Tag-Archive for » biofuels «

quarta-feira, janeiro 27th, 2010 | Author: admin

Aviation biofuels are the hottest topic in the field as 2010 begins, no question about it.
This month, Rentech signed an off-take agreement with 13 airlines for renewable, drop-in jet fuel made from waste biomass; AltAir signed with 14 airlines for renewable, drop-in jet fuel made from camelina oil. Later this quarter, Dynamic Fuels will open a commercial-scale facility in Louisiana that can manufacture up to 75 million gallons per year, again from waste biomass.
Add to that a series of successful flight tests by Air New Zealand, Japan Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, KLM and Continental Airlines, among others – and you have the makings of a monster market.

How big?
Global aviation jet fuel demand is at 60 billion gallons per year – with a 50 percent blend of biofuels and jet fuel expected to be ASTM certified and FAA certified this year, a potential market of 30 billion gallons per year will open up for the industry. To put this in context, biofuels sales for 2009, globally, were around 22 billion gallons.
“I fully expect that in the future,” said Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson, “that I will make my daily 15-mile commute in a car that is powered by green electrons. But heavy rail, heavy truck, heavy marine will be using diesel or diesel-electric hybrids for a long time, and aviation has nowhere to go but aviation biofuels.”
Small wonder the airlines are seeking biofuels contracts. A report from RDC Aviation and Point Carbon has concluded that the aviation industry will face an initial carbon liability of $1.53 billion in 2012 when aviation enters the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme in 2012. Among top airlines, British Airways, United and Delta will all have exposures in excess of 3 million metric tons of CO2, and face offset payments of more than $50 million each. Biuofuels offers a way of escaping the payments and nervously watching the oil price ticker.
The outlook for the aviation is much simpler with respect to fuel: biodiesel and ethanol don’t work in the airline equation, so renewable, drop in fuels have been the accepted standard for some time. Target cost? Again, simple: parity with oil, or better – with perhaps some allowance for a carbon price and for the 1% or so improvement in fuel economy gained by the switch to biofuel.
Simple as that aspect is, there’s much that is complex. Here are the major developments, opportunities, players and issues.

Fuel development
In fuels, there is one basic spec in development: Bio-SPK, which is expected to receive final commercial flight approval this year. Bio-SPK is made primarily from virgin oils such as algae, jatropha or camelina – but waste biomass will be a major factor in the future.
The major processor? UOP Honeywell, which commenced licensing a process that converts virgin oils to renewable jet fuel through hydrotreatment.
The major renewable oil developers. Solazyme, Sustainable Oils, Sapphire Energy and Terasol have been active to date in supplying crushed oils to UOP for processing.

