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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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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Virgin in historic biofuel flight: babassu and coconut oil fuel, produced by cooperative of small farmers

A historic flight took off from London to Amsterdam today: a jumbo-jet testing one engine with biofuel made from babassu and coconut oil. The flight demonstrated that biofuels can power commercial passenger jets. It also shows the world's poor - 75 percent of who are farmers - can begin to hope to get out of poverty, as the expanding biofuel markets now offer major opportunities for their development.

The biofuel tested in Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 747, based on babassu palm nut oil, was obtained from cooperatives in Brazil who make a living from the extraction. The father of Brazil's bio-jet fuel, Expedito Parente, with who Boeing and Virgin have collaborated, has meanwhile launched a major initiative to alleviate poverty amongst Brazilian forest communities, based on harvesting the babassu palm which grows in the wild on 18 million hectares (previous post).

Science shows there is a very large potential for the production of sustainable biofuels that reduce emissions. There are vast stretches of unused, low value, non-forest land, especially in developing countries. This land base is estimated to be around 1.5 billion hectares. The biofuel potential based on this is estimated to be around 1550Ej by 2050, more than 6 times the world's current total oil consumption. This amount can be met while securing all food, fiber, forest products and fodder needs of growing populations, and without deforestation.

The addition of the aviation sector means that all transport sectors can now be serviced by biofuels. A major market that can benefit the planet and the world's poor now opens. Food and agriculture experts say biofuels can boost food security amongst the world's poor, because rural populations will obtain additional income and much needed investments in land and rural development will at last be made (previous post).

The Virgin Atlantic Boeing Co. 747-400, which took off from London and landed at Amsterdam, had one unmodified engine running on a mixture of about 25 percent biofuel and the rest standard jet kerosene, Branson said today at a Heathrow airport news conference.

The flight, without passengers, is part of a joint project between the London-based airline, Boeing and enginemaker General Electric Co. Airlines and aircraft makers are racing to develop a viable alternative to jet fuel as the price of oil rises and aviation is increasingly blamed for contributing to global warming.

The information gleaned from today's test flight will be evaluated by Virgin, Boeing and GE. After the flight, Chicago- based Boeing will ask other carriers to do tests, which may lead to biofuel-powered commercial flights within five years, according to Billy Glover, Virgin's environment director:
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Virgin and GE tested a number of different biofuels produced by Seattle-based Imperium Renewables Inc. before choosing coconut and babassu because they were suitable in initial tests and won't compete with staple food supplies or cause deforestation, the airline said. Babassu nuts are harvested from palms by local workers from the Amazonian rainforest.

Biofuels are not a panacea, there are a whole load of issues, said John Strickland, director of London-based aviation specialist JLS Consulting. Some have the issue of substituting food crops and they don't necessarily produce enough, in terms of volume, to replace kerosene.

Today's flight was approved by the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority. The plane used the biofuel in only one engine, with a separate tank. The aircraft will now go into maintenance and the engine will be examined.

The plane landed at Amsterdam Schiphol airport after reaching a planned maximum altitude of 25,000 feet, Virgin said today. No other details about the flight were released.

Fuel accounts for 30 to 50 percent of airlines' operating costs, and aviation contributes about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. That's expected to rise to 3 percent by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

More details about this historic flight will be posted when available.


Bloomberg: Virgin Flies 747 on Biofuel From Coconuts, Babassu - February 24, 2008.

Reuters: Amazon nuts help power first biofuel airline flight - February 24, 2008.

Biopact: Father of bio-jet fuel launches biofuel cooperatives in Brazil to reduce poverty - May 25, 2007


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