Global News Summary
Global G8 FAILS TO GET CHINA AND INDIA ON BOARD EMISSIONS GOAL At the G8...
Global CRUDE OIL FALLS ON PROLONGED RECESSION FEARS Crude oil fell Monday t...
Global UN REVISES DOWN WORLD GRAIN PRICES The UN's Food an...
Global IEA CUTS OIL DEMAND FORECAST The International Energy...
Market Views US HOUSE TO VOTE ON CLIMATE BILL FRIDAY The ...
Global GLOBAL SOYBEAN EXPORTS TO FALL Global soybean expo...
Global UN REPORT FORECASTS WORLD COMMODITY PRICES World pri...
Global OIL FALLS BELOW $72 AS DOLLAR RISES Oil fell below $72 on Mo...
North America EPA HOLDS RFS HEARING On Tuesday...
North America US DEMOCRATS CALL FOR BIOFUELS SUPPORT IN ...
The SoyMor Biodiesel plant in Glenville, MN suspended production of biodiesel last week as a result of the high price of soybean oil. Gary Pestorious, chairman of the SoyMor Board of Governors, said the plant has been running less than 15 days per month during the last four months. Whether the shut down is temporary depends on the price of soybean oil, diesel fuel and the strength of the US dollar, he said.
Financial and construction setbacks have put Beatrice Biodiesel in Beatrice, NE two to three months behind schedule in start-up of its 50-million-gallon per year biodiesel plant in the Gage County Industrial Park. Soaring costs for soybean oil combined with millions of dollars in construction cost overruns have resulted in more than $3.8 million in liens, according to David Blythe, the company’s managing director. It will likely be two months before the plant can begin production, Blythe said.
On January 1, 2008, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) imposed standards on blended biodiesel that local biodiesel producers say renders many blends either illegal or economically unviable. At issue is TCEQ's Texas Low Emission Diesel rule, or TxLED, introduced in 2005 to limit nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in 110 Texas counties, requiring that biodiesel blends emit no more NOx than TxLED approved petroleum diesel. To market blends legally, producers must fund costly testing at accredited labs, using standards they say are antiquated, to demonstrate NOx reductions. Studies by the US EPA and Department of Energy have reached conflicting conclusions on biodiesel and NOx. Only two biodiesel blends have met TxLED approval: a B20 blend that uses a chemical additive to reduce NOx; and a B5/TxLED diesel blend. "The whole TxLED issue is a comedy of errors,” said Jason Burroughs of Texas biodiesel company DieselGreen. “Biodiesel use has been mandated by the US Congress, meanwhile, TCEQ is handcuffing us." Jeff Plowman, co-founder of Austin Biofuels and treasurer of the Biodiesel Coalition of Texas, said the group is in "shock and disarray" over the TxLED rule.
Officials in Greenwich, CT are considering using biodiesel to power about half of the 300 vehicles in its municipal fleet, a move they said would reduce harmful emissions and help the town become more energy independent. The annual consumption of diesel fuel by the town is about 135,000 gallons at a cost of $318,000. The town would likely phase in biodiesel, starting with a B5 blend.
The Solena Group, based in Washington D.C., announced plans to build the world's first commercial-scale, renewable jet fuel production plant using biomass and trash in Gilroy, CA. Construction of the $250 million facility is set for 2009 along with a coal-to-liquid production company. Fuel production, at a rate of about 1,800 barrels per day, will begin in 2011.
The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc., a subsidiary of NYMEX Holdings, Inc, announced it will launch a New York Harbor ethanol futures contract on March 30, 2008 for trade on March 31, 2008. The contract (commodity code QE) will be available for trading on the CME Globex(R) electronic trading platform and for clearing on NYMEX ClearPort(R). It will be listed for 36 consecutive months, beginning with the May 2008 contract. The contract size will be 42,000 gallons, with a minimum price fluctuation of $0.0001 per gallon.