Feedstocks and processors: the players
One of the fuels under study at Wright-Patterson is Dynamic Fuels – the joint venture of Tyson and Syntroleum, which will commence producing 75 Mgy of renewable diesel, and renewable jet fuel, based on the company’s R-8 platform, produced from animal fats and vegetable oil s by the company’s Bio-Synfining process. The Air Force Research Laboratory recently tested 600 gal of R-8 for short. According to a report from Wright-Patterson, “initial physical property and T63 engine testing indicates R-8’s performance as indistinguishable from that of S-8, Syntroleum’s Fischer-Tropsch synthetic jet fuel that first flew in 2006 aboard the B-52. Additional tests of R-8 are underway, with the product also entering the first stages of the MIL-HDBK-510 Alternative Fuel Certification Process.”
Rentech is producing synthetic jet fuel and renewable diesel at its demonstration plant in Commerce City, Colorado. This facility currently produces Jet A fuel for commercial aviation and it is also sold to the U.S Air Force, a deal that was the company’s first commercial sale. This facility also produces Rentech’s clean diesel or Rendiesel which will be produced in commercial scale at the Rialto Project.
The Rialto (CA) Project will take urban yard and woody green waste to produce ultra clean and renewable fuels. It is estimated that Rialto will produce 600 barrels per day of synthetic fuel as well as 35 megawatts of renewable power. The Rialto project is currently completing all feasibility studies and will complete front-end engineering and design in 2010. Estimated completed construction and start up is expected in 2012.
Sustainable Oils, a producer of camelina-based fuels, announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Defense Energy Support Center for 40,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel.
The fuel will be delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command fuels team in 2009 and will support the Navy’s certification testing program of alternative fuels. The contract includes an option to supply up to an additional 150,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel.
Camelina was selected by the DESC because it does not compete with food crops, has been proven to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent, and has already been successfully tested in a commercial airline test flight. In addition, camelina has naturally high oil content, is drought tolerant and requires less fertilizer and herbicides.
In December, the Air Transport Association of America announced that 14 airlines from the US, Canada, Germany and Mexico have signed MOUs with AltAir Fuels – for the entire output of a new biofuel facility that will be constructed in Mississippi and Washington state.
Twelve airlines from the United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico – Air Canada, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and US Airways – have signed MOUs with both producers.
In addition, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines signed the MOU with AltAir Fuels, and Orlando-based AirTran Airways signed the MOU with Rentech.
Sapphire Energy, like others, is developing an affordable, scalable commercial algae production system – its “above ground oil field,” as Sapphire’s Tim Zenk put it. At the same time, it has mounted a parallel effort to identify its “magic bunny” – the strains with the optimal combinations of high energy content, fast reproduction, and ability to tough it out in the wild, wild west of open ponds.
The Sapphire approach to finding the right “bunny” – amidst tens of thousands of microalgal species, and potentially an infinite number of strains: an industrial biotech approach to R&D: equal parts of discipline, throughput, and sense of adventure.
In October, the US Air Force ordered a total of 400,000 gallons of renewable biofuels from Sustainable Oils, Cargill and Solazyme for testing as a military aviation fuel. the companies, in turn, will use UOP’s processing technology to convert oil from camelina, algae and animal fats into renewable jet fuel.
According to UOP, the military has ordered a total of 600,000 gallons of renewable jet fuel to be delivered in 2009 and 2010, in a series of contracts issued by the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC). For the Air Force order, DESC tapped Cargill and Sustainable Oils to provide jet fuel made from rendered animals fats and camelina, respectively; the Navy tapped Sustainable Oils and Solazyme. According to UOP the orders are as follows: “For the Navy, Solazyme will provide up to 1500 gallons of fuel from algae.”

End users
US Navy
Solazyme received an order from the Navy for 20,000 gallons of renewable algae derived F-76 Naval distillate fuel for use in Navy ships. In fulfillment of the jet fuel contract, Solazyme said it will partner with Honeywell’s UOP to use the latter’s renewable jet fuel processing technology. The contract calls for delivery of 1500 gallons of SolaHRJET-5 renewable algae derived jet fuel to the Navy for compatibility testing next year.

US Air Force
The Air Force has announced that it will construct a $2.5 million Assured Aerospace Fuels Research Facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, also home to the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The facility is expected to be completed in summer 2010, and according to a report in Daily Tech, “It is expected to develop around 15 to 25 gallons of research jet fuel composed of coal, biofuels, and other gas alternatives every day.”

In November, KLM has also announced the formation of a joint-venture company to develop sustainable biofuels called SkyEnergy, together with North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will advise the consortium in relation to ecological aspects.
According to KLM, the development of biokerosene “is a quest that KLM is pursuing in accordance with strict financial, technological and ecological criteria.”
In December, KLM conducted a flight partly powered by a biofuel produced from the plant camelina. The flight took off from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for a demonstration lasting around one hour. On board were a number of Dutch government officials and industry partners – the first time passengers have been on board a biofuels demonstration flight. Some of the camelina was reportedly sourced from Great Plains-The Camelina company.

Mexican Airports
In October, Boeing, Mexico’s Airports and Auxiliary Services agency and Honeywell’s UOP announced a partnership at the annual ALTA aviation conference to develop sustainable aviation biofuels sources in Mexico. Darrin Morgan, director of biofuel strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that the partners would assess “sustainable biomass systems such as halophytes, algae, jatropha, castor.”
The announcement builds on meetings in September with more than 50 government and business representatives in Mexico. The three partners will commission initial studies on promising biomass systems for Mexico and to formalize this collaboration with a commitment to work via the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, a global multistakeholder initiative developing a global biofuel sustainability framework.

