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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 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.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UK approves 65MW biomass power plant - to power 100,000 homes

Energy Minster Malcolm Wicks announced today the British government has approved Helius Energy's plan to build a 65MW energy crop and wood-burning power station in Lincolnshire. Initially waste wood will be used as fuel, with energy crops and waste from a biodiesel and ethanol factory - for which planning permission has been granted as well - being future feedstocks. The US$390.5 million biomass plant is one of a growing number of large-scale bioenergy projects in the UK.

The power station is the first phase of an integrated bioenergy development on a 36 hectare site 4km from the port of Immingham. It will produce enough renewable electricity for around 100,000 homes; most of North East Lincolnshire. The plant will save approximately 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year compared with a similarly sized coal-fired power station. Options to use the heat produced by the plant either on site or locally are also being considered.
Not only does [the plant] help tackle climate change and increase secure supplies of energy, but the building and running of this biomass plant will also provide jobs in Lincolnshire. This announcement takes us closer to achieving our proposed renewable energy targets. We have doubled the amount of renewable electricity to 5% over the last few years and later this month we will be launching our consultation on how we can drive this forward even further. - British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks
Construction of Phase I, the biomass energy plant, costing circa £200 (€251.8/US$390.5) million, is expected to start later this year and to be operational by 2011. The biomass power plant will require around 430,000 tonnes of sustainably sourced feedstock each year. The power station will initially be fuelled by waste wood, specially grown crops and the leftovers from timber processing activities sourced from the UK and Europe:
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The biomass power station is expected to provide approximately 267 full time jobs during the construction phase and 75 permanent full time jobs working a shift pattern when the plant is running.

Planning permission has also been granted to build an additional biomass processing facility and bioethanol and biodiesel refinery. The intention is that spent grains from the bioethanol plant and glycerol from the biodiesel plant will eventually be used as the fuel feedstock for the power station.

The development will also include an area of approximately 20 hectares specifically set aside as a conservation area for birds and water voles.

Helius Energy is also developing a range of smaller scale (5 to 10 MW) combined heat-and-power biomass plants, coupled to food processing facilities.

The United Kingdom is lagging behind most of Europe when it comes to renewables, especially bioenergy, which is used on a large scale on the continent. However, several biomass power plants have been approved and are in various phases of construction or have been completed.

Late last year, the UK approved the construction of the world's biggest biomass plant in Port Talbot. The 350MW facility will power half of all homes in Wales and supply electricity for approximately 1.5 million people in a renewable and carbon-neutral way. When completed, the plant will produce about 70% of the Welsh Assembly Government's entire 2010 renewable energy target. This makes it Wales' single strongest weapon in the fight against climate change.

Renewable energy company Eco2 Biomass recently submitted a planning application to the North Kesteven District Council in Linconlshire to develop a new 40 MW straw fired renewable energy plant near the town of Sleaford.

E.ON's Steven's Croft biomass power station in Scotland, which is already operational, utilizes dedicated energy crops like fast growing willow. It powers 70,000 homes.

Another 25 MW plant is planned by E.ON in Sheffield. It will generate electricity for 40,000 homes and uses as fuel a combination of recycled wood and specially grown energy crops such as willow or tropical elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum).

Last year, Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) officially opened the UK's first large scale biomass power plant. The 30MW station is the first to produce renewable energy using naturally sustainable biomass without any input of fossil fuels. The plant, located at the Wilton International manufacturing site in Teesside in the Northeast of England, powers around 30,000 households.

Besides dedicated biomass power plants, several of the UK's coal-fired power stations have begun co-firing biomass, reducing their carbon emissions gradually (previous post).


Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR): Biomass power station to be built in Lincolnshire - June 16, 2008.

Helius Energy: Consent Granted for North East Biomass Power Plant - June 16, 2008.

Biopact: UK approves world's biggest (350MW) biomass plant: will power half of all homes in Wales - November 21, 2007

Biopact: Eco2 Biomass to build 40MW biomass power plant in the UK - November 16, 2007

Biopact: UK's largest biomass plant approved, biomass task force created - June 16, 2007

Biopact: E.ON UK submits application for 25MW biomass plant - July 20, 2007

Biopact: UK opens first large scale 30MW biomass power station - November 13, 2007


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