Sunday, December 5, 2010

China Adding 500 Gigawatts of Renewable Powers by 2020!

On the same day that Senate Republicans filibustered a vote for renewable energy in the USA, by contrast – China has just published an astoundingly ambitious and exciting renewable energy plan for the next ten years.
China’s plan is to get a total of 500 Gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020. It explodes wind power from a mere 25 GW on the grid now, to a staggering 150 GW, a six-fold increase on the previous already ambitious plan.

Liquid fuels would get a boost. The plan would grow ethanol production from 2 million tons to 10 million tons, to expand biodiesel from 0.05 million tons to 2 million tons, biomass pellets for heating, from under a million tons to 50 million tons, and biogas and biomass gasification from 8 billion cubic meters to 44 billion cubic meters.

China is already the world leader in solar thermal hot water heaters for rooftops. The solar hot water goal is to have 300 million square meters of solar hot water collectors, up from 100 million in 2006.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tidal power: an update.

Compared to wind and solar, tidal power is still regarded as a renewable energy technology that remains unviable on a large scale. But throw together climate change, political will in the UK and the US, entrepreneurial enthusiasm and academic research - with some significant investment - and a new mood of optimism is starting to pervade the sector.

Tidal current power, sometimes called tidal stream power, is the process of converting the kinetic energy of the tide – whether in tidal rivers (think London's Thames or New York's East River), streams or ocean waters, into useable power in the form of electricity.

The process typically involves an underwater turbine, and a plethora of devices are being developed – some in rivers or streams and others offshore. While a few technologies are past the testing stage and now feeding the grid, no company in the world has actually reached the commercial stage, delivering “proven technology”.

Full Story

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rice husks help electrify India and fight poverty.

Half the population of the Indian state of Bihar lives below the poverty line, including, until now, having no access to any type of energy. "Empowering Bihar" is the title of a new Greenpeace India report showing how renewable energy, particularly biomass and solar, can promote social and economic development through a decentralised power generation system.

Husk Power Systems is the name of the initiative that supplies electricity to a population spread across 125 villages in Bihar. It is one of two projects that Greenpeace India recently unveiled to the press, outlined in the report “Empowering Bihar”. Both demonstrate the importance of decentralised renewable energy systems. The other project involves various solar installations at the Tripolia Social Service Hospital, an entity that performs an important role in medical and health care.

Gyanesh Pandey and Ratnesh Kumar, two young entrepreneurs, are the brains behind Husk Power Systems, which comprises a network of 35 small plants producing electricity from biomass gasification using rice husks. The electricity is then distributed through small networks to the 125 villages for at least six hours a day. Until now, these settlements had no electricity or only enjoyed very limited access (four hours maximum) at high costs because the power was generated using diesel and kerosene.

European union unveils new one trillion euro energy strategy.

The European Commission has sent an unprecedentedly clear warning to the EU member states that without strong new policy initiatives the EU's existing energy and climate strategy is unlikely to achieve the 2020 targets, and it is wholly inadequate to the longer term challenges concerning energy and climate-change objectives. To deal with this, the Commission is proposing to spend €1 trillion over the next decade on infrastructure, new technologies and electricity storage, as part of a new energy strategy to deliver on the EU's 2020 energy and climate goals.

'In the next decade, investment in energy, both to replace existing resources and in order to meet increasing energy requirements, will oblige European economies to arbitrate among energy products which, given the inertia of energy systems, will condition the next 30 years,' it says.

Read full article in

Global Biofuel Alliance formed.

The Global Biofuels Alliance has officially launched. The nonprofit organization will work to “give a voice to the producers, traders, feedstock providers, and equipment manufacturers of the emerging biofuel industry.” Made up of ten founding members from various energy sectors including energy trading companies, start-up biodiesel companies and large biodiesel production facilities, the alliance has already set its sights on the hottest topic in the biodiesel industry. “The biodiesel tax credit is a key agenda,” said Wade Randlett, a founding board member of the alliance and cofounder of Enagra Holdings LLC, a holding company for renewable energy projects worldwide. “Although it’s a bit broader than that. I think having some form of longer term incentive for any kind of a renewable diesel, regardless of the feedstock, the source or the technology is important.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Denmark 100% Fossil Fuel Free by 2050?

Following up on some great news regarding renewable energy targets and possibilities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Germany, Denmark also recently announced great potential for weening itself off fossil fuels.
A report by the Danish climate commission found Denmark could create an energy network completely free of fossil fuels by 2050 as a result of falling renewable energy costs combined with rising oil and gas costs.

The report predicts that biomass and wind energy could provide the majority of the country’s energy needs.
“The report will also send a very clear and important signal to other countries that wind is a sustainable source of energy for future development,” said Ditlev Engel, chief executive of Danish wind energy giant Vestas.

“This is a great opportunity to solidify Denmark’s reputation as a laboratory for green, CO2-free power technology solutions that are globally required.”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scotland to get 100 pct green energy by 2025. Reuters

(Reuters) - Scotland should produce enough renewable electricity to meet all its power demand by 2025, First Minister Alex Salmond said Tuesday.

"Scotland has unrivalled green energy resources and our new national target to generate 80 percent of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 will be exceeded by delivering current plans for wind, wave and tidal generation," Salmond said.

"I'm confident that by 2025 we will produce at least 100 percent of our electricity needs from renewables alone, and together with other sources it will enable us to become a net exporter of clean, green energy," he said a statement ahead of a renewable energy investment conference.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NREL Releases Biomass Mapping Application.

A mapping application shows where bio-energy facilities are located now and where more could be developed.
Published: September 28, 2010

Washington, DC, USA – With funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Blue Skyways Collaborative and DOE's Biomass Program, NREL has developed a cool new web portal that may lead to more bioenergy developments across the U.S.
The portal is a bioenergy mapping tool in which users can start with a blank map of the country. They can then overlay the map with biomass feedstocks to see where certain feedstocks can be harvested and then overlay that information with ethanol and biodiesel plants both active and idle, existing transportation infrastructure, power plants, fueling stations, refineries and more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Canada implements national RFS, allows open mandate for blenders. Ethanol Producer Magazine

By Kris Bevill

It’s been years in the making, but Canada’s first national renewable fuels standard (RFS) is finally in place. The mandate to require refiners to blend 5 percent renewable fuels into their gasoline supplies went into effect on Sept. 1 and was met with enthusiastic optimism from members of the nation’s ethanol industry, according to Canadian Renewable Fuels Association President Gordon Quaiattini. “This has been a long time coming and there’ve been some dedicated folks in the ethanol market in Canada who have waited a long time to see this national mandate come into force,” he said. “We’re no longer an industry in its infancy. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve achieved an adolescent stage and there’s more to come.”

Read Full Story

Thursday, September 23, 2010

State-by-State Report on Renewable Energy in the 50 US States.

15 September 2010

The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) has released a state-by-state report on renewable energy in the 50 US states.

Renewable Energy in America: Markets, Economic Development and Policy in the 50 States has been published as an online resource, compiling financial, renewable energy resource potentials, market and policy information in an online format.

Read Full Story

Monday, September 20, 2010

Microbial Breakthrough Impacts Health, Agriculture, Biofuels.

ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2010) — For the first time ever, University of Illinois researchers have discovered how microbes break down hemicellulose plant matter into simple sugars using a cow rumen bacterium as a model.

"This is ground-breaking research," said Isaac Cann, associate professor in the U of I Department of Animal Sciences and member of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in the Institute for Genomic Biology. "The implications are very broad, yet it all started with a simple rumen microbe. It's amazing how we can draw inferences to human health and nutrition, biofuel production and animal nutrition because of our new understanding of how a microbe works."

The cow rumen is an excellent model to study as it's one of the most efficient machines to deconstruct plant matter, Cann said. Microbes in the rumen break down plant matter into glucose and xylose to use as nutrients for fermentation and energy acquisition.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

World's top 15 electricity producers...

The world is already in the grip of a major power crisis. With the developing nations' appetite and demand for more energy, the situation is likely to get even worse if steps are not taken to find alternate and clean/green sources of energy.

