Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Malaysian biodiesel may be appearing in Europe, but as yet, it is still banned from the US

In March this year Mission NewEnergy’s plant in Kuantan became the first biodiesel facility outside of Europe to gain full by International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC) certification.
This certification demonstrates compliance with German and European greenhouse gas (GHG) saving targets and means the Asian producer can export its biodiesel to Europe.
The Renewable Energy Directive requires a minimum of 35% saving in GHG emissions from the use of biofuels and bioliquids to qualify for the subsidies and other privileges. Using Felda’s crude palm oil to produce biofuel results in GHG savings of 47% and 41%, respectively.
Since achieving this certification, Mission NewEnergy has begun selling to Rotterdam. The company has also secured a six month contract for supply commencing in January 2012 (set up for the 2012 European summer) with a global oil major.
The same company has also just become the first jatropha producer to be ISSC certified.
This means the producer can now make the most of the multi-billion dollar opportunity the European market represents, something many other producers are also keen to have.
Vasu R. Vasuthewan, sales and marketing director at Mission NewEnergy and ISCC board member, will be speaking about these experiences at the upcoming Bioenergy International Asia expo & conference in Kuala Lumpur on 7-8 December 2011.
He joins other certification bodies including SGS and Bureau Veritas to give delegates an indepth understanding of what is required to meet European and US sustainability requirements.
As yet Mission NewEnergy has not been able to supply any of its biodiesel to the US. The company submitted an application for its g-Palm to be approved by the EPA on 15 September, and the product is currently under evaluation.
Other key speakers include Khoo Hock Aun, CEO of Cosmo Biofuels, TC Long Tian Ching, Managing Director, Vance Bioenergy, Rosediana Suharto, Indonesian Palm Oil Commission, Azman Bin Ahmad, CEO, Felda-Johore Bulkers and many more.
These industry experts will look at the production capacities and challenges in different Asian markets. For example, the Malaysian government officially launched the much awaited B5 palm oil biodiesel blending mandate on 1 June 2011. This is expected to go nationwide by 2013. With the introduction, Malaysia becomes the second country to implement the use of B5 - Indonesia has been using it since 2006 in selected cities and provinces. This follows Thailand, which introduced a B2 mandate in April 2008 and the Philippines introduced B1 in 2007.
Biofuel producers in Asia are facing mixed fortunes this year due to the impact of raw material costs on the competitiveness of different biofuels around the region. For everyone producing, trading, supplying, servicing or working in this sector, this event cannot be missed.
We hope to see many of you there!
Best wishes,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Biofuels, biomaterials growing at 3X the global GDP rate

Biofuels, biomaterials growing at 3X the global GDP rate
Jim Lane | October 19, 2011

Survey says: Biofuels and biomaterials growing rapidly, seeking new friends, markets
In Florida, Biofuels Digest reports that 79 percent of bioenergy executives are more optimistic both about their organization’s prospects for growth and industry growth, than 12 months ago, and that 72 percent are more optimistic about the industry’s prospects than at this time in 2010.
The findings were among the highlights of the Q2 2011 Bioenergy Business Outlook Survey conducted by Biofuels Digest and co-presented by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
Growing at 3X the global GDP growth rate, jobs up 5% in next 12 months
Overall, the survey painted a picture of an industry that is expecting to grow at nearly triple the growth rate of the world economy (8.9 percent for the industry, compared to 3.2 percent for the total economy), but expecting to find generally less external support in the form of tangible support from government, and less IPO activity.
In Q1 of this year, 39 percent said that favorable government mandates, tariffs or tax credits would be a strong growth driver, but only 31 percent said so in the Fall survey.
“The bottom line: the biomaterials industry is looking for new friends, new markets, new avenues to finance,” commented Jim Lane, editor and publisher of Biofuels Digest. “They understand now that, in order to fulfill their substantial promise, they not only have to pioneer novel technologies, but novel business models and pathways to commercialization.”
The nature of financing is changing. Merger activity is expected to increase. The industry sees the IPO window as substantially less open in the next 12 months than the past year, but report a generally higher success rate in obtaining new finance.
Geographies are changing in importance for them. They generally cite the US, EU and Brazil as the key markets for growth. Fast growing in importance: Australia/New Zealand and the Pacific, cited by 23 percent of respondents as a key growth geography (“outside of your home country”), up from 17 percent in the spring survey and 13 percent in Q1 of this year.
Respondents continue to chill out on the prospects for cellulosic ethanol. Though 50 percent of respondents expect that sector to reach 1 billion gallons in capacity, 67 percent indicated the same belief in Q1 of this year. Holding steady or increasing in importance, among the fuel types: aviation and algae-based fuels.
Revenue growth
Respondents said that they expect their firms to grow by a median 8.4 percent over the next 12 months, down from a median of 11.6 percent in the Q12 survey. Industry revenue is expected to grow 8.9 percent, up from 8.45 percent in the spring survey.
Respondents indicated that they have an average of $128 million in revenues per company.
Job growth
Those that are hiring, expect to hire big. The average job growth rate per company is expected to reach 50 percent in the next 12 months, but the median stands at 4.9 percent, meaning that 50 percent of companies expect to grow their employee base by less than 5 percent. 31 percent of respondents said that they did not expect to add new headcount in the next 12 months.
Respondents indicated that they have, on average, 102 employees per company.
IPO activity
58 percent of respondents said that they expect to see more completed IPOs in the next 12 months, compared to the past 12. That’s sharply down from the 74 percent who answered “yes” in the spring survey.
Mergers and consolidations
77 percent of respondents said that they expected to see more mergers and consolidations in the next 12 months, compared to the past year., That number has risen slowly but steadily throughout the year, up from 74 percent in the spring survey and 72 percent in the Q1 poll.
48 percent of respondents tried for new financing in the past 12 months, down from 56 percent, and 53 percent of those that tried were successful. 56 percent said that they were going for new financing in the next 12 months.
Growth drivers
Respondents pointed to the rising demand for fuels as the single biggest driver of growth, with 54 percent tipping this as a major factor. 15 percent cited the entry of new companies, a small number but sharply up from the 9 percent cited in the spring survey, while 21 percent said that increased production capacity was driving growth, up from 15 percent in the spring.
Despite clouds over government activity in the US, 64 percent described the government attitude as supportive, up from 62 percent in the Q2 survey.
Among preferred policies, executives pointed strongly towards a carbon price, with 36 percent of respondents indicating this would be a strong growth driver, and increased subsidies and incentives were cited by 43 percent, up from 37 in the previous survey. 30 percent pointed to fuel-neutral legislation, while only 16 percent indicated that new mandates would drive growth.
Among fuels, 50 percent of executives said they expect cellulosic ethanol, to reach 1 billion gallons by 2020, down from 52 percent in the spring. Aviation was flat at 50 percent, biobutanol fell to 23 percent from 28 percent in Q2. Gaining momentum was renewable diesel at 52 percent, up from 50 percent in the Q2 survey, while military biofuels jumped sharply from 34 to 42 percent.
68 percent of survey respondents are headquartered in the North America, 12 percent in Europe, 8 percent in Asia, 5 percent in Latin America and 3 percent in Australia/New Zealand.
In terms of company operations, 74 percent said that they operated in the US, 30 percent in Canada, 33 percent in the EU, 20 percent in East Aisa, 19 percent in South Asia, and 18 percent in Australia/NewZealand and the Pacific Islands.
Looking at regions that are key to company growth, 44 percent cited the US, up from 37 percent in the spring survey; 35 percent cited Canada, up from 31 percent, and 22 percent cited Australia/New Zealand and the Pacific, up sharply from 17 percent in the spring
Key Leadership Opportunity - Queensland, Australia
New Phase plant investment - growth industry
Excellent salary package, full relocation and genuine career opportunity

United Petroleum is an independent and successful Australian owned oil company which has recently acquired Dalby Bio-Refinery Limited (DBRL). Leading a highly skilled team at an exciting time for the Ethanol business, DBRL is seeking an experienced General Manager for the management of Health, Safety, and Environment, the plant operations, plant management and capital expansion programmes.

The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate:
Proven experience in managing chemical production plants or fuel refineries
A Degree qualification in chemical engineering or chemistry
Production, quality and cost budget achievements
Project management / direction in major capital expenditure
Experience in the development of plant maintenance programmes
Strong financial and commercial acumen
Experience working in a quick decisions based business culture
Previous experience in an Ethanol plant will be a distinct advantage

In return United will be able to offer an exciting opportunity within a growth sector, an excellent salary package and the ability to become instrumental in the business moving forward.

For a confidential discussion please call Peter Starling on +61 7 3405 3346 or +61 (0) 449 903 792. Please forward all applications to

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jatropha-Australia recent.

In Australia, Mission NewEnergy reports they have materially completed their 2011 Jatropha tree planting season, adding 40,264 new acres and 14,331 new Jatropha contract farmers. The Company has reported strong progress on the expansion of its acreage profile and now has a total of 234,587 acres under contract representing a total of over 164 million trees, and 4.7 million barrels of jatropha oil when the trees mature.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Algae is back!

