Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What kind of bio-fuel for Fiji?

(added later - Saturday) The cartoon is from Fiji Times and in Saturday's paper the editorial examines the dangers of building an ethanol plant near Navuso. The gist of the article is that careful surveys need to be done on the environmental impact of a plant near important rivers and some villagers, such as poisoning the water before signing any huge contracts!

from w
Looks like China and Australia (if you believe the Fiji papers and media!) are keen to set up bio-fuel production. From cassava? From sugar bi-products? From something else again? Or are these spinning like a top handouts for the media to show the imterim guys are doing something serious? Or scams or wish-lists?
Fiji TV: today
One National News
New plan for bio-fuel production
19 Jun 2008 01:51:22

A Two Billion dollar deal on a Bio-Fuel project is expected to be finalized soon. The Department of Energy can now reveal that an Australian company is footing the bill, and if all goes well, it could generate employment opportunities for locals. Elpicon power systems limited is a Sydney based company; it's listed as a power engineering and contracting firm made up of professional engineers. This is the department of Energy's top choice to spearhead what will soon become the biggest Bio-Energy project in the Pacific.

Mohammed Ali the company's Managing Director, who is originally from Rewa, has been working behind the scenes for 6 years about this project.

Elpicon's inclusion in the project will soon be formalised by Cabinet, along with full details on how it will operate, but one thing the company is focusing on is un-cultivated land.

Vosarogo adds, once the project is fully operational, it will generate new employment opportunities for about 8 to 9 thousand people.

Other details currently being clarified include the ownership of the new company set to be established next year, which will administer the 2 billion dollar project.

The agreement for the project is expected to be ready next month.

And from today's Fiji Times:
State seeks ethanol production plant site
Thursday, June 19, 2008

LANDS and Mineral Resources Minister Netani Sukanaivalu has not finalised the location of the ethanol production plant although Cabinet has agreed to spend about $50million on it. Mr Sukanaivalu said the ethanol option was a long term plan for the benefit of Fiji.

The Department of Energy has potential sites in Naitasiri.

The interim Government is placing more emphasis on bio-fuel and renewable energy compared to previous governments.

Earlier a deal was signed between a Chinese company and the Vanua Developments Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the NLTB, to enter into a joint venture to produce ethanol from cassava.

While there is huge prospect for Fiji, the production of raw materials remains a concern.

At a recent workshop, principle agriculture officer Aliki Turagakula said Fiji must be able to supply enough cassava to ensure the project remains viable. Mr Turagakula said a minimum of 50,000 tonnes of ethanol per year equals 500,000 tonnes of cassava or 1500 tonnes daily. Mr Sukanaivalu, who is in Vanua Levu surveying potential sites for geo-thermal energy, said Fiji needs steam to be around 250 to 300 degrees celsius to make the geo-thermal project viable.

"Right now we're paying 40 to 50 cents per kilo watt but with geo-thermal we'll pay around 11-14 cents," Mr Sukanaivalu said.

And then again there may be new tricks up sleeves as Peceli has discovered an even better source of bio-fuel from a weedy kind of tree that grows wild in Fiji - in Davuilevu they used to make fences from it. Very rich in oil. Low technology even. Not telling yet though!

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