Almost all natural resources that are used to generate power -- oil, gas, even water -- seem to have limited availability. Thus alternative sources of energy -- wind, nuclear, solar -- might be the way out for the developing as also the rich countries.

After the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, many nations pledged to reduce their carbon emissions. Developing countries, including India and China, believe it is the responsibility of wealthy industrialised nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States to cut more carbon emissions as they have already achieved a certain standard of living.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tips on Seeking a Renewable Energy Degree.

With jobseekers across the globe considering clean energy careers, how do they know where to begin?
Published: September 13, 2010
New Hampshire, USA -- September is back to school month for many in the U.S. and elsewhere. As one season fades into the next, it's time for new beginnings and fresh thinking. Change is in the air and for some that means thinking about a career in clean energy. 
Many analysts predict that by 2020 the global clean energy economy will top one trillion dollars. With that much money on the table, it’s no surprise that people all over the world are wondering how they might join this vibrant new field. And green jobs may be more lucrative, too. According to the Council of Economic Advisers, green jobs pay an average of 10 to 20% more than other jobs.

“Green expertise makes an excellent overlay on almost any existing career,” said Kristen Bacorn, a nationally recognized educator and LEED certified building expert.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hamilton: Green jet fuel takes flight.

By Tyler Hamilton
Energy and Technology Columnist

Could a unique microorganism found in the waters of Atlantic Canada represent the future of jet fuel production?
That’s what Halifax-based Ocean Nutrition Canada is hoping to find out as part of a four-year demonstration project funded by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
The company, which is the world’s largest supplier of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, has discovered a kind of super-algae that, according to experts, is dramatically more efficient at producing oil than other types of algae being used for biofuel production.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Methane Reduction from Cattle. EnvironmentalNewsNetwork (

From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published: September 9, 2010

Methane is a significant green house gas that can lead to global warming. It is also commonly produced by many animals including humans and cattle.

Cow belches, a major source of greenhouse gases, could be decreased by an unusual feed supplement developed by a Penn State dairy scientist. Belching (also known as burping) involves the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. It is usually accompanied with a typical sound and an odor.

Many other mammals, such as cattle, dogs, and sheep also burp. In the case of ruminants, the gas expelled is actually methane produced as a byproduct of the animal's digestive process. Anaerobic organisms such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and methanogenic archaea produce this effect. An average cow may emit between 542 liters and 600 liters (if in a field) of methane per day through burping, making commercially farmed cattle a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Student Biodiesel Initiative Begins.

US - The next generation of scientists in the US is gearing up to lead America's energy efforts with biodiesel at the forefront.
Student scientists from Dartmouth College to Oregon State University are leading a new Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel initiative. The group has formed to demonstrate and grow support for biodiesel among tomorrow's scientific leaders.

Lucas Ellis of Dartmouth, pursuing his Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering, is one of four co-chairs of the effort.

"In college there is an eagerness to become an advocate or have a cause, and mine was the environment, science and educating others about sustainability," Ellis said. "Biodiesel combined all of those and became my passion."

Cellulosic Ethanol—Biofuel Beyond Corn.

Fuel ethanol production in the US is expected to exceed 7.5 billion gallons before 2012, writes Nathan S. Mosier from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University.
This represents a doubling of ethanol production from 2004, which consumed approximately 10% of the corn produced in the U.S. in that year. Increased demands for domestically produced liquid fuel is increasing competition between animal feed and fuel production uses of corn.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food crisis caused by biofuels? :

26 August 2010
There are conflicting opinions over a World Bank report which suggests biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75%.

The original study in 2008 depicted a direct correlation between the spike in prices of food products and the increased global use of biofuels.
The report argued that: “Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate.”
With over a third of US corn siphoned off for the production of biofuels and farmers encouraged to set aside land for the same purpose, the speculation that this may be the cause of “the first real economic crisis of globalisation” looked like a possibility.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Automatic Auto: A Car That Drives Itself. Scientific American

By Susan Kuchinskas

In September a driverless Audi TTS will speed to the top of Colorado's Pikes Peak at just under 100 kilometers per hour—that's right, no driver. It is an early step toward a robo-car that can drive itself, perhaps better than you can.

The World Health Organization projects traffic fatalities to be the third leading cause of mortality worldwide by 2020. And drivers themselves are responsible for 73 percent of these deaths. So automakers are looking at ways they could make cars safer by taking driving out of human hands. Self-driving cars could offer other benefits: TNO, an international research firm based in the Netherlands, says that they could reduce the time lost to traffic jams by up to 50 percent, and reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 5 percent.

The Pikes Peak run is a joint project of the Stanford University Dynamic Design Laboratory, the Electronics Research Lab (ERL) for the Volkswagen Group (which owns Audi), and software-maker Oracle Corp. The rough, part-gravel road to the top of Pikes Peak is the route of the annual International Hill Climb rally, an annual auto and motorcycle race. The TTS run will demonstrate whether the car can take curves as fast as a human driver—without driving off a cliff.

Is There a Road Ahead for Cellulosic Ethanol? -- Service 329 (5993): 784 -- Science

Sending African Sunlight to Europe, Special Delivery -- Clery 329 (5993): 782 -- Science

Do We Have the Energy for the Next Transition? -- Kerr 329 (5993): 780 -- Science

Biofuels could increase food production, says report.

by Busani Bafana

Planting biofuel crops in Africa need not damage capacity to grow food and could even enhance food security, according to a controversial review prepared for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

The report, with case studies on six countries in East, West and southern Africa, concludes that bioenergy production can expand across the continent and provide income and energy to farmers without displacing food crops.

Potential conflicts between bioenergy and food needs can be addressed with the right approaches, said Rocio Diaz-Chavez, a researcher at Imperial College, London, and lead author of 'Mapping Food and Bioenergy in Africa', launched at the 5th African Agricultural Science Week in Burkina Faso at the end of July.

"If approached with the proper policies and processes and with the inclusion of all the various stakeholders, bioenergy is not only compatible with food production but can greatly benefit agriculture in Africa," said Diaz-Chavez, citing the benefits of investment in land, infrastructure and human resources.

The report's conclusions were drawn from a review of existing research and case studies of biofuel production and policies in Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia. It found there is enough land to allow a significant increase in the cultivation of sugar cane, sorghum and jatropha for biofuels without decreasing food production.

But the report has triggered mixed responses from farmer groups and research institutions.

Monty Jones, executive director of FARA, cautioned that Africa should not trade food security for biofuel production.

"We need to keep the land for food rather than raise crops for energy," he told SciDev.Net. "We have the big task of increasing agricultural production by six per cent. Governments need to come up with appropriate policies on such issues."

Namanga Ngongi, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa said the continent has a food deficit and should prioritise food ahead of biofuels. And Philip Kiriro, president of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, added that international investors in biofuels do not take local food security into account, which is likely to result in food shortages.

Meanwhile, some countries are already planting biofuel crops. Senegal, for example, plans to have 321,000 hectares of land under jatropha by 2012 to help meet the country's energy needs and increase the income of farmers.

"We are going for both," said Macoumba Diouf, director general of the Senegalese Agriculture Research Institute."We need low-cost energy to drive our agriculture and at the same time ensure that our farmers grow food and earn income from growing jatropha on a contract basis.

"Ibrahim Togola, a professor at Mali's Rural Polytechnic Institute, said politicians need to understand that Africa's agricultural revolution depends on access to modern energy services.

During discussions of the report at the science week, participants called for a broader conversation on how to meet the energy needs of African farmers.


World's first solar power plant that can work at night.

By David Biello

How can one use solar energy after the sun sets? Simple: store the sun's heat in molten salts.

The world's first solar power plant to employ such technology—a thermal power plant that concentrates the sun's rays with mirrors on long, thin tubes filled with the molten salt—opened in Syracuse, Sicily, on July 14. Dubbed Archimede—after the famous Syracusan scientist Archimedes who supposedly coined the term "Eureka" for scientific discovery and reputedly repelled a Roman fleet through the use of mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays and burn the invading ships—the power plant can harvest enough heat to generate five megawatts of electricity, day or night, and can store enough energy to keep producing power even at night or during cloudy daytime hours.

