Saturday, July 30, 2011

Biofuels Potential to Transform the Global Economy

Dy Dr. John CK Daly for

Slowly but surely, an extraordinarily important new industry is slowly taking shape, with the potential to transform the global economy.

After years of existing largely as an environmentalist's fantasy, commercial production of biofuels for the world civil aviation industry is slowly becoming a fact, with production starting up across three continents.

The leading contenders for biofuel feedstocks are jatropha and camelina, both of which have their fervent supporters. While currently neither is capable of production at a price approaching that of Jet A1 civil aviation fuel derived from hydrocarbons, research and extensive investment are nevertheless investigating the possibilities.

While little is certain in the emerging picture, it is increasingly clear that despite the United States being one of the leading producers currently of renewable energy in the form of ethanol, that the United States nevertheless will be an also-ran in these developments.

In January 2010 Qatar Airways revealed plans to work with Airbus and other Qatari state entities to draw up "a detailed engineering and implementation plan for economically viable and sustainable biofuel production." At an event marking the launch of the Qatar Advanced Biofuel Platform consortium, airline chief Akbar al Baker hailed its European project partner as "more proactive than Boeing in experimenting with alternative fuels."

Fast forward to this March, when a European consortium of Airbus, Romanian state-owned airline Tarom, Honeywell's UOP and CCE (Camelina Company España) announced plans to establish a bio-fuel production center in Romania to manufacture civil aviation fuel, using camelina as a feedstock.

Farther east, last month China National Petroleum Corp. announced that it had delivered 15 tons of jatropha oil to help Air China operate the country's maiden biofuel-powered test flight, tentatively scheduled for later this year. According to a posting on its website, CNPC, Asia's largest oil producer, is proving that it has the ability to produce biofuel from non-grain feedstocks to clean up the environment.

On Monday, Mozambique's Agencia Informacao Mocambique news agency announced that Sun Biofuels Mozambique, a subsidiary of U.K.-based Sun Biofuels, has exported the first batch of 30 tons of jatropha oil produced from its fields in the central Mozambican province of Manica to Germany's Lufthansa airline.

The biggest single impetus to the development of biofuels for civil aviation occurred on 8 June, when the international standards certifying body ASTM International announced its approval of its BIO SPK Fuel Standard, to be made official later in the year, allowing the use of hydro-treated renewable jet (HRJ) Jet A-1 fuel in commercial aviation.

Currently these biofuels are "drop ins," and must be blended in a 50-50 mixture with Jet A-1 fuel derived from traditional fossil fuel kerosene.

The biggest single independent meant at present to a wide scale production of jet biofuel is its inordinate cost. Biojet fuel delivered last year to the U.S. armed forces for evaluation cost more than $70 a gallon to produce, a price which obviously makes it at present supremely uncompetitive with fuel derived from traditional hydrocarbon sources. Supporters of biofuel production argue that processing costs will decrease in direct proportion to rising volumes of production.

Both Brazil and the United States have viable biofuel production in the form of ethanol, in the case of Brazil derived from sugar cane, in the United States, produced from corn.

Ironically it is the very success of this production in the United States that will limit the near term growth of an alternative renewable fuels industry, because the ethanol lobby has ensured the farmers not only receive significant subsidies, but crop insurance as well, neither of which is available to other farmers wishing to dabble in the production of biofuel from camelina or other assorted feedstocks. These limitations exist despite the fact that the U.S. is the world leader in camelina research.

What is clear at this juncture however is the fact that renewable biojet fuels have been certified, and furthermore, that production is beginning, albeit at on a limited scale with relatively high production costs.

As noted earlier in this article, a critical momentum is building on three continents to advance production of biofuels, and when major players such as Airbus become involved, the viability of such projects is no longer in question, only the timeline.

Last but not least, an additional benefit of biofuels in a world concerned about global warming and emissions of greenhouse gases is that biofuels reduce carbon emissions by jet aircraft by up to 80 percent.

The technology is in place, the product has been certified, and at the end of the day, one is talking about an agricultural product which, depending on where it is sown, can produce one or even two harvests a year.

While discussion rages about the production of biofuels in poorer nations having the possibility of diverting land needed for food production, in terms of energies impact on the environment, biofuels are certainly more benign than other more traditional forms of energy as evidenced in the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, or more recently, in the March nuclear debacle in Japan.

Biofuels are clean, green, and... for the moment, expensive.

To read the full artice by Dr. John CK Daly written originally for visit the Market Oracle by clicking here

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Hino Class 4-7 Commercial Trucks Approved for B20 Biodiesel Consumption

Blending scrimpy amounts of ethanol and biodiesel into existing gasoline and diesel stock, respectively, has produced today's common E5, E10, B5, and B10 fuels. But the push for denser biofuel blends gains ever more momentum, and Hino trucks has announced its 2011 and 2012 model year Class 4-7 commercial trucks will be able to reliably consume B20.

Unless you live in a biofuel-progressive country like Brazil, B20 is already considered a top "green" fuel benchmark. Equipped with Hino's J-Series diesel engines, the Class 4-7 cab-over and conventional trucks can help reduce the United States' dependency on foreign petroleum imports by using more locally sourced fuels. Hino's new diesel hybrid cab-over, on sale this fall, will happily accept B20 too.

