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Large Philippine Coconut Biodiesel Project Planned; Output Bound for Japan

24 December 2006

Philippine Star. Philippine company Bio-Energy NL Inc. plans to invest up to $300 million (roughly P15 billion) for an integrated coconut plantation and biodiesel plant in Northern Luzon in the Philippines.

The coconut plantation will occupy 500,000 hectares of land and the refinery will have a capacity of approximately 300 million liters (80 million gallons US) per year. Construction of the integrated coconut crushing/refinery plant will take about three years. Fruit bearing for the coconut plantation is expected within four years.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) reportedly has agreed to fund the feasibility study—to be completed by August 2007—and may fund the project. Output from the biodiesel processing plant will be exported to Japan.

“The capacity of the new plant will serve a little over 10 percent of the five percent biodiesel demand of Japan (2.5 billion liters),” the sources said.

The five percent annual demand for biodiesel for Tokyo metropolitan alone is estimated to reach 300 million to 400 million liters.

Japan will allow up to a 5% biodiesel blend (by mass, as opposed to volume in the US and Europe) beginning in March 2007.

December 24, 2006 in Biodiesel, Japan | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

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let's hope 500,000 hectacres of rainforest aren't going to be bulldozed for this project

The Japanese announced a huge ethanol agreement with Brazil just a few weeks ago.

At that time I remarked that moving ethanol from Brazil to Japan was about the longest trip in the world, and that nearby SE Asia was a better source for their alternate fuels.

In both this deal and the Brazilian one the Japanese gain ownership (or effectively so through leases) of huge tracts of land. That seems a good investment regardless of the immediate fuel payoff, if any.

For logistical purposes that ethanol from Brazil will probably end up being sold in NA or EU.

I think low land rain forests are doomed. The economic and demographic pressures are too strong.

Contrary to romantic ideals rainforest is not especially good at reducing CO2. And I suspect medicine will do fine without finding magic plants there.

But rainforests are home to unique plants and animals and peoples. And I wish the cards were dealt otherwise.

K, you've lost your friggin mind. See this:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/12/tree_planting_f.php

Now remove foot from mouth. Oy vey!

Forest does provide carbon sink – when it is young and growing. When it is mature, carbon balance is close to neutral.

Tropical rainforest is extremely powerful ecosystem, it is impossible to exterminate, and it very quickly reclaims back the land when people stop defend it from jungle invasion. Isn’t it just obvious, just from Kipling’s novels?

For some interesting information about species extinctions misconseption there is a chapter with references

http://www.cei.org/pdf/ait/chX.pdf

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all.

anon: the link you provided is to an article about planting trees. And in it someone says their study proves the rain forest cools the earth, handles CO2, and increases clouding. Subtle misdirection.

First, the cooling takes place when plants emit water as vapor. So that function is not unique to the rain forest. The crops that replace it may cool just as much.

Clouding is by far the toughest problem in climate study. Theories and guesses abound. We know for sure that clouds clouds contain water. So I refer you to the previous paragraph about water (vapor).

Andrey has the CO2 situation right. Growing plants sink CO2 (actually they sink the carbon). But gradually the slowing of growth plus the decomposition of dead matter brings CO2 in/out close to neutral.

Even today we don't know how close to neutral. But it is close.

Many are more optimistic than I am about species extinction. And they make some good arguments. Andrey seems to be with them. I consider the matter too complex for a definitive answer. The trends just look bleak to me.

In short anon, I see nothing to retract. But I sense a good location for a foot.

Andrey: Yes, cleared land goes back. I saw it best in Yucatan where Maya cities were so overgrown as to be invisible. And a farm in Missouri where I lived became forest in thirty years when farming was abandoned.

K:

There are many changes in our way of life which make me optimistic about survival chances for wildlife. This is one of it.

