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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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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Aspiravi and Spano build 26MWe biomass power plant in Belgium - advanced circulating fluidized-bed

Renewable energy company Aspiravi NV and wood products manufacturer Spano NV have formed A&S Energie, a partnership that will begin to build a 26MWe biomass power plant in Oostrozebeke, Belgium, next month. Foster Wheeler's Finnish subsidiary Foster Wheeler Energia Oy has been awarded the contract by Prokon Nord Energiesysteme GmbH - which will engineer and construct the plant - for the advanced circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generator that will form the core of the power system.

The €90 million (US$141m) project will be located near the Roeselare-Leie canal which will make it easy to efficiently transport the estimated 170,000 tons of uncrecyclable wood waste that will be used as fuel each year.

The facility's net production will be 175GWh of green electricity per year, enough to meet the needs of 50,000 families. Part of the electricity will be utilized by Spano, but the bulk produced will be sold to the local grid.

The decision by the companies to build a medium-scale green energy plant is seen as courageous, given the fact that Belgium's energy market is not as free as some would want it to be. The market is basically controlled by the monopoly of giant Electrabel, the formerly state-owned utility, which sells electricity generated by nuclear power plants it acquired virtually for free after it was privatized.

The new power plant's fuel will be burned in a highly efficient and advanced circulating fluidized-bed (CBF) that allows for clean combustion. Spano NV, a large manufacturer of wood products, will be responsible for the supply of non-recyclable wood residue to be used as fuel. The fuel will be obtained after meeting the requirements of 'Lansink's ladder', a set of hierarchically ordered steps formally used to determine waste management options. The wood waste goes through a cascade of recycling possibilities, and only that fraction that can no longer be re-used will become feedstock for energy. Highly efficient energy production is preferred over landfill:
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The biomass power plant makes Spano NV an entirely carbon-neutral company. For Aspiravi NV the facility means an important diversification of its renewable energy portfolio, which currently consists of 22 combined heat and power (CHP) projects, 4 biogas facilities, 55 wind turbines and 2 hydropower plants.

For Foster Wheeler, the contract means the confirmation of its strength in engineering advanced boilers. This will be the fourth CFB steam generator the company has provided to Prokon Nord in the past five years. Foster Wheeler CFBs are currently operating in Prokon Nord projects in the German cities of Papenburg, Hamburg and Emlichheim. Prokon Nord is a leading German renewables engineering company with a large portfolio of biomass CHP, wind and geothermal projects.

With a share of 55%, biomass is the most widely used form of renewable energy in Belgium. The country has an obligation to meet its renewable energy targets set out by the EU: 6% of all electricity and heat should come from renewables by 2010. Even though this puts Belgium in the group of countries with a low target, the country needs to invest more into the sector, which currently only has a share of 2.5% in the energy portfolio.

Aspiravi NV: Aspiravi en Spano bouwen biokracht-centrale in Oostrozebeke - July 24, 2008.

Foster Wheeler: Foster Wheeler Awarded Contract for Biomass CFB Steam Generator in Belgium - July 24, 2008.


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