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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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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

USDA and DOE to invest up to $18.4 million for 21 biomass RD&D projects: heat, power, biofuels and bioproducts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that combined, USDA and DOE will invest up to $18.4 million, over three years, for 21 biomass research and development (R&D), and demonstration projects that will contribute to creating the bioeconomy. These projects specifically aim to address critical barriers to making production of biomass based products - electricity, heat, biofuels and bio-based products - more efficient and cost-effective.

The projects were announced today at the opening of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008). They are integral to furthering the Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to change the way in which the U.S. powers its cars, homes and business by increasing energy efficiency and diversifying energy sources in effort to increase energy, economic and national security.

Funding for these projects will be provided through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), a joint USDA-DOE effort established in 2000 to develop the next generation of clean, bio-based technologies. The BRDI's Technical and Scientific Committee recently released its Roadmap for Bioenergy and Biobased Products in the United States [*.pdf].

The following entities have been selected as grant recipients:

Research & Development projects
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (NJ) – up to $971,799: Grant Purpose: To develop a U.S. native grass breeding consortium to identify regional optimum biomass productivity on marginal lands and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. regions.

Agrivida, Inc. (MA) - up to $982,589: Grant Purpose: To study altered plant compositions for improved biofuel production. This will include analysis of rice straw, sorghum, and switchgrass performance in specific U.S. regions (Agrivida is a key player in third generation biofuel crops).

University of Florida (FL) - up to $866,576: Grant Purpose: To address genetic engineering of sugarcane for increased fermentable sugar yield from hemicellulosic biomass in Florida.

Ceres, Inc. (CA) - up to $839,909: Grant Purpose: To identify and characterize plant genes involved in biosynthesis and deposition of cellulose and hemicellulose in plant cell walls, with a focus on switchgrass throughout the U.S.

Ceres, Inc. (CA) - up to $883,290: Grant Purpose: To evaluate herbacious and woody crops for use in thermochemical processing, specifically examining willow and switchgrass species grown throughout a wide range of geographies in the U.S.

Regents of the University of Colorado (CO) - up to $1,000,000: Grant Purpose: To develop rapid solar-thermal chemical reactor systems for conversion of biomass to synthesis gas.

North Carolina State University (NC) - up to $999,889: Grant Purpose: To develop advanced technology for low-cost ethanol from engineered cellulosic biomass.

Regents of the University of Minnesota (MN) - up to $975,676: Grant Purpose: To develop a microwave-assisted pyrolysis system for conversion of cellulosic biomass to bio-oils.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Regents of the University of Minnesota (MN) - up to $715,340: Grant Purpose: To develop pathways to achieving U.S. bioenergy policy goals, develop economic costs and environmental impacts, and identify potential technological bottlenecks.

Regents of the University of Minnesota (MN) - up to $576,368: Grant Purpose: To research and analyze lignin as a facilitator during saccharification by brown rot fungi.

University of Kentucky Research Foundation (KY) - up to $999,964: Grant Purpose: To develop advanced ceramic materials for the separation and recovery of high-value pentose derivatives from cellulosic biomass using molecular imprinting.

Battelle Memorial Institute, on behalf of DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (WA) - up to $1,000,000: Grant Purpose: To address catalytic conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals using ionic liquids.

Packer Engineering (IL) - up to $1,000,000: Grant Purpose: To research and develop on-farm conversion of biomass to synthetic gas, combined heat and electric power, and fertilizer.

Kansas State University (KS) - up to $690,000: Grant Purpose: To demonstrate pelletizing forage crops and perennial grasses in the field to increase cellulosic ethanol production.

The University of Akron (OH) - up to $743,904: Grant Purpose: To research and develop supercritical methods for biorefinery of rubber-bearing guayule biomass.

Purdue University (IN) - up to $1,000,000: Grant Purpose: To develop a low-cost, high-yield process for direct production of high energy density liquid fuel from biomass. Synergistic use of solar hydrogen with biomass will be explored.

Iowa State University (IA) - up to $944,899: Grant Purpose: To develop catalytic production of ethanol from biomass-derived synthesis gas.

Cornell University (NY) - up to $998,943: Grant Purpose: To develop more effective enzymatic conversion processes through nano-scale elucidation of molecular mechanisms and kinetic modeling.

GE Global Research (NY) - up to $820,035: Grant Purpose: To integrate biomass gasification with catalytic partial oxidation for tar conversion.

Demonstration projects
Texas Engineering Experimental Station (TX) - up to $600,000: Grant Purpose: To provide a demonstration of commercial feasibility of anaerobic fermentation of biomass for the production of carboxylate salts and their conversion to keytones.

Washington State University (WA) - up to $839,909: Grant Purpose: To provide product diversification strategies for a new generation of biofuels and bio-products.

Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of 20 percent matching funds for R&D projects, and 50 percent matching funds for demonstration projects. Of the $18,449,089 announced today, USDA will provide up to $13,225,554, and DOE will provide up to $5,223,535 (Fiscal Years 2007-2009). Grants are subject to negotiation and will begin immediately, and funding is subject to appropriations from Congress.

Secretaries Ed Schafer (USDA) and Samuel Bodman (US DOE) made today’s announcement while delivering remarks at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008 (WIREC).The funding announcement was made at WIREC 2008, held in Washington this week, which aims to garner broad, high-level international support for developing and deploying clean, renewable energy technologies as a key mechanism for increasing energy security, mitigating climate change, improving air quality and promoting sustainable development. In addition to raising political support for, and public awareness of the importance of renewable energy, WIREC also includes broad market opportunities for agricultural producers in the rural sector worldwide. WIREC 2008 is the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy, following events in Beijing in 2005 and Bonn in 2004.


USDA/DOE: Biomass Research and Development Initiative

Advanced Energy Initiative.

BRDI: Roadmap for Bioenergy and Biobased Products in the United States [*.pdf] - October 2007.


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