In addition to the benefit of storage, molten salts also operate at a higher temperature (roughly 550 degrees Celsius) enabling them to capture more of the sun's energy—as well as create the steam for turbines in conventional power plants. Meaning that such solar thermal power plants could be swapped in for fossil fuel-burning ones. This power plant is on the grounds of a natural gas combined-cycle power plant.

The molten salts also don't burn like the oils used as working fluids in other concentrating solar power plants operating today. If Archimede springs a leak, it will end up with piles of fertilizer (the salts in question are potassium and sodium nitrates, which are literally used as fertilizer in agricultural applications). Of course, the freezing point of such salts is a balmy 220 degrees C so Archimede will have to capture a lot of heat to keep the salts fluid. That's why the plant's owner—Italian energy giant Enel—is supplementing the sun's rays with a little old-fashioned natural gas burning as well.

Of course, it requires 30,000 square meters of special parabolic mirrors and 5,400 meters of high heat-resistant pipe to collect the sun's rays in the molten salts, even in Syracuse. All that adds up to a building cost of roughly $80 million for just 5 megawatts of electricity. But Italy is hardly alone in pursuing such plants: the Andasol power plants in Spain use more than 28,000 metric tons of such salts to store thermal energy from its otherwise conventional concentrating solar power plants and the U.S. company SolarReserve plans to deploy such molten salt technology in its "power towers" coming soon to the Nevada desert. Eureka!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lack of science means jatropha biofuel 'could fail poor' - SciDev.Net

Papiya Bhattacharyya
9 August 2010 EN

[BANGALORE] Mass planting of jatropha as a biofuel crop could benefit poor areas as well as combating global warming, but only if a number of scientific and production issues are properly addressed, a review has warned.
Growing jatropha for biofuel on degraded land unsuitable for food and cash crops could help improve the earnings of small farmers and counter poverty, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the review published last month.
The plant is an alternative crop for small farmers "particularly in semi-arid, remote areas that have little opportunity for alternative farming strategies, few alternative livelihood options and increasing environmental degradation," notes the FAO.
And biofuels produced in sufficient volume could make a significant impact on global warming, as it is estimated that transport accounts for a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions.
But, so far, decisions about jatropha "have been made without the backing of sufficient science-based knowledge," the FAO says in the review, which includes case studies from South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
For jatropha planting to meet its 'pro-poor' objectives, international support is needed for research on genetic improvement of varieties, and on cultivation practices such as water conservation and integrated pest and nutrient management, the review recommends.
More research is also needed on oil processing techniques and new oil products to help smallholders reap maximum profits.
The review also notes that, in India, low yields have been reported despite farmers using a range of seed varieties that are available worldwide. But low yields need not be a barrier if other broader objectives are met, such as reclamation of wasteland, job creation and affordable biofuel for the lighting of homes, for cookers and for operating small milling machines, grinders, irrigation pumps and two-wheeled tractors.
Experts should also ensure that projects to help small farmers grow jatropha can qualify for certification under the clean development mechanism (CDM), which allows organisations to earn credit for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Other jatropha policies could include targeting remote areas with poor transport links and ensuring large-scale plantations do not compete with food crops.
But Balakrishna Gowda, biofuel project coordinator in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, where jatropha is grown, and professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, said that it would be unrealistic to expect jatropha to reverse poverty "overnight" in developing countries.
"The plant requires water and nutrition like any other plant [even if it grows on degraded land]," he told SciDev.Net. "And it takes at least five to seven years for the plants to mature and grow their first fruit. We can rule out expectations of a great 'overnight' yield."
Link to full report 'Jatropha: a smallholder bioenergy crop — the potential for pro-poor development'[2.32MB]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Renuka Sugars mulls third acquisition in Brazil.

Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 08, 2010, 14:31 IST

The country's largest sugar refiner Shree Renuka Sugars, which has bought majority stakes in two Brazilian firms since November last, is looking for more acquisitions there.

"Nothing immediate or firm," Shree Renuka Sugars Managing Director Narendra Murkumbi told PTI when asked whether the company is scouting for more acquisitions in Brazil, the world's largest sugar producing nation. Murkambi said the company is interested in acquisitions but nothing concrete has shaped up, as of now.

An additional buy in Brazil would help the Indian sugar refiner to further increase its presence and dominance in the world's two largest sugar consuming nations.
Since November last year, Shree Renuka Sugars have bought out two companies in Brazil with a cumulative cane crushing capacity of 13.6 million tonnes per annum.

On July 9, the company had announced the acquisition of a controlling 50.34 per cent stake in Equipav AA, a sugar and ethanol production company, for Rs 1,151 crore. Equipav AA has two mills with a combined cane crushing capacity of 10.5 million tonnes per annum and a huge sugarcane plantations facility in Sao Paulo. It also has a bagasse based power co-generation capacity of 203 MW.

In November 2009, Shree Renuka Sugars had acquired 100 per cent stake in Vale Do Ivai, a Brazilian sugar and ethanol production company, for $240 million. Vale Do Ivai has a combined cane crushing capacity of 3.1 million tonnes per annum in its two mills.


Garuda Indonesia Planning to Switch to Biofuel | The Jakarta Globe

Fidelis E. Satriastanti August 02, 2010

Jakarta. National airline Garuda Indonesia is finalizing preparations to use biofuel in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a senior official said on Monday.

“We are in the process of changing from avtur [aviation fuel] to biofuel. Not a single [domestic] airline has done it yet. We will be implementing this plan in stages and it will not necessarily be achieved within this year,” Garuda commissioner Wendy Aritonang said.

The airline has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Air Transport Association, committing to improving air travel services as well as to using biofuel, which is produced from renewable resources like palm oil.

According to a McKinsey report, the air travel sector was responsible for about 3 percent of national carbon emissions in 2005. Land transportation contributed the most emissions — 89 percent of the total.

Jane Hupe, chief of the environmental unit of the International Civil Aviation Organization, said the idea to use biofuel in aviation has been around for years, and biofuel has since become a significant piece in the puzzle of sustainable aviation.

“We have never seen progress in one file for sustainable use like you see right now. Progress is so immense. The technology is there,” Hupe said. “But the elements that we need to address include price of, course. The market needs to be prepared for this. Not only is the technology more expensive, but also how do we balance the market in regard to air ticket fares, considering the stiff competition that exists already with all airlines using normal aviation fuel?”

Masnellyarti Hilman, deputy minister for environmental damage control at the Environment Ministry, emphasized the need for airlines to contribute to Indonesia’s emissions reductions efforts. “They contribute only 3 percent [of emissions], but the industry is much more ready, for instance, from a technological standpoint, than land transportation,” Masnellyarti said, adding that a switch to biofuel will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions, another major source of pollution.


Monday, July 26, 2010

IATA calls for biofuels production from Jatropha:

The global airline industry is on track to make a profit of $2.5 billion this year after 10 years of struggle in which it made a cumulative loss of $47 billion, according to Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its annual general meeting on Monday.

He said that if the industry succeeded in its campaign to remove restrictive legislation that prevented airlines from consolidating across borders and competing in the same way as normal business, it would achieve $100 billion in profits on revenues of $1 trillion in a decade.

By 2050 it would "be very near to zero accidents," emit half the carbon, process more passengers without queues, and operate with almost no delays in globally united skies.

"We will be a consolidated industry of a dozen global brands supported by regional and niche players. And we will deliver value to investors."

Outlining the steps needed to achieve this, he said that the present fragmentation of the industry, with 1 061 airlines as a result of the bilateral system that now regulates it, prevented increased efficiencies from improving the bottom line "because airlines are deprived of the commercial freedom to operate like normal businesses. Our poor profitability makes every shock a fight for survival."

Infrastructure should be shaped around the needs of airlines with airports competing for airline business through efficiency, deriving their income through commerce with airlines bringing shoppers and airport revenues funding the air traffic system.
It would be more efficient to replace the current 180 air traffic management organisations with 10, at half the cost.

