Biofuels - July 26
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Buy Feed Corn: They're about to stop making it
F. William Engdahl, The Market Oracle
That bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes on the breakfast table, or the portion of pasta or corn tortillas, cheese or meat on the table is going to rise in price over the coming months as sure as the sun rises in the East. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the new world food price shock, conveniently timed to accompany our current world oil price shock.
Curiously it's ominously similar in many respects to the early 1970's when prices for oil and food both exploded by several hundred percent in a matter of months. That mid-1970's price explosion led President Nixon to ask his old pal, Arthur Burns, then Chairman of the Fed, to find a way to alter the CPI inflation data to take attention away from the rising prices. The result then was the now-commonplace publication of the absurd "core inflation" CPI numbers--sans oil and food. Stephen Roche was the young Fed economist who was assigned the statistical manipulation job by Burns.
The late American satirist, Mark Twain once quipped, "Buy land: They've stopped making it..." Today we can say almost the same about corn or all grains worldwide. The world is in the early months of the greatest sustained rise in grain prices, for all major grains including maize, wheat, rice that we have seen in three decades. Those three crops constitute almost 90% of all grains cultivated in the world. ..
* F. William Engdahl is author of the book, Seeds of Deception: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation , about to be released by Global Research Publishing, and author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order , Pluto Press. He may be reached via his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net .
(25 Jul 2007)
One-tenth of Scotlands farm land earmarked by power firm
Martin Williams, The Herald
More than one-tenth of Scotland's agricultural land could be used to grow crops for fuel under a scheme launched yesterday by one of the leading utility companies. The move is a bid to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
ScottishPower said it was seeking contracts with farmers to produce 250,000 tonnes of energy crops, which are fast growing cereals or willow coppice, to displace coal burned at its Cockenzie and Logannet power plants.
The utility already burns carbon-neutral biomass such as woodchips at coal-fired power plants as part of its renewable energy programme.
The move will use 12% of Scotland's farming land and has been welcomed by the National Farmers Union, which says Britain needs to move faster to catch up with the US, already producing "tens of million of tonnes" of energy crops. ..
Europe produced 268 million tonnes of cereals last year, but only 3.5 million tonnes of this was used for bioethanol. The 2007 target is five million tonnes. ScottishPower said the move would have a minimal effect on land used for food crops. Burning of the specially-produced plants will begin in 2009, and the company hopes by 2013 the crops will have replaced 5% of the coal it uses. ..
(20 Jul 2007)
Pa. Biodiesel Producers Struggle To Stay Alive
Chris Torres, Lancaster Farming US
It wasn't too long ago that biodiesel producers such as Ben Wootton were making money in an industry once touted as the future of Pennsylvania energy production.
But what a difference one year has made.
Skyrocketing feedstock prices and stiff competition from neighboring states has biodiesel producers across Pennsylvania struggling to stay alive. Wootton has cut production, drastically, to deal with high overhead costs. His company, Keystone Biofuels, is producing less than 10 percent of its six million gallon-a-year capacity.
Wootton is not alone.
Across the state, biodiesel producers are on the verge of shutting their doors. Many feel the state can step in by enacting an incentive to help producers grow the biodiesel industry. If not, there may not be an industry left to save in the state by the end of the year. ..
What the group wants is a $1 per gallon tax credit to help them deal with expensive overhead costs, boost production, compete with other states, and expand the biodiesel business in Pennsylvania. They also want to make sure their biodiesel, B100, which is considered true biodiesel because it is produced from 100 percent renewable sources, is the biodiesel of choice in the state.
Wootton said the tax credit would last three years after which the state would mandate biodiesel use after 30 million gallons is produced.
(20 Jul 2007)