Submitted by New Energy News Blog

The exertion of force being a bit more flagrant in Russia than in the West, it is hard to know whether Russians are not yet aware of the bad news about AGROfuels or whether those backing the play just don’t care. (See AGROFUELS BAD NEWS: OXFAM)

In either case, entrepreneur Pyotr Svetlichny of Titan-Kuban is uninhibitedly excited about turning Russian agriculture to AGROfuel production.

Ironically, the biggest obstacle to Svetlichny’s plans seem to be from the government’s laws prohibiting the sale of drinking alcohol because ethanol is 99% alcohol. The fuel’s “green” reputation (not to mention its value as a petroleum additive in oil-rich Russia) will likely win it an easy waiver.

Too bad. It would be great to see a law prohibiting Russia from becoming as drunk on ethanol as U.S. Midwesterners have become.

Vladimir Vinokurov, professor, Gubkin University: “As to prospect of this market for export in Europe, I see big opportunities here. First of all, Russia has always been an agricultural country and of course expansion of sowing space and yields’ increasing are relevant problems at present…”

Translation: Russia is about to turn agricultural land to AGROfuel production and add to rising world food price problems.

It’s even worse in the Republic of Congo, where Italian/German company Fri-el Green has bought palm plantations and will expand them ten times over for AGROfuel production, part of a wider, west-inspired privatization movement in Congo.

The Republic of Congo is not the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a smaller, oil producing country to the northeast. Oil producing. Privitization. AGROfuels. Does that sound like Russia?

Last thought: Irony. Rising fossil fuel costs are driving the development of wind in China and, at the same time, the misuse of croplands and the denuding of rainforests for AGROfuel production around the world. Call it “The Good, The Bad And The Marketplace.”

Here’s the problem. (click to enlarge)

Russia joins biofuel race
July 19, 2008 (Russia Today)
RWE’s Fri-el Green buys Congo palm farms for biofuel
Christian Tsoumou and Alistair Thomson, July 23, 2008 (Reuters)

Titan-Kuban (Pyotr Svetlichny, director); Fri-el Green

– Svetlichny is planning on becoming Russia’s first AGROfuels entrepreneur with Titan-Kuban.
– Fri-el Green will expand 4,000 hectares of AGROfuel-producing palm plantation in the Republic of Congo into 40,000 hectares.

Russia wants to get on the list. (click to enlarge)

– 1960s: Kruschev led a Russian corn-growing effort to match U.S. production.
– Presently: Kruschev-era ag techniques are being replaced with modern European techniques.
– 2009: Titan-Kuban’s 1st AGROfuel refinery is expected to start producing.

– Russia’s Krasnodar region, nicknamed Kuban, is a rich corn- and wheat-growing agricultural region.
– Fields near the village of Dinskaya use modern European technologies.
– Fri-el Green will expand the existing 4,000 hectares of AGROfuel-producing palm plantation into 40,000 hectares in the northern region of the Congo.

– Rising petroleum and gasoline prices have turned biofuels attractive as fuel additives for Russian oil, the nation’s primary export.
– Ethanol, 99% alcohol, requires a waiver from the government from Russian drinking alcohol regulations. Its reputation as a “green” fuel is expected to help win the exemption.
– Fri-el Green is buying an existing operation from Congolese state-owned companies Sangha Palm and Congo National Palm Plantations Authority (RNPC) to expand ten times over.

click to enlarge

– Pyotr Svetlichny, director, Titan-Kuban: ”The first plant will work on corn, and the second on wheat…”
– Vladimir Vinokurov, professor, Gubkin University: “To begin with, in Russia the need for the manufacture of bioethanol as a component of petrol is not great. Now I estimate it at approximately 2 million tonnes a year and this figure will hardly change in the years to come, because it’s connected with volumes of oil production and processing…”

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