Source: biofueldigest

Iowa algae and corn ethanol project points the way towards optimizing delivery of feed, fuel, carbon reduction.
In our 10-part series, the Bioenergy Project of the Future, based on extensive interviews with industry leaders, we outlined what is expected to be the multi-product, multi-input structure of biofuels and biomaterials projects in the future.
In step 1, we identified the acquisition of an existing first-generation ethanol plant as an appropriate base, because it had so many assets already in place, including a feedstock aggregation system, relations with growers and customers, rail lines, roads, water, power and so on.
In steps two through nine, project developers would add in a variety of inputs and outputs that would increase the product value, stabilize the input costs, and improve the carbon footprint and impact of the project.
2. Cellulosic biomass feedstock
3. Renewable chemicals
4. Advanced drop-in biofuels
5. Algal fuels and materials
6. Bio-ammonia
7. Renewable diesel
8. Lowest-cost waste feedstocks
9. Solar, wind and other renewables
Bioenergy Projects of the Future, today
The most complete realizations of that vision at scale, to date, are the POET Liberty Project in Emmetsburg, Iowa; the Gevo biobutanol project in Luverne, Minnesota; the Amyris SMA Indústria Química project in Brazil; and the Green Plains Renewable Energy project in Shenandoah, Iowa – in which an algal fuels and biomaterials project in underway in partnership with BioProcessAlgae.
The Green Plains project is by far the least-known of the three – given POET’s position as the largest privately-owned, dedicated ethanol producer, and given the deserved hoopla over Amyris’ and Gevo’s successful IPOs in the past year.
In the POET project, they have taken on the most direct route to the Bioenergy Project of the Future, by adding in cellulosic biomass feedstock, and moving on to the production of fuels in 2013 when the 25 million gallons Project LIBERTY plant officially opens at scale.
In the Amyris project, they have established a joint venture with an existing 8.5 million tonne sugarcane ethanol project in Pradópolis, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, owned by Usina São Martinho. Starting in Q2 2012, Amyris and São Martinho plan for the joint venture plant to produce Biofene, a renewable hydrocarbon, which would be used as an ingredient in detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, industrial lubricants, and diesel. In their case, they are still testing out cellulosic feedstocks, but have added in renewable chemicals and renewable diesel to expand their high-value product portfolio.
In the Gevo project, they have acquired an existing corn ethanol plant as a base, and are busy converting that production over to isobutanol, which is scheduled to commence at-scale in March 2012. In the Gevo case, they have skipped over (for now) the addition of cellulosic feedstock, but likewise added in renewable chemicals and advanced drop-in fuels to diversify the product portfolio.
The Algae Option
Of all of them, the Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae project in Shenandoah is the first to reach step five of the multi-step transition we identified – which is to bolt-on an algal fuels and materials capability to an existing corn ethanol production system
It’s all still at relatively small-scale. The partners will have to prove they can sustainably produce, harvest and process the algae. But it’s significant in three ways, for sure.
First, it massively changes the carbon footprint and impact of a corn ethanol project. Almost one-third of the corn kernel, by weight, is transformed into carbon dioxide in the ethanol fermentation process, and the algae can remediate that usage by absorbing the CO2 in its own growth process. It’s not carbon sequestration – that’s different, because the algae itself will be utilized for fuels and biomaterials. But it is capture and re-use, or a second bite of the cherry, and dilutes the carbon impact by creating a second batch of fuels or materials for the same given bushel of corn.
(You may be wondering how they grow algae at all in the state of Iowa during the colder six months of the year, without using bioreactors that are simply too cost intensive. Ah, that’s where the process heat and steam that comes off an ethanol paint comes in handy.)
Second, it changes the economics of the corn ethanol project. Though it remains exposed to the commodity price swings in the corn market, except to the extent to which it can achieve fixed-price or partially-fixed contracts with growers – it is far less exposed to the commodity price of ethanol. Biodiesel, for example, comes into play, or other bio-based materials made from algae – omega-3 laden fatty acids, for example that make for rich protein.
More importantly, the economics of algae do not work unless a project is using the entire biomass – either for feed, to gasify for fuel, or to provide energy back to the system. So, making algae work as a feed system is important to the economics.
Third, making algae work as a secondary feed source can substantially add to the feed options available to the meat and dairy industries, that have been sore as heck in having to compete with ethanol plants for corn-based feed, and have been running a first class, textbook “fear, uncertainty and doubt” campaign against ethanol that has befooled and beguiled, apparently, most of the US Congress.
So – for many reasons, one of the big question marks is whether algae strains that can tolerate industrial gases will work as an animal feed.
The big question: will it work as animal feed?
So it is significant that, yesterday, Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae announced the successful completion of the first round of algae-based poultry feed trials. The algae strains produced for the feed trials demonstrated high energy and protein content that was readily available, similar to other high value feed products used in the feeding of poultry today.
The algae strains used in the feed trials were grown in BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester reactors co-located with Green Plains’ ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. The test was conducted in conjunction with the University of Illinois led by Dr. Carl M. Parsons, a leading expert in the field of poultry sciences.
“This was the first time we tested algae as a poultry feed-product and many of the qualities found were similar to high protein soymeal, but with higher energy content,” said Dr. Parsons. In addition to the high energy and protein content, the testing found amino acid profiles similar to existing feed components. The University of Missouri analyzed the results and provided an independent third-party validation.
“Based on these first-round tests, we will continue the development of this and other high-quality animal feed products from our algae. We will proceed with further testing for poultry and begin evaluating a replacement product for fishmeal,” said Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcess Algae. “We can now look into the opportunity to use algae as a ‘carrier’ for higher value products going into poultry feed such as Omega-3s.”
Next steps
So, there’s reason for increased optimism on the algal fuels and materials front. Next steps for BioProcess Algae include further feed trials, and more importantly, continuing to knock down the production cost. Their current costs, at the scale they are producing, are sure to be too high, but how fast they knock them down in their science of growth and engineering of a low-cost production system will be key. We expect that, if they had a path to parity with $80 oil already figured out, the public might well have heard about it.
For now, we stay tuned.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Papua New Guinea is two-fold mighty in renewable resources: The first is the coffee in the highlands regions and the Palm oil in the coastal regions. The latter had a huge expansion lately, NBPO, Higaturu,Poliamba and Hargy are some big name oil palm industries in PNG moving rural development,services into the MOST RURAL lands, locations where government services can NEVER reach. More oil palm development is coming, lately PNG government invested 2 billion kina in the oil palm Sepik region, those wild savannah,unproductive idle sepik plans will be blooming with palm trees in the couple of months. Newswires had it that huge ares in the Famouse Markham valley had been surveyed, registered for mammoth palm oil fields.Finally, Patrict Putriach MP for Pomio is already setting out palm oil fields and milling. Putting all those together, a couple of years, all of these regions will be producing oil palm, some million tons yearly.

Our neighbour, Indonesia is the largest oil palm producer after Malaysia, possibly, PNG may fall between one of them, or after them. However, there was a very significant development that have surfaced in regard to RSPO-round sustainable palm oil, a volunatry organisation that monitors oil palm industry. The news below is latest, perhaps PNG can start thinking about...'whether or not' our home land industries-oil palm, can come under RSPO guide lines.

One has the freedom, capacity to decide and enforce,monitor and control. By the way, the news indicates there is conflicting ideas on RSPO.


JAKARTA, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) has withdrawn its membership from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), after the world's top producing country forged ahead with its own sustainability scheme, both groups said on Monday.
The RSPO is an industry body of consumers, green groups and plantation firms that aims to promote use of sustainable palm oil products and many major European palm oil buyers say the RSPO will continue to be the international sustainability benchmark.
Many palm oil producers have criticised the RSPO for being too much in favour of green groups, and both Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing on with their own schemes.
"We have been considering resigning from RSPO through a long process of discussion involving board of (our) directors and board of commissioner," Fadhil Hasan, executive director of Gapki told Reuters.
"Finally, we decided to resign from RSPO because we already have ISPO," he said. "We sent the letter of resignation on Thursday last week."
Unlike the RSPO, the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) will punish by law those found to be breaking ISPO rules, a ministry official said last November.
ISPO auditors will examine the entire operations of palm oil firms as part of its certification.
"We choose ISPO because it is mandatory and every palm oil producer has to follow ISPO," said Hasan. "The RSPO is voluntary."
Palm output in Indonesia, which overtook Malaysia as No. 1 palm oil producer in 2007, is expected to be 23 million tonnes and exports will be about 17 million tonnes this year, the Indonesian palm industry forecasts.
"It is regretful that an association representing Indonesian palm oil producers has decided to relinquish their presence in RSPO," the industry group said on its website. "However, we accept their decision as the RSPO is a voluntary membership based organisation."
The RSPO said its secretariat is working closely with Indonesian producer members to have an interim representative for Indonesian growers on the RSPO Executive Board until a new representative is formally chosen at the RSPO General Assembly in November.

