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    Technip has been awarded by KNM Process Systems Sdn Bhd a contract to provide assistance in the detailed engineering of the fatty acids methyl ester transesterification unit for a biodiesel production plant to be located at the port of Kuantan, Malaysia. This project will be executed by Mission Biofuel Sdn Bhd (investor), KNM (contractor) and Axens (licensor). The unit will produce 250,000 tons of biodiesel per year from palm oil. It is scheduled to go into production in the third quarter of 2008. Technip - March 4, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

    Tasmania's first specialty biodiesel plant has been approved, to start operating as early as July. The Macquarie Oil Company will spend half a million dollars on a specially designed facility in Cressy, in Tasmania's Northern Midlands. The plant will produce more than five million litres of fuel each year for the transport and marine industries. A unique blend of feed stock, including poppy seed, is expected to make it more viable than most operations. ABC Rural - February 25, 2008.

    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, 2008.

    '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, 2008.

    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, 2008.

    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, 2008.

    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, 2008.

    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, 2008.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Petrobras creates biofuels subsidiary; to invest $1.5 billion

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, announced it will create a wholly-owned subsidiary to concentrate its biofuel activities. These activities are currently spread among several company divisions and subsidiaries, rendering management more difficult. The company estimates to invest $1.5 billion in biofuel activities by 2012.

The new unit will deal with the company's ethanol (CBios) and biodiesel production, and coordinate future biofuel investments. The purpose of this incorporation is to coordinate all productive chain activities in Brazil and abroad.

The sale and logistics of ethanol and biodiesel, however, will continue at Petrobras' downstream unit.

Petrobras in its last strategic plan said it aims at becoming the leader of biodiesel production in Brazil, widen its ethanol business, and act in biofuel sales and logistics on a global level.

Its Strategic Plan (previous post) calls for global performance, includes the construction of 20 new biorefineries and will see an investment of approximately $1.5 billion by 2012.


In a different but related development, a survey carried out by Management & Excellence (M&E) acknowledged Petrobras as the world's most sustainable oil company. Ranked first, scoring 92.25%, the company is seen as the global reference in ethics and sustainability. The analysis took 387 international indicators into account, among which reduced pollutant emissions and fewer oil leaks, lower energy consumption, and a transparent vendor service system:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The ranking's criterion consider adjustments made to international standards, such as those set forth by the International Labor Organization (ILO), by the UN's Global Compact, and by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Furthermore, the study also takes being listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, in addition to the company's Social and Environmental Balance being presented pursuant to guidance provided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) into account.

The sustainability analysis did not take into account Petrobras' biofuel activities. But, being a government-owned company, it has followed plans set forth by the policy makers of the Lula government. As such it has participated in a large program to help poor farmers in the country's arid Nordeste state to cultivate oil-seed crops for the production of biodiesel.

Brazil's Pro-Biodiesel program contains a set of tax incentives granted to companies who source their feedstock from the small, family run farms registered under the "Social Fuel Seal" policy. If they source oil from these poor farmers - who are supported by agricultural experts - biodiesel producers receive the "social sustainability" stamp.

Around 60,000 of Brazil's poorest rural families now benefit directly from the program, which has succeeded in attracting biodiesel companies.

Agência Petrobras de Notícias: Petrobras will have a biofuel company - March 3, 2008.

Agência Petrobras de Notícias: Petrobras is the most sustainable oil company - March 5, 2008.

Biopact: Petrobras announces strategic plan for 2020, expands biofuels activities globally - August 16, 2007


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