The Biodiesel World News

Fresh Updates and News on Bio Diesel and Renewable Fuel Products and Industry

Fueling Change - A Biodiesel Documentary

Fueling Change - A Biodiesel Documentary - Part 1 of 2

Fueling Change - A Biodiesel Documentary - Part 2 of 2

Making Biodiesel Documentary

Biodiesel Basics2011 Biomass Energy and Biofuels Encyclopedia - Comprehensive Coverage of All Aspects of Alternative Fuels, Biodiesel, Ethanol, Methanol, Markets and Technology (DVD-ROM)From the Field to the Pump, NBB 04, Biodiesel #1, National Biodiesel Board Conference and Expo, Palm SpringsStraight Vegetable Oil Seminar 2006, Golden Fuel Systems

KNM secures RM2bil biomass contract in UK

Project represents firm’s drive into renewable, clean energy sector

PETALING JAYA: Oil and gas process equipment maker KNM Group Bhd's wholly-owned subsidiary KNM Process Systems Sdn Bhd (KNMPS) has secured a 450mil (RM2.196bil) engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract for a biomass and waste recycling centre project in England.

KNM told Bursa Malaysia that KNMPS yesterday entered the agreement for the EPCC of works towards the development of an 80MWe gross capacity energy from biomass and waste recycling centre project called EnergyPark Peterborough in Peterborough.

The contract with Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd spans four years.

“This project represents KNM's drive into the renewable and clean energy sector,” KNM said.

The company said it was not expected to have any material impact to KNM Group's financial performance for this year ending Dec 31.

However, the project was expected to contribute positively to its earnings for the next four financial years.

“The project is subject to certain risks mainly in the power and renewable energy industries and legislation on clean energy in the United Kingdom.

“These include changes in general economic conditions such as, but not limited to, inflation, taxation, foreign exchanges, interest rates, labour and material supply, changes in business and operating conditions such as, but not limited to, government and statutory regulations and deterioration in prevailing market conditions,” KNM said.

KNMPS is mainly involved in the design, engineering, procurement and manufacturing of process equipment, including without limitation pressure vessels, reactors, columns and towers, drums, heat exchangers, air finned coolers, process gas waste heat boilers and specialised shell and tube heat exchangers.

It also provides technical and project management services in relation to process equipment, plant facilities and general facilities for the oil, gas, petrochemicals, minerals processing and renewable energy industries.

Last month, KNMPS won a RM680mil bid to supply technical documentation, equipment and services for the development of gas condensate fields in Uzbekistan.

Biomass and Alternate Fuel Systems: An Engineering and Economic GuideThe Biomass Assessment Handbook: Bioenergy for a Sustainable EnvironmentBiomass to Renewable Energy ProcessesIntroduction to Chemicals from Biomass (Wiley Series in Renewable Resource)Biomass to Biofuels: Strategies for Global Industries 

Palm oil-into-biodiesel is heart of Hawaii's green energy future

14/12/2010 (Star Advertiser) - Hawaiian Electric Co. has announced plans to build a facility to convert palm oil into biodiesel. The biodiesel will contribute badly needed and affordable fuel for the utility to provide electricity to Hawaii's people. The biodiesel will help offset Hawaii's dependence on other imported energy sources. Hawaii's Public Utilities Commission has approved the plan, including specific sustainability commitments.

And yet, radical environmental groups have spearheaded a campaign to prevent the development. They worry about the impact of palm oil production on rainforests in the developing world. The critics are wrong; the project will benefit Hawaii residents and men and women in developing countries, as well as the global environment.

Palm oil comes from regions of the world now facing extreme poverty. The people need to raise their living standards. In these regions, much of the population lives on just a few dollars a day. These nations desperately need to develop industries that can trade in global markets and provide living wages to their people.

The economic development process is historically jump-started by agriculture projects. Palm oil production can lift the world's most destitute out of abject poverty. Residents will have the resources to pursue productive activities and rewarding life-style enhancements. This includes things many of us in the U.S. take for granted, such as clean homes and access to education. Consumers of palm oil play a key role in helping this process unfold.