And calling for government help in establishing the production of biofuels to replace jet fuel made from oil, he said these had the potential to reduce the industry's carbon footprint by 80 percent. After testing by airlines certification of biofuels was expected within a year. "Local production with jatropha, camelina, algae or even urban waste will open up economic opportunities in virtually any location."

Read at-source

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Green energy market 'resilient' to downturn in 2009, according to U.N.

By Matthew Knight, for CNN
July 16, 2010 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)

London, England (CNN) -- The creation of new power capacity from renewable energy has exceeded new fossil fuel power generation in the United States and Europe for the second year running, according to two United Nations reports published Thursday.
Renewables accounted for over 50 percent of new capacity in the U.S. in 2009 while in Europe the figure was 60 percent, leading the U.N. to predict that the world as a whole will add more capacity to the electricity supply from renewables than non-renewables this year or by 2011.

Globally, nearly 80 giga-watts (GW) of new renewable power capacity was added in 2009, the U.N. reported.

U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) executive director, Achim Steiner said in a statement that the story of renewable energy investment in 2009 was one of "resilience to the financial downturn," with many businesses and governments determined to "transform the financial and economic crisis into an opportunity for greener growth."

The two reports -- "Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2010" and "Renewables, 2010 Global Status" -- reveal that investment fell seven percent, from $173 billion in 2008 to $162 billion in 2009, largely due to declines in large-scale solar power and biofuels investment, which dropped 27 percent and 62 percent respectively.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

20-yr plan eyes 36K MW power.


KATHMANDU, July 15: The government has brought out an ambitious report showing the possibility of generating 36,628 MW hydroelectricity in the country within the next 20 years.The report includes a proposal to generate 2,057 MW within five years to address the load-shedding crisis facing Nepalis at present.

The report prepared by a taskforce on 20-Year Hydropower Development Plan Formulation claimed that the target figure will be attainable through the completion of three mega multi-purpose projects -- Pancheshwar, Karnali-Chisapani and Saptakoshi -- within the 20-year span. Without including these three projects, the country will be able to generate 20,354 MW.The report breaks down that figure into 2,057 MW by 2015, 12,423 MW by 2020, 5,114 MW by 2025 and another 18,034 by 2030.

Read Full Story:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Germany sets out zero-carbon road map.

Government report insists country could decarbonise electricity supplies by 2050 staff, BusinessGreen, 08 Jul 2010

Germany has become the latest country to signal that it could decarbonise its electricity network with the release of a major new report arguing that it could switch to an entirely renewable energy supply by 2050.

The study, from Germany's Federal Environment Agency, the Umweltbundesamt, says the country could phase out fossil fuel power plants and replace them with existing renewable energy technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels.

"A complete conversion to renewable energy by 2050 is possible from a technical and ecological point of view," Jochen Flasbarth, president of the Federal Environment Agency, told reporters yesterday. "It's a very realistic target based on technology that already exists – it's not a pie-in-the-sky prediction."

He added that there was a strong economic case for making the switch, arguing that it would create jobs and boost exports of renewable energy technologies for German manufacturing firms.

Germany's transition towards renewable energy is already under way, with the country well established as the world's largest generator of solar energy and second-largest producer of wind energy after the US.

According to figures from the German government, the country already generates 16 per cent of its energy from renewable sources and further increases in renewable capacity are planned over the next decade as the government moves to make good on its pledge to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

A number of countries such as the Maldives, Norway, New Zealand and Costa Rica have set a target of becoming carbon neutral, but Germany is the largest country to date to set out plans that would result in the full decarbonisation of their energy supply.

Read at-source

Blue-green algae techniques for biofuel production.

Written by Sabrina Deparine
Monday, 05 July 2010 12:58

A research team from the Biodesign Institute of the Arizona State University has achieved another milestone for the biofuel industry.

In the past week, news broke out that the team has made a new discovery: optimizing the growth conditions of blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) to make these grow abundantly for biofuel production.

The blue-green algae is one of the most attractive feedstock options for biofuels because of its capability to produce 100 times the amount of clean fuel per acre as compared to other types of feedstock. Also, blue-green algae do not have any special requirements. It only requires sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. A few nutrients may be needed for it to survive and to grow exponentially and abundantly. Blue-green algae also eliminate the concerns over requiring vast lands for biofuel production. It can be grown on any location where there is sufficient supply of sunlight and carbon dioxide.

According to Raveender Vannela, a member of the research team, they had discovered the use of a photobioreactor in optimizing the growth of blue-green algae. The said photobioreactor utilizes solar photons as an energy source to convert carbon dioxide in reduced forms. This is epitomizes the cliché that goes “shooting two birds with one stone”. The bioreactor makes use of solar energy for it to run and its output benefits biofuel production. However, the process requires a more delicate and complex interplay of carbon dioxide, phosphorous and light radiation within the photobioreactor for it to optimize the growth of the algae.

For this experiment, Vannela and another researcher, Hyun Woo Kim made use of the Synechocystis PC6803 type of blue-green algae. These were cultivated in a benchtop photobioreactor and were supplied with BG-11, a customary growth medium. The carbon dioxide was manipulated along with the light irradiance and phosphorus content in the plant to boost its growth.

Based on the output of their experiment, it was concluded that blue-green algae are not able to maximize carbon dioxide in their growth cycle so they added phosphorous to the BG-11 medium. This resulted to higher biomass productivity. When the phosphorous has been consumed, the abundant growth of the algae is hampered by the light irradiation and carbon dioxide. What happens is the additional growth results to the crowding of biomass in the photobioreactor vessel so that it blocks the light. This issue can be resolved by more frequent harvesting of the reactor.

If this will be implemented on a large scale, the blue-green algae can get nutrients from other sources like waste streams or harvested biomass. This will form a close-loop, self-sustaining system that harness and produce energy from contaminants and carbon emissions.

Aside from biofuels, blue-green algae can also be used in the manufacturing of chemical-based materials like biopolymers and isoprenes which are used for industrial applications.

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Solar-powered plane lands safely after 26-hour flight. BBC News

8 July 2010
The solar-powered plane lands near Bern

An experimental solar-powered aircraft launched on Wednesday has landed safely in Switzerland after successfully flying through the night.

The feat is a step toward the makers' aim of circling the globe using the power of the Sun to fuel the plane.

The aircraft used super-efficient solar cells and batteries to stay in the air after the Sun's rays had faded.

The plane touched down at an airfield about 30 miles (50 km) from the Swiss capital Bern at 0900 (0700 GMT).

The plane landed at Payerne airport after a total flight time of 26 hours.
During the flight it reached a height of 8,700 m (28,543 ft).
Assistants rushed to stabilise the experimental aircraft as it touched down, ensuring that its huge 63m (207ft) wingspan did not scrape the ground and topple the plane.

It is the longest and highest flight recorded by a solar-powered plane.
The four-engine aircraft was steered by Andre Borschberg, a former fighter jet pilot from Switzerland.

The plane has 12,000 solar cells arranged on its wingspan which collected enough energy to power the plane for the flight.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

SunPower Sets Solar Cell Efficiency Record at 24.2%.

Published: June 24, 2010

California, United States -SunPower Corp. has produced a full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines. This is a new world record for large area silicon wafers, and has been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

APEC wants continued development of renewable energy.

22 June 2010

Renewable energy technologies are declining in cost but continued efforts are required to further reduce this, according to energy ministers from the 21-country Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Solar, wind, geothermal and bioenergy for electricity, and biofuels for transport, are diversifying energy supply, and energy ministers urged “continued technology development efforts to further reduce their costs, standardise products, develop supply sources, and share best practices to accelerate their use in electricity generation, buildings and transport sectors.”

A declaration issued after their meeting in Fukui, Japan, directs APEC to “advance energy security, improve energy efficiency and increase the clean energy supply in the APEC region.”

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Australia can have 100% renewable energy in a decade.

23 June 2010

A combination of energy efficiency, fuel-switching and a combination of commercially-available renewable energy technologies could allow 100% of Australia’s energy needs to be met with renewable sources, according to a new report.

The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan was prepared by the environmental research group Beyond Zero Emissions. It was launched Tuesday at the Australian Parliament in Canberra.The plan outlines a “technically feasible and economically attractive way for Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy within 10 years,” with wind and concentrating solar thermal (CST) as the two primary technologies. Biomass and existing hydropower provide some backup.

