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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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Friday, February 15, 2008

Lanworth tailors its satellite-based tools to estimate biomass potential

A growing number of remote sensing service companies is finding opportunities in the emerging bioenergy sector, by providing detailed data about the availability of biomass in a given region and the feasibility of harvesting it for commercial use. Similarly, several governments and international organisations are drawing on earth observation data that drive GIS-tools which allow policy makers and investors to assess biofuels potential, make investment and management decisions and allow for estimates of impacts on local economies, ecosystems and populations.

Such tools - which often come in the form of an interactive GIS-based biomass atlas - can be as simple or as complex as one wants them to be, depending on the types of data that are connected to each other (environmental, social, infrastructural, etc) and on the desired level of detail. They can be static or dynamic and allow projections well into the future. Ultimately, a global biomass atlas of sorts should emerge, that can be used as the basis for discussions about the long-term sustainability of the sector (previous post on the FAO's recently unveiled bioenergy assessment tool).

An Illinois-based company has now joined the growing group of data providers who may contribute to the creation of such an atlas, by tailoring its satellite technology to help clients figure out how much woody biomass is available in a given area. Lanworth Inc. is an information technology company that specializes in the application of aerial and satellite remote sensing for natural resources management.

For the past seven years, Lanworth has enabled companies in the forest products industry to estimate pulp and timber volumes. Now, it has added another module that will help clients figure how much woody biomass can be extracted beyond sawmill and pulp extractions.
It has been a natural extension for us to deploy our tools to organizations pursuing wood-pellet plants, biomass boilers, cellulosic ethanol or other woody biomass-based facilities. - Shailu Verma, vice president of Lanworth
Lanworth has records of global forest covers that date back to the 1970s. It tracks growth of forest covers and is able to put the trajectory of growth of any forest in the world.

On the basis of these EO data, it then builds proprietary models that can tell how much woody biomass is available. The models use soil, elevation, slope, wetlands and other data layers to estimate extraction costs, as well as the total delivered cost of fiber to a processing site. The models also show the environmental impacts of additional biomass harvesting:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
I believe we can help make these significant investment decisions, which not only have an important impact on the economics of fiber supply in a region, but also help manage the region’s environmental balance. - Shailu Verma
Lanworth also performs similar analyses for crops. It assesses how many acres were planted, and how much yield would come out of corn, soy and wheat across the world.

The company's presence right now is largely in the United States, but it also has clients in Brazil and Argentina. Very soon, it will be working in the Baltic states, where a large bioenergy potential exists. The imaging is also used by clients to understand acreage and yield expected in the palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Verma said the woody biomass technology is used by pellet manufacturers, while the crop technology is utilized by large agribusinesses and hedge funds that are actively trading commodities.

Image: On multiple sites in Brazil, Lanworth analyzed satellite and aerial images to identify conflicts between planned and actual harvest zones. Additionally, conservation plots were examined to detect illegal logging. Also in Brazil, an appraisal project involved the verification of Eucalyptus harvest. Credit: Lanworth, Inc.

Biomass Magazine: Satellite-based tools estimate woody biomass supplies - February 12, 2008.

Biopact: FAO unveils important bioenergy assessment tool to ensure food security, shows global biofuels potential - February 11, 2008

Biopact: India prepares 'Biomass Atlas' to map and tap bioenergy potential - November 26, 2007

Biopact: India to roll out real-time data on all standing crops - towards 'planetary biomass management' - October 02, 2007

Biopact: Satellites play vital role in understanding the carbon cycle - April 26, 2007


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