The industry has come under increasing pressure to improve practices and halt deforestation blamed for speeding up climate change, ruining watersheds and destroying wildlife.
Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART), which runs the Indonesia palm oil operations of its Singapore-listed parent Golden Agri-Resources, was given a mixed score card last year in an independent environmental audit after Greenpeace accused the firm of clearing peat land and forests that sheltered endangered species.
The palm oil producer said in February, however, it would work with the government and a non-profit body, and Golden Agri then developed a Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) in collaboration with The Forest Trust (TFT), a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote green business methods.
Last month, Nestle, the world's biggest food group, resumed palm oil purchases from SMART, showing that the palm oil firm's efforts to boost its green credentials by teaming up with a conservation group have paid off.
Before this, an Indonesian moratorium on new permits to clear forests, came into force in May for an initial two years.
The RSPO has set up green standards for production, with volume of its certified sustainable palm oil on the market rising from 1.3 million tonnes in 2009 to 2.2 million in 2010.
RSPO-certified crude palm oil production capacity is about 5 million tonnes a year, or 10 percent of global output, the body's head said last month.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PNG, Jatropha (Biofuel) or pay more-Cheap days are Gone-period!

Below are latest possibly the begining from the people-PNG government has to wake up and realise that cheap fuel days are gone, reserves are scarce and expensive to be off shore.

Do biofuels or die!

Expert: Era of cheap oil over
The National - Thursday 06th October, 2011
THERE are enormous oil and gas resources available in the world today, but the challenge is to convert that into reserves that can last another century, International Society of Petroleum Engineers president Alain Labastie said yesterday at the University of PNG.
He said the era of cheap oil was now over and the cost of producing other new types of oil products would continue to increase, leading to oil prices increasing too.
Labastie was visiting the geology final year students for an inspirational talk on how the energy and petroleum industry looked globally.
He said at the moment, the production cost of making new oil products will require a lot of technology, capital and staff.
“With the rising cost of production, the oil prices will also continue to increase but will never fall below the US$70 a barrel mark, as this will mean an operational loss for oil companies.
“This is the long-term problem for all of us. Because when production stops, we will all stop as well and the economy will not grow.
“As for staff with the knowledge on how to do this, there was a good chance that in three to five years, companies would be bidding for qualified staff.
“It is already happening in Canada and parts of the world where skilled manpower is tendered,” he said.
Labastie encouraged the students to work hard in their field of study as the energy and petroleum industry was an important part in economic growth.
He said through the industry, new ways were being sought to address the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the industry and the end-users of energy products.
“This is an opportunity for more jobs to be created and for more people to be skilled in this work.
“Growth is fuelled by energy and when the economy is doing well, any financial crisis is disregarded by the world’s need for oil and that I am optimistic about,” he added.
ESP engineer backs jatropha plan

The National - Thursday 06th October, 2011
A LOCAL chemical engineer is supporting the jatropha bio-fuel initiative because it has more value and other benefits.
Chemical engineer John Wafi from East Sepik said the jatropha bio-fuel project being advocated by another East Sepik engineer, Thompson Benguma, was a good project as it could reduce the cost of electricity in households and at the same time help alleviate poverty by generating income.
Wafi said the project could be adopted by the government as its rural electrification programme.
He said jatropha was miles ahead of palm oil, and appealed to policy makers to help introduce and develop the crop as a national industry.
He said jatropha, unlike palm oil, gave off nitrogen through its dried leaves, thus contributing to soil fertility.
Wafi said oil palm depleted soil nutrients.
He said a jatropha project was sustainable unlike fossil oil and gas.
Wafi said jatropha had many other by-products that included soap and washing detergent.
He said jatropha was also good for intercropping.
The government should support this project by providing the needed capital to develop it into a sustainable industry, Wafi said.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Australias backyard teaming on Algae Biotechnology-Algae Biofuels!

Companies, operating in Outback Australia, personify promise and hardiness in the microalgae corner of industrial biotech
The birth, life and death of a global micro-algae industry has been written so many times that it must seem to many readers like a microscopic version of Buddhist reincarnation, the lifecycle of the phoenix, or out-takes from the motion picture Groundhog Day.
It has all the elements of classic literature. Promising strains plucked from obscurity by sometimes mysterious benefactors, like the stories of Oliver Twist or Pip; tales of prodigal powers of growth, presumed fortune and mis-spent youth, out of the chronicles of young Prince Hal and Falstaff; and lost opportunity and regret straight out of Sentimental Education.
Gumption and Darwinian times
But out of all literature, it is the qualities that Margaret Mitchell essayed in Gone With the Wind that most closely apply to the entrepreneurs, renowned investors, gold-diggers, celebrated scientists, quacks, loyal supporters and camp followers who have tackled the development of micro-algae, plankton and cyanobacteria as an alternative to fossil oil and gas. We live not in Dickensian times, but in Darwinian days.
“What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under?” Mitchell wrote. “I only know that the survivors used to call that quality ‘gumption.’ So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn’t.”
Of the approximately one zillion people, companies, science-based organizations, governments, or lunatics out for an airing that have taken up the development of micro-algae, the survivors share one thing in common with the microcellular strains they have found or enhanced – and that is a remarkable level of gumption indeed. They live in Darwinian conditions indeed.
Three ventures, with operations located in Australia, personify those qualities of gumption as well as any three in the world: MBD Energy, Muradel and Aurora Algae.
For sure, there are numerous other ventures utilizing micro-algae as a platform technology or as the end product – Martek, Aquatic Energy, Solazyme, Aquaflow Bionomic, Phycal, Cellana, Sapphire Energy, Solazyme, Solix, and AlgaeTec just to name an impressive few out of the many that have been profiled over the years in Biofuels Digest. Not to mention an array of research institutions and consortia working on DOE, DARPA or other governmental and private research projects.
Out in the Never-Never
But there’s something so highly appealing about these three companies, operating in the “Never-Never” of outback Australia. They have as hardy a tale of survival in the wilderness as the celebrated novel We of the Never-Never, that in 1908 first popularized the “survival against the odds” genre of outback Australia tale-telling.
Where are they? MBD, developing in South-Eastern Queensland in the shadow of the coal-fired Tarong Power Station about 200 kilometers northwest of Brisbane; and two, Muradel and Aurora, along the forbidding northwest Australian coastline at Karratha, in Western Australia.
Australia’s prized economic success stories, its massive coal and iron mining industries, are the source of the CO2 for all three ventures, though Aurora Algae and Muradel are working with open-pond systems, while MBD is working with carbon capture strategy to grab CO2 from power station flue gas. Flat, open land and plenty of sunshine – well, Australia is long-renowned for having plenty of both.
The water? In the case of the closed systems of MBD, the water source is less critical in nature, but in any case Queensland is the wettest state in the country, and as well known for its floods as other parts of the country are known for searing drought. In the case of Muradel and Aurora Algae, they are focused on saline algae, and have the (essentially unlimited) source of the Indian Ocean near to hand.
Muradel is remarkable, in a world fitfully awash in cash-laden algal research operations, for having constructed their first micro-pilot on a budget of $2,000, cobbled together out of the resources of the University of Adelaide and Mudroch University (hence, “Muradel”). $3.3 million in funding subsequently arrived for a full-scale pilot, which was constructed up in Karratha, and Muradel Pty Ltd was incorporated in December 2010 as a joint venture between Murdoch University, Adelaide Research, Innovation Pty Ltd and SQC. The company is now going through the process of raising cash for a demonstration of its technology.
“We have achieved production rates of 50 tonnes per hectare per year,” Project Leader Professor Michael Borowitzka from Murdoch University told the Adelaidean last year, “over half of which is converted to oil. These high production rates are expected to increase at the new pilot plant due to the even better climatic conditions in Karratha.” Head engineer David Lewis, of the University of Adelaide, confirmed at the Alternative Fuels Summit that the project’s pilot is fully operational and meeting project goals. Last year, Muradel indicated that it had brought biofuels production costs to under $4 per kilo.
Aurora Algae
Aurora Algae recently completed the raising of another $22 million, bringing its total fund raise to $72 million so far. The company has moved away from being a biofuels pure play to focusing on nutraceuticals. The newest funding round will go towards the building of its first commercial scale plant in Australia.
Aurora Algae announced that it has awarded the initial engineering contract for design and construction for the Company’s commercial facility in Maitland, Western Australia.
Recently, the company announced an option agreement on over 1,500 acres of land located near its demonstration facility in Karratha. With the award of the initial engineering contract, Aurora Algae is one step closer to constructing a full-scale commercial facility equipped to manufacture thousands of tonnes of algae-based biomass annually.
The Aurora process is expected to produce 15 tonnes of biomass per month in the demonstration plant from 6 one-acre ponds, suggesting that volumes could increase to 37,500 tonnes of algal biomass per month at a maxed-out commercial facility. At 25 percent oil content, that could provide up to 33 million gallons of algal oil in addition protein and feed biomass. By contrast, 15,000 acres of soybeans would generally provide less than 1 million gallons of vegetable oil.
MBD Energy
Last year, the Queensland state government announced a $1 million investment for a trial which uses algae to soak up carbon emissions from a coal fire power station. Premier Anna Bligh said Tarong Power Station near Kingaroy will be the first coal-fired power station in Australia to try the technology as part of the $5 million MBD Energy Limited Tarong trial.
Ms Bligh said that as part of the trial MBD Energy would start construction on a one hectare algal biomass display plant beside Tarong Power Station, 180km north-west of Brisbane, in December.
Premier Bligh said MBD Energy had also agreed to build facilities next to power stations in Victoria (Loy Yang A) and New South Wales (Eraring Energy), with construction underway first at Tarong.
The Tarong Power Station test plant, once fully built, is expected to capture about 700 tonnes per annum of CO2, produce one tonne of algal biomass per day, 120 tonnes per annum of algal oil and 240 tonnes per annum of algal meal by 2012. Ultimately, MBD expects to expand the facility to 80 hectares by 2013, producing 3 Mgy of algal based fuel and up to 25,000 tons of algal meal.
The closely-watched algal technology developer OriginOil is a strategic partner and supplier to the MBD Project. OriginOil announced in January that it received its first commercial order to deploy its algae oil extraction system in an industrial setting. MBD Energy (MBD) recently committed to purchase an initial OriginOil extraction unit for piloting at one of Australia’s three largest coal-fired power plants. MBD Energy expects OriginOil technology to support a pilot Bio-CCS (Bio-based Carbon Capture and Storage) algal synthesizer system at Queensland’s Tarong Power Station.
Separation technologies, bioreactors and more: special microalgae features
Investing in Innovation, and betting against it
The progress of these three companies, out in the Never-Never, not to mention the persistent innovation n the space represented by the technical artucles we are publishing today, brings us to the “never, never”so often uttered by investors, declining participation in the latest algal project submissions from developers around the world.
Is “No” a safe answer? Isn’t “No” a bet on the future of technology, just as much as check invested in a venture is a bet. – only is is a bet against algae as a fuels, chemicals, feed, nutraceuticals or food platform.
It is a bet against gumption itself and, as we have seen in the case of Solazyme (where the Seties B investors – the $8 million round that is not unlike Muradel’s needs, in scope, bought in for $1.01 per share, for a stock selling for $14 today), there is a lot more non-buyers remorse going around than buyer’s remorse.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do we need the RSPO?

