Global News Summary
GLOBAL Development of alternative energy should create more than 20 million j...
GLOBAL Crude oil gained 3.3% in New York last week, the most since the five-d...
GLOBAL Royal Dutch Shell announced six new biofuel research agreements with e...
NORTH AMERICA The US House approved an energy package Tuesday by a 236 to 189...
GLOBAL The demise of Lehman Brothers and continuing concern about financial g...
GLOBAL Oil prices rose on Friday as Hurricane Ike forced the closure of energ...
GLOBAL Oil prices churned Wednesday after OPEC moved to reduce output levels,...
GLOBAL According to a recent Accenture study, “Biofuels' Time of Transition,”...
GLOBAL Global agricultural prices are likely to remain higher than in the pre...
GLOBAL NORTH AMERICA According to a survey by the United Soybean Board, 77...
UK-based agriculture consulting firm LMC International reports further slowing of demand for biodiesel in Europe, the US and Asia as higher palm oil prices are making biodiesel production unprofitable. High prices of edible oils have already made production unprofitable in Europe and the US, with high overcapacity in many biodiesel plants. A shakeout in the industry seems likely across the world, but LMC asserts that governments in wealthier countries have an incentive to support production of biodiesel and ethanol as a damper on rising petroleum oil prices.
Biodiesel producer Alterra Bioenergy says it is considering converting its two plants into free-trade zones where it could import raw materials without paying taxes. One of Alterra’s plants is being converted to use palm oil and the company is investigating poultry fat as a feedstock.
Iowa Renewable Energy of Washington, IO and Innovation Fuels in New York and New Jersey have been accredited as BQ-9000 Producers by the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission.
Construction is expected to resume at the Beatrice Biodiesel plant after US Canadian Biofuels, parent company of Beatrice Biodiesel, reached an agreement with Home Federal Savings Bank to finance the plant’s completion. Beatrice Biodiesel shut down construction of the project in mid-February, several weeks short of completion. Beatrice Biodiesel has agreed to appoint an independent broker or investment banker to market the company and sell it before the agreement expires on June 30.
The Missouri State Senate has approved a bill to require all on-road use diesel sold at retail in the state to be a B5 biodiesel blend by July 1, 2010. If the bill is passed, Missouri would become the sixth state to enact a biodiesel requirement. Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington have approved B2 standards, while New Mexico has authorized a B5 requirement. Only Minnesota has implemented its standards.
A new study by the Steel Tank Institute of Lake Zurich, IL finds that biodiesel and biodiesel blends are safe for storage in underground steel tanks. The study reports that low carbon steel, typically used for underground storage tanks, has excellent corrosion resistance to biodiesel and biodiesel blends. The study was co-sponsored by the National Oilheat Research Alliance and the National Biodiesel Board.
Kansas-based Ethanex Energy Inc. ceased business operations on Wednesday and expects to file for bankruptcy protection "in the near future," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ethanex cancelled its agreement to buy Midwest Renewable Energy’s ethanol plant and terminated most employees.
A strike by Argentine farmers over increased export taxes for their products entered the 14th day on Wednesday with no solution in sight. The strike's impact is visible on meagerly stocked supermarket shelves in cities throughout the country. Hundreds of Argentines took to the streets of the capital this week banging pots and pans in support of the striking farmers after a national television address by President Cristina Fernandez referred to the farmers' demands as extortion. Blocked roads and clogged ports have thrown the countries imports and export activities into disarray, including international biofuels commerce. Observers say that Argentina has relied on rising agricultural revenue to help maintain a budget surplus. A variable- rate export tax on soybeans and sunflower seeds, announced March 11, raised the soybean levy to about 44% from a fixed rate of 35%.
Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture estimates that soy makes up about 90% of the raw material used in the country’s biodiesel production, with the rest coming from cotton, peanut, palm, sesame, sunflower, castor seed, canola and tallow or animal fat.
Media reports say that UK biofuels company Infineum, co-owned by Shell and ExxonMobil, is on the selling block for between $3 billion and $3.8 billion. Infineum manufactures and markets petroleum additives for the fuels and lubricants industry, and had net annual revenue of $1.53 billion in 2006. Among the top equity firms that have expressed interest in acquiring the company are Apollo Management, BC Partners, Carlyle Group, Cinven, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vestar. Infineum employs 1,600 people globally.
The new Peugeot 308 runs on B30 biodiesel. In the UK, a model with ‘Powered by British Biofuel’ displayed its sides will be driven around the country this spring and summer.
Bulgaria's biofuel producers have accused the government of inaction and delay in adopting and enforcing the country’s current biodiesel mandate of 5% in on-road fuel. Local company Petrol and Russian Lukoil are the only two retailers offering biofuels at their stations in the country. Other major players such as Shell, OMV and Eko Elda are not offering biofuels due to the lack of quality certification in Bulgaria.
ASIA / PACIFIC
China’s Ministry of Finance says it plans to increase funding for energy efficiency and green house gas emissions reduction this year by 78% from 2007 levels to a total of $5.9 billion to help reach its emission reductions and energy consumption cuts targeted for the 2006 to 2010 period. This dramatic spending increase comes as China is set to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Indian Business Insight reports that Naturol BioEnergy Ltd. of Andhra Pradesh, India will start production at its 100,000 mt per year biodiesel plant in April. Biodiesel from the plant is to be exported to Europe and the US.
Global chemical service company ICIS says refined glycerin prices in Asia are softening as tight supply eases amid an influx of crude glycerin from Europe and the US. Reduced supply, coupled with higher glycerin demand due to new product applications, has led prices to more than triple from a year ago, when refined glycerin was trading in the low-$600s/ton.
In Vietnam, state oil company Petrovietnam announced construction of two 56 million gallons a year cassava ethanol plants. UK-based investor and developer Bronzeoak Group is expected to invest $138 million in one plant, located in the center of the country. The second plant, also at an undisclosed location, is expected to be backed by Japan-based corporation Itochu.
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
The South Australian Research and Development Institute says it will begin a $5 million research project into using micro-algae for biofuels at their new Aquatic Sciences plant at West Beach next year. The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy will support the project with help from state and federal funding, and says it will scale to a larger plant in 2009-10.
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