Australia, Canada, China, England, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South America, Vietnam

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Australian Government Awards Alternative Fuel Grants
Australian industry minister Ian Macfarlane and environment minister Ian Campbell recently announced funding to six renewable energy projects, including ethanol and biodiesel operations, under its $100-million Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) program. Among the awardees, Australia Renewable Fuels of South Australia has received $348,100 for micro-algal feedstock biodiesel production, while CSR Sugar Pty Ltd., of Queensland has received $5 million to develop its Ethanol Energy Production using its sugar booster technology. In two rounds of grants, REDI has delivered more than $33 million to sixteen renewable energy Australian companies nationwide. The ministers are also calling for a third round of applicants. Contact: Department of the Environment and Heritage, Web site: www.deh.gov.au

ARFuels Opens New Biodiesel Plant in Western Australia
Australia Renewable Fuels, Ltd., (ARFuels) recently announced the official opening of its new biodiesel facility at Picton, near Bunbury, Western Australia. According to ARFuels, the plant has an annual production capacity of 45 million liters of the alternative fuel, which has been sold under a four-year off-take agreement to Westfuel, a Western Australia fuel distributor. The contract’s value is estimated at up to $200 million. ARFuels noted that tallow and used cooking oil will be the principal feedstocks in its biodiesel production program. The company has a five-year supply agreement with Gardner Smith, a leader in the delivery and storage of fats. Contact: Darryl Butcher, ARFuels, Phone: 08-9363-3500, Web site: www.arfuels.com.au

CRFA Unveils Roadmap for ‘Made-in-Canada’ Renewable Fuels
The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) recently introduced a comprehensive plan for implementation of the federal government’s commitment to require 5 percent renewable content in gasoline and diesel fuel. CRFA’s recommendations include ethanol and biodiesel production tax credits, in place of existing excise tax exemptions, and programs designed to encourage farmers to invest in production facilities and to promote emerging technologies. “Renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, will lower greenhouse gas emissions, provide a hedge against rising fuel prices, and create sustainable jobs in rural Canada,” said CRFA executive director Kory Teneycke. “We are confident that with continued consultation and input, this Made-in-Canada renewable fuels strategy will fuel change across Canada.” Contact: Shelly Thrasher, CRFA, Phone: 416-371-1151, Web site: www.greenfuels.org

Hong Kong Considers Fines To Prevent Idling
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported last week that the municipal government of Hong Kong is considering introducing a measure that would penalize motorists for idling their vehicle’s engine. AFP said the proposed fines are part of legislation intended to improve the city’s air quality. According to AFP, the city’s environmental leaders will officially decide whether to introduce the legislation after examining the effectiveness of issuing a “voluntary appeal” to motorists not to idle their engines. AFP noted that the city’s air pollution problems limited visibility to less than half a mile more than fifty times in 2005.

China Natural Gas, Sinochem Sign Supply Agreement
China Natural Gas, Inc., recently signed a five-year supply contract with Zhengzhou Zhongyou Oil & Gas Company, Ltd., a subsidiary of Chinese chemical company Sinochem. According to China Natural Gas, Zhengzhou Zhongyou will supply 350,000 cubic meters of compressed natural gas daily to stations China Natural Gas plans to build in the Henan Province. “As mentioned during our recent quarterly earnings conference call, we continue to focus on aggressively growing our network of natural gas stations and expansion into new regions in order to capture new market share and meet the ever increasing demand for environmentally friendly compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel to gasoline in China,” said China Natural Gas chairman and CEO Qinan Ji. Contact: China Natural Gas, Web site: www.naturalgaschina.com

New Low-Emission Zone Becomes Possibility for London
Transport for London (TfL) recently announced that London mayor Ken Livingstone has agreed to change his Transport and Air Quality Strategies to allow for the establishment of a city-wide Low Emission Zone, which would help reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel trucks, coaches, and buses. According to TfL, concentrations of particulate matter air pollution in London exceed European standards. TfL noted that the zone would address this problem by encouraging operators of large diesel vehicles to clean up their fleets. By 2008, vehicles would begin paying a charge to drive in greater London if they fail to meet a minimum pollution standard. “London suffers the worst air quality in the U.K. and amongst the worst in Europe,” said Livingstone. “We want people living, working, and visiting London to benefit from better air quality and to live longer and healthier lives. The proposed Low Emission Zone is the most effective way of quickly reducing pollutants that are among the most harmful to human health.” Contact: TfL, Web site: www.tfl.gov.uk