Do we need the RSPO?

Oil palm growers may have done the wrong thing when they let the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil decide what kind of palm oil is sustainable
IN April 2008, Unilever, one of the world's single largest consumers of vegetable oil, came under attack. Its UK offices came under siege from orang utans, or rather Greenpeace activists dressed as those adorable, cuddly creatures.
Eight of them managed to climb on to a balcony at one of the Unilever buildings and their antics in orange furry suits and monkey masks to make them resemble those “people of the forest” got coverage around the world. A great gimmick.
Greenpeace's beef, which is not entirely correct: Forests, the orang utan's habitat, are being cleared in Borneo to be replanted with oil palm and that Unilever is a large purchaser of the resultant palm oil.
Basically the non-governmental organisation or NGO was lobbying consumers to boycott a range of consumer products from Unilever and indirectly putting pressure on all palm oil growers worldwide by asking whether they produce “sustainable” palm oil or not.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO was formed in 2004 out of similar pressure over years. Basically it is a grouping of oil palm growers, users and interested parties which has now agreed on certification as to what constitutes sustainable palm oil.
That's a long list but at the top of that is one condition that palm oil should not be produced from the clearing of forests. Others include social criteria such as treating employees well, not displacing indigenous people etc.
Malaysia has officially stopped clearing virgin forests and apparently that has resulted in Malaysian producers considering themselves as having an advantage relative to Indonesian producers. Hence, some of them believed they could get a competitive advantage over Indonesian producers if they go the RSPO way and get their palm oil certified as sustainable.
But they may have shot themselves in the foot. Increasingly, they may be finding that some of the conditions imposed are onerous and difficult in terms of implementation and that the RSPO is being controlled by other interests and they have little say in what it does.
For instance, how does one ensure that all production going into a mill or a refinery is from certified sources and can one get enough input even then? If supply is “contaminated” with a bit of uncertified oil palm or palm oil, does the entire batch become uncertified?
And who are these people who certify the oil?
That oil palm growers have allowed themselves to be pressured and seduced to believe that RSPO-certified palm oil is the key to their survival may turn out to be one of their bigger mistakes in life, something they may have cause to regret unless they do something about it.
The RSPO is comprised of a whole lot of members other than growers. The growers do not exert significant influence over the body and have instead relinquished this to a body of people who may not be that independent, especially in terms of their stance towards deforestation and issues affecting oil palm growers.
According to the RSPO website, Malaysia has 95 members and Indonesia 79 out of 495 members. That's 37% in total but European members total 280, accounting for 57%.
Indonesia and Malaysia produce some nine tenths of the world's palm oil but their members in the RSPO total less than half that.
Or take composition by category. Oil palm growers have just 87 members, a mere 18% but palm oil processors and traders have 191 members or 39% while consumer goods manufacturers and retailers have 186 members or 38%. Again, growers are swamped.
Perhaps there are executive board provisions for growers, but no. It looks bad, real bad. They have four allocations, the same as for NGOs, with two for environmental ones and two for social ones. Palm oil processors, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, and bankers and investors have two each, again swamping growers.
That means oil palm growers are overwhelmed three to one by others on the executive board. The current secretary general in fact was a representative of WWF International on the executive board from 2007 to 2009. Can growers expect their interests to be well-represented under such circumstances? No, not at all.
How growers have allowed themselves to be so weakly represented on the RSPO to the extent that they have much less say than others is impossible to understand. At the least, they should have had an equal representation it's their product which is being certified.
A look at two videos on the RSPO website indicate the bias towards deforestation and the obsession with orang utans, the primary marketing tool of NGOs in their fight against use of palm oil in developed countries.
One is by the WWF, an organisation which routinely raises funds by alleging that many animals, including the orang utan, are near extinction. Predictably, the orang utan is again showcased in this video and the message is forests cannot be cleared. Many Malaysians will challenge the view that orang utans are an endangered species in Malaysia.
How forest resources are used is a sovereign right and others are entitled to object if the clearing is done in an improper manner. The RSPO cannot be the final arbiter of how the forests should be used which needs to balance the development needs of the country and the need to maintain eco biodiversity. Even RSPO's own video rolls out the orang utan yet again although the message is not so strident in terms of forest clearing and makes some admission of oil palm's advantages over other crops.
Growers have one thing going for them and it may be more important than any other economics. The demand for vegetable oil is skyrocketing from year to year as demand from China and India and other developing countries increases rapidly. Certification won't matter in scarcity.
Palm oil growers have put themselves in a tough spot but it is quite easy to get out of it. Malaysia and Indonesia produce nine tenths of the world's palm oil. If both these countries don't participate in RSPO there is no RSPO. Period.
Managing editor P Gunasegaram wonders why there can't be roundtables on sustainable production for a whole lot of other goods and services such as laptops, notebooks and tablets, cars, trucks, trains and planes, Hollywood movies, TV serials and singing stars, subprime mortgages, Wall Street bonuses and derivatives the list can go on and on

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breaking news: Australia's $23/ton carbon pollution tax announced!

The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and woken up mightily to tax the polluters and pay the forest keepers allowances.