Qatar Airways
In Qatar, Qatar Airways, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar Petroleum and Airbus announced the establishment of the Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform, which will prepare a detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable biofuel production, a biofuel investment strategy, and an advanced technology development program.
Last October, Qatar Airways successfully conducted the world’s first commercial flight powered by a Gas-to-Liquid fuel blend last October, which proved to be a significant development in the use of alternative fuels.
The group has been advised by Seattle-based US-based Verno Systems Inc., embarked on a very comprehensive and detailed feasibility study on sustainable Biomass-to-Liquid (BTL) jet fuel. QABP will be structured so that it can be expanded to include additional projects, technologies, investments and partnerships globally, and is focused on short, medium and long term goals. The partners have not disclosed feedstocks or timing at this point, although Airbus noted that the QABP is an “Important step to reach carbon neutral growth in the aviation sector by 2020.”

Continental, Japan Air Lines, Virgin and Air New Zealand
In 2009, these four airlines conducted successful tests of biofuels in their jets, providing valuable flight data for analysis.

The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI) doesn’t get as much publicity as other organizations, but it’s well worth following. Last October, the CAAFI environmental team established a lifecycle emissions framework for jet biofuels, and CAAFI provided business and economics teams in support of s 46-company meeting at the Department of Commerce last September, including both end-users and producers.
In September 2008, he newly-formed Sustainable Aviation Fuels User Group (SAFUG) announced two research projects. The first, funded by SAFUG founding member Boeing, will complete the first lifecycle analysis of CO2 emissions and socio-economic impact of jatropha curcus. In the other, the Natural Resources Defense Council will perform a similar analysis of algae as a sustainable feedstock for aviation fuel.
In October, Boeing and UOP announced an initiative, with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group consortium and the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, to examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from salicornia bigelovii and saltwater mangroves – plants known as halophytes.
In October, TRI, Rentech, Velocys, Choren, Flambeau River Biofuels/Johnson Timber, AP Fuels and World GTL among other companies banded to form the Low Carbon Synthetic Fuels Association to represent the biomass to liquid fuel industry using the Fischer-Tropsch process to produce synthetic renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel. The Association will focus on lobbying for advanced biofuels, and have received support from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Auburn University, Audi America, Chemrec AB, Mercedes Benz USA, Pacific Renewable Fuels, Renewable Energy Institute International, and Volkswagen in comments delivered to the EPA on the importance of advanced drop-in biofuels that do not require infrastructure changes.

Biofuels Digest, Jim Lane

quarta-feira, janeiro 27th, 2010 | Author: admin

A new, widely anticipated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) should be issued by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “very soon,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said Tuesday. “(EPA is) working very hard to finalize the [new rule] as soon as possible,” Jackson said. The rule is now at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for an interagency review.
Biofuels makers have been waiting for the rules, which are designed to implement a 2007 law that mandated an ever-increasing amount of biofuels be added to transportation fuel. This year, 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel must be part of the supply, up almost 17% from last year. Of that total, almost one billion gallons must come from advanced biofuels.
The EPA has been working to determine what biofuels count as advanced. To qualify, each type of advanced biofuel must produce greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 50% lower than the emissions associated with ordinary gasoline. The question is how to measure emissions, since the EPA must look across the entire life cycle from the time a seed is planted to the time a fuel is burned.  As part of that, the EPA must account for the potential impact of clearing land that absorbs greenhouse gases to make room for crops that absorb less of the gases.
The agency’s ultimate decision will also determine what types of new biofuel plants may break ground.
By law, new biofuel plants must produce fuels with greenhouse-gas emissions that are at least 20% lower that emissions associated with traditional gasoline.
Another question involves the future of corn-based ethanol. When the EPA proposed rules in May 2009, the agency outlined two different scenarios. One scenario largely favored the ethanol industry, and another would prohibit all but one corn-ethanol-production process. At issue is whether the EPA determines that ethanol producers are able to find ways to operate more efficiently–such as through the use of enzymes or other processes.
Oil companies have their own concerns. ConocoPhillips (COP) told the White House recently that the system for ensuring that marketers comply with the standards wasn’t workable. The company also opposed an EPA proposal that would allow biodiesel to qualify. The biodiesel industry is fighting back. The National Biodiesel Board has complained that companies aren’t buying biodiesel in mandated volumes because of the EPA’s delay in issuing rules.