I live in Vancouver, 2 million metropolis with substantial agricultural production in the city limits. Around the condo I live there are couple families of raccoons, wild (formerly domestic) cats, skunk, and a recently one freakishly big owl. All city around is infested with rabbits, squirrels, ducks, and gooses. Bold eagles and herons live and nest in city parks and open spaces. Pheasants prefer farms. More and more hawks are preying on rabbits. Wild swans and innumerous bird species are resting here during their migrations. City is constantly struggle to keep deer out of city skirts and coyotes out of city parks (they bite the kids who try to pet “the doggy”). Part of the city facing mountains have a ban on fruit trees planting and special procedures for garbage removal. No matter, black bear invasion is constant problem. About a hundred million salmon are running yearly in Fraser River, flowing through the city. River is populated with sturgeons, and very often visited by sea lions and cats. The only species luckily to be shy of the people are grizzly bears and wild cats, like mountain lions. All this supposedly wild life does not give a hood about people swirling around.

That’s to say, I see by my own eyes that people and wild life can happily co-exist, even in the big city.

Andrey: sounds lovely.

Certainly some species are amazingly tenacious.

I live on the edge of Phoenix and against a reserve. Rabbits, coyotes, and quail are seen everywhere. Rattlesnakes and scorpions not rare. Birds galore. And bats. Haven't seen owls but they must be around. I think there are deer and boars up there.

Near Los Angeles the wildest places (excepting the unbuilt hills which don't really count) are along the freeways. The newer ones have a landscaped strip alongside which is well inhabited. Hawks and owls do well there. Bats too.

Both possum and raccoon stick it out in LA residential tracts - people rarely let their dogs run loose today, that used to drive them away.

Wildlife in NA and EU have been doing rather well. AF, SA, and parts of Asia seem to be on another path.

There are probably bears on that old farm now. I hope.

I hope they got their math right about the economics of coconut into biodiesel, since coconut is such a tasty fruit with a lot of juice that can be sold at decent price as refreshment, and conut meat can be use to make all sorts of food in the Orient. What about palm oil, or algae oil with higher yield?

However, the most ethical practice would be to grow food crop to feed the hungry children world-wide, and to use the waste inedible biomass to make biomethane and hydrogen for even cleaner-burning engine and even higher efficiency. Methane/hydrogen mix can be use in diesel engine with some modification (glow plug or hot ceramic plug for ignition) at even higher efficiency with hardly any PM that can cause cancer and respiratory problem. I think that NOx is also lower in engines with methane/hydrogen mix rather than diesel fuel.

I see, K, you know better than Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute. Just checking. Okeedokee there hoss. :O

I don't have the technical knowledge to comment much on automotive engineering, but I do something about the science behind the study of biodiversity and these biodiesel projects are the worst sort of greenwashing.
To replace the incredible diversity of the rainforest with an unproductive monoculture is useless in every way. If there's one thing I've learnt from this website it is that there are far better alternatives than biofuels for replacing petroleum products.

The rainforest won't simply grow back except under exceptional circumstances. In Australia we have 3% of our pre-European rainforest. Much of it was cleared to grow sugarcane long ago and there's nowhere for it to go grow back to unless farmers abandon their land.I can't see that happening any more in Brazil than it will in Australia. K, Rainforest has far greater capacity to absorb Co2 and to cool the air than cropland because of its much larger biomass.

There are lots of nice pictures of wildlife co-existing with people and it is something we should maximise but human alteration of the landscape is always accompanied by lower biodiversity. In Australia this means things like seagulls and possums thrive. A racoon fills the same sort of ecological niche in North America. These species are the generalist feeders that aren't fussy and often grow fat on the things we throw away. The species that don't thrive are those that have narrow sets of environmental requirements and food sources. There are countless species that lose out from habitat alteration and climate change because they are so specialised that they can't adapt to a change in food source or different climatic conditions. Tim Flannery's book "The Weather Makers" contains an excellent discussion of these issues.
The basic mistake in many of the posts above is to treat the natural environment as if it is a mechanical system. It is far more complex than that, so complex that we are only just beginning to understand it. Observing a few bears, racoons or coyotes near the city is nice but it is a poor measure of ecosystem health and biodiversity.

anon: perhaps you would be happier frequenting sites that reward and take seriously your type of uniformed group-think. People here tend to think for themselves and typically refuse to accept an opinion, even if it is regurgitated pronouncements from the Carnegie Institute.

