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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