But what of allegations that palm oil harms the environment? The palm oil will come to Hawaii primarily from Malaysia, already a global leader in environmental health. Malaysia has committed to conserving 50 percent of its forests, far exceeding the 10 percent average that must be met according to United Nations agreements.

Contrary to claims from the German environmental group leading the campaign against the HECO plan, palm oil is the most sustainable biofuel on the planet. More fuel can be produced on a smaller footprint from the oil palm than alternative biofuels such as corn-based ethanol or German rapeseed oil.

Palm oil is a perennial crop that can be converted to biodiesel, while other vegetable crops like soya that can create biodiesel are annual. Palm oil requires less tillage, resulting in much fewer greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. It also requires considerably fewer energy inputs to grow and maintain.

In a recent statement, HECO correctly stated "biofuels are a part of Hawaii's clean energy future. Biofuels allow us to switch from 'black' to 'green' fuel in our existing generators, reducing dependence on and vulnerability to imported oil."

Of all possible biofuels, palm oil is king for its affordability, efficiency and eco-friendliness. Denying the HECO agreement would hamper wider adoption of sustainable practices worldwide.

The critics of palm oil want Hawaii to adopt domestic sources, such as jatropha. But jatropha is a limited-use commodity. Economies of scale that can drive down costs are impossible to achieve.

Further, Hawaii simply does not have adequate renewable resources in the form of wind, solar and geothermal to power its economy in a cost-effective manner. HECO provides electricity to 95 percent of residents and needs reliable and inexpensive energy sources such as palm oil to satisfy customer needs.

Hawaii's economy is built on trade and openness to the wider world. It has a golden opportunity to help some of the world's poorest citizens rise up from inhuman poverty while reducing its own dependence on fossil energy and sending a clear signal that sustainability is good economics and citizenship. What is wrong with that?

Environmental Health 
Environmental Health: From Global to Local (Public Health/Environmental Health)Environmental HealthEssentials of Environmental HealthEnvironmental Health: Ecological PerspectivesEnvironmental Health and Chemical SafetyA Community Guide to Environmental Health 

A State of Siege in Northern Honduras: Land, Palm Oil and Media

30/11/2010 (Upside Down World) - Palm oil is a convenient source of biodiesel, and oil palms grow very well in the valley of the Bajo (Lower) Aguan River of northeastern Honduras. This valley is the home of some of the poorest people in one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Their poverty is due, in large part, to the fact that most of the land in the region has been appropriated by powerful corporations controlled by members of the Honduran oligarchy, led by one of the richest and most ruthless of them all, Miguel Facusse.

Facusse owns massive tracts of land throughout the country, much of which he has obtained by fraudulent deals made possible by the corruption of government officials. In the early 1990's, 5000 acres in the Bajo Aguan was awarded to peasants after the closure of a military base on which personnel were trained by the USA in the use of torture and other methods of repression. Facusse bribed "community leaders" to make deals to sign this and other land over to him for bargain prices. He also employs hundreds of heavily armed "security" personnel who are used to intimidate and murder those who stand in his way, so any peasants who objected to this process were "neutralized." ( November 16)

One of the reasons that President Manuel Zelaya was deposed on June 28, 2009 was the fact that he was actively carrying out a program of land reform, implementing laws that were on the books but never enforced, actively investigating and rectifying cases of fraud and corruption that had deprived campesinos of their land. Miguel Facusse was a prominent supporter of the coup, along with other members of the oligarchy who opposed Zelaya's land reform, his raising of the minimum wage, and various other things he was doing to benefit and empower the popular classes. Zelaya's ouster put an end to these efforts.