Sugarcane blog

segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

Industrial biotechnology is gaining supporters among environmentalists as a way to make significant cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and eventually move to a society free from fossil fuels.
The WWF estimated last September that industrial biotechnology has the potential to prevent emissions of between 1 and 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030. The NGO sought to draw attention to such existing climate solutions that are easily overlooked by politicians and investors alike.
Enzymes have been added to detergents for decades to dissolve stains at lower temperatures. As a result, it is now possible to wash clothes at 30°C instead of 60°C with the same result, saving energy in the process.
Industries using agricultural products as input, such as food, paper and textiles, also currently use biotechnology to manufacture products using less energy and producing less waste, thus reducing pressure on land-use at the same time. Practical examples include adding enzymes to bread during baking to prolong its shelf-life, or using them in juice production to increase juice yield from the same quantity of fruit.

Towards advanced biofuels

The business is booming in the US, where corn-based production of bioethanol uses enzymes to release sugars from the starch in the kernels. The US Renewable Fuel Standard, passed in 2007, requires annual production to rise to 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.
European markets are also growing, after 2009’s Renewable Fuels Directive set the target of reaching a 10% share of ‘green fuel’ in transport by 2020, including biofuels in this definition.
Lars Hansen, president of Novozymes Europe, says that interest in biotechnology is growing as halting global warming has become a political priority. The Danish company, the world leader in enzyme technology, estimates that its products helped to prevent emissions of 28 million tonnes of CO2 in 2008, the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road.
Nevertheless, there has been much debate over the actual environmental benefits of first-generation biofuels from food crops, as converting forests or grassland for energy crop production can release significant amounts of carbon. Advanced biofuels that use non-food feedstocks are now regarded as more promising, and the enzymes industry believes it holds the key to commercial-scale production.
“This has been the holy grail of biofuels: how can you move from using sugar and corn to using the straw, stalks and other agricultural waste?” said Novozymes executive Hansen.”We have directed 10% of our R&D resources into trying to convert not only starch but also agricultural leftovers into sugar,” Hansen said. “You get a much higher yield from the same acre of land by using what is currently perceived as waste, all the stuff left in the fields from agricultural production.”
Hansen said Novozymes is on track to delive the required technology this year. “We have the enabling technology ready, now someone has to build a factory using it.”
Corn ethanol is currently estimated to produce only a 12-18% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline, while cellulosic ethnanol could cut carbon emissions by 86-94%. If land-use changes are included in calculations, corn ethanol could actually double emissions, according to some estimates.

Towards a bio-based economy?
The ultimate goal of biotech supporters is to use enzyme technology to move to a “circular economy”. Here, waste is used to produce biogas while the remaining natural carbon could be reused as natural feedstock.The WWF estimated that such “closed loop systems,” which create new products from waste materials, could help trap up to three billion extra tonnes of carbon by 2040. Moreover, technological development would eventually lead to the replacement of oil-based products with natural materials in “biorefineries”.
“Biofuels are just a first step to what we call a ‘bio-based future’ where you replace traditional oil refineries with biorefineries,” Hansen said. “The vision is to have the same kind of refinery but based on biological production so that agricultural products go into producing not only fuels but plastics, feeds, fibres and chemicals.”

Biotechnology is divided into four branches:
* Green biotechnology is applied to agricultural processes and includes genetic modification of plants and animals.
* Red biotechnology is used in medicine to design organisms to produce antibiotics, for example.
* White, or industrial biotechnology, is used in industrial processes. It involves using organisms to produce valuable chemicals and using enzymes as catalysts to produce valuable chemicals or destroy harmful ones.
* Enzymes are used in a variety of industries, including food, textile, paper and agriculture, to increase the efficiency of processes.
The lofty idea behind industrial, or white, biotechnology is to use nature’s own ingredients to solve industrial problems. White biotech industries use enzymes - proteins that speed up chemical reactions - for various applications to increase efficiency of energy and raw-material use and eventually replace fossil fuels.


segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

In ten years’ time Germany will double the land used for growing feedstocks, solar parks and wind turbines, in order to increase the production of biofuel.
Today, 1.77 million of Germany’s 35.7 million hectares are being used for renewable energy. If Germany is to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade, almost 4 million hectares will be required.
Most of this land will be under-utilised agricultural, military and industrial land and will be used to grow feedstocks such as corn, sugar beet and rapeseed, which can then be converted into biodiesel, ethanol and biogas.
‘Critical for all this to work is to make sure that bioenergy is integrated into the overall energy system’, said Daniela Thraen, director of the German Biomass Research Center in Leipzig.

terça-feira, janeiro 12th, 2010 | Author: admin

A specific protein that plays a critical role in eliminating excess absorbed light in algae has been discovered, which has important implications for agriculture and biofuels.

