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