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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

Wales outlines Renewable Energy Route Map: bioenergy, marine, wind power can meet all electricity needs by 2025

An important step on the path to making Wales a low carbon energy economy was taken today when the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson launched the Renewable Energy Route Map. The route map sets out an ambitious programme aimed at transforming the way Wales produces and uses energy as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to tackling climate change.

Policy makers believe that with Wales’ coastline, geography and climate, it is quite feasible for the nation within 20 years to produce more electricity from renewables than it consumes as a nation.

With sufficient innovation and investment, the right Government framework and public support, Wales could produce some 33TWhr per year of electricity (its current consumption is around 24 TWhr) from renewable sources. The potential for 2025 looks as follows:
  • marine power (wave, tidal stream, tidal range): up to 14TWh of electricity
  • wind (both on and offshore): up to 10 TWh of electricity
  • bioenergy from biomass and waste: 7.7 TWh of electricity and 2.4 TWh of heat
If Wales were to achieve this, then not only could its electricity needs be met entirely from low carbon energy sources but it would also contribute significantly to the UK’s energy security objectives.

The map sets out specific actions on how Wales can meet the renewable electricity self-sufficiency objective, how biomass resources could be used for significant renewable heat production, and how the nation can support challenging energy efficiency and small-scale micro-generation ambitions.

Renewable resources

Wales' marine energy resources can be split into 3 components: wave-power, tidal stream and tidal range. The tidal range is better known as barrage and lagoon projects. The Assembly Government has started down this path with financial support for early stage wave and tidal stream projects.

Possible actions include:
  • support opportunities for and encourage marine feasibility studies and research
  • examine whether EU Convergence Funds could be used to run a competition to identify the best tidal lagoon site in Wales and support the preparatory phases of constructing perhaps the world’s first tidal-energy lagoon
  • develop a Wales marine energy action plan to take forward all the marine proposals

It is estimated that up to 14TWhr per annum of renewable energy could be produced from Wales' marine resources by 2025 - allocating a notional half the output of any major Severn barrage to Wales and half to the south west of England (table, click to enlarge).

Wales has shown the way with its TAN8 renewables planning guidance, for large on shore wind farms. Offshore, Wales already has the North Hoyle wind-farm off Prestatyn and other major projects are at various stages of development (map shows current wind projects).

Possible actions under the Renewable Energy Route Map include:
  • continue to pursue the proposals in Tan 8 and monitor the uptake of wind farm sites before a further review starts in the light of this and other consultations
  • develop with partners a strategic bid for a Convergence Fund project aimed at delivering a series of community scale wind energy generation projects across the eligible area
  • support UK work on a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for offshore wind generation in English and Welsh territorial waters.

If all potential projects were to go ahead in full, wind-farms within the TAN 8 strategic search areas could produce up to 2500MW of capacity: three times the existing TAN 8 indicative target for 2010. This could create almost 7TWhr per annum from onshore wind by 2015 – almost a third of Wales’ current electricity demand. Major new offshore wind projects could add at least another 3 TWhr annually (table, click to enlarge).

Biomass and energy from waste
Biomass-energy involves the use the forestry products and energy crops from land and in some cases wastes either directly converted into energy (dedicated biomass power plants, co-firing), or through bio-refining into other materials to produce electricity, heat or transport fuels-either separately or in combination (map shows current biomass projects in Wales).
Possible actions include:
  • support the development of community heat and power units under a new wood energy business scheme- which could be funded through EU Structural Fund programmes;
  • ask designers and contractors to use biomass-energy plants where possible in the development of residential and commercial properties on Assembly Government owned land;
  • provide advice through the newly formed Sustainable Energy Network on opportunities for community heat and power schemes across Wales;
  • encourage all other public sector bodies to support biomass energy developments, where possible through long term feedstock purchase contracts which give growers the confidence to make the necessary investments;
  • consider the scope for requiring biomass combined heat and power for larger-scale developments
  • support larger scale biomass projects where the fuel source is demonstrably sustainable
  • support the development of community heat and power units under a new wood energy business scheme which could be funded through EU Structural Fund programmes
  • publish for consultation a biomass energy strategy/action plan which fully explores these complexities for Wales
  • explore how the new Better Woodlands for Wales grant scheme could be more closely targeted or arrangements made to encourage cooperative action on the part of groups of farmers to identify and source biomass material for specific initiatives
  • examine skills needs with the Sector Skills Councils, to ensure an effective micro-generation equipment supply and fitting sector.
  • produce a ‘best-practice’ design guide for new waste management facilities with exemplar facilities illustrating to developers and local authorities what can be achieved

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

An interim analysis indicates that biomass (both indigenous and imported) might annually generate some 4 to 7TWhr pa of electricity and about 1.5TWh pa of heat (table, click to enlarge) and that a policy which gives highest priority ‘ to local biomass for local energy production’ is likely to meet most sustainable development objectives. This might be achieved by 2015, especially if public sector projects can be used as exemplars as soon as possible.

Examples of the potential for ‘energy from waste’ are set out in the table above (click to enlarge).

Energy efficiency, micro-generation and distributed generation

Energy Efficiency
Wales wants to ensure that all new buildings are built to the highest possible low carbon standards. Higher standards through devolved Building Regulations would be aimed at delivering the aspiration for all new buildings to be zero carbon by 2011.

The Assembly Government also commits to expanding services available through the new Sustainable Energy Network as well as encouraging rapid progress with smart meter installations and take up of support from energy suppliers under the new carbon emissions reduction target, CERT initiative.

Possible actions include:

-issue planning guidance to make micro generation easier to install – in particular for:
  • Roof mounted solar heat and solar (photo-voltaic) electric panels
  • Ground, water and air source powered heat pumps
  • Building mounted micro-wind electricity turbines or stand alone small wind turbines
-encourage a fair price from utilities for the ‘export’ of locally produced electricity onto the grid
-biomass electricity or heat generating units, especially for larger properties or community projects
-increasingly build micro-generation into our locally funded programmes, as part of the commitment to zero carbon buildings
-under its green jobs strategy, building on Wales’ already substantial solar photovoltaic industry to be an effective champion for this highly promising technology
-increase the role of renewable/alternative energy solutions under the Home Energy Efficiency Service.

Distributed generation

Possible actions include:
  • support community-sized wind, biomass and hydroelectric schemes through the provision of grants through the climate change framework of the EU Convergence Funds programme
  • guide businesses interested in generating their own renewable energy
  • explore the scope for a CHP scheme for the Cathays Park area of Cardiff where the main Assembly Government office is located
  • explore the scope for developing energy supply companies (ESCo) in Wales that could support off-grid developments and innovative energy efficiency packages.


Welsh Assembly Government: Route to low carbon future for Wales mapped out by Jane Davidson - February 19, 2008.

Welsh Assembly Government: Renewable Energy Route Map for Wales: consultation on way forward to a leaner, greener and cleaner Wales [*.pdf], February 2008.

Welsh Assembly Government: A Guide to the New Renewable Energy Route Map for Wales
Consultation on the way forward to a leaner, greener and cleaner Wales
[*.pdf], February 2008.


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