Graham Peers from the University of California – working with researchers from Germany’s University of Münster – used a mutant strain of the single-celled green alga Chlamydomonas reinhartdii to show LHCSR, a protein from the light harvesting family, acts as a safety valve to dissipate excess absorbed light energy before it can wreak havoc in cells.  Researchers exposed a mutant algae lacking in LHCSR to fluctuating light conditions to show that it suffered greatly.
“Photosynthetic organisms must be able to manage absorbed light energy, and the LHCSR proteins appear to be critical for algae to eliminate absorbed light energy as heat as light levels in the environment fluctuate, becoming potentially toxic,” said Arthur Grossman, study co-author from Carnegie Institute’s Department of Plant Biology, where the alga was originally isolated.
Grossman says it’s important to understand how the environment has shaped the evolution of photosynthetic machinery - some have evolved in the desert to withstand high light and temperature environments, while other have adapted to alpine environments with high light and low temperatures.  He says it opens the possibility of introducing these mechanisms into plants to allow them to better manage absorbed light energy and to survive harsher conditions, which has many benefits for agriculture.
Algae can be used to generate biofuels, with the suggestion that it could be cultivated in deserts where solar input can be extremely high.  Grossman said: “If we are going to attempt this, we have to make sure that we use the right algae that can thrive and produce oil at high levels under harsh conditions.” He noted that although there are many challenges associated with producing such a robust, commercially viable strain, it may be possible to tailor features of the photosynthetic machinery to let algae use light more efficiently.

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sexta-feira, dezembro 04th, 2009 | Author: admin

Just before the Thanksgiving break, the staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) submitted to the State’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL) the “Final Rulemaking Package,” which is the last step before the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) can become defacto regulations under the State of California. The documents are long (over 1,000 pages) but includes a strong defense by ARB staff of the criticism over the Agency’s determination of biofuels’s carbon footprint.
As readers of this blog recall, sugarcane biofuels scored well thought the penalties for indirect land use effects were high. While ARB is going to review the indirect effects calculation, the issue may well end up in court as the corn ethanol lobby and Big Oil is almost certain to sue. Wonder how California is going to pay all the lawyers…


quinta-feira, novembro 26th, 2009 | Author: admin

Qual será o custo das mudanças climáticas para o Brasil?   Onze instituições do país fizeram a conta e calculam um prejuízo que pode chegar a R$ 3,6 trilhões até 2050. De acordo com o estudo Economia da Mudança do Clima no Brasil: Custos e Oportunidades, divulgado ontem (25/11), as perdas econômicas equivalem a pelo menos um ano inteiro de crescimento jogado no lixo se nada for feito para evitar os impactos da mudança do clima em setores como agricultura e energia e em regiões como a Amazônia e as zonas costeiras.
Inspirado no Relatório Stern, estudo britânico que em 2006 calculou o custo da mudança climática em 20% do Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) global, a pesquisa brasileira parte de cenários do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês) para calcular o impacto do aquecimento global nas contas do país.
No primeiro cenário, o Brasil chegaria a um PIB de R$ 15,3 trilhões em 2050, mas perderia 0,5% (R$ 719 bilhões) por causas das mudanças do clima. No segundo, considerando uma trajetória de crescimento mais limpo, o PIB chegaria a R$ 16 trilhões, mas as perdas seriam de 2,3% (R$ 3,6 trilhões).
Coordenadora operacional do projeto, a pesquisadora da Coordenação dos Programas de Pós-Graduação em Engenharia (Coppe) da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Carolina Dubeux, afirma que é preciso deixar claras as consequências macroeconômicas da mudança do clima, que não se restringem aos debates científicos e ambientais.
“O impacto do clima ainda vai ser modesto em 2050, ainda assim na economia será bastante grande. Há uma tendência de redução do PIB em função da mudança climática. E no Brasil isso vai aumentar as disparidades regionais”, cita.
Entre os setores mais vulneráveis aos prejuízos do aquecimento global no país estão agricultura e energia. Se nada for feito para adaptar a produção às mudanças do clima, todas as culturas – com exceção da cana-de-açúcar – sofrerão redução das áreas com baixo risco de produção. Para as lavouras de café, o percentual é de 18% e para a soja chega a 30%. A perda anual na agricultura pode passar de R$ 10 bilhões, de acordo com o estudo.
O custo da falta de ações para o setor energético também será alto. Com a redução da vazão dos rios, o sistema elétrico vai perder capacidade de geração, principalmente nas regiões Nordeste e Norte. “A perda de energia firme vai ser da ordem de 33%. Tem que haver planejamento para o futuro que considere isso, com complementação por outras fontes”, calcula a pesquisadora.
Nas zonas costeiras, a elevação do nível do mar pode causar prejuízos de até R$ 207,5 bilhões até 2050 com a perda de patrimônio.
Para a Amazônia, o levantamento estima perda de até 38% das espécies, além de R$ 26 bilhões a menos por ano com a perda de 12% dos serviços ambientais. O cenário considera a redução de 40% da cobertura vegetal da floresta, que, segundo o IPCC, deverão ser convertidos em savana.
O estudo, que levou cerca de dois anos para ser concluído, teve a colaboração de instituições como o Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe), a Universidade de São Paulo (USP), a Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa), o Fórum Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Sustentavel e o Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea).

