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PetroChina in Partnership to Develop Forest-Derived Biofuels

PetroChina Company, China’s largest oil and gas producer, has entered into a framework agreement with China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) for the development of ethanol and biodiesel from forest products. The company officially kicked off the construction of the first batch of tree plantations in Yunnan and Sichuan, marking a substantial step forward in the cooperation of forest biofuel development between the two parties.

By the end of 2010, PetroChina plans to build an annual non-grain ethanol capacity of more than 2 million tons (667 million gallons US) which would make up more than 40% of the aggregate output of the country, establish an annual commercial production scale of 200,000 tons (60 million gallons US) of forest biodiesel and support the establishment of forest biofuel raw material bases of over 6 million mu (40,000 hectares).

PetroChina and the SFA will work together to cultivate and develop forest-derived biofuel resources, cooperate in the area of carbon sequestration, and try to accelerate the pace of “integration of forests and fuel.” The stated goal is to promote the forest biofuel industry of China and contribute to the country’s energy and ecological development as well as efforts to mitigate greenhouse effects as a whole.

PetroChina is also a founder of the China Green Carbon Foundation along with the SFA. The Foundation focuses on carbon sequestration through promotion of tree planting to enhance carbon fixation.

PetroChina has become the world’s seventh-largest integrated oil and gas company, pushing past both Chevron and Total, who tied at eighth place, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly.

Earlier this week, China National Offshore Oil Co. announced it would join palm oil producer PT SMART Tbk and Hong Kong Energy Ltd to invest $5.5 billion in Indonesia to develop crude palm oil-based biodiesel and sugarcane- or cassava-based bioethanol. (Earlier post.)



They don't say what they mean by "forest products" nor how they intend to do this, but it sounds good at first read. They start out talking about planting trees and then finish with palm oil.


China is committed to maintaining 26% of their land area under forest cover. Whether that means forest or tree plantation remains to be seen. So this is potentially good news, potentially not so good, so execution will be key here.

An Engineer

Another oil company getting into biofuels - interesting...

Rafael Seidl

I suspect most of the forest products to be used are waste streams from the lumber and paper industries. Thing like sawdust, bark and black liquor. That, at least, is how Sweden intends to produce its bioethanol.

At first, expect some clear-cutting of old-growth forests in China, whatever the folks in Beijing say. Over time, sustainable forestry will kick in but most likely, the species picked at that time will be fast-growing. In the West, pine and eucalyptus are often used. Inevitably, changing the tree species in a forest has a severe impact on the indigenous flora and fauna and, may increase the twin dangers of fire and and pests.

Hopefully China's leaders will designate selected old growth forests as wilderness areas and/or national parks.

Cheryl Ho

there are developments in DME in China today!

DME is an LPG-like synthetic fuel can be produced through gasification of Biomass. The synthetic gas is then catalyzed to produce DME. A gas under normal pressure and temperature, DME can be compressed into a liquid and used as an alternative to diesel. Its low emissions make it relatively environmentally friendly. In fact, Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and will be sharing their experience at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

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