Hino Trucks Front Views
"It is our strong commitment to design and assemble trucks that are at the forefront of environmental friendliness and that help to reduce our overall dependency on foreign oils," said Glenn Ellis, Hino Trucks' vice president of marketing and dealer operations. "By offering the class 4 and 5 market a diesel-electric hybrid cab over that can use up to B20 biodiesel, our customers now have an option for a commercially acceptable alternative fuel truck."

Source: Hino Trucks

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Plantings at NatureWalk

Tim Alexander, Presdent of Naturewalk, announces new test planting at Naturewalk
July 7th, 2011

Joshua Fuks, Naturewalk's general manager and Alberto Quiros, our farm manager have done a great job of sourcing test plants for the Naturewalk bio garden, and are now getting them in the ground. Planted since the last time we visited Naturewalk are coffee plants, macauba palms for our bio-fuel lots and more Jatropha from seeds this time. Alberto, who was born on the property, remembers having wonderful coffee grown at Naturewalk so we will see how it performs.

Jatropha, a plant native to Central America, also grows wild on the Naturewalk 2 property and we expect great results from our test planting for Jatropha. For those not familiar with Jatropha it is a plant that starts producing Bio-Fuel after just 1 year and the product, if used immediately, can be put directly into your diesel car!

Our research suggests that it also does well when intercropped with Jatropha and will also provide a beautiful environment within the farm. We are all excited to start turning Naturewalk 2 into the agricultural garden paradise it is planned to be.

Tim Alexander


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Upcoming webinars

We run regular webinars weekly on Thursday's at 1:00pm Eastern USA time.

You can always see our upcoming webinar schedule on the front page of our website:

or alternately on our dedicated webinar calendar page:

Our next webinars are:

Title: Own your own Green oilfield
Covering: Renewable Energy Farm, Southern Zone Costa Rica (biofuel and land investment)
Date: 21st July 2011
Time: 1.00pm Eastern USA
Registration and Information Link:

Title: Is Costa Rica a good investment opportunity
Covering: NatureWalk Costa Rica (largest ecological and sustainable development in Central and Southern America)
Date: 28th July 2011
Time: 1.00pm Eastern USA
Registration and Information Link:

Monday, July 11, 2011

More mulitnational investment in Costa Rica

Concentrix Expands Operations in Costa Rica

Concentrix, a SYNNEX Corporation Company inaugurated its new building in San José, Costa Rica - investing upwards of us$4 million. The new facility, located in Pavas in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy, has capacity for up to 1,200 staff.

Currently, Concentrix Costa Rica employs 250 people who provide pre-sales, technical support and customer service in seven different languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch and Italian. The Company expects to hire 150 additional employees in the next six months.

The official opening took place this morning with guests and dignitaries including the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister, Anabel González; the Promotions Director for the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), Irving Soto; Senior Vice President and General Manager, Concentrix, Christopher Caldwell; and Concentrix Vice President and General Manager, Costa Rica, Manfred Kissling.

According to Caldwell, "In Costa Rica, we are making an investment to grow our business based on a good mix of skilled talent, infrastructure and business climate. This new facility complements the global value we provide our customers from Asia, the United Kingdom and United States.”

On her behalf, the Foreign Trade Minister, Anabel González, indicated, "Concentrix knows how to leverage Costa Rica´s potential by establishing a significant operation in our country. We are pleased to witness how the Company has increased its number of employees, generated high quality jobs and promoted better living conditions in such a short time.”

A Global Services Platform
Concentrix Costa Rica adds to the other 20 locations the company has in Asia, Latin America, the United Kingdom and United States.

These locations serve more than 130 leading companies (many of which are Fortune 500 and S&P 500) that partner with Concentrix to help them acquire, support, retain and renew their customer relationships.

"Concentrix is a success story that validates the quality of the services that companies obtain from Costa Rica. It has been able to provide a wide variety of services in multiple languages, making Costa Rica a central location for the Company’s global customer base,” explained Irving Soto, CINDE´s Promotions Director.
Continuous Growth

Manfred Kissling, Concentrix Vice President and General Manager, Costa Rica stated, "Our new facility provides bus and metropolitan train stops next to our building and also provides excellent employee access. The new building provides ideal conditions for our staff.”

Concentrix is currently recruiting people with a good aptitude to provide technical support and fluency in Spanish, French or English. The Company provides training and competitive wages and benefits. Interested candidates may send their resumes to

To read the full story visit Inside Costa Rica by clicking here

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

IBM to invest $300 million, create 1,000 jobs in Costa Rica

By Adam Williams

The investment is one of the largest here in the past decade.

U.S.-based technology giant IBM announced Thursday it will invest approximately $300 million over the next 10 years in a new information technology service center in Costa Rica. The center is expected to create an estimated 1,000 jobs by 2014.

President Laura Chinchilla said the IBM investment is one of the largest in the country in the past decade, and represents a vital step for her administration’s goal of achieving $9 billion in foreign direct investment by 2014. With FDI reaching $1.45 billion in 2010, Chinchilla set a goal of $1.95 billion for 2011.

“As president, my main priority is to propel Costa Rica toward development, improving its competitiveness and guiding it toward innovation through high technology, and generating employment opportunities with higher added value,” Chinchilla said Thursday morning. “The decision of IBM is a very positive sign that we are moving in the right direction. Costa Rica is welcoming new opportunities to continue developing the talent of our workers and motivating our youth in school.”

According to the Costa Rican Investment Board, in 2010 there were 210 foreign-owned companies operating in the country, generating 58,472 jobs.

To read the full story by Adam Williams in the Tico Times, click here