Brazil may move up its mandatory 5% biodiesel target to 2010 instead of 2013, according to Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao. The government might make a 3% biodiesel blend binding in July of this year, and may require a 4% blend next year. The minister has rejected concerns that this policy change could create a biodiesel supply problems in Brazil, noting the country currently has a 660 million gallon per year production capacity.
Brazil's Petrobras is forming a 50:50 joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. of Japan for investments in renewable energy. The new venture, called Participacoes Nippo Brasileira em Complexos Bioenergeticos SA, will provide ethanol for the Japanese market. In February, Petrobras said it would join with Mitsui and Brazilian builder Camargo Correa SA to form a joint venture to build the world's first ethanol-only pipeline. The pipeline would ship ethanol from sugarcane-growing areas in western Brazil to the Atlantic coast in Sao Paulo.
The president of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association has proposed that the US establish a variable ethanol tariff linked to the price of oil, in lieu of ending the US ethanol tariff altogether. Proponents of a US tariff repeal say increased Brazilian imports will reduce the cost of fuel, relieve pressure on food prices and reduce US dependence on foreign oil. Opponents say repealing the tariff would amount to a subsidization of Brazilian ethanol by US taxpayers, and that Brazilian ethanol can already be imported to the US duty-free if it is processed in the Caribbean under the terms of the Caribbean Basin Initiative.
The Refuel Project presented an EU biofuels roadmap at the World Biofuel Markets conference in Brussels last week, saying the EU can meet its 10% biofuels target by 2020 with first-generation feedstocks and fuels based on existing technology, without major agricultural land use changes. The report said next generation biofuels could increase greenhouse gas emissions reductions, but would require several policy changes to have an impact. The roadmap was developed by Chalmers University of Technology, COWI Consultants in Engineering, Environmental Sciences and Economics, EC BREC Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej, Joanneum Research, Copernicus Institute (Utrecht University), Internation Institute of Aplpied System Analysis, and ECN Energy Research Institute of the Netherlands.
Lisbon-based Galp Energia has signed an agreement with Portugese Engineering, Technology and Innovation (INETI) and Algafuel to develop an algae-based biofuel and carbon capture project. The project aims to develop second generation biofuels from algae and recycled carbon dioxide at an internationally competitive price. The partners will set up a pilot plant in Sines for the production of microalgae-based biomass and vegetable oil using combustion gases captured at Galp Energia's refinery in the same city.
ASIA / PACIFIC
Indonesia, the world's top palm oil producer, may assign independent surveyors to check palm oil exports to prevent smuggling, the trade minister said last week. The move was being considered after signs that palm oil may have been smuggled outside the country by exporters trying to avoid export taxes, according to Trade Minister Mari Pangestu.
In Japan, the government's effort to promote biofuel derived from construction waste has stalled. The Environment Ministry is promoting ethanol (E3) produced from waste wood at a plant run by Bio Ethanol Japan Kansai Co. in Sakai, Osaka, but only 576 vehicles have been registered to use the fuel because only six gas stations now sell it. The Petroleum Association of Japan has come out against E3, saying it is difficult to produce, and prohibits its member gas stations from selling the fuel. In a related development, Toyota Motor Corp. announced its Corolla Fielder model for sale in Japan has been approved by the government to use ethanol blends up to E10.
In South Africa, Rainbow Nation Renewable Fuels of Australia says it will construct a 76 million gallon per year biodiesel plant in Coege, in Eastern Cape province. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009.
Global Green Solutions and Sappi Limited, a worldwide producer of paper and pulp, have signed a letter of agreement to generate process steam from the combustion of wood waste biomass at Sappi's Usutu pulp mill in Swaziland, Southern Africa. The plan calls for the Greensteam facility to be operational by September 2009. "This is a strategic step towards Sappi's goal to implement a sustainable renewable energy program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency,” said Bertus van der Merwe, technical director for Sappi Southern Africa.
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