Ms Gillard said the Parliament had been debating climate change for decades and most Australians now agreed the world was warming.
That was caused by carbon pollution, she said, and the best way to make the polluters pay was to put a price on carbon.
"Today we move from words to deeds," the Prime Minister told Parliament today.
The package of bills will establish a fixed $23-a-tonne price on carbon pollution from mid-2012.
An emissions trading scheme with a floating price will begin three years later.
There will be compensation for most households and big business to help them adjust.
A separate piece of legislation will support steel workers through a $300 million transformation plan.
The Government today will also refer its carbon price legislation to a joint parliamentary inquiry which is scheduled to report back by early October.
Labor expects both houses to have passed the bills by mid-November.
The Government received more than 300 submissions on its draft legislation.
"I firmly believe that no stone remains unturned, no voice unheard, so this is the plan for Australia's carbon price," Ms Gillard said.
The Government had taken "a modern policy approach with efficient allocation and incentive to innovate".
It will start with a fixed price then move to "a well-designed market".
Other features include assistance for emissions-intensive trade exposed industries, abatement at lowest economic costs and links to international markets.
The Prime Minister said this was "all adding up to a new bottom line where polluters pay".
Ms Gillard said about 500 polluters would pay carbon tax.
Those included entities that emitted 25,000 tonnes or more of carbon pollution a year and large users of natural gas.
Ms Gillard said natural gas suppliers, such as retailers, would pay a carbon price on emissions that arose from the use of natural gas by smaller customers.
"Around 500 entities will have mandatory liability under the carbon pricing mechanism - around 500 polluters will pay," she said.
Ms Gillard said the fixed price, set out in legislation, provided business with certainty and allowed for a manageable transition to carbon pricing.
After three years the scheme automatically moves to a fully flexible cap and trade emissions trading scheme.
"From this time on, a cap will be placed on national emissions and the carbon price will be determined by the market," she said.
Ms Gillard said in the first three years of the floating price period there would be a price cap and a price floor to limit market volatility and reduce risk for business as they gain experience of the new regime.
The Prime Minister reiterated that Australia aimed to reduce emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
"Achieving this target will take more than 17 billion tonnes of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere between now and 2050," Ms Gillard said.
That will mean in four decades' time nine out of 10 tonnes of pollution that would otherwise have been spewed into the atmosphere won't be produced.
Ms Gillard said Australia's carbon price regime would be linked to international schemes so businesses could more cheaply offset their liabilities overseas.
But they'll be limited to using offshore credits for half their obligation.
Ms Gillard said to determine liability under the carbon price mechanism, information would be drawn from the national greenhouse and energy reporting system.
The greenhouse gas pollution measurement system was developed under the Howard government, and started in September 2007.
The carbon pricing mechanism would not apply to agricultural emissions, legacy emissions from landfill facilities and emissions from landfill facilities that close before July 1, 2011.
The legislation recognised the different ways businesses structured their affairs, and deals specifically with joint ventures that were a common feature of resources and energy projects .
It also allowed businesses to transfer liability under the mechanism within their corporate group.
Ms Gillard said the Government would seek to close around 2000 megawatts of highly-polluting generating capacity by 2020.
"Closing down some of our high pollution coal-fired capacity makes room for investment in low-pollution plant and starts the transformation of our energy sector in a responsible way," she said.
The carbon pricing arrangements would be supported by robust and independent governance arrangements.
The Clean Energy Bill 2011 set out the core provisions, architecture and review arrangements.
Consequential amendments will be made to a range of other laws dealing with climate change, economic regulation and taxation.
Ms Gillard said 40 per cent of the revenue raised by the climate price would be used to support emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries.
The Productivity Commission will regularly review a jobs and competitiveness program.
"(This) will ensure that our industries are in the best position possible to manage a smooth transition to a clean energy future," Ms Gillard said.
The Government will also support energy suppliers to maintain supply during their transition to clean energy.
Ms Gillard said the price impact of the carbon tax would be modest on families but she understood family budgets were tight.
As a result, most of the money raised from the carbon tax would be used to fund tax cuts, pension increases and higher family payments.
"Every older Australian who relies solely on the pension will be among the four million Australian households who get a buffer for the budget, with the extra payments being 20 per cent higher than their average extra costs," she said.
Tax reform was also on the agenda, with the tax-free threshold tripled.
Ms Gillard said 450,000 people - earning between $16,000 and $20,500 a year - would pay no tax at all.
"A tax reform which rewards work - which builds on our budget changes to lift workforce participation and spread the benefits and dignity of work to every Australian," she said.
Ms Gillard threw down the gauntlet to the Opposition, saying the coalition would be judged by history if it voted against the legislation.
"There is a reason these matters are decided in an open vote," she said.
"It is so every member in this place can be judged.
"Judged on the decisions they make here, judged on where they stand on the great issues of our national debate."
Ms Gillard said politicians would be judged by Australians now and in the future.
The final test was not whether you were on the right side of the short-term politics or polls.
"The final test is this: are you on the right side of history?
"And in my experience the judgment of history has a way of speaking sooner than we expect."
The prime minister finished by harking back to the "It's time" election campaign of former Labor great Gough Whitlam.
"It's time to deliver the action on climate change we need," she said.
"To do what is best for Australian families, what is best for future generations, what is best for this country.
"I know we can get there."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giving the forest stewards rewards-KEEPING THE FOREST-REDD+ way forward!

The Copenhagen climate change conference had shaped up on the potential REDD+ clarifications and its working mechanism. A binding final agreement was not achieved due to lack of international consensus. The two most important obstructions that stand in the way were reduction targets and financing. A successful REDD+ will depend on successful conclusions on these two issues. Such successful conclusions need good REDD+ programs and devoted international support. REDD can move but without these important support/promotion, a true conclusion is sluggish.
However, negotiators have reached some consensus on some vital key points, these issues are likely going to be part of the REDD agreements reached. The negotiators at the-fifteen conference of the parties ( COP15) meeting used the REDD+ scope instead of REDD so to cover forest operations that that do more good as well as those that do less good. However, conservation should be limited to and excludes food plantation such as oil palm,coffee,tea, reference to UN declaration of right to the indigenous people(UNDRIP) and finally must have full participation of the local people in the planning/implementation and projects benefits.
The following keys have yet to be discussed are such as REDD+ financing and benefit sharing mechanism, its methodologies for the monitoring ,reporting and verification, scale and strategy for implementation.
On the 10th December 2010, Cancun, Mexico was the UN climate Change Conference, it was here that 194 delegates from every country meet to make progress towards the change for the better to improve mitigation and adaptation to climate change, although the bindings are not much stronger, the hopes are higher that the delegates have at least come to meaningful negotiations on important decisions- and so have had achieved something the forest stewards can be enhanced to protect wild life for next couple of decades or even further sustaining the climate change at large.
Since that countries worldwide have in one way or the other gathered together policy makers, scientist, NGOs, private and even large media-wide campaign and awareness on climate change. Policy makers winding up control ,monitoring guidelines, experts draw up technical assistance and governments even making known new taxes-Carbon tax. These are development to fine tune for mass conservation programs worldwide- which will come one day and is mandatory!
In summary, the world has taken so much from the environment without giving anything in return ever since beginning of civilization or industrial revolution. The writer believes that protecting the wild life, conserving and preserving even if it costly is worthy. REDD+ is a way forward, villagers and forest owners direly wait to see quicker developments on REDD/REDD+.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sustainable environment, sustainable living today and future-REDD+ & Hatema rainforest conservation Project

The famouse Asaro river was a very fast flowing river with much in quantity, those stones were never seen ten years back, impact of Climate change is obvious with low water quantity in the once beautiful ferocious Asaro river, photo July 2010, By Gene Drekeke Iyovo.

The UN framework on the Reduction Emission from Forest deforestation , degradation has moved towards conserving the tropical rainforests which is additional to sustainable forestry practices from deforestation and degradation mechanism. That is including conservation in REDD making it into REDD+, This brings in large potential of carbon sequestration through this conservation projects. Protecting the wild and its wilderness on both the land and sea are of critical importance as large amount of carbon dioxide are locked up, act as stores keeping down the severe impact of carbon dioxide to wider spectrum environment, including our regional climates.
Not only making cleaner fuel-biofuels but conserving this natural rainforest in the tropics is mandatory for cleaner today and cleaner future. Researches indicate that about 20% of green house gas emission come from tropical rainforest deforestation ( which is more than the entire transport sector worldwide.
This prompted world organizations that conserving the rainforest could take a big bite in the green house gas emissions. The conservation of rainforest could profit massive biodiversity as well as social welfare of the indigenous communities. The smart approach, rewarding the surrounding communities or in business terms the stakeholders so that they would become stewards of the rainforest into the next millennium.
Providing an incentive to protect tropical forests would save endangered species, support the often impoverished communities, and help solve the climate crisis, all at the same time. Devising a funding mechanism in the REDD+ that would efficiently bring the benefits of forest stewardship to countries especially the forest owners is the way forward in making our climate, environment life suiting for this and next millennia.
More helpful in the rainforest conservation efforts, more leaders are getting the pictures painted to get conserving acts quicker. Prince Charles of UK is such a leader, who took world leaders like Italy Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, France President Nicholas Sarkozy and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to provide and emergency financial package for tropical rainforest.
PNG’s neighbor country, Australia has been more vocal proposing for a forest carbon-market mechanism that is making the national government to issue forest credits for industrial activities cut their emissions below internationally agreed levels.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea Somare Government had set up a state entity for control and management office ’climate change ‘.
These developments are promising, the need and cries of the indigenous communities, communities whose survival is entirely forest dependent, while forest is everything to none in the wide communities have at least the light shedding on the horizon. One of such community doing volunteer rainforest conservation is Hatema Rainforest in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. This conservation effort by traditional landowner groups had sought international support after I had much public community awareness on the diminishing rainforest biodiversity, lower rainfall, low river currents and the climate change issues. The communities comprising of more than 15 000 individuals, more than ten tribal clans extending a perimeter more than 50 km had agreed totally for their rainforest to be seriously considered for conservation. Since then (2010), the association of traditional landowners have seek government and international help.
The association had landed their conservation project to a European Energy Technology Solution company that specializes in carbon credits and forest farming technologies (

The photo above shows Gene Drekeke Iyovo discussing and making climate change awareness, rainforest conservation for the Hatema Conservation association, bringing together the forest stewards, different clans and tribal groups, educating and coaching the importance of biodiversity, REDD+, conservation benefits and potential projects outcomes, Location, Miruma Village,Asaro, Eastern Highlands Province, Papaua New Guinea. July 2010.

The Hatema Conservation area below, more than 90 000 ha of thick virgin tropical rainforest under threat from minings, on the east, loggings and illigal activites on the west, between the borders of Eastern Highlands, Chimbu Province and Madang has been negotiated for conservation for 30 years or more.

