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    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.

    Record warm summers cause extreme ice melt in Greenland: an international team of scientists, led by Dr Edward Hanna at the University of Sheffield, has found that recent warm summers have caused the most extreme Greenland ice melting in 50 years. The new research provides further evidence of a key impact of global warming and helps scientists place recent satellite observations of Greenland´s shrinking ice mass in a longer-term climatic context. Findings are published in the 15 January 2008 issue of Journal of Climate. University of Sheffield - January 15, 2007.

    Japan's Tsukishima Kikai Co. and Marubeni Corp. have together clinched an order from Oenon Holdings Inc. for a plant that will make bioethanol from rice. The Oenon group will invest around 4.4 billion yen (US$40.17 million) in the project, half of which will be covered by a subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The plant will initially produce bioethanol from imported rice, with plans to use Hokkaido-grown rice in the future. It will produce 5 million liters per year starting in 2009, increasing output to 15m liters in 2011. The facility will be able to produce as much as 50,000 liters of bioethanol from 125 tons of rice each day. Trading Markets - January 11, 2007.

    PetroSun, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, PetroSun BioFuels Refining, has entered into a JV to construct and operate a biodiesel refinery near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algal oil produced by PetroSun BioFuels at algae farms to be located in Arizona. The refinery will have a capacity of thirty million gallons and will produce 100% renewable biodiesel. PetroSun BioFuels will process the residual algae biomass into ethanol. MarketWire - January 10, 2007.

    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.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Malaysian-Japanese joint-venture to invest $308 million in 100,000ha plantation for biodiesel, biogas in Sarawak

Malaysia's state news agency Bernama reports that Carbon Capital Corporation Sdn Bhd will join hands with Japan Carbon Mercantile Co. Ltd to develop a multi-feedstock biodiesel plant in Tanjung Manis in Sarawak, as part of a major, US$100 billion energy and infrastructure development program for the state that aims to churn out 20GW of low carbon power by 2030. The plant will utilize jatropha curcas and palm oil for biodiesel and power production. The crops are to be established on 100,000 hectares of plantations. Besides biodiesel, a biogas plant will be build to utilize waste streams from the crop processing operations.

The project was announced at the launch of the "Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy" (SCORE) in Bintulu yesterday, which saw commitments for investments totalling RM 500 billion (€105.7/US$154.3bn). Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the proposed investments - amongst them commitments by mining giant Rio Tinto - were made in 24 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) signed during the launch.

SCORE is a large development project supposed to help reduce poverty and improve income distribution among the people in Sarawak by stimulating economic development in key sectors. It would add value to existing heavy industries, focus on development of natural resource-based industries (see overview below) and emphasise research and development capabilities the economic benefits of which should trickle down to local populations across the state.

The focus of SCORE is on the optimal utilisation of natural energy resources through the development of energy-intensive industries. Its goal is to establish power plants capable of generating 20 GW in as efficient a way as possible, preferrably by drawing on bioenergy, hydropower and natural gas. By concentrating energy-demanding activities in a single project, synergies are supposed to be developed that would lead to cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable production processes.

SCORE covers a geographic area of 70,000 square kilometers and will affect an estimated 600,000 people. The proposed investments announced at the opening of the project have exceeded the RM 334 billion (€70.6/US$103.1bn) that the Sarawak Government said was required to fully develop the corridor by 2030.

The Malaysian-Japanese biofuel joint-venture in Sarawak is part of SCORE's renewable energy focus. It covers five years and involves an initial investment of RM 1 billion (€212/US$308 million). The multi-feedstock biodiesel plant would have an annual capacity of about 240,000 tonnes per year and bulking facilities in Tanjung Manis while the jatropha curcas and oil palm plantations would cover an acreage of 100,000 hectares.

As for the biogas project, it would be undertaken under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program in Sarawak, Carbon Capital. Both companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the inauguration of SCORE:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Carbon Capital, a Malaysian based company with offices in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, New Delhi and Tokyo, provides end-to-end multi solutions in establishing CDM projects in Malaysia.

The CDM is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in projects that reduce omissions in developing countries as an alternative option to undertake expensive emission reductions in their own countries.

JCM, with its office in Nagoya, is a wholly owned member of Magna International Co. Ltd Japan, with its key businesses comprising trading in carbon credits and investment in CDM projects.

SCORE attracted both local and foreign investments in a range of sectors, including oil and gas, bioenergy as well as hydro resources, infrastructure, transport and communications - all sectors that require large investments to take scale advantages. Amongst the energy-intensive industries to be set up within the corridor are at least two aluminium smelters.

Sarawak Energy Bhd, Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) and Rio Tinto Aluminium Ltd inked a RM 5.25 billion deal for the supply of 1100MW of energy. Other deals signed included:
  • Sarawak Energy and Press Metal Bhd for the supply of 510MW worth RM 2.5 billion
  • Sarawak Energy and Sime Darby Bhd for 2,400MW from Bakun and undersea transmission line worth RM 22.5 billion
  • Sarawak Energy and Tenaga Nasional Bhd to analyse energy options, develop coal potentials and infrastructure worth RM 50 billion
  • Konsortium Galdasar Sdn Bhd and Yuh Yow Fisheries Taiwan for a 800ha aquaculture project worth RM 100 million
  • Konsortium Galdasar and Shei Chui Oceanic Enterprise Taiwan for shipbuilding worth RM 40 million
  • Bintulu Development Authority and Zinc Ox Resources England for zinc electro refinery plant worth US$350million
  • Sarawak Energy and a consortium of banks for RM 3 billion to RM 20 billion in financial deals
  • CMS and Rio Tinto on training for its aluminium smelter
  • CMS and Rio Tinto and Aluminium Pechinery for the supply of technology to Salco aluminium smelter
  • CMS, MMC Corp Bhd and Pan Kingdom Investment Co for financial deals worth US $1.5 billion
In terms of area of coverage and monetary investment, the Sarawak regional development corridor has topped the other development corridors in the country. SCORE stretches alongside Sarawak's coast, and has a total area of hinterland measuring 70,000 sq km is expected to be developed, affecting more than 600,000 people.

According to the development blueprint, the core projects would involve the setting up of power generation plants to churn out at least 20,000MW of electricity.

High priority sectors have also been identified for development – petroleum, aluminium, metal production, glass production, tourism, palm oil plantations, livestock, fishing, timber plantations, aquaculture and marine engineering which includes ship-building and ports construction.

Sarawak is Malaysia's province on Borneo Island, one of the world's most biodiverse regions, home to unique tropical forest ecosystems (map, click to enlarge). It is to be expected that SCORE will, despite its name, run into major environmental problems. Mining, metal processing, aquaculture, forestry, and palm oil production are all heavy industries with a problematic environmental footprint. Bioenergy plantations located in this region may lead to deforestation, even if they are based on a crop like jatropha which thrives well in poor, semi-arid zones.

: Major vegetation types of Borneo. Map modified from WWF's "Borneo: Treasure Island at Risk" report. The map is based on Langner A. and Siegert F.: Assessment of Rainforest Ecosystems in Borneo using MODIS satellite imagery. Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH & GeoBio Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, in preparation, June 2005. Based on 57 single MODIS images dating from 11.2001 to 10.2002 with a spatial resolution of 250 m. Credit: Mongabay.

Bernama: Malaysian-Japan JV In RM1 Bln Biodiesel, Jatropha & Biogas Deal In Sarawak - February 12, 2008.

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy - website.

The Star: Sarawak corridor draws RM500bil - February 11, 2008.

The Star: SCORE set to make Sarawak a powerhouse of growth - February 12, 2008

TradingCharts: Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy to Help Reduce Poverty - February 11, 2008.


Blogger rufus said...

Okay, listen up. This is Important.

Is there any information about what they are going to do with the biomass that is cut down to plant the Plantations? Will this go into the power generation scheme?

9:28 PM  
Blogger Biopact team said...

No information on that, but it is not unlikely given that the practise of burning biomass during land clearing operations on Borneo has led to major problems in the past, causing serious protest, both in Malaysia and Singapore as well as from the environmental community (remember the yearly smoke pollution episodes, visible on satellite images, causing serious problems across the region).

The problem is that the utilisation of the biomass would require prior investments in infrastructures (roads, biomass densification/processing plants).

You know what, I will try to contact the companies in question and ask them. I will refer them to the Canadian company in Liberia that is in the process of establishing a bioenergy operation based on this new practise.


10:03 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Thanks, Jonas. In light of the recent Science (?) Magazine articles it would be good to be able to point to a "Proper" model going forward.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Jonas said...

Well, in fact I will see if I can connect with the Canadians in Liberia. The company is called Buchanan Renewable Energies, and it would be nice to get more details about their approach.

Will see if I can get an interview or some documentation from them.


12:48 AM  

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