Investimentos de R$ 104 bilhões para evitar perdas com mudanças climáticas

O estudo Economia da Mudança do Clima no Brasil: Custos e Oportunidades prevê perdas entre R$ 719 bilhões e R$ 3,6 trilhões até 2050 para a economia por causa das mudanças climáticas. Também aponta investimentos que o país pode fazer para evitar prejuízos e os setores em que é possível reduzir expressivamente as emissões de gases de efeito estufa.
O estudo lista os investimentos necessários para evitar grandes perdas econômicas com a mudança do clima e calcula que sejam necessários pelos menos R$ 104 bilhões na agricultura, no setor energético e em ações de gestão e políticas públicas para as zonas costeiras, ameaçadas pela elevação do nível do mar.
Na agricultura, por exemplo, o investimento de R$ 65 milhões por ano na modificação genética de arroz – para garantir adaptação à mudança do clima – tem um benefício 8,2 vezes maior que o custo. Para a soja, a vantagem é 16,7 vezes maior que o investimento.
A previsão do estudo para o setor elétrico é que serão necessários investimentos de US$ 51 bilhões para garantir a instalação de capacidade extra de geração de energia, já que as hidrelétricas perderão potencial com a diminuição da vazão dos rios, provocada pela redução de chuvas nas regiões Norte e Nordeste. “De preferência com geração por gás natural, bagaço de cana e energia eólica”, sugere o relatório.
A proteção das zonas costeiras somaria R$ 3,72 bilhões até 2050, cerca de R$ 93 milhões por ano.
A conservação da floresta, os biocombustíveis e a taxação de carbono são listados como oportunidades de mitigação das emissões nacionais de carbono.
A produção de etanol pode evitar o lançamento de 187 milhões a 362 milhões de toneladas de gás carbônico equivalente na atmosfera, de acordo com o estudo. A taxação do carbono entre US$ 30 e US$ 50 por tonelada (R$ 52 a R$ 86) emitida reduziria as emissões brasileiras entre 1,16% e 1,87%, com impacto no Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) de 0,13% e 0,08%, respectivamente.
O relatório também aponta a vantagem da redução do desmatamento na Amazônia a partir do pagamento pela manutenção da floresta em pé. “Um preço médio de carbono na Amazônia de US$ 3 por tonelada, ou US$ 450 por hectare, desestimularia entre 70% e 80% a pecuária na região”, de acordo com o texto.

Agência Brasil

quinta-feira, novembro 26th, 2009 | Author: admin

Korean motorists may be using more eco-friendly fuels in their cars in just a few years’ time.
The introduction of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) system, which would mandate the use of a mixture of biofuels and petrol in vehicles, is currently under consideration.
The government will review its plans and if everything works out the RFS system could be implemented as early as 2013.
The RFS system would see the minimum proportion of biodiesel fuel contained in petrol grow. Currently petrol in Korea only contains 1.5% of vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel.
If successful the move would be a breakthrough for the use of renewable energy in Korea. When a pilot scheme was launched in 2002, to ensure that petrol contained 20% biodiesel fuel, it was met by strong opposition from refiners and carmakers regarding its quality.