At the end of the day, the rainforest conservation solves a chain of problems, poverty alleviation through monetary returns from the conservation projects, biodiversity preservation and most importantly the bigger part is limiting the climate change to manageable level for now and the future. The Hatema rainforest group, approximate total area of 100 000 ha or nearest, comprised of 3 % low literacy by population has awaken to the reality of climate change due to constant awareness, now with clear idea on climate change and its immediate and long term effects, the communities are united to closing conservation deals for a successful rainforest preservation and conservation for now and the immediate future.
The writer, who is the promoter of the conservation project, believes that conservation is one ‘chance to go for a chance’ to limit or bring under desirable condition the effects of climate change. Generating such united idea from a wider tribal communities in Papua New Guinea with diverse cultures and language cost much sweat and require the guts. The lower level and higher leve, the former is financing power to achieve the desire of the latter, the latter have the commodity for the desired result even the former desired. Communal, bilateral and mutual cooperation will bring about the successful REDD+ to conclusion. The Hatema conservation group is one such community desiring to bring conservation to successful conclusion, it is believed that other communities in the region can achieve conservation of their wilderness. At the end of the day, we care for the world in which we live. We live and learn so we can live.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

EU Biofuel mandates

Biofuel mandates means mandatory-a requirement that blending of the fuel component, that is a portion from biofuel and the fossil fuel or petroluem products.

It is by law that biofuel is a must, biofuel is produced from organis mass or biomass. Markets and demand has been raising for the past 5 years. The following countries in EU have mandated biofuel by percentages from 2010 to 2011. Besides it is expected to increase year by year until world governments are satisfied with climate change and its impacts.

Finland: from 4 % to 6 %,
Poland: from 5.75 % to 6.2 %
Italy: from 3.5 to 4 %
Spain: from 5.83 % to 7 %
Bulgaria: from 3.5 % to 5 % (by vol.)
Denmark adopts a first-ever obligatory quota of 3.5 %

Biofuel sales went up by 13.6 per cent to 13.9 million tonnes in 2010, but UFOP says that even the new increases will not utilize more than 65 percent of EU biodiesel capacity.

Hundreds and thojusand of jobs are created solving unemployment problems in the respective countries.

In PNG, we either buy/use the ready made biofuel blended fossil fuel or we produce and blend. The ball is in our hands.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Jatropha Race

I have been foretelling from the very begining that Jatropha could become something better than coffee. Now we have within sort time Jatropha how fast and spread it has grown for biofuel.
With new research on environmental and biomedical benefits of Jatropha is appearing regularly, it’s no wonder that the race for patents is heating up, and fast.

Last year Mission New Energy began a joint venture with JOil Pte Ltd, whose major shareholders are Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Singapore; TATA Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho, heavy hitters all with biofuels production and feedstock breeding experience. Mission brought to the table its 194,000 acres of Jatropha Curcas under contract farming agreements in India, spread across five states and generating sustainable employment for some 140,000 previously impoverished farmers–the social mission that, along with its renewable energy mission, gives the company its name.

Then this February Bharat Renewable Energy Limited (BREL), a subsidiary of India’s second largest oil marketing company, Bharat Petroleum, announced a plan to develop new hybrids suited to specific growing conditions from SG Biofuels’ existing “JMAX” hybrid seeds. It plans to plant the resulting climate-specific hybrid seeds on 86,000 acres in five districts of Uttar Pradesh state: Kanpur, Jhansi, Laltpur, Chitrakoot and Sultanpur. In addition, it proposed to install 200 oil extraction units and 10 biorefineries in these areas. BREL’s partners are Indian biotech major Nandan Biomatrix and Shahpoorji Palonji, an India-based global construction company with connections to Tata Group and recent experience in biofuels investing.

What’s up? I hate to say I told you so, but I did: last year–and maybe the year before that too. Jatropha is climbing the value chain. First came Jatropha biodiesel for motor vehicles with no price premium over other feedstocks. Then Jatropha aviation fuel with a premium over most other feedstocks except Camellina and drop-in sythetics. And now comes biomedical Jatropha with no competition at all.

Only a few months ago the Indian Government’s Central Salt and Marine Minerals Research Institute discovered that Jatropha yields a substance ideal for making high strength,artificial blood vessels–the kind necessary in complicated cardiovascular surgery. Since then, CSMCRI has been busy filing patent applications for other high tech, high value Jatropha products. Both Mission and BREL now have their own biomedical subsidiaries as well, which is no surprise given that the meaning of the plant’s name, Jatropha, is “medicine.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Zealand, Philipines and Malaysia Biofuel fever gripping

In New Zealand, LanzaTech has signed an agreement with Pennsylvania-based Harsco to develop plans to present the LanzaTech biotechnology to Harsco's major steel mill customers and explore potential business relationships for installing and operating commercial facilities at selected sites throughout the world.

In the Philippines, the government is considering extending its push for using locally-produced coconut oil as a feedstock for biodiesel when it bumps its blending mandate to 10% in 2015. Coconut biodiesel is currently blended at 2% but a recent study shows that selling the coconut oil into the industry could earn farmers $23.5 million per year.

In Malaysia, Chevron's biodiesel blending facility in Pulau Indah has come online and already 29 service stations in Melaka and Negeri Sembilan offering B5 biodiesel with Techron D. The company expects 73 to come by November when the government has mandated B5 across the country's Central region.

US Government to invest $510M in advanced

A biofuel(biodiesel)pump in Germany.

US announces historic investment to jump-start “drop-in” biofuels at commercial scale.
Jet fuel, diesel in focus — USDA, DOE, USN to share tab, and leverage private investment
The US seeks to definitively break its addiction on imported oil.

In Washington, President Obama today announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million during the next three years in partnership with the private sector to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation.

The initiative responds to a directive from President Obama issued in March as part of his Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future, the Administration’s framework for reducing dependence on foreign oil.

$510 million US investment – with a minimum of $510M more from private industry
The joint plan calls for the three Departments to invest a total of up to $510 million, which will require substantial cost share from private industry – of at least a one to one match. USDA will take the lead on addressing feedstocks, the DOE will take the lead on technology, and the Navy will provide a market. Each department will share the $510M tab, equally.

The US government funds will be re-directed from already authorized funding, and no additional US spending will be required. The government plans to issue an RFP shortly to bring in private industry into the effort.

“To create and stabilize an industry”
“Our goal is to create and stabilize advanced biofuels industry,” commented Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, in making the announcement. This is not a fly by night effort – it’s a commitment to real energy future. The president has asked us to make the US more competitive, and to give us real diversification in our energy choices.”

“The Defense Production Act has been on the books since the 1950s,” Navy Secretary Mabus added. “If industries are not existent, government can help industries get off the ground. I can think of no more important strategic issue than energy security.”

“We simply buy too much fuel from out of the country,” Mabus said. “The supply shocks, the price shocks, its simply unacceptable to the military. For every dollar increase in the cost of a barrel of oil, it costs the Navy $30 million.”

Partnering with the private sector
The biofuels initiative is being steered by the White House Biofuels Interagency Work Group and Rural Council, both of which are enabling greater cross-agency collaboration to strengthen rural America. Shortly, the group will issue an RFP to seek out private partners to leverage the government investment.

“Biofuels are an important part of reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs here at home,” said President Obama. “But supporting biofuels cannot be the role of government alone. That’s why we’re partnering with the private sector to speed development of next-generation biofuels that will help us continue to take steps towards energy independence and strengthen communities across our country.”

“This is the first time we have addressed feedstock, technology and market risk at one time,” said USDA Secretary Vilsack. “Previous efforts aimed at one or the other slowed down the process. This is a unique and historic response to the energy challenge.”

Cutting down on $300 billion spent on imported oil
The partnership aims to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and create jobs while positioning American companies and farmers to be global leaders in advanced biofuels production. The United States spends more than $300 billion on imported crude oil per year. Producing a domestic source of energy provides a more secure alternative to imported oil and improves our energy and national security.

“By building a national biofuels industry, we are creating construction jobs, refinery jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “As importantly, every gallon of biofuel consumed near where it is produced cuts transportation costs and, for the military, improves energy security.”

“These pioneer plants will demonstrate advanced technologies to produce infrastructure-compatible, drop-in renewable fuels from America’s abundant biomass resources,” said Energy Secretary Chu. “It will support development of a new, rural-focused industry that will replace imported crude oil with secure, renewable fuels made here in the U.S.”

In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council to build on the Administration’s robust economic strategy for rural America and make sure that continued federal investments create maximum benefit for rural Americans. Administration officials have been working to coordinate programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

History of biodiesel: Surpressed now emerges




Biodiesel (or biofuel) is the name for a variety of ester-based fuels (fatty esters) generally defined as the monoalkyl esters made from vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, canola or hemp oil, or sometimes from animal fats through a simple transesterification process. This renewable source is as efficient as petroleum diesel in powering unmodified diesel engine.


Despite precise written sources, the concept of using vegetal oil as an engine fuel likely dates when Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913) developed the first engine to run on peanut oil, as he demonstrated at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Unfortunately, R. Diesel died 1913 before his vision of a vegetable oil powered engine was fully realized.

Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel firmly believed the utilization of a biomass fuel to be the real future of his engine. He wanted to provide farmers the opportunity to produce their own fuel. In 1911, he said "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it".

"The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in the course of time as important as the petroleum and coal tar products of the present time"
Rudolf Diesel, 1912

After R. Diesel death the petroleum industry was rapidly developing and produced a cheap by-product "diesel fuel" powering a modified "diesel-engine". Thus, clean vegetable oil was forgotten as a renewable source of power.

Modern diesels are now designed to run on a less viscous fuel than vegetable oil but, in times of fuel shortages, cars and trucks were successfully run on preheated peanut oil and animal fat. It seems that the upper rate for inclusion of rapeseed oil with diesel fuel is about 25% but crude vegetal oil as a diesel fuel extender induces poorer cold-starting performance compared with diesel fuel or biodiesel made with fatty esters (McDonnel K et al. JAOCS 1999, 76, 539).
Today's diesel engines require a clean-burning, stable fuel operating under a variety of conditions. In the mid 1970s, fuel shortages spurred interest in diversifying fuel resources, and thus biodiesel as fatty esters was developed as an alternative to petroleum diesel. Later, in the 1990s, interest was rising due to the large pollution reduction benefits coming from the use of biodiesel. The use of biodiesel is affected by legislation and regulations in all countries (Knothe G, Inform 2002, 13, 900). On February 9, 2004, the Government of the Philippines directed all of its departments to incorporate one percent by volume coconut biodiesel in diesel fuel for use in government vehicles. The EU Council of Ministers adopted new pan-EU rules for the detaxation of biodiesel and biofuels on October 27, 2003. Large-volume production occurs mainly in Europe, with production there now exceeding 1.4 million tons per year. Western European biodiesel production capacity was estimated at about 2 million metric tons per year largely produced through the transesterification process, about one-half thereof in Germany (440,000 and 350,000 MT in France and Italy, respectively). In the United States, by 1995, 10 percent of all federal vehicles were to be using alternative fuels to set an example for the private automotive and fuel industries. Several studies are now funded to promote the use of blends of biodiesel and heating oil in USA. In USA soybean oil is the principal oil being utilized for biodiesel (about 80,000 tons in 2003). Details may be viewed on-line through the National Biodiesel Board web site.
Several reviews on sources, production, composition and properties of biodiesel may be consulted for further information:
- Ramadhas AS et al., Renewable Energy 2004, 29, 727-742
- Bajpai D et al., J Oleo Sci 2006, 55, 487
- Durrett TP et al., The Plant J 2008, 54, 593-607
- Jetter R et al., The Plant J 2008, 54, 670-683

As many algal species have been found to grow rapidly and produce substantial amounts of triacylglycerols (oleaginous algae), it has long been postulated that they could be employed to produce oils and other lipids for biofuels (see review in : Hu Q et al., The Plant J 2008, 54, 621-639). A very informative review of the prospects of using yeasts and microalgae as source of cheap oils that could be used for biodiesel may be consulted (Ratledge C et al., Lipid Technol 2008, 20, 155). Although publications of research on biodiesel production are numerous, a systematic review of this topic may be found in a paper devoted to the production of biodiesel from Jatropha curcas oil (Nazir N et al., Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 2009, 111, 1185). This paper provides comprehensive information on biodiesel production, including oil extraction technique and composition, the role of different catalysts in the transesterification process, the current state-of-the-art in biodiesel production, process control and future potential improvement of biodiesel production.
The promise of algae in the production of biodiesel has been evaluated in the end of 1998.
The comparison of the potentiality and sustainability of the use of height algal species belonging to different divisions (macro and microalgae and cyanobacterium) for biodiesel production has been made (Afify MR et al., Grasas y Aceites 2010, 61, 416). Two different extraction solvent systems were used and compared for each algal species in both systems.

As the major byproduct of biodiesel production is glycerol, uses for that byproduct have been investigated. Glycerol can be thermochemically converted into propylene glycol (Chiu CW et al., Ind Eng Chem Res 2006, 45, 791), 1,3-propanediol (Gonzalez-Pajuelo M et al., Metab Eng 2005, 7, 329), lipids (Narayan M et al., Int J Food Sci Nutr 2005, 56, 521) and several other chemicals. Among lipids, it was shown that glycerol can be used to produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) through fermentation of the alga Schizochytrium limacinum (Chi Z et al., Process Biochem 2007, 42, 1537; Pyle DJ et al., J Agric Food Chem 2008, 56, 3933).

A review of the use of vegetable oils as engine fuels may be consulted (Ramadhas AS et al. Renew Energy 2007, 29, 727).

The book of Nitske WR et al. may be consulted for the history of biodiesel (Nitske WR, Wilson CM, Rudolf Diesel: Pioneer of the age of power)


What is still widely unknown is that it is easy to make biodiesel for diesel engines using vegetable oil or animal fat. Biodiesel is sold commercially in Europe, America and Australia.
On a small scale, vegetable oil is relatively expensive, but used products from the cooking industry is abundant and can easily and cheaply be converted into a biodiesel fuel that will mix in any quantity with conventional diesel. During heating, the amount of polymers in the oil may increase up to 15 wt% and thus may have negative influence on fuel characteristics. Therefore, the amount of polymers in waste oil is a good indicator for biodiesel production (Mittelbach M et al. JAOCS 1999, 76, 545).
The transesterification process involves mixing at room temperature methanol (50% excess) with NaOH (100% excess), then mixing vigorously with vegetable oil and letting the glycerol settle (about 15% of the biodiesel mix). The supernatant is biodiesel and contains a mixture of methylated fatty acids and methanol, the catalyst remaining dissolved in the glycerol fraction. Industrially, the esters are sent to the clean-up or purification process which consists of water washing, vacuum drying, and filtration.
An in situ alkaline transesterification was shown to be efficient in preparing fatty acid esters, the simple and direct process eliminating the expense associated with solvent extraction and oil cleanup (Haas MJ et al., JAOCS 2004, 81, 83).
Transesterification may be processed using methanol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, or butanol, the catalyst being either sodium or potassium hydroxide. It was shown that the methanol/oil molar ratio influences largely the efficiency of the reaction and has important implications for the optimal size of methyl ester plants (Boocock DGB et al. JAOCS 1998, 75, 1167). Optimization of methanolysis of Brassica carinata oil has been examined considering the catalyst concentration as well as the reaction temperature (Vicente G et al., JAOCS 2005, 82, 899).
Various reaction parameters for the synthesis of biodiesel from safflower oil were studied to improve the fuel production which was within the recommended standards with 96.8% yield (Meka PK et al., J Oleo Sci 2007, 56, 9).
Free fatty acids and total glycerol (free and acylglycerols) can initiate engine corrosion and affect human or animal health by emission of hazardous acrolein into the environment. Accordingly, maximum allowable amounts of free fatty acids and acylglycerols are included in the biodiesel specification of most countries.
For glycerol, a maximum permissible concentration of 0.02 wt-% is set by the European norm as well as by the ASTM specification. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the amount of free glycerol in biodiesel. Among others, a simple and rapid method was described using HPLC with refractometric detection (Hajek M et al., Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 2006, 108, 666). A simple HPLC method using a light-diffusion detector was proposed to monitor acyglycerols and free fatty acids concentrations in biodiesel (Kittirattanapiboon K et al., Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 2008, 110, 422). Glycerol can also be estimated very accurately by UV–visible spectrophotometry after derivatization with 9,9-dimethoxyfluorene (Reddy SR et al., JAOCS 2010, 87, 747).
Information on the physical properties described by the standards and details on the standard reference methods may be found in the paper by Knothe G (JAOCS 2008, 83, 823).

It was experienced that 10 l of soybeans produced about 1.9 l of biodiesel. A liter of this fuel contains about 35,000 BTUs.
If fats or solidified oil are used, it will need to heat up to 50°C the mixture prior to mixing with methanol and catalyst.
If free fatty acids are present, as in used cooking oils (estimation with acid number), special pretreatment technologies may be required.

Among lipid-rich materials of low value is soapstock, a co-product of the refining of edible vegetal oils. This mixture is generated at a rate of about 6% of the treated unrefined oil (45 MT per year in USA). An efficient procedure involving acid-catalyzed esterification of soapstock has been described (Haas MJ et al., J Am Oil Chem Soc 2003, 80, 97).

The world biodiesel sources were in 2002 : rapeseed oil (84%), sunflower (13%), soybean oil (1%), palm oil (1%), and others (1%).

Information on making biodiesel may be found in specific websites :
European Biofuel Technology Platform
Biodiesel Resource Page
Biodiesel handling and use guide

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jatropha, Indonesia pushing on Biofuel

In Mozambique, Sun Biofuels exported its first shipment of biofuel produced from jatropha to be used by the German airline Lufthansa.

Thirty tons of jatropha oil produced in Mozambique’s central province of Manica were crushed by British company Sun Biofuels and sent to Germany. Luftansa is currently seeking 400 million liters of biofuels globally as part of the Company’s move toward mitigating high-cost petroleum and greenhouse gas emissions.