With or without the help of president Zelaya, the peasants of the Lower Aguan were living in such extreme poverty that they had no choice but to continue with their struggle for land. Around the beginning of 2010 they began invading the land in question and planting subsistence crops. Facusse's thugs moved in and began killing and beating peasants and destroying their property. But the current president, Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, who came to power in an election tainted by repression, censorship, and massive abstention, was faced with the task of obtaining diplomatic recognition for his post-coup de facto government, and this did not look good to international observers. So Lobo began negotiating with Facusse and the campesinos to use public funds to buy him off. Meanwhile, he moved thousands of Honduran troops into the region to set off fears of a massacre that might be carried out under the cover of clearing out "illegal squatters." The clear intention was to motivate the campesinos to accept the terms of whatever deal he struck--or else. Of course the troops were said to be there in the interest of public safety, to prevent acts of "terror" by those lawless, land invading peasants. In April 2010 Lobo announced a deal according to which the campesinos would get a lot less land than they were demanding, with the added requirement that half of that land would have to be used to grow palm oil, and that the palm fruits would have to be sold to Facusse for processing.

But Facusse was not satisfied after all, and things went back to where they were, with steady pressure on the campesinos in the form of property damage, physical attacks, and occasional murders (3 on August 17, another one September 10.) Then on the morning of November 15, after peasants occupied a tract of land that Facusse illegally occupies in the "El Tumbador" section, approximately 300 of Facusse's guards tried to evict them. An exchange of gunshots followed, lasting four hours, resulting in the deaths of five peasants and the serious wounding of four others.

President Lobo decided to take action--he sent in thousands of army personnel. But he did not disarm Facusse's private army, since they are licensed to carry weapons. Instead he had the army set up checkpoints throughout the region to confiscate any unauthorized weapons that people might be carrying. This is in response to a huge propaganda campaign that the corporate press has been carrying on all along, but which has now reached a fever pitch: they have claimed that all of the problems in the Bajo Aguan are caused by outside agitators, from Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela--wherever. Now they are saying that "insurgents" have been trained in Nicaragua, and that thousands of assault rifles and heavier weapons have been shipped to the peasants. They have presented no evidence of any of this, but they constantly repeat the same claims. The one relatively balanced and honest large daily newspaper, El Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, reported on November 25 that after the massive crackdown the net result was 27 miscellaneous undocumented firearms carried by random citizens, mainly revolvers and automatics, with one 12 gauge shotgun. Apart from confident assertions from members of the oligarchy (including Facusse), there has been no concrete confirmation of either arms or foreign "advisors."

One very worrisome aspect of this claim that the area has been "militarized" by "outside forces" has been the the fact that it is the pretext for the occupation of the offices of the National Agrarian Institute in the town of Tocoa. Word came from the president's office that there are boxes of assault rifles stored there, "up to a thousand." The police raided the office, supposedly to search for these weapons, and the campesinos who are involved in the legal dispute with Facusse are very concerned. Records that are pertinent to their cases are stored in that office. The employees of the Institute have not been allowed to enter to see what the police are doing, and there is serious concern that the records will be destroyed, stolen, or altered. Karen Spring of Rights Action reports that there is also concern that there will be "an attempt to frame the state institute for providing arms and supporting the campesino struggles in the region." (

It happens that the building of the National Agrarian Institute has been serving as an emergency shelter for 60 families who are victims of the disastrous hurricane Matthew last September. The more than 300 troops and police who invaded the building destroyed all of their belongings and their meager furniture, stole their money, and threw them out. They are appealing to international agencies for assistance and justice ( Nov. 26, 2010.)

The role of the Honduran corporate press is interesting. Their reporting has constantly referred to the peasants as the instigators of violence. Whenever leaders of the Resistance (which includes far more than the peasant organizations) are murdered, they pass it off as some kind of personal affair, sometimes even suggesting darkly that unspecified criminal activity might have been involved. When Nahum Palacios, the only journalist who actually reported the peasants' side of the story, was murdered they denied that it had anything to do with his work--it must have been a mysterious personal matter. Similarly, they suggest that the killings of campesinos could be due to internal dissension. The press simply accepts the fact that there is rarely even a superficial investigation, and the killers are never found. Recently there was a report by journalists from La Prensa of San Pedro Sula who were traveling with police and encountered some campesinos with automatic rifles. Their take on this was that the campesinos were attacking their "freedom of expression," since they felt threatened by them. ( Nov. 26, 2010)

It should be mentioned that not all of the media in Honduras are so one-sided. The newspaper El Libertador appears monthly in print, but maintains an active and informative website at (It's personnel have been threatened and tortured.) Radio Globo and TV Channel 36 reported honestly on the coup, and as a result had their equipment destroyed and were off the air for a time. El Tiempo of San Pedro Sula ( often reports points of view that differ from the standard propaganda. But these are a relatively small part of the media.