quinta-feira, novembro 26th, 2009 | Author: admin

Brazil has signed an agreement with Mozambique for a $6 billion (€4 billion) investment in biofuel exploration.
The report was confirmed by António de Godoy, chairperson of the Brazilian confederation of biofuel companies Arranjo Produtivo Local do Alcool (APLA).
The biofuels, made from sugarcane, will be exported to Brazil in the hope that the new source of fuel will cut the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Around $256 million has been invested in the Mozambique biofuels sector covering 83,000 hectares.

terça-feira, novembro 24th, 2009 | Author: admin

Major oil companies and midstream companies face some changes in how they do business if biofuels production expands at the rate required by the US renewable fuel standards (RFS), a credit rating agency reports.
“The potential for advanced biofuels remains robust as long as the government-mandated demand remains in place,” Standard & Poor’s Rating Services analyst Mark Habib said in an October research note.
Currently, RFS-mandated volumes are almost 10% of US liquid fuel demand. The RFS requires increasing production of grain-based biofuels and advanced biofuels at a pace that could more than triple current biofuel production by 2022, he said.
“More than half will come from second-generation biofuels, primarily cellulosic biofuel which the EPA defines as an advanced alternative having at least a 60% greenhouse gas reduction compared with petroleum,” Habib said.
He expects “a combination of second-generation biofuels will most likely be required,” to meet RFS mandates, and any reduction or potential phaseout of the RFS could hinder the biofuels industry’s growth.
Although S&P hasn’t publicly rated any advanced biofuel producers, the rating agency is monitoring various emerging technologies.
“While the case for the viability of biofuels may not have been as compelling when crude oil prices bottomed out at $40/bbl, the emerging US economic recovery and the attendant strengthening in commodity prices are a reminder that biofuels will continue to have proponents,” Habib said.

Advanced biofuels research
Major oil companies and refiners are researching advanced biofuels more actively than they are participating in corn ethanol production, he noted.
Advanced biofuels appear to be a better fit for oil companies than corn ethanol because advanced biofuel technology involves complex chemistry and engineering, for which oil companies have expertise, Habib said.
For instance, ExxonMobil Corp., BP PLC, and Valero Energy are involved with various partners looking into ways to convert algae into fuel. BP, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Valero Energy are working on cellulosic ethanol
Advanced biofuel producers will face credit issues already familiar to corn ethanol producers, Habib said. These include logistical and infrastructure constraints, hedging risk, construction risk, particularly for nonstandard plant designs, and uncertainty over long-term government support.
“Midstream energy companies—which may come to partner with or service the advanced fuel industry—may both benefit from a potentially growing industry and risk exposure to a still highly-speculative rated segment,” Habib said.

Blending issues
“Some advanced biofuel technologies can produce fuels with a variety of chemical and physical properties that can sidestep blend wall limitations and allow them to use existing infrastructure,” Habib said.
Existing ethanol’s water absorption properties and traditional biodiesel’s poor cold-flow properties prevent them from using most existing refinery products infrastructure, particularly pipelines, he said.
“In addition, the potential production slate for advanced biofuels includes a variety of product specifications and performance levels that could target more specific types of end users than corn ethanol,” he added.
Currently, blenders can use up to 10% ethanol in conventional motor gasoline, but the ethanol industry is working to convince the US Environmental Protection Agency to increase the blending limit to 15% or higher.
“This would allow for greater discretionary blending, which could raise demand and support higher prices,” Habib said.
Biofuels have the potential to change traditional refined fuel prices, refinery-throughout requirements, and distribution networks, he said.
“Terminal and rack facilities may need additional tanks and mixing systems to allow for blending new biofuels if, like ethanol, advanced biofuel specifications don’t allow for prior mixing,” Habib said.
New pipeline specifications probably will need to be developed given the diverse properties of the advanced biofuels product slate, he said.
“Existing pipelines may be able to accommodate some advanced biofuels, but retrofits or looping may be required to handle the properties of new biofuels that reach appreciable shipment volumes,” he said.
Pipeline flows might need to change. For example, algal cellulosic biofuel production probably would come from the Gulf Coast, southern California, northern Mexico, and Florida.
“With the exception of the Gulf Coast, extensive refined products pipeline networks currently don’t serve these regions and could require significant capital expansion,” Habib said. “Some finished-product pipelines may also see lower volumes from existing regions if advanced biofuel production in other locations displaces a portion of current refinery capacity.”

OGJ , Paula Dittrick

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