In Borneo, Mitsubishi and the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre will collaborate in exploring algal biodiversity as a possible source of renewable energy. SBC’s work has expanded over the last six years from long term pharmaceutical projects, to shorter term projects in areas such as biotechnology.

Furthermore,in Indonesia, Molindo Raya Industrial announced plans to construct a 55-million liter/year ethanol plant in 2012, following recent land acquisition for the project.

When completed in 2013, the $40-50 million plant will double the Company’s ethanol production capacity using molasses feedstock sourced from a nearby sugar mill.

The company currently owns another 55-million liter/year molasses-based ethanol plant in Lawang, East Java. Approximately 18% (10 million liters/year) of the plant’s ethanol production is anhydrous or fuel-grade ethanol, while the rest is hydrous ethanol used for industrial or pharmaceutical purposes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How are we going to get from 6.6 million gallons in 2011 to 20 BILLION gallons in 2022?

Here’s how:

By bringing the industry together: At the Advanced Biofuels Markets congress you will hear from CEOs and Presidents who are driving the development of Advanced Biofuels and who will get us to the RFS target, speakers will include Advanced Biofuels Company Executives, Venture Capitalists & Investment Bankers, Corporate Strategic Investment and Alliance Executives, EPC firms and industry suppliers. If you are responsible for making decisions in this sector, you need to be here.

By not going it alone: To reach this goal the industry has to work in concert –networking to build new relationships, catching up with buddies, partnering and collaborating are the key to success. As Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) always says ‘Go out there and network like crazy!’ For most of you networking is the most important reason to attend an event, so for 2011 we are actually having an entire day dedicated to structured networking: roundtables, one to one meetings and speed networking. No other biofuels event offers this comprehensive chance to have a conversation with literally every conference attendee (450 expected). That equates to 20 hours over 3 days

By knowing what technologies and services to use: To achieve the RFS targets, the industry needs to produce viable, commercial-scale advanced biofuels. What technologies are working? Which companies can help you achieve your goals? What support services are available out there? Our Exhibition Hall will be the hub for networking and business development, giving you a chance to network with exhibitors, hear about their products and understand your needs.

Meanwhile in India, Eco Green Fuels and World Health Energy has signed a LOI for a comprehensive joint venture to provide 1 million liters of algal oil to EFG by the last quarter of 2012.

World Health Energy Holdings, Inc. recently acquired GNE-India, an algae technology company with the distribution and licensing rights to a unique and innovative technology, the GNE GB 3000 system, to grow algae quickly and efficiently for the production of biodiesel and commercial fish food protein.


Friday, July 15, 2011

PNG urgently needs replacement fuels

The need for replacement fuels.

The need for energy has grown drastically proportional to population growth, and 21st century energy demands have been very high based on global demands analysis. That growth will elevate even higher as world population doubles as near as 2050. Every day, hundreds of millions of tons of energy sources are burned to produce to sustain human activities. Should that activity be industries, transport or power generation such as coal for electricity, one way or the other, non renewable energy sources has been exploited at a faster rate. This trend is unhealthy for the future generation, environment and energy sustainability. Putting perspective into reality, non renewable energy such as fossil petroleum cannot sustain the world in the next hundred year period. The desperate need to sustain energy supply to meet demands resulted in energy companies putting over billion dollars in renewable energy production, some of the major energy players such as Exxonbil, Origin energy, BP has in the recent times invested heavily in biofuels. What is the big fear? Those lucky oil rich regions will play fuel war putting majority into social chaos. To be more clear, those lucky rich will have the upper hand to dictate our economics, politics and our development. Is that far-fetched or for real?
The powerless ICCC of PNG,is good at reporting fuel price from time to time in the daily papers, besides they can do nothing. The reality is as worse can one see from outside PNG. Fuel price constant warning is pushing goods and services prices higher each day coupled with government taxes, a certain good doubles in prices as it moves away from the town/cities. The manifestation in magnitude does not need a research scientist from National Research Institute (NRI) to reveal the trend, its already and and at its worse.
Petrol, diesel, kerosene, methane, propane and even aviation fuel prices has increased prices in the past six months. Public and private institutions have over these periods gone to tip-tuck trying to adjust and sustain operations and in many cases let loose this tsunamic economic stress to the masses causing huge economic struggles among PNG nationals at all levels. Many learning institutions, at least the secondary schools have been reported to be using firewood to fuel cooking three times a day. Kerosene and gas stoves are very expensive to utilize. Asaroka Lutheran Secondary in the Eastern Highlands province, I last attended in 1997 has been reported to resort to firewood according to Ezekiel Gene who is my brother who last attended in 2010. Unfortunately, school administration will pass increase tuition fee to parents to meet high energy price. Other learning institutions have no options, unless the government is smarter.
As a graduate Bioenergy, during my study years in China I have encountered Chinese biofuels energy self reliance, that is they have no foreign monopoly on their fuel supply. Most restaurants and household would use solid briquette or carbonized fuel and methane gas. These fuels are produced by local industries and supplied locally, kerosene, propane and fuel shortages have been drastically minimized to no market for them in most of China. What fuels do the 1.3 billion population cook for their feed? biofuels! These fuels are not new concept, researches revealed that in the past 60 years, more than 73% of the Chinese population have been using methane produced locally, and since then 80% or more are using methane in their homes. Home methane production is a norm and local government assist the populace to fully develop local energy concepts and that’s Biofuels.
The other is the solid fuel or the carbonized cellulosic fuel or pressed and glued called briquette. Most restaurants in China uses this fuel and is a huge industry, Kerosene, I have not encountered one and seems intelligent Chinese eradicated it or so I assume.
With hands-on, reality experience and encounters with chinese in China, the bioenergy processing and with studies and researches, I have no doubt that the solid energy industry would satisfy PNG. Papua New Guinea can drastically reduce kerosene and cooking gas dependency.
In this article, I would like to lower the veil to reveal what dynamic solid fuel opportunity is at our disposal, furthermore, will expound some brief processing details for potential developers in PNG.
Cellulose materials such as wood, leaves, barks, roots, shrubs, timber wastages such as from industries, agro wastes are the potential raw materials for solid fuel production. These cellulosic materials need to be converted to carbon. Just how can that be done? That is a good question for beginners, the carbonizations of these materials need burning, however, this burning is controlled to accommodate carbon formation. First you need a combustion chamber, this chamber is designed to permit limited oxygen , this limited oxygen burning will directly facilitate cellulosic materials to dark carbonous material formation. From this stage, the carbonized material or the solid fuel can be used directly or further processed to briquette.
Briquette processing is not a new technology; it has been developed and used, marketed worldwide and widely accepted as fuel equivalent to kerosene or gas. The carbonized material lacks gluing agent and is itself unable to give a compact solid feature for cooking. This material is first grounded so can be pressed and glued using specialized flammable glue. Briquette can be pressed into different sizes depending on the stove design, demand and operational ability/capacity.
The most important part to solid fuel development, marketing and utilization is its stove design and external hybrid system. The carbonized cellulose and briquette are compact energized solid fuel unlike liquid fuel. This means they need specialized design to easily burn off, the design and its burning system must make sure enough air is supplied. The stove can be designed to hold pots and pans either single or two with ranging sizes from 3 kg to 50kg cooking capacity, a metallic structure resembling a bowl so that the carbonized fuel or the briquette can be placed at the bottom. Further down the bottom of the bowl you have to accommodate the air ventilation. There are two mechanisms for air supply, first is the natural air current where as hot air moves out, cold air comes in blowing the furnace to facilitate burning. The most efficient would be the electrical-mechanical blowing by means of blower. The blower can vary depends on the size of the stove, use and kind of pan to facilitate cooking. The blower is placed at the bottom of the stocked solid fuels and motors the blowing into glowing flamed coal like matter. The heat content of the solid fuel is nearer than the methane and propane. The compacted solid fuel releases much heat per gram since being compacted, the gnawing oxygen rich air promotes efficient burning which furiously cooks food in less time.
My solid biofuels hybrid system is when the system is attached to a solar powered blower. The stove with solid fuel, solar powered blower is truly a design that is compactable to suit our current fuel need. Cities and towns need that system, a little power and a little solid fuel is just enough to serve three 3 or more pots of food.
My former high school, Asaroka Secondary, an institution vital for the development of this likewise other schools nationwide will go to firewood or other undeveloped alternative fuel source or simply pass higher tuition fees directly putting load on many poor parents. Unfortunately, PNG will have to put up with high fuel cost because government is not thinking. However, I am open to provide technical support and advice to any potential developers and investors for the good of the people and the nation as a whole.
The author was a freelance consultancies in solid, liquid and gas bioenergies for clients in Yemen, India and the USA. He specializes also in algae biofuels (biodiesel, ethanol, and methane), syn gas, methanol, and starch conversions, waste to energy, solid fuel development, digester designs, and stove and biofuels instrumentations.

Gene Drekeke Iyovo , Msc, Bsc
Occupation: Engineer, Bioenergy.