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NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden under fire for potential conflict of interest on biofuel project

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden under fire for potential conflict of interest on biofuel project -

Video: Up Close and Personal with Stirling Energy's CSP.

The Maricopa Solar project puts Stirling Energy Systems' SunCatcher to the test.

by Graham Jesmer, Video Producer
Published: June 21, 2010

Arizona, United States -- Just outside Phoenix, Arizona, sits a field of dishes reflecting the hot desert sun. Pulling up to the humming devices, installed by Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar, the cars passing by on an adjacent road are dwarfed by their size.

This is the Maricopa Solar project, a 1.5-megawatt (MW) array of SunCatcher Systems (also known as the Stirling Dish Engine). In January NTR plc, which owns both SES and Tessera Solar, opened the plant after breaking ground just four months earlier.

Maricopa Solar is the first commercial project for the SunCatcher concentrating solar power (CSP) technology, which was designed and manufactured by SES. The SES SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt solar power system that uses a 38-foot high, mirrored parabolic dish combined with an automatic tracking system to collect and focus the sun’s energy onto a Stirling engine to convert the solar thermal energy into grid quality electricity.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Yeast Strain is Step Closer to Cellulosic Ethanol.

By David Bois | Tuesday, June 8, 2010 5:57 PM ET
Breakthrough yeast strain offers a move forward for efforts to make biofuels from a greater variety of non-food crops.

The promise of biofuels is genuine and sincere. Rather than taking carbon that's been fossilized for untold millions of years and sending it into our atmosphere the second we burn it, the manufacture and use of biofuels takes us much closer to greenhouse gas neutrality. Sure, the combustion of biofuels does produce carbon dioxide, but the plants from which the fuels are made remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere as they grow. Additionally, ethanol just so happens to burn cleaner as compared to petroleum based hydrocarbons.

Still, I know that I'm hardly alone in finding it more than a little perverse to divert perfectly good crops away from the food supply toward the manufacturing of ethanol. Corn and sugar cane are currently prized for the making of ethanol, as their sugars are easily accessible for conversion to fuel. Our best long term hopes are in the realm of cellulosic ethanol, made from more fibrous plant matter such as the stalks of the corn as well as such woodier, non-food plants as switchgrass. Switchgrass is particularly appealing due to it being a relatively low-effort crop which grows easily in a range of conditions, as well as to its high potential energy value.

So far, the challenges to cellulosic ethanol really taking off hinge on the effort (and by extension, the cost) required to get at the sugars that they contain. The additional effort required to make ethanol from fibrous plant material as compared to making it from corn pretty much doubles the cost. It's a stated goal of the federal government to make cellulosic ethanol much more cost-competitive, and ongoing research and development breakthroughs continue to bring these production costs down. And a just-announced finding by researchers at Indiana's Purdue University will no doubt help things along this path.

As PhysOrg has reported, an agricultural and bioengineering research team at Purdue has successfully genetically engineered a strain of yeast that is capable of converting the sugars contained in woodier plant materials such as corn stalks and switchgrass. An added and beneficial characteristic of the new strain of yeast is its resistance to acetic acid. Acetic acid is a common component of plant life and is given off along with the sugars, but it can hinder the fermentation activity that the yeast provides, slowing the conversion process and ultimately decreasing the yield of ethanol.

The Purdue team's research, currently published in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, is supported by funding from the US Department of Energy and will reportedly pursue even more improvements to the yeast's efficiency and resistance to chemical agents that slow the sugar-to-ethanol conversion process.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Giant Inflatable Airship Powered by Algae. AlternativeEnergy

June 1st, 2010

This summer, piloted by Captain Allan Judd, Bullet 580 will usher in the return of inflatable giant airships. The 235 ft long and 65ft diameter ship is covered with a type of Kevlar, a material 10 times-stronger than steel but only one sixteenth of an inch thick. An E-green design special costing £5.5million, this giant runs on algae – latest bio-fuel that can be developed from brackish and waste water.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sugar-hungry Yeast to Boost Biofuel Production.

Monday, March 29, 2010

UK - Engineering yeast to transform sugars more efficiently into alcohols could be an economically and environmentally sound way to replace fossil fuels, say scientists presenting at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Edinburgh.

Dr Christian Weber and Professor Eckhard Boles from Frankfurt University, Germany, have worked out how to modify yeast cells so that they successfully convert a wider range of sugars from plant waste such as wheat and rice straw into alcohol that can be used as biofuel.

Bioalcohols produced by microbial fermentations are an example of second generation biofuels that use raw materials not used in food production.
Plant waste is available in large amounts and contains a mixture of complex sugars including hexoses and pentoses that can be fermented to alcohol.

"As these feedstocks represent the biggest portion of processing costs, we need rapid and efficient conversion of all sugars present. At the moment there is a lack of microbes that will efficiently convert both hexoses and pentoses into ethanol," said Dr Weber.

Bakers' yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is already used in the beverage industry to efficiently convert hexose sugars, such as glucose, into ethanol. By transferring genes from bacteria that naturally break down pentose, Dr Weber's team have engineered S. cerevisiae to successfully ferment pentose and hexose sugars.

"As pentoses represent a substantial part of the feedstock, the engineered yeast gives a much higher yield of ethanol for the same amount of feedstock," he said.
To enhance their biofuel potential even more, the yeast is being further modified to produce another bioalcohol - butanol instead of ethanol.

"Compared to ethanol, butanol shows superior properties as a potential biofuel."
It has a lower vapour pressure, ignites at a higher temperature and is less corrosive. Butanol could replace fossil fuels up to 100 per cent without modifying existing engines," said Professor Boles.

BUTALCO is a company started by Professor Boles together with chemist Dr Gunter Festel that is developing a special technology to modify the yeast for pentose use and butanol production. The company is currently finalising the technology to use both pentoses and hexoses for bioethanol manufacture. Eventually a whole process chain will be developed covering all the steps of bioalcohol production from engineering through to downstream processing.

TheBioenergySite News Desk

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Masdar: Abu Dhabi's carbon-neutral city. BBC News

By Tom Heap
Presenter, Radio 4's Costing The Earth

The world's first zero-carbon city is being built in Abu Dhabi and is designed to be not only free of cars and skyscrapers but also powered by the sun.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is the last place you would expect to learn lessons on low-carbon living, but the emerging eco-city of Masdar could teach the world.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Biggie Smalls: Microbes and micro-crops shine at biofuels’ Big Dance.

Today marks the beginning of biofuels’ three-day “Big Dance” – properly known as World Biofuels Markets - and 1400 delegates are gathering in Amsterdam to talk about big breakthroughs, big bucks and big scale. But the key to thinking big in biofuels, 2010 style, is thinking very, very small.

Though the stakes could not be bigger, the pop stars that will be gliding across biofuels’ Red Carpet this week are so incredibly tiny it can take an electron microcrope to see them, as the latest designer e.coli, yeast and enzyme strains take a turn down the runway.

The microbes divide into three main camps – those that are used to capture sugars and oils for extraction and fuel conversion (a.g. microalgae, lemon); catalysts such as the enzymes produced by Genencor and Novozymes, and microbes that consume a feedstock and secrete a fuel (not completely unlike the cow, who consumes hay and emits methane, but in a far more elemental and fungible way than simple rumination). LS9, Amyris, Qteros and Joule Biotechnologie are among those who have such a “magic bug,” – by far, Joule’s is the most mysterious to date – but it is the only one who can make a fuel from carbon oxide and water, rather than a simple sugar.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

India Announces Coal Tax To Fund Renewable Energy Projects. ScientificAmerican

March 4, 2010
In a landmark announcement the Indian Finance Minister, in his annual Budget speech, put forward the proposal of setting of National Clean Energy Fund which would be constituted through tax lieved on coal usage in the country.
By: Mridul Chadha

In a landmark announcement the Indian Finance Minister, in his annual Budget speech, put forward the proposal of setting of National Clean Energy Fund which would be constituted through tax lieved on coal usage in the country. The quantum of tax would be INR 50 per ton of coal used, which would generate an annual revenue of around $600 million.

