2) Comments from each country

Comments for Chinese Bio-Ethanol Production@
Dr. Lixin Zhao (China)

1.      Chinese production of bio-ethanol is 1.3million tons in the year 2006. Ethanol-petrolfs consumption is increasing to 20% in nation wide, being the 3rd in the world, following the United States and Brazil.

2.      Competition of the use of corn for food and energy:

A study on gpre-warning system on food safety and optimization of the material-supply system for bio-ethanol industryh is undergoing.

Nowadays, 72.8% of corn harvest is used as feedstuff. The by-product of corn-ethanol is DDGS, which is a kind of high-protein content feedstuff. It is feasible to use corn as supplementary material for sweet-sorghum bio-ethanol factories.

Other undergoing study: besides fulfilling the need of material for feed industry, how many corn can be used for ethanol-production? How many by-product DDGS can be provided to feed industry? Thus developing a model on corn-ethanol-feed production. The aim of this study is to analyze the possibility and feasibility, and establish a pre-warning system on food safety with the impact of ethanol industry.

3.      Sustainable agriculture – non-food feedstock for energy.

Achievements on bio-ethanol production from sweet-sorghum:
shorter fermentation time: 44h  (corn for 48-60h, cassava for 65h and more)
high-transforming rate: 95%  (similar with the starch-kind liquid material)
high ethanol content: 94%  theoretically (corn only 90%)
solid-fermentation, no waste water generation
simple process, less energy-consumption, lower cost ( about 20% lower than that of corn and cassava kind)

4.      Besides the energy production, the Ministry of Agriculture is more concerned about the increase of farmerfs income.

Opinion@Dr. Nadirman HaskaiIndonesiaj

Total of the marginal, critical and degraded land in Indonesia is 22 million hectares.  Concerning the environmental issues, conservation program is very important for the purpose of land remediation.  One way to achieve that goal is by replanting those areas with woody and estate crops.  The problem arose when variety of plant used for replanting is limited due to degraded land and low level of fertility.

Jatropha curcas was chosen as one candidate for replanting on that kind of lands.  It grows well on long-dry season areas (rainfall of ≤500 mm per year) with insufficient water availability in the soil.  The fruits are produced 6 month after planting, and inside the fruit there are 3 seeds found in compartments.  The seed of Jatropha, which is grey to black in colour and oval in shape, contains a lot of vegetable oil (about 30%).  With the population of 2.500 – 3.300 trees per hectares, the productivity of Jatropha oil is 2 – 4.5 ton/Ha/year.  Jatropha trees can grow for more than 20 years.  Land conservation by planting Jatropha on marginal land, and in combination with vegetable oil productivity, may contribute to the development of national alternative energy policy.

As substitution for a high consumption of national fuel in Indonesia, government has proclaimed to use bio-oil derived from Jatropha curcas, as an alternative energy.  The government has declared that 1.5 million hectares would be used for Jatropha plantation until 2010.  This is equal to the amount of 3.75 billion plantlets.

In order to fulfil the availability of plantlet in huge amount, Biotech Center of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) has developed the propagation technology for Jatropha using ex vitro method.  The ex vitro method will produce uniform plantlet, which maintain the superior characteristics of mother plant, in a large amount in relatively short time.  Furthermore, the technology is cheap and easy to carry out.  Propagation via seeds is not recommended, since it may result in high variability among population.

For technology transfer, Biotech Center has invited and trained many farmers, local government officials, university fellows and private company staffs from many province, such as: Aceh, West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Bali, East Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), South Sulawesi, and participants from Malaysia.

Biotech Center has also actively supported the construction of plantlet production unit in the local areas: West Sumatra (15,000 per month), Bengkulu (25,000), West Java (40,000 per month), Bali (30,000 per month), (NTT (100,000 per month),

In contribution to develop the superior clone of Jatropha curcas, Biotech Center has collected the Jatropha trees from many part of Indonesia with different characteristics, and planted in the mother plant plantation.

1.        From Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, grows well in dry limestone-soil, leaves dark-green in colour and resistance to salt.
From Bengkulu and Central Sulawesi, has high concentration of seed oil contents (37 – 39%).
From Sukabumi, West Java, and Mataram, NTB, has superior high seed yield (more than 20 fruit per brunch).
From Bogor, West Java has characteristic in uniformity for fruits maturity.
From NTB, with vigor, fast growing tree and wide leaves, however very low seed yield (2-3 fruit per brunch).

Comment on the gReport on the Investigation and Technological Exchange Projects Concerning Sustainable Agriculture and Related Environmental Issuesh
Dr. Paritud BhandhubanyongiThailandj

Comment on Thailand Case
HM King Bhumiphol Adulyadej of Thailand always preaches and demonstrates the so-called gsufficiency economyh gsustainable economyh concept especially for the community and village society. The Royal Chitrlada may be the strangest palace in the world with rice field, cow pen, dairy farm, fish pond, fresh milk bottling plant, ethanol plant, etc. His gnew theoryh including the suggestion for farmer to divide the land into 3 equal parts of plant cultivation (rice, vegetable, etc.), fish pond, and poultry raising. His concept is regarded by various countries that it can promote the gsafeguardh for the fluctuation in the world economy due to various effect e.g. oil price hike, etc. So, his concept could also be applied to the case of small scale biomethanation and community fuel production facilities.

              In case of biomethanation, the evaluation is rather simple as long as the balance could be maintained between input and output for the whole stream from gwell-to-fireh with residue go back into the ground as fertilizer. So, this method is rather sustainable or self-sufficiency.

              In case of ethanol plