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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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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Norway and Saudi Arabia want carbon storage into the CDM; focus on biomass would end controversy

Oil exporters Saudi Arabia and Norway will cooperate to get carbon capture and storage (CCS) recognized under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which offers a way for rich countries to offset their emissions. Some environmentalists are opposed to this idea because they say it takes away attention from the development of renewable energy resources. Nothing is further from the truth, because CCS can be coupled to biomass.

The antagonistic debate over CCS is unnecessary because when the technology is applied to bioenergy instead of fossil fuels, the most radically green energy system emerges, namely one that actively removes CO2 from the atmosphere and thus fights climate change like no other technology.

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECS) results in "negative emissions", that is, it goes beyond being merely "carbon-neutral" (as are ordinary renewables), but becomes carbon-negative instead: it takes emissions from the past out of the atmosphere.

In short, a focus on coupling biomass to CCS, would suddenly change the entire debate about the importance of CCS in the CDM. CCS + bioenergy offers the best of both worlds: it puts our historic CO2 emissions back into the ground and utilises existing infrastructures to do so. The carbon capture and storage technologies being developed in the fossil fuel industry, can be readily applied to existing biomass power plants; more feasible is for coal plants to co-fire biomass and then make a full switch, and for gas plants to increasingly utilize biomethane. Especially in the rapidly developing world - China, India - coupling biomass to CCS would be a highly elegant way to lower emissions there - and inclusion in the CDM would speed up the implementation of the technology.

Environmentalists who take climate change serious should be interested in this future option, because it can help cool the planet like no other technology. Researchers from the Abrupt Climate Change Strategy group have calculated that, if implemented on a global scale, BECS systems can take us back in time and reduce atmospheric CO2 levels to pre-industrial levels by mid-century. In short, we can whipe out our dirty past while generating energy in the process... In this sense, bio-energy with carbon storage is the strongest weapon in the climate battle.

The difference between ordinary renewables and BECS is radical: whereas solar PV, wind, nuclear, non-CCS biomass, or hydropower all yield lifecycle emissions of plus 10 to 100 tons of CO2eq per GWh, biomass coupled to CCS yields up to minus 1000 tons (see references below). The more carbon-negative bioenergy we were to use, the faster we solve the climate crisis. What's more, only biomass based systems can become carbon-negative, all other energy concepts perpetually remain carbon neutral at best, slightly carbon positive in practise.

Now consider the difference between CCS coupled to fossil fuels versus biomass, and what it would mean for carbon credits if the concept were to be included under the CDM. A coal plant can reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 650 tons per GWh (from +850 tons to around 200 tons). The plant would receive carbon credits from the reduction. But a biomass power plant, generating energy from renewable fuel that is carbon neutral from the start, would cash in twice: it not only reduces emissions by replacing fossil fuels, it also actively removes up to 1000 tons of CO2 per GWh from the atmosphere. Clearly, biomass + CCS would be highly attractive as a way to obtain carbon credits.

For this reason, Biopact tracks and supports developments in CCS, including attempts to get the concept under the CDM, which is what Norway and Saudi Arabia seem to be pushing for. Our motto in this respect is: everything the fossil fuel industry does, can and will be used against it in the most radical way, by biomass.

According to Dagens Naeringsliv, Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Aaslaug Haga has asked for Saudi Arabia's support for CCS in meetings in Riyadh on Sunday with Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.

"Both Saudi Arabia and Norway are concerned about the environment and want to reduce emissions with all possible means. CO2 capture and storage is an excellent way to reduce emissions," al-Naimi said. Haga told the newspaper: "We had very, very useful discussions. I am delighted about the effort that Saudi Arabia will make in this area."

How CCS can be included under the CDM remains up for discussion, but as long as stakeholders do not see the opportunity to couple CCS to biomass, the debate will remain antagonistic - unnecessarily so:
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A U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December postponed a decision on inclusion in the CDM scheme pending further talks this year to clarify safety, legal and commercial viability issues.