The power of the corporate media was demonstrated at the time of the coup that deposed Zelaya, when the corporate newspapers constantly ran stories about how he wanted to change the constitution so as to be president for life. While this could conceivably have been in his mind, what he was actually calling for was a poll to ask whether the country needed a new constitution. The possibility of his being re-elected was no more than a hypothetical proposition, and it would only have been possible after a new president and a new constitution would have been in place. But by constantly repeating the claim that he wanted to be re-elected for life, they introduced enough confusion so that people who didn't like his policies had a superficially plausible reason to accept a blatantly illegal military coup.

One of the secret diplomatic cables made public by Wikileaks was an analysis of the legal basis of the coup sent to Washington by the US ambassador, Hugo Llorens, in July 2009. He described it as illegal and unconstitutional, saying that "...the actions of June 28 can only be considered a coup d'etat by the legislative branch, with the support of the judicial branch and the military, against the executive branch." The revelation of the ambassador's honest (though secret) assessment of the coup has caused quite a stir in Honduras.

The media campaign to blame Nicaragua for the problems in the Bajo Aguan is following a pattern similar to the campaign to get rid of Zelaya. The ugly facts of Facusse's terroristic attack on his impoverished victims is being smothered in a froth of indignant condemnation of foreigners for being at the bottom of it all, implying that the campesinos of Baja Aguan would be perfectly content if it were not for those evil agitators.

There actually is a lot of foreign interference in the affairs of Honduras, but it is coming from the United States, and it is likely to be even more intense now that Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will be the chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Ros-Lehtinen is famous for her extreme views, including advocating the assassination of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, and support of terroristic attacks on the people of countries she looks upon as enemies of the US. She has traveled to Honduras to offer her support for the coup, and she is likely to join in the condemnation of Nicaragua and other "enemies" for their supposed interference in Honduras. But even before the midterm election the Obama administration went out of its way to try to get other countries to recognize the de facto government, and enabled the World Bank to loan Facusse $30 million to finance biofuel production.

Another foreign presence was reported in the Bogota, Colombia newspaper El Tiempo on September 14, 2009. It seems that dozens of paramilitaries who had been working for Colombian drug lords were being recruited by Honduran landowners to work as security guards on their plantations. These men are experienced in assassination and violent intimidation, and the monthly salary of $750 plus living expenses was attractive by Latin American standards.

The situation in Bajo Aguan has been described as a "state of siege" (El Libertador, September 22) The roadblocks and arrests continue, and campesinos are being driven out of the plantations they have accupied. President Lobo announced on November 29 that he would soon visit the region himself to "move this process of dialogue ahead and to bring closure to this problematic situation."

Meanwhile, Karen Spring reports that, "In an outcry against the killings and in an act of solidarity, campesinos from six departments of Honduras (Atlantida, Colon, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Cortez and Choluteca) began land occupations shortly after the November 15th murders. To pressure the government and demonstrate their force, campesinos will be arriving in Tegucigalpa on Thursday [December 2] for a gathering outside of the National Congress." 

Biodiesel from Palm Oil
Transesterification of crude palm kernel oil and crude coconut oil by different solid catalysts [An article from: Chemical Engineering Journal]Building a Successful Biodiesel Business: Technology Considerations, Developing the Business, Analytical MethodologiesBiodiesel Science and Technology: From Soil to Oil (Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy)Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide (Energy Science, Engineering and Technology)Biodiesel Production Technologies

A tool of pressure against OPEC

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The U.S. government supports domestic ethanol development to reduce America‘s oil dependence. Additionally, ethanol weakens OPEC’s control over world oil prices, reduces tailpipe pollutants and supplies extra octane that improves engine operation.

