Biodiesel, Biofuels, Crude Palm Oil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Transportation

Biodiesel Demand Could Destroy World’s Forests

October 4, 2007 ( Growing demand for biodiesel could drive large-scale forest conversion for energy crops, warns a study published in Conservation Biology. With petroleum supplies expected to peak in the next 5-30 years and growing concern over climate change, biodiesel production may expand by 100-fold by 2050, estimates Lian Pin Koh, a researcher from Princeton University. Koh says that much of this expansion could come at the expense of forests, but the degree of which depends on the feedstocks used. Energy crops like palm oil are significantly more productive than more widely used rapeseed — which currently accounts for 84 percent of biodiesel production — but are more likely to be established in carbon-rich and biodiverse ecosystems like the tropical forests of southeast Asia. As such, the environmental trade-off between feedstocks is complex.

Analyzing yields and planting trends for four major biodiesel feedstocks — rapeseed, sunflower seed, oil palm and soybean — and projecting future demand for biodiesel, Koh calculates land requirements for various crops to meet projected demand for biofuels.


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Biodiesel, Biofuels, Crude Palm Oil, Malaysia, Transportation

MyFuel To Invest US$47 Million In Biodiesel Facilities

October 3, 2007 (Bernama) Biodiesel manufacturer MyFuel Ltd has allocated RM160 million to set up biodiesel facilities at the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), group managing director George Joukador said today. He said the company had obtained a 3.2ha factory site on a 30-year lease to build two biodiesel plants with an output of 100,000 and 250,000 metric tonnes a year. Continue reading

Biodiesel, Jatropha, Malaysia

Petra Group announces 5 year plan for US$130M Jetropha Curcus plantation and biodiesel refinery

October 1, 2007 ( PETALING JAYA: Datuk Vinod Sekhar, chairman of Petra Trust and Foundation and chief executive of Malaysia-based The Petra Group, announced plans at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Friday to create a Jetropha Curcus plantation and build a Jethropha biodiesel refinery in West Indies.

The cost of the initial five-year programme was about US$130mil, Petra said in a statement.

It added that the idea was to create sustainable employment, wealth and eradicate poverty in the region via the establishment of Jetropha nurseries, plantations and biodiesel refinery.

There to announce Petra’s commitment to the Jetropha plantation was former US president Bill Clinton.

According to Clinton, Jethropha was by far, the best solution, given the current economic, technological and socio-economic situation in the biodiesel arena.

Vinod said: “Our plan is to build a leading biodiesel plantation and plant in West Indies. We will prove that commercially driven projects can be developed in such a way as to ensure significant socio-economic progress without damaging economic value.

“We believe that private enterprises can work closely with governments to establish innovative and long lasting solutions to the problems of poverty eradication, wealth creation and energy supply.”

Biodiesel, Biofuels, Crude Palm Oil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Transportation

Global Palm Oil Prices to Rise Sharply

September 25, 2007 (Reuters) – Global palm oil prices may reach 2,600-3,000 ringgit per tonne shortly as demand is likely to surpass supplies and rival soyoil is also expected to rise sharply, a top industry analyst said on Sunday.Soyoil prices would soon scale up to $900 per tonne and might touch $1,000 per tonne, Dorab Mistry, whose forecasts are closely watched by the industry, told a conference in Goa.

Palm oil, mostly produced in Malaysia and Indonesia, was at a record high of 2,764 ringgit per tonne in June and rival soyoil touched a 23-year high on the Chicago Board of Trade this year.

Mistry said demand for edible oils was expected to increase by 5 million tonnes in the year to October 2008, while supplies were likely to rise by only 3.9 million tonnes.

He said supplies of edible oils were not expected to rise as a recent rally in wheat prices have lured farmers to grow more grain instead of oilseeds.

Mistry said countries such as India should opt for genetically modified technology to boost oilseed output, which has been stagnating for the last couple of years.

“The rally in wheat prices to $9 per bushel has made wheat the crop of first choice for all lands where wheat competes with corn, rapeseed or beans,” London-based Mistry said.

He said an expected fall in rapeseed and soybean output in China would also drag down supplies of edible oils in global markets, pushing prices up.

The use of palm and soy oils for producing biofuels has been fuelling a sharp rally in prices globally. Prices of palm and soy oils generally move in tandem as both compete for the same market.

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Biodiesel, Biofuels, Conservation, Crude Palm Oil, Indonesia, Malaysia

How Green is Palm Oil?

