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NZ firm makes bio-diesel from sewage

Errol Kiong, New Zealand Herald
A New Zealand company has successfully turned sewage into modern-day gold. It is believed to be the world’s first commercial production of bio-diesel from “wild” algae outside the laboratory – and the company expects to be producing at the rate of at least one million litres of the fuel each year from Blenheim by April.

To date, algae-derived fuel has only been tested under controlled conditions with specially grown algae crops, said spokesman Barrie Leay.

Aquaflow’s algae, however, were derived from excess pond discharge from the Marlborough District Council’s sewage treatment works. Algae take most chemicals out of sewage, but having too many of them taints the water and produces a foul smell.

Creating fuel from the algae removes the problem while producing useful clean water, said Mr Leay. The clean water can then be used for stock food, irrigation and, if treated properly, for human consumption.
(5 Sept 2006)
Contributor TStreet writes: Of course I’m skeptical about any big claims for biofuels.. but at least it’s not crop based. A news release from the company is also available upon request.

Fish fat and vege oil feed Vietnams biofuel production

Staff, Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Several enterprises in the southern provinces of An Giang, Ben Tre, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and HCM City are producing biofuel from waste vegetable oil and fish fat, which they say helps reduce production costs and protects the environment.

The An Giang Fisheries Import and Export Company (Agifish) said it was working with two other companies to render biofuel from catfish fat.

About 75,000 tonnes of fat is supplied each year by 20 catfish processing factories in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region, said a company official, adding Agifish plans to install a US$3.8 million production line to improve biofuel production.
According to Sai Gon Petrol, which co-ordinates biofuel production from partner companies, the success of the biofuel sector is contingent on government support such as an exemption from the Special Consumption Tax.
(30 Aug 2006)
No especial news value in this, I just thought it was interesting that they had so much catfish fat to spare. Besides, fear of being left behind by the communists might help illuminate a few more ‘oil is a right’ conservatives. -LJ

Biofuel industry unviable without Govt support, says expert

ABC (Australia)
A new report has confirmed calls by the renewable energy sector for more support from the Federal Government.

The report from Rabobank, a leading agribusiness bank, says a serious biofuels industry is unviable unless there is a long-term policy commitment.

Spokeswoman Ingrid Richardson says ethanol and biodiesel production will not be economical unless there are Government mandates.

“My report looks at what’s happened in the US, what’s happened in Brazil, what’s happened in Europe and basically all the support there is very long term,” she said.

“Brazil’s had an ethanol industry around for 30 years and their support has continued for much of that 30 years whereas when you look at the support in places like Australia it phases out over the next five, 10, 15 years.”
(4 Sept 2006)

Biofuel rush: Time to slow down?

Andreas Hippin, Bloomberg
Ethanol and biodiesel use is soaring as record oil prices make the biofuels more attractive. Stock investors say supply may be catching up to demand.

Shares of biofuel producers like Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings in the United States, Biopetrol Industries in Switzerland and Australian Renewable Fuels have plunged in the past few months. Prices for ethanol, made from corn or sugar, and biodiesel, produced from rapeseed or palm oil, have fallen as production expands, even as crude, while down sharply Monday, holds near $68 a barrel.

“The biggest fears are that the price of ethanol will go down and that you’ll have an early capacity glut in this industry,” said Tim Flannery, who manages investments at Frontpoint Partners in Chicago. His firm has bought and sold shares of Aventine, an ethanol producer in the United States, and Archer Daniels Midland, the biggest producer in the world, and currently owns both. ..
(5 Sept 2006)
A relatively detailed discussion of stock prices and regulatory drivers, but not a hint that limits to crude oil supply might play a role. The penny is dropping very, very, slowly in some parts. -LJ

Palm oil prices to rise, says Malaysia

Dominique Patton, AP-foodtechnology
Palm oil could cost about 10 per cent more next year, according to the Malaysian government, as interest in its use for biofuel continues to grow.

Crude palm oil is expected to average MYR1,500 (€321) per tonne this year, up 7.6 per cent on 2005. And it could rise a further 10 per cent to MYR1,650 in 2007, according to the country’s 2006/07 Economic Report.

Palm oil prices on the futures market are at their highest for more than two years, boosted by rising demand for renewable fuel amid concerns over soaring costs for traditional energy sources.
(5 Sept 2006)
See also Malaysia, China team up for biofuel R&D.