America‘s pro-ethanol policies include tax credits for businesses, support for research and development, tariffs on imported ethanol, rules requiring refiners to blend small amounts of ethanol with gasoline, and rules requiring automakers to produce cars that can run on gasoline or a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline (E85).

Due to large swings in oil prices, which are partly manipulated by OPEC, a domestic ethanol industry wouldn’t survive without government support. Countries with strong ethanol industries such as Brazil have pro-ethanol policies.

Now is a particularly dangerous time to eliminate federal support. OPEC‘s power will rise as the global economy recovers and as a strong appetite for oil in China and India continues to be satisfied.

If pro-ethanol policies were terminated immediately, U.S. taxpayers might benefit in the near term, but, in the long run, the real beneficiaries would be the oil barons in the Middle East, Venezuela and Russia.

Critics argue that more oil is used growing corn and making ethanol than is saved by replacing gasoline. In fact, the energy sources for producing ethanol are primarily natural gas and coal. Each 10 gallons of ethanol displaces at least five gallons of gasoline -- accounting for the fact that ethanol has somewhat less energy content than gasoline.

It’s valid to argue that hybrid and diesel engines reduce gasoline use at a lower cost than ethanol. But even more oil can be saved with hybrid engines running on E85 and trucks using biodiesel mixtures.

Critics claim that the sharp rise in corn prices was due to the increased use of corn-based ethanol. In reality, the big culprit was the growing demand for food worldwide.

While U.S. ethanol policies contributed to the rise temporarily, the effect could have been reduced if blending requirements had been phased in more gradually, allowing more time for corn supplies to respond.

Some fear that land clearing creates more carbon dioxide which exacerbates global warming. Modernized ethanol refineries supported by federal subsidies are now minimizing the land-use effect through more efficient farming and refining practices.

As new federal subsidies facilitate use of cellulosic ethanol made by producing ethanol from wastes such as the stalk of the corn and the cob, there will be less demand for land.

In addition, ethanol is particularly effective in reducing tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Ethanol pollutants such as formaldehyde are not harmful at the small concentrations projected for America‘s cities.

Although it’s unwise to pull the plug on ethanol, America‘s policies should be modernized. Refueling stations need stronger incentives to provide at least one E85 pump. Tax credits should be aimed at consumers who use E85 instead of businesses that already have a mandated market for their products. Tariffs on imported ethanol should be gradually reduced so the domestic industry has time to prepare for intensified competition.

Research and development support should be expanded to encourage innovation in the production of ethanol from agricultural waste, while rules requiring automakers to offer cars that can run on E85 should be tightened.

In order to minimize the environmental footprint of greater land use, subsidies for producers and farmers should encourage modern practices that maximize corn yield per acre and ethanol yield per bushel.

Commercial-scale demonstrations on how to make ethanol from the cob and stalk would ease concerns about food prices and land use.

Although America’s pro-ethanol policies are far from ideal, they should not be eliminated. Instead, they should be modernized to keep the competitive pressure on OPEC while improving urban air quality and reducing the environmental footprint of ethanol production.

By John D. Graham

John D. Graham is dean of Indiana University‘s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and author of “Bush on the Home Front.” He served as administrator of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, and prior to that spent 16 years at Harvard’s School of Public Health. -- Ed.

(McClatchy-Tribune Information Services) 

Alcohol Fuel: A Guide to Making and Using Ethanol as a Renewable Fuel (Books for Wiser Living from Mother Earth News)Convert Your Car to AlcoholAlcohol Can Be a Gas!: Fueling an Ethanol Revolution for the 21st CenturySustainable Ethanol: Biofuels, Biorefineries, Cellulosic Biomass, Flex-fuel Vehicles, and Sustainable Farming for Energy IndependenceThe Secrets of Building an Alcohol Producing Still.The Alcohol Fuel Handbook

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