Western Farm Press wonders if woody biomass is a dead end prospect. “A large, global move to produce more energy from forest biomass may be possible and already is beginning in some places, but scientists say that such large-scale bioenergy production from forest biomass is unsustainable and will increase greenhouse gas emissions.”

EU biofuels policies are fueling global food prices and pushing the poor off their lands we learn from ippmedia. A new Action Aid report ‘Fuel for thought,’ points out that increased demand for biofuels may push global food prices to crisis levels while EU’s biofuel policies alone could increase oilseed prices by 33%, maize by 22%, sugar by 21% and wheat by 10% between now and 2020. (You can access the report here.) With an estimated 13-19 million hectares of land outside Europe needed to meet the EU-wide targets, forced displacements of poor people from their land are set to increase in order to make fuel available for the European market. “Eleven villages in Tanzania were affected when a British company seized 8,200 hectares of land to grow fuel for the European market. In Guatemala – a country that the EU labels as being a significant supplier of biofuels for the European market – the grabbing of land for sugar production has resulted in violent clashes and 3 deaths.” See also Biofuel project pushes villagers into a hard life in Daily News. Despite the criticism, the EU is not changing its policies. See RTCC EU “will not abandon” biofuels in face of renewed criticism.

The New York Times has an article about the re-emergence of wood as a fuel. The focus is on the growth of the wood pellet industry in Canada, the US and Russia driven by demand from European electricity producers who are substituting wood pellets for coal to reduce C02 emissions. Pellet production worldwide more than doubled between 2006 and 2010, according to the IEA Bioenergy report. Because pellets are small and compact, they are easier to transport in bulk than other forms of biomass, like wood chips. Currently 9 industrial pellet plants are under construction in the US South. European Union countries want to get 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Bioenergy could account for around a tenth of the UK’s total primary energy demand by 2020 reports Energy Live News. Bioenergy is seen as crucial for the UK to meet its 2020 renewables targets and 2050 carbon reduction targets. A major objective is to replace coal with wood and other biomass to generate electricity. See also Government aims to ignite biomass industry with new strategy in businessGreen.

KMS Baltics says a biomass plant has been opened in Gloucestershire, UK which will see waste wood. The plant can burn as much as 2,350 tonnes of waste wood, including chipboard dust and residual off-cuts, from Premiere Kitchens. The plant will provide heating and hot water in order to meet the needs of Markey Group’s 8.5 acre site at Hardwicke.

There will be a new biomass plant in NE Lincolnshire, UK according to the BBC. The wood pellet-burning power plant will be built in Immingham and should be operational by 2015. The combined heat and power project will generate 49 MW of electricity which should power around 90,000 homes. See also New biomass plant for UK in Bioenergy Insight.

The Pakistan state of Punjab can produce 5 GW of electricity from biomass says The International News. German NGO GIZ finds that most of the 35 million ton biomass generated annually in Punjab goes to waste through inefficient burning. The biomass is comprised of bagasse, rice straw and husk, cotton waste, barley residue, maize stalks and leaves, and millet and sorghum stalks. The study found that the currently available power potential by using biomass as fuel is around 3 GW. This could increase to 5 GW if the sugar mills consume 97% of the available bagasse in highly efficient boilers. See also Biomass: From Waste to Energising Pakistan in the Business Recorder.

The Calgary Herald says an Australian company is turning pig power into biofuel. CRC Care, a South Australian firm, is using a bioreactor in China to convert pig waste into a biogas that is then pumped through gas tanks that can be delivered to the local community. The biofuel is used for cooking and heating while the residual goes to farmers as nutrient-rich fertilizers. The entire process takes about a month, with the first biogenerator already running at a farm in Wuhan, central China.

Financial Times Magazine tells us how Brazil runs on sugar. The country’s 13 million ‘flex’ cars can run either on pure alcohol derived from sugar or on petrol.

The US state of New York opened its largest farm and food waste biogas facility reports Waste Management World. You can see a video at EngineerLive. The facility is located at Synergy Dairy, a 2,000-head dairy farm southwest of Rochester. The iogas engine is able to generate 1.4 MW of renewable electricity using animal and food waste and can power 1000 homes. State utility National Grid is purchasing the electricity generated by the biogas plant,

 

 

 

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