September 25, 2007 (Jakarta Post) – Environmentalists and palm-oil producers are increasingly at odds. Greens groups say palm oil is driving the conversion of tens of thousands of hectares of peatlands and lowland forest in Indonesia, putting wildlife at risk, increasing the vulnerability of forests to fires, and triggering large emissions of greenhouse gases. Palm-oil producers say their industry plays a crucial role in Indonesia’s economic growth and provides employment to tens of thousands of Indonesians. Going further, some plantation owners suggest that campaigners are merely trying to hurt the industry, while others accuse the West of hypocrisy for criticizing palm-oil production while overlooking environmental harm caused by biofuels in other parts of the world, including the Amazon (soy biodiesel and sugar-cane ethanol), Europe (rapeseed), and the United States (corn ethanol).

Nevertheless, pressure from environmentalists is beginning to weigh on the industry, with European policymakers now reconsidering Indonesian palm oil as a source for biodiesel.

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Biodiesel, Biofuels, Cleantech venture capital, Malaysia, Recycling

Mel Gibson Recycling Tires with Petra Group

September 24, 2007 (Malaysia Star) DATUK Vinod B. Sekhar is headed for a bigger stage after having just recently addressed an audience of nearly 400 global chief executives at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore. There, he promoted Green Rubber Global as the world’s first commercially viable waste-free way to recycle the over one billion discarded tyres.

In the middle of this week, he will attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York. The working sessions of the meeting, which is held from Sept 26 to 28, will focus on education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation.

This time around, Vinod may spring another surprise by announcing a proposal for grand-scale farming of jatropha plant based on the smallholders concept.

The jatropha seeds can be crushed to create a cost-effective substitute to petroleum diesel.

His proposal may be timely as oil prices are racing to hit new highs and The Petra Group’s entry into the biodiesel sector is to further commercialise the jatropha seeds.

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Biodiesel, Biofuels, Conservation, Crude Palm Oil, Indonesia, Malaysia

Roundtable Heralds Advent of Sustainable Palm Oil

September 20, 2007 (Food Navigator) The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) says it is on the cusp of delivering on its promise to put sustainable oil on the market, and will be unveiling its certification system at its next meeting in November.Palm oil is commonly used in food products including crisps, bread and margarine, as well as soap. However the palm oil industry has been heavily criticised, since production is contributing to rapid deforestation, especially in Indonesia, and endangering native species.

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Biofuels, China, Crude Palm Oil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Transportation

Asia-Pacific Nations Urged to Study Biofuel Route Carefully

September 20, 2007 (Biofuel Review) Asian and Pacific countries are being urged to study the issue of biofuels with greater care before deciding on how they will use their agricultural products to generate energy. Scientists say there is an urgent need to support the current rush toward major decisions on biofuel policies in Asia and the Pacific with solid research and unbiased information about their potential benefits, impact, and risks.The appeal was issued at the end of a recent Expert Consultation on Biofuels organized by the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) together with the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India, the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute, and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.

“There’s no doubt biofuels will have an impact on agriculture in Asia and the Pacific and present some very interesting new opportunities,” APAARI’s executive secretary, R.S. Paroda, said. “But we need to be absolutely sure this will not affect the region’s food security and its continuing efforts to alleviate poverty.”

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Biodiesel, Biofuels, Crude Palm Oil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Transportation

High CPO Prices Holding Back Malaysian Refineries

September, 19, 2007 (Reuters) – High palm oil prices and tight margins could delay start-up of new Malaysian biodiesel plants due this year unless petroleum prices stay at current record levels, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Four biodiesel plants, including Global Bio-diesel Sdn Bhd in Sabah, were expected to start up by the end of this year but are now hesitating, said Michael Dosim Lunjew, Secretary General of the ministry of plantation industries and commodities.

Plants would have to see if record crude oil prices this week of over $82 a barrel are here to stay, Lunjew said. “Even $80 is tough unless it brings (the biodiesel price) to higher levels.”

Lunjew was taking part in a forestry conference in Beijing.

“They need a margin, unless they are integrated which means they can take a loss, but most of the plants are independent.”

Crude palm oil futures in Kuala Lumpur hit a record high this year and are up by 28 percent compared with the end of last year, and by 80 percent since the end of 2005, squeezing margins for plants counting on lower raw materials costs.

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Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Malaysia, Renewable Energy

Malaysian Government Provides Incentives for Energy Efficiency

September 17, 2007 (Bernama) — Construction group Putrajaya Perdana Bhd (PPB) sees more projects as building owners take advantage of the Budget 2008 tax incentives for “green” investments.It said the tax allowances unveiled in the budget would further attract building owners to move towards “green” buildings, representing more projects for the group.

To encourage companies to invest in greenhouse gases (GHG) emission reduction projects, income derived from trading certified emission reductions (CERs) certificates will have tax exemption, effective from assessment year 2008 until 2010 under Budget 2008. Continue reading