TfL Funds Electric Car for Local British Council
The council of London borough Lambeth recently announced that Transport for London (TfL) has funded its use of a new electric car to promote sustainable transport in the area. The vehicle will be used as a pool car by staff at an office building in the city of Brixton. “The fact that it will make us more environmentally friendly is good news in itself,” said transport deputy cabinet member Nigel Haselden. “But perhaps even more important is that it will give us a good chance to persuade businesses and residents in the borough of the benefits of things like electric cars. Not only are they good for the planet but because they are not eligible for the Congestion Charge, they can also save you money.” Lambeth Council noted that the car will be “highly visible and covered with sustainability information.” Contact: Lambeth Council, Web site: www.lambeth.gov.uk

New Biodiesel Facilities Slated for Indonesia
Indonesian news service Antara recently reported that the federal government plans to spend approximately 75 billion rupiah (about $8.3 million) to build eight new biodiesel plants in the country. Antara reported that medium-scale factories, producing up to six thousand tons of biodiesel annually, are set for construction in West Sumatra, South Sumatra, East Kalimantan, and South Sulawesi. West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Central Java, and Banten are expected to house small-scale factories, producing three hundred tons of the alternative fuel per year. According to the news service, the raw materials used for biodiesel production will be crude palm oil and castor oil.

Honda To Develop Hybrid Components at New Plant in Japan
The Japan Times recently reported that Honda Motor Company officials have revealed that the company intends to make Mie Prefecture the home of a new hybrid car parts plant, scheduled to open in 2008. The newspaper said the plant is expected to allow Honda to significantly increase its annual electric motor output in support of the company’s goal of selling 200,000 hybrid models per year. According to the paper, Honda plans to add a small hybrid to its lineup by 2009.

Honda TreeFund Donates 1,500 Native Trees to New Zealand Park
The Greater Wellington Regional Council recently announced the planting of 1,500 trees in an area of the Kaitoke Regional Park in New Zealand. Support for the project came from the Honda TreeFund, which provides funding for ten native trees each time a new Honda vehicle is sold in an effort to help offset related emissions. The council noted that the planting site is located adjacent to a car park at one of the park’s entrances outside of the city of Upper Hutt. “The trees…are all locally grown from seed collected in Kaitoke Regional Park,” said Upper Hutt regional councillor Rex Kirton. “The planting will improve the environment of the area for locals and visitors while also enhancing the park’s biodiversity.” Contact: Greater Wellington Regional Council, Web site: www.gw.govt.nz

IFT Signs Distribution Agreement for Western South America
Fuel performance enhancement company International Fuel Technology, Inc., (IFT) recently announced it has signed a distribution agreement with Lima, Peru-based Colcom SAC to introduce IFT’s DiesoLIFT technology to industrial customers in Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. “This initial DiesoLIFT that we have purchased will introduce the product to large-volume industrial and commercial customers as a valuable efficiency improvement and emissions reduction method,” said Colcom CEO Jose Antonio Fernandez. IFT noted that Colcom supplies fuels and lubricants to companies in the region’s trucking, rail, marine, mining, and stationary power generation industries. Contact: Stuart Beath, IFT, Phone: 314-727-3333 ext. 417, Web site: www.internationalfuel.com

Vietnamese Company To Develop Catfish-Based Biofuel
Agence France-Presse (AFP) recently reported that Agifish, a Vietnamese catfish exporter, is building a factory in the province of An Giang that will produce biofuel for diesel engines from catfish fat beginning in 2007. Its annual production capacity is expected to reach 10 million liters. According to AFP, Agifish will produce one liter of biofuel for each kilogram of fat and oil from the fish. AFP noted that the Saigon-based Centre for Petrochemical Technology will also be producing biofuel. It plans to blend waste cooking oil with diesel.




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