An often heard critique against CCS - also expressed in Bali - is the issue of leakage and safety. Well, again, biomass offers a way out. If CO2 obtained from fossil fuels were to leak from its storage site, a serious problem would emerge since the CO2 gets added to the atmosphere. But in the case of biomass the CO2 would be biogenic in nature, and so in case of leakage there would be no new emissions (because the fuel from which the CO2 comes is carbon neutral).

Norway's Deputy Oil Minister Liv Monica said that in any case Norway wants "to get as many countries as possible with us to lobby for this. One part of the cooperation on climate is that Saudi Arabia and Norway want carbon capture and storage to be approved for carbon credits."

The Norwegian government is promoting CCS projects at gas-fired power plants at the Mongstad refinery and the Kaarstoe gas-processing and export plant on Norway's west coast.

Norway's oil and gas company StatoilHydro has been burying carbon dioxide from the natural gas stream below the seabed at its Sleipner field in the North Sea since 1996.

If CCS were accepted within the CDM, it would help create a global market for the technology, although offset schemes on their own would be unlikely to provide sufficient incentives.

Norwegian companies developing CCS, including industrial group Aker ASA and engineering group Aker Kvaerner, have pinned hopes on the emergence of a market. Aker Kvaerner has already developed a carbon capturing technique specially designed for implementation in biogenic CO2 streams (more here).

Aker predicted in January that building CCS plants could become a $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion per year business as important globally as the construction of oil platforms (previous post).

Reuters: Saudi, Norway back carbon capture for CDM: paper - February 18, 2008.

Biopact: Carbon-negative bioenergy recognized as Norwegian CO2 actors join forces to develop carbon capture technologies - October 24, 2007

Scientific literature on negative emissions from biomass:
H. Audus and P. Freund, "Climate Change Mitigation by Biomass Gasificiation Combined with CO2 Capture and Storage", IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme.

James S. Rhodesa and David W. Keithb, "Engineering economic analysis of biomass IGCC with carbon capture and storage", Biomass and Bioenergy, Volume 29, Issue 6, December 2005, Pages 440-450.

Noim Uddin and Leonardo Barreto, "Biomass-fired cogeneration systems with CO2 capture and storage", Renewable Energy, Volume 32, Issue 6, May 2007, Pages 1006-1019, doi:10.1016/j.renene.2006.04.009

Christian Azar, Kristian Lindgren, Eric Larson and Kenneth Möllersten, "Carbon Capture and Storage From Fossil Fuels and Biomass – Costs and Potential Role in Stabilizing the Atmosphere", Climatic Change, Volume 74, Numbers 1-3 / January, 2006, DOI 10.1007/s10584-005-3484-7

Further reading on negative emissions bioenergy and biofuels:
Peter Read and Jonathan Lermit, "Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage (BECS): a Sequential Decision Approach to the threat of Abrupt Climate Change", Energy, Volume 30, Issue 14, November 2005, Pages 2654-2671.

Stefan Grönkvist, Kenneth Möllersten, Kim Pingoud, "Equal Opportunity for Biomass in Greenhouse Gas Accounting of CO2 Capture and Storage: A Step Towards More Cost-Effective Climate Change Mitigation Regimes", Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Volume 11, Numbers 5-6 / September, 2006, DOI 10.1007/s11027-006-9034-9

Biopact: Commission supports carbon capture & storage - negative emissions from bioenergy on the horizon - January 23, 2008

Biopact: The strange world of carbon-negative bioenergy: the more you drive your car, the more you tackle climate change - October 29, 2007

Biopact: "A closer look at the revolutionary coal+biomass-to-liquids with carbon storage project" - September 13, 2007

Biopact: New plastic-based, nano-engineered CO2 capturing membrane developed - September 19, 2007

Biopact: Plastic membrane to bring down cost of carbon capture - August 15, 2007

Biopact: Pre-combustion CO2 capture from biogas - the way forward? - March 31, 2007

Biopact: Towards carbon-negative biofuels: US DOE awards $66.7 million for large-scale CO2 capture and storage from ethanol plant - December 19, 2007

Biopact: EU launches DECARBit project to research advanced pre-combustion CO2 capture from power plants - November 21, 2007


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