who generate green power from agricultural residues and bagasse.

The EPE yesterday announced [*.pdf] details about the project and said that, combined, the 118 projects have a capacity to generate around 7.8GW of renewable bio-electricity over the next two years. This amount will be fed into the Sistema Interligado Nacional (SIN) between 2009 and 2010 (winning companies who rely on bagasse may be required to start feeding their electricity into the grid as early as the next sugarcane harvest in May 2009).

The biomass capacity on offer so far already surpasses the combined output of the new hydroelectric stations of Santo Antônio (3.15GW) and Jirau (3.3GW), being built on the Rio Madeira near the Bolivian border. Put differently, the biomass electricity available as the Green Reserve equals an output comparable to that of around 5 nuclear power plants.

EPE provided regional details, which show the largest contri- bution comes from sugar and ethanol factories in São Paulo state (south-central Brazil). There, 64 plants with an excess capacity of 4.18GW have enrolled for the auction. Cogeneration plants in Goias (1.66GW) and Minas Gerais (834MW) complete the top-three (table, click to enlarge).

The 'green reserve' auction follows the lines of earlier energy auctions: the government announces a price ceiling for the electricity and companies bid downwards from this reference point. However, some aspects of the auction remain unclear. It has not been made public who would carry the costs of bringing the green electricity online. New (inter-)connection infrastructures may have to be build - from the factory to the grid - in which case this becomes an important aspect of the sourcing process.

Besides organizing the auction, the federal government has taken a series of technical and administrative measures that must facilitate and speed up the participation of a large number of sugarcane factories as well as their integration as bio-electricity producers into the SIN; additionally, measures have been taken that will expand the program's capacity further over the next three years:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Amongst these actions are:
  • the application of the concept of interconnective collocation, which implies interconnection stations will be build in geographically optimal locations; as many greenfield bioenergy plants will come online, often far away from each other and from existing interconnection points, a structure will be created that allows optimal placing of new interconnection infrastructures; this guarantees the expansion of a Base Grid organised on the basis of rational, flexible, efficient and economic principles.
  • the initiation of studies into interconnections, led by the Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico (ONS); studies will focus on Sao Paulo, where bio-electricity plants will often fully load the regional net, in which case the excess electricity must be diverted smoothly to other grids. Optimal distribution strategies will be developed.
  • the authorisation for existing bio-electricity generating enterprises to participate in the scheme when they invest in expansion to generate extra biomass energy; they can use this extra capacity to bid in the auction
  • the authorisation for selected bioenergy generating sugarcane companies to offer yearly increasing amounts of bio-electricity during the first three years of their participation in the program, provided they present a clear chronogram that shows their sugarcane expansion plans, which form the basis of expanding power generation capacity
  • a special set of procedures that allows qualified enterprises in the state of Sao Paulo to obtain the necessary Licença Prévia (LP) faster, so as to speed up their participationn
  • the creation of a structure that stimulates contacts and negotiations between the Sugarcane Industry Union (UNICA) and the respective secretariats of the Environment Ministry, in order to allow greater offers of bio-electricity to be made
After the registration phase, the EPE will analyse each project individually on its technical and legal merits and will grant final qualifications that will be allowed to take part in the auction.

Translated for Biopact by Laurens Rademakers

Empresa de Pesquisa Energética: EPE cadastra 118 empreendimentos para Leilão de Energia de Reserva - February 21, 2008.


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