The announcement is extremely important and a major step in India’s endeavor to promote renewable energy infrastructure. India is heavily dependent on coal for power generation with 75% of the power generated coming from coal-fired power plants.

The National Clean Energy Fund would provide finance for the National Solar Mission through which India plans to install 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2022. If implemented the project would potentially make India the largest producer of solar energy worldwide. The finances for such an enormous project has aways been a major hurdle. Ever since its announcement the government has been looking at various options to finance the project.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Norwegian Company Develops World’s Largest Wind Turbine. AlternativeEnergy

March 1st, 2010

As fossil fuels continue to diminish and climate change poses an ever-increasing threat, scientists around the world are searching for new and more efficient methods of generating energy. Wind energy is one of the more promising alternative energy sources and Norwegian scientists are currently in the development stages of what promises to be the world’s largest wind turbine. As if creating the biggest wind turbine in the world was not enough, it also floats. Current plans for the world’s largest wind turbine have the machine standing 533 feet tall.

The proposed rotor diameter of this machine is 475 feet. Obviously, these gargantuan dimensions make it difficult to imagine many places able to accommodate such a device. Fortunately, the floating design makes the turbine suitable for open ocean use.

In addition to being the world’s largest wind turbine, the proposed machine (which is to be built by the Norwegian company Sway), will also be the most powerful. A single floating turbine will be able to generate 10-megawatts to power more than 2,000 homes. These figures make this proposed new design at least three times more powerful than the existing wind turbines in use today.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

India says no to end IOC monopoly in Nepal.

KATHMANDU, Feb 26: India has turned down Nepal government’s request to end Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC’s) monopoly in supplying petroleum products to Nepal. This has closed options for Nepal to induct alternate fuel suppliers for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

“Officially, India is yet to respond to our call to open oil export (to Nepal) to all Indian refineries and oil marketing companies (OMCs). But unofficially, it has already said no,” said a highly placed government source.

However, if Nepal opened fuel imports to the private players, it (India) has said it would allow IOC to export petrol and diesel to them. This means even while promising exports to the private sector, India has said IOC will not be exporting kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to them.

“Kerosene and LPG are exports restricted items in India. Hence, it is not willing to give privilege to the private sector -- something that it has been providing to NOC, its three-decade long trading partner,” said a highly placed source.

Such a response from India has jeopardized government’s plan to allow NOC to source fuel from other Indian petroleum giants as well.

The Essar Group that operates largest private sector refinery and Bharat Petroleum, the public sector entity, of India had recently shown interest to supply fuel to Nepal. Buoyed by their interest, the government had formally requested to India to end the over three-decade long monopoly of IOC in fuel supply to Nepal.

“The plan has received a severe setback,” said the source. That is not all. Officials argued that India’s denial could seriously affect Nepal’s plan to open petroleum imports to the private sector.

“How can we expect Nepali private sector to jump in the trade, particularly of kerosene and gas, if India is not ready to open exports or pledge its logistics support to facilitate imports at port?”

Such doubts surfaced mainly after India, in yet another request of Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, refused to allow a Nepali LPG importer use storage facility and take technical support of Indianoil Petronas Private Limited (IPPL) in Haldiya.

A newly established local company named Chandi Lumbini had sought permission to use the facility and expertise of the IPPL in Haldiya port while importing gas from the third country. The ministry had also requested the Indian government to extend all possible support to it.

“Unfortunately, India’s response is negative,” said the source.

IOC has been supplying fuel to Nepal since 1974, when Nepal and India inked a Petroleum Supply Agreement to start a formal petroleum trade between the two countries.

The agreement designates IOC as the sole exporter of petroleum products to Nepal and NOC as the petroleum import monopolist for Nepal. In case the respective governments wish to change this arrangement, they need to notify each other.

“But given the situation that unfolded of late, it seems mere notification will not help Nepal to move ahead with its liberalization program,” said the source.

Nepal’s petroleum market stands at about Rs 48 billion per annum and NOC projects it to grow to Rs 60 billion in this fiscal year

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

British Airways to use biofuel.

16 February 2010

British Airways and Solena Group are establishing a sustainable jet-fuel plant as BA plans to use the biofuel to power part of its fleet from 2014.

The biofuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in waste-to-energy facility that can convert a variety of waste materials destined for landfill, into aviation biofuel.

The biofuel will be produced by feeding waste into a high temperature gasifier, producing BioSynGas. A process known as Fischer Tropsch then converts the gas into biofuel to produce biojet fuel and bionaphtha. Bionaphtha is used as a blending component in petrol and also as a feedstock for the petrochemicals industry.
The Fischer Tropsch tail gas can also be used to produce 20 MW of excess electricity for export to the national grid or converted into steam to be used in a district heating system.

British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the biofuel produced by the plant, which will be built by the Solena Group, an advanced bioenergy and biofuels company based in Washington DC, USA.

Fuels London City Airport flights:

The self-contained biofuel plant, likely to be sited in east London, UK, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet biofuel.

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2nd-gen biofuels can play “crucial role” - IEA.

11 February 2010

The potential for sustainable second-generation biofuels is considerable, while first-generation biofuels have only limited potential, concludes a study by the International Energy Agency.

Second-generation biofuels are produced from agricultural and forestry residues, and do not compete with food production, explains Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels - Potential & Perspectives in Major Economies & Developing Countries.

The study focuses on the opportunities and risks for countries and notes that, by 2030, 10% of global biomass residues could provide 50% of the biofuels required to reduce carbon emissions and keep global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Battery-less radios developed.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2010) — At the International Solid State Circuit Conference, imec and Holst Centre report a 2.4GHz/915MHz wake-up receiver which consumes only 51µW power. This record low power achievement opens the door to battery-less or energy-harvesting based radios for a wide range of applications including long-range RFID and wireless sensor nodes for logistics, smart buildings, healthcare etc.

Today's battery-operated wireless communication systems consume a lot of power at times when the radio does not have to transmit or receive data. This means that most of their time Bluetooth or WLAN radios on mobile phones are taking energy from the battery without adding functionality. Imec and Holst Centre's wake-up receiver with ultra-low power consumption and fast response time can be put in parallel with the conventional radio to switch it on when data needs to received or transmitted.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jatropha a cancer fighter? New article suggests positive results against metastasis...

In India, a variety of reports have been published on the medicinal properties of jatropha curcus, most recently a report in the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology that found that jatropha has cancer-fighting properties, “inhibiting the metastasis of B16F10 melanoma cells and possessed significant anti-metastatic and antiprolifertaive activity.”
More on the story.
Biofuels Digest Asia editor Joelle Brink also reports the following links on jatropha’s medicinal properties reported elsewhere on the web:
GENERAL – here.
MEDICAL APPLICATIONS – CANCER here, here and here.
WOUNDS AND INFECTIONS – here and here.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY – here and here.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rare Good News.

Financing ensured for Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project (UTKHEP).

With the confirmation of Rastriya Beema Sansthan (RBS) to invest Rs 2 billion in the Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project (UTKHEP), the required financing of Rs 22 billion has been lined up paving the way for the commencement of the project beginning June. At a time when Nepalis are enduring 11-hours of load-shedding everyday, the confirmation by RBS comes as a welcome relief. Once completed, the highly-attractive and low-cost 456-MW project will play a big part in easing Nepal’s power woes. Nepal’s present power demand stands at about 1,000 MW but the existing hydro-power projects have a combined capacity to generate just about 700 MW. Factor in leakages (25 percent of the production capacity) and annual growth in demand (about 10 percent) and it gives a sense of how urgent it is for us to bring projects such as UTKHEP and Upper Karnali Hydropower Project (UKHP) into operation as quickly as possible.

