Global News Summary
GLOBAL High vegetable oil prices have reduced global demand by 27% to four mi...
GLOBAL Corn and soybeans rallied Wednesday as a drop in the dollar boosted th...
GLOBAL Oil extended its decline on Monday at just above $114 a barrel, on dim...
NORTH AMERICA Renewable Energy Products has started up the largest biodiese...
GLOBAL The sharp drop in commodity prices is raising hopes that inflation is ...
GLOBAL Buyers from China and India have cancelled or renegotiated around near...
GLOBAL A United Nations press release reports that a UN backed group of inter...
GLOBAL More palm oil is likely to be used for biofuel production in the near ...
GLOBAL Crude oil prices have risen from the lowest in more than three month...
NORTH AMERICA US amusement parks are increasingly using renewable energy. He...
News of the Day
The Economist says that large investments in biofuel capacity and strong demand for feed and food have left both the oilseeds and grain markets thinly stretched. Soaring biofuel demand, reduced crop acreage, and declining stocks drove food, feedstuff, and beverage prices up by 27% in 2007, and this should support soft commodity prices this year. But a top official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development said that while the recent price rally in farm commodities can be attributed partly to higher biofuel demand, this has been exaggerated. Maintaining that the rally would have happened anyway, he noted that the main factors were a sharp drop in supply due to adverse weather conditions in top producing countries such as Australia, tight stocks worldwide, and higher demand for food in developing countries, which along with biofuel demand and high oil prices will keep crop prices high in the next decade.
US-based Coskata has launched a partnership with General Motors to promote its ethanol production process that the company says turns virtually any carbon-based feedstock, including biomass, municipal solid waste, bagasse, and other agricultural waste into ethanol.
POET has officially opened its 22nd ethanol production facility and the first in the state of Ohio. POET says its Biorefining-Leipsic facility will produce 65 million gallons of ethanol and 178,000 tons of Dakota Gold Enhanced Nutrition Distillers Products per year. The plant is the first of three ethanol production facilities POET plans to open in Ohio this year.
Thar Technologies has received a $1.9 million US government grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a biodiesel production process that avoids the use of toxic hexane. Thar plans to build a biodiesel plant in southwestern Pennsylvania by 2010.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is blaming global warming for energy cuts and export controls her government imposed, following a heat wave last week. Last week's power cuts coincided with an Argentinean government decision, in the wake of rising domestic prices, to suspend all exports of liquid fuels, including oil, gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, and naphtha. Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno also ordered that state-regulated prices return to levels in place on Oct. 31, 2007. The government says it will lift the ban once oil companies bring down gas and petrol prices.
European Union officials will propose a ban on imports of certain biofuels, according to a draft law to be unveiled next week. If approved by European governments, the law would prohibit importation of fuels derived from crops grown on certain kinds of land — including forests, wetlands or grasslands — into the 27-nation bloc. The draft law would also require that biofuels used in Europe deliver “a minimum level of greenhouse gas savings.” That level is still under discussion.
According to government statistics, German farmers have planted 6% more winter wheat for summer harvesting, while rapeseed sowing has fallen by 8%. Rye sowing was up 11%.
Virgin Atlantic said Monday that it would conduct a demonstration flight next month of one of its Boeing 747 jets using biofuel - the first airborne test of a renewable fuel by a commercial jet. The airline, founded by the British billionaire Richard Branson, said a 747-400 plane would make the journey lasting one hour and 20 minutes from London Heathrow Airport to Amsterdam in late February using B20 fuel. The test, without passengers, is part of a joint research project by Virgin, Boeing, and GE Aviation.
Ireland-based Ion Equity has acquired Blue Ocean Associates Group, one of the UK’s largest independent fuel businesses, which supplies about 5% of all road fuels used in the UK. This includes Harvest Energy in the UK and Blue Ocean Associates in Amsterdam. Harvest supplies E85 and B30 and blends as well as fuel to supermarket chains and transport operators.
ASIA / PACIFIC
Malaysia is considering a 2% palm biodiesel mandate this year to help support the domestic biofuel industry which has been hit by soaring feedstock prices, a top industry official said on Monday. With Malaysia consuming about 10 million mt of diesel annually, a 2% blend could lead to a biodiesel market of 200,000 mt.
Indonesian palm oil-based biodiesel output is expected to nearly double from 700,000 mt in 2007 to 1.3 million mt this year on expected strong demand in the overseas market. Biodiesel annual capacity is expected to increase to almost 2 million in 2008, according to the Association of Indonesian Biofuels Producers.
Indonesia may abolish its 10% import duty on soybeans to stabilize the price of the commodity in the domestic market amid rising global prices. Last year, Indonesia imported an estimated 1.4 million tons of soybeans (70% of its consumption), mainly for its soy-based food industry, up from 1.2 million tons in 2006.
In Singapore, the executive director of Ginga Global Markets says that palm oil exports to the US and Europe will slow this year due to high prices and soy oil export competition from Argentina. Palm oil prices have reached $1100 per ton in recent weeks, nearly halting demand from the biofuels sector. Malaysian palm oil exports to the EU fell 20% between January and November.
In Hong Kong, the CEO of D1 Oil said the company can produce jatropha biodiesel profitably as long as the price of oil exceeds $65 per barrel. The company is planting 50,000 hectares of jatropha in a joint venture with BP in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. The seedlings are expected to be fully mature in 5 to 6 years. D1 says it will have more than 32 million gallons per year in jatropha capacity by 2012.
The Association of Indonesian Edible Oil says the government needs to limit CPO use for biofuels to prevent supply scarcity and soaring cooking oil prices. Use of an export tax was suggested.
Austria's Biolux plans to commission the largest biodiesel plant in China late this year, with capacity to process 800,000 mt of rapeseed a year into 300,000 mt of biodiesel, 27,000 mt of glycerin and 450,000 mt of rapeseed meal for sales in China and other Asia Pacific countries. The Biolux project, launched late in 2006, has been delayed by policy changes.
Thailand’s Internal Trade Department approved the import of 60,000 mt of crude palm oil as a short-term measure to ease a domestic shortage that threatens to further increase the price of edible palm oil. Of the country’s monthly CPO stock, 70,000 mt is allocated for cooking-oil and 30,000 mt is allocated to biodiesel production, with 50,000 mt set aside for supply security.
French energy firm Agro Energy Development (AED) is in talks with the Cameroon government to produce biofuel from local palm oil and cotton oil. AED is exploring the feasibility growing palm trees, sunflowers, and cotton.
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