Now kiss my ass. Oy vey!

Nice! K, you just did a great job illustrating what a quasi-sentient goon you really are. Thanks and happy holidays!

Oh wait, I retract that last post. Of course K must be the world's foremost authority on this subject due to years of carefully observing his local varmint population. Those "so called" experts are but simple academics with no idea of what goes on in the "real world". I stand corrected and humbled by K's knowledge, expertise, and wisdom.

Of course he could just be a shill for the south American cattle ranchers association. ;)

I have been writing as K. But I did not write the comment at 2:49:28 today. I repeat. Someone else did that. And they should not. I don't blame anon for being angry.

It is a flaw of blogging that anyone can write as K or even as anon. I know no way to avoid fake postings.

anon:
I am not sure of all the people I know better than. It is just foolish to post like that. But I certainly don't care if the guy represents God if I disagree with him. Dogma in, garbage out.

critta: I think you didn't read my postings very carefully.

Look at my post of 3:55:46 pm on Dec. 24.
Look particularly at the third paragraph from the end. I supported your position and agree with a lot you say. Your sneer about what I wrote directly to Andrey (and no one else) about wildlife I have personally obesrved is totally unjustified.

continuing critta: I think you will find that rainforest does not necessarily sink more CO2 or do more cooling. From my reading it would depend upon the crops chosen as well as specific aspects of the forest. Not all RF are alike but I believe the crops have the edge.

add critta: you seem to mistake what I expect to happen with what I want to happen. Try reading the end of my very first post up at 10:08;56 a.m. Dec 24. . I don't advocate clearing rain forests, I just expect it.

anon: I'm sorry you got the crap sent as "K". I didn't send it and therefore don't apologize. But you have been pretty silly beginning with your first post. Your technique of just saying you know people who are right and calling others fools is useless. If you look carefully you will see that I answered your points specifically in each post.

Um actauly they just take the ethanol through the canal and straght to japan. Not very long after all. And its one of the few tropical area on earth the japanaese didnt royaly piss off in ww2.

Critta:

You apparently do not comprehend what really is happening with wildlife in NA. “Couple of bears” have seen in Vancouver are small part of quarter million black bear population thriving in British Columbia (out of 600 thousands populating NA). NA deer overpopulation (comparable with human population of GB) is on-going disaster, with about quarter million deer killed annually with vehicle collision. This is despite US number of active hunters of more than 10 millions. California is encouraging wild boar hunting all year round, for any person from around the world, without hunting license, hunting limit, or tag fee. About the same is happening with overpopulation of snow goose (about 30 millions in western Canada), treating to destroy their feeding grounds in Canadian North. Foolishly restricted to hunting Canadian goose become on-going environmental disaster and major nuisance in Canadian cities. Hunted ducks seems do not care and are terribly overpopulated, to the degree of threatening capacity of their habitat. Wisely restricted to hunting species like eagles, herons, swans, etc. very quickly got the idea that humans are no threat to them, and begin to live and nest in city parks, farms, and open spaces.

Agricultural lands in NA are, actually, shrinking at alarming pace, returning sizeable amount of habitat back to wildlife. To being exact, the most bioproductive habitat to native NA wildlife is not pristine forest. It is forest intermittent with artificial clearings, and most important of all, with patches of agricultural fields, like corn. It is well researched and known fact, utilized by substantial industry of human-controlled hunting properties all around US.

Reforestation of New England is the phenomenon of the magnitude not seen in all humankind history.

Now, I do not know the picture for Europe or Australia. And certainly the picture for developing countries is totally different. The only thing I wanted to say is as follows: in developed countries, like in US and Canada, intensive sustainable agriculture coupled with active wildlife conservation and management, already managed to demonstrate dramatic increase in general wildlife numbers, including rare, habitat-inflexible, and endangered species.

The rest of the world could follow, by becoming civilized and rich. And there is no way around this.

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