An uninterrupted supply of power is vital for the growth of the economy. When companies and industries have to resort to alternate sources of energy to run their businesses, it eats into their profits by taking up their operational costs. This is a big deterrent to entrepreneurs who have already invested huge amounts of money in businesses or are planning to do so. The manufacturing sector is especially hit hard by power cuts. At a time when it is crucial for us to ensure the rise of this sector—its contribution to the economy presently is dismal to say the least—the power scenario as it exists today is crippling its growth. That is also exactly the reason why the Maoists should think twice before needlessly voicing their protests against hydro projects such as the 300-MW UKHP. They must remember that these projects, once complete, will become the lifelines of our economy.

While new mega projects are essential to meet our long-term needs, we should also encourage the development of small and medium-scale projects to meet our short- and medium-term needs. What is equally essential is to ‘unbundle’ (gradual reforms ultimately leading to privatization) Nepal Electricity Authority. While we have allowed the entry of Independent Power Producers, we also need to gradually allow competition in the distribution service. It is only such competition that will ensure quality.

Coming to UTKHEP, it is the largest project being commissioned solely by domestic investors. The success or the failure of the project will indicate whether or not Nepalis have the capacity to work together for a larger good. Since our pride is at stake, it is imperative for us to weather all odds and complete the project on time.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Obama announces steps to boost biofuels, clean coal.

Feb. 4, 2010

President Barack Obama has announced a series of steps his Administration is taking as part of its comprehensive strategy to enhance American energy independence while building a foundation for a new clean energy economy, and its promise of new industries and millions of jobs. At a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors from around the country, the President laid out three measures that will work in concert to boost biofuels production and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule to implement the long-term renewable fuels standard of 36 billion gallons by 2022 established by Congress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a rule on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) that would provide financing to increase the conversion of biomass to bioenergy. The President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group released its first report – Growing America’s Fuel. The report, authored by group co-chairs, Secretaries Vilsack and Chu, and Administrator Jackson, lays out a strategy to advance the development and commercialization of a sustainable biofuels industry to meet or exceed the nation’s biofuels targets.

In addition, President Obama announced a Presidential Memorandum (linked below) creating an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop a comprehensive and coordinated federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies. Our nation’s economy will continue to rely on the availability and affordability of domestic coal for decades to meet its energy needs, and these advances are necessary to reduce pollution in the meantime. The President calls for five to ten commercial demonstration projects to be up and running by 2016.

President Obama said, “Now, I happen to believe that we should pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill. It will make clean energy the profitable kind of energy, and the decision by other nations to do this is already giving their businesses a leg up on developing clean energy jobs and technologies. But even if you disagree on the threat posed by climate change, investing in clean energy jobs and businesses is still the right thing to do for our economy. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is still the right thing to do for our security. We can’t afford to spin our wheels while the rest of the world speeds ahead.”

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Energy from waste facility commissioned.

27 January 2010

Energos’ second energy from waste gasification plant in Sarpsborg, Norway is being commissioned.

The 32 MW Energos plant will process 78,000 tonnes per year of residual commercial and industrial waste – generating up to 250 GWh/a of steam. The Energos waste to energy process recovers in excess of 80% of the energy contained in the non-recyclable waste.
The new plant complements the existing 27 MW Østfold Energi-owned Energos facility that has been generating 185 GWh/a of steam since 2002.

The energy from waste facility is currently undergoing testing as part of the early commissioning process, and is expected to be handed over in May – two months ahead of schedule.
The facility is owned by Norwegian Hafslund Heat and Power AS.

The technology:
Energos’ gasification technology is a two-stage thermal treatment process converting residual, non-recyclable waste into gas by using the heat of partial combustion to liberate the hydrogen and carbon within the waste.

Residual waste is fed into the gasification chamber, where it is manufactured into a syngas. This syngas is then transferred to a secondary oxidation chamber where it is fully combusted in a controlled environment that enables much tighter control than can be achieved in conventional energy from waste plants.

The resulting heat energy is used to produce steam, which can be used to supply renewable heat and / or electricity.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Microbes Produce Fuels Directly from Biomass.

January 28, 2010
by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkley National Lab

California, United States [] A collaboration led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a microbe that can produce an advanced biofuel directly from biomass. Deploying the tools of synthetic biology, the JBEI researchers engineered a strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria to produce biodiesel fuel and other important chemicals derived from fatty acids.

“The fact that our microbes can produce a diesel fuel directly from biomass with no additional chemical modifications is exciting and important,” says Jay Keasling, the Chief Executive Officer for JBEI, and a leading scientific authority on synthetic biology. “Given that the costs of recovering biodiesel are nowhere near the costs required to distill ethanol, we believe our results can significantly contribute to the ultimate goal of producing scalable and cost effective advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals.”

Keasling led the collaboration, which was was made up of a team from JBEI’s Fuels Synthesis Division that included Eric Steen, Yisheng Kang and Gregory Bokinsky, and a team from LS9, a privately-held industrial biotechnology firm based in South San Francisco. The LS9 team was headed by Stephen del Cardayre and included Zhihao Hu, Andreas Schirmer and Amy McClure. The collaboration has published the results of their research in the January 28, 2010 edition of the journal Nature. The paper is titled, “Microbial Production of Fatty Acid-Derived Fuels and Chemicals from Plant Biomass.”

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Policy Developments Continue to Drive Biofuel Output.

Monday, January 25, 2010

GLOBAL - Once again the global biofuel industry grew in 2009, according to FO Licht.

They reported that global bioethanol in particular, and biodiesel production increased according to Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia.
In a bid to improve fuel security while also addressing greenhouse gas emissions from fuel usage, many governments have introduced new biofuel blending mandates.
While global bioethanol production increased by 12 per cent to 73.9 billion litres in 2009, growth levels have slowed as higher feedstock prices in 2008 reduced profitability in the sector.

The principal producer of fuel ethanol in the world is the United States. The USDA report that one third or 107 million tonnes of the total US maize crop will be used to produce 39.7 billion litres in 2010. Brazilian output slowed considerably in 2009 due to high sugar prices for cane, where prices more than doubled to $58/tonne. However, Brazilian ethanol production still increased by 2% to 24.9 billion litres in 2009.

In contrast, bioethanol production in the EU increased by 40 per cent to 3.9 billion litres in 2009. According to Strategic Grains, they suggest that four per cent of the EU wheat crop and six per cnet of the maize crop will be converted into ethanol in 2010.

Global biodiesel production grew by four per cnet to 16.4 billion litres in 2009, a modest improvement on 2008 levels, when oil prices had peaked. In 2009, EU output rose by more than eight per cent to 9.8 billion litres due to higher blending rates required.

Elsewhere, biodiesel production grew in Argentina, Brazil and Asia. This was offset by US production falling by 45 per cent to 1.7 billion litres in response to EU trade restrictions and lower domestic demand.

TheBioenergySite News Desk

Friday, January 22, 2010

Turning Plastic Wastes to Fuel.

Written by Sabrina Deparine
Monday, 18 January 2010 10:11

Based on statistics, the United States alone produces 50 million tons of plastic wastes annually. The figure is too much considering that plastics are low-value wastes, meaning, people may not bother that much to have them recycled because they could not give back favorable returns aside from the usual “saving the earth” sentiment. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can find a way to convert these low value wastes to something high-value that we can use again?

Perhaps this was the same question that Envion thought of. The company has opened a USD 5-million plant in Washington D.C. which can convert 6,000 tons of plastic wastes to nearly a million barrels of new material resembling oil. According to Michael Han, Chairman and Chief Executive of the company, their output product can be blended with other materials or components to produce gasoline or diesel.

Although the exact procedure in the plant is not disclosed, the plant can convert plastic wastes to fuel material for about USD 10 per barrel. Bales of plastics like beverage cups from coffee shops and fast food chains, margarine containers, planters and others are stored temporarily in a part of the plant premise, waiting to be shredded and fed into the machinery. They can also digest the blue bins and PET bottle caps. However, Han hastily added that they do not accept PET (particularly PET bottles with the “1” embossed at the bottom) in their plant because these have higher values in the recycling market.

Envion’s plant is equipped with two-story-high chemical reactor, internal agitator, and heating equipment that can give off infrared energy. The process is driven by electricity, not with open flame, so operators can control the temperature when converting plastic materials to liquid fuel. About 82% of the plastic wastes fed to the machine are converted.

The output is something similar to murky lemonade. It does smell like gasoline or diesel though. One oil company has already agreed to buy this material to blend them with motor fuel. Mr. Han is also currently in talks with other oil and petroleum companies and working out to secure a license for this Envion technology so it can be used around the world.

The process also produces a sludge-like by-product which can be burned for energy. Based on pilot tests, each ton of waste can produce as much as 3 to 5 barrels of oil-like product. Each barrel takes about 59 to 98 kilowatt-hours of electricity, roughly two or three days’ worth of electricity for a typical household. This means that the price of electricity per gallon is roughly around 7 to 12 cents.

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100 Percent Renewable? One Danish Island Experiments with Clean Power. ScientificAmerican

One small island in Denmark is technically 100 percent powered by sustainable sources of energy. Could the experiment succeed anywhere else?
By David Biello

TRANEBJERG, Samso, Denmark—It can seem as if the icy, cutting wind off the North Sea never stops blowing on this Danish island in winter, bending back the grass, whipping straight the flags, and setting mammoth wind turbines to their stately spinning. That's good news for Samso's 4,000 or so inhabitants, seeing as they own shares in 20 of the 21 turbines that either tower over the island or rise from the offshore waters of the Kattegat Strait, which connects the Baltic and North seas.

Some people see wind turbines as eyesores or complain about the sound of their whirring blades, but Soren Hermansen, chief proselytizer for the island's renewable energy experiment and director of the Samso Energy Academy, disagrees. "If you own a share in a wind turbine it looks better, it sounds better," he says. "It sounds like money in the bank."

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tax credits announced as biodiesel still suffers. BiodieselMagazine

By Nicholas Zeman
Posted January 14, 2010

The Obama administration coming out with billions of dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase “clean energy manufacturing” could seem almost like a taunt to biodiesel producers.

President Barack Obama announced “awardees” of the $2.3 billion clean energy manufacturing tax credits as existing biodiesel producers languish over the lapse of their specific federal blender tax credit. “Projects are assessed based on the following criteria: commercial viability, domestic job creation, technological innovation, speed to project completion, and potential for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” the White House stated on Jan. 8.

There’s a word that describes the 2009 renewable fuels year—idle. Huge plants sat quiet for months as vegetable oils were high and diesel prices were not. Imperium Renewables Inc., which suffered an explosion at its Grays Harbor plant in Washington, said it was in no big hurry to make repairs while the tax credit is nonexistent. And just as the blender tax credit birthed the term “B99,” its expiration also killed it. Producers, such as Renewable Energy Group Inc., are offering the more expensive B100 in its place.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

World’s largest landfill gas-to-liquid natural gas plant on line. BiomassMagazine

By Anna Austin

Waste Management and Linde North America have commissioned what they say is the world’s largest landfill gas-to-liquid natural gas plant at the Altamont Landfill near Livermore, Calif., producing enough fuel to power about 300 Waste Management waste and recycling collection vehicles.

The $15.5 million project received contributions from four state agencies—the Integrated Waste Management Board, the Air Resources Board, the Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The project is the first of its kind for Linde, according to Steve Eckhardt, head of alternative energy business development. He said since commissioning of the plant, which began in September, production has been ramped up to full capacity—about 13,000 gallons per day.

In a simplified description, trapped landfill gas is sent into a purification system to create a high-quality biomethane stream, which is then introduced to a liquefier. “It’s sent through a heat exchanger and passed against a cold mixed refrigerant, and that warm biomethane is turned into liquid natural gas,” Eckhardt said. “It’s sent right into storage tanks at the site, which are basically giant thermos bottles that keep the product cold.”

A tractor trailer picks up the fuel and transports it to Waste Management refueling sites about once a day, Eckhardt said. The plant typically requires two people to operate, but it can run unattended and be operated remotely so personnel are not constantly required on-site.

“We’re really excited about this plant’s progress,” Eckhardt said. “The commissioning phase went relatively well where we were able to get liquid natural gas produced in a timely fashion—we came on line without any major problems and that’s not easy to do with first-of-a-kind projects.”

Eckhardt says Linde will likely be involved in similar projects relatively soon. “We’re very excited, being the largest one in the world,” he said. “Today, conventional natural gas is used in many different types of fuels. What’s exciting here is that we’re using biogas, the lowest carbon fuel out there per the California Air Resources Board, to fuel a fleet of vehicles that already exists—it’s a great bang for a buck, a more environmentally friendly fuel and it’s produced domestically.”

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rice Straws: Inexpensive Renewable Source of Biofuels.

Written by Sabrina Deparine
Monday, 11 January 2010 10:13

A team of researchers from China have recently reported a discovery that can turn rice straw into a source of biofuel. Rice straw is the stem and leaves left behind after the grains have been harvested.

The new study conducted by the team details a new method of boosting the production of biofuels from rice straw. According to the expected results of the study, using rice straws as a renewable source of biofuels can increase the production by as much as 65%. No other further details about the study have been disclosed since it will be published in the ACS bi-monthly journal, Energy & Fuels.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ISO standard to make bioenergy sustainable. BiodieselMagazine

Posted January 13, 2010

ISO will develop an International Standard to address sustainability issues linked to bioenergy. The standard will be produced by a new ISO project committee, ISO/PC 248, Sustainability criteria for bioenergy.

ISO/PC 248 will bring together international expertise and state-of-the-art best practice to discuss the social, economic and environmental aspects of the production, supply chain, and use of bioenergy, and identify criteria that could prevent it from being environmentally destructive or socially aggressive. The decision to develop the standard responds to the growing international interest in bioenergy, and the current lack of globally harmonized sustainability criteria.

Already some 29 countries are involved as participants or observers, including large markets such as China and the USA. Brazil (ISO member ABNT) and Germany (ISO member DIN) will provide the secretariat and leadership of the committee under a twinned arrangement. The future International Standard is expected to be a key tool in helping governments meet their alternative fuel targets.

Already a number of international initiatives require their signatories to find ways to substitute fossil fuels, and bioenergy has been identified as an alternative fuel with great potential.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the 9th Conference of the Parties, “We clearly need biomass as a source of renewable energy. We cannot do without the contribution to climate protection made by sustainable and ecologically produced biomass. But we have to make sure there is no conflict of aims.”

The future standard (ISO 13065) should make an important contribution to this global goal by for example, helping avoid technical barriers to trade on bioenergy. ISO 13065 will disseminate technical know-how and stimulate the ongoing pursuit for quality through the incentive to research.

In addition to tackling social and environmental issues, the standard will make bioenergy more competitive to the benefit of both national and international markets. ISO 13065 will be particularly valuable in helping developing countries producers to compete.
ISO/PC 248 will hold its first meeting in April 2010.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Qatar National Entities And Airbus Announce Major Environmental Initiative. Qatar Airways

Sunday 10 January 2010

Doha, QATAR – Qatar Airways, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) and Qatar Petroleum (QP) announced today that they will jointly carry out engineering, economic analysis and move into the development of sustainable bio jet fuel that will also look into ways for production and supply, with the support of Airbus.
The ground-breaking initiative – a world first – comes just months after the State of Qatar’s national airline completed an historical milestone in the aviation industry.

Qatar Airways successfully conducted the world’s first commercial flight powered by a Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel blend last October, which proved to be a significant development in the use of alternative fuels.

Addressing a press conference in Doha today, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “Building on the experience and success of the GTL Consortium, we now move to the next phase of alternative fuels while continuing to develop GTL further. While others talk, we take action!”

Seven months ago, Qatar Airways, Qatar Science & Technology Park together with US-based Verno Systems Inc., embarked on a very comprehensive and detailed feasibility study on sustainable Biomass-to-Liquid (BTL) jet fuel and possible by-products such as bio diesel.

This study looked at all available bio feed stocks that would not affect the food or fresh water supply chain. It also looked at existing and future production technologies with a viability analysis.

Based on the result of this in-depth study, the partners have agreed to establish the “Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform” (QABP) which will lead activities in the following four areas:
-A detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable bio fuel production
-A bio fuel investment strategy
-An advanced technology development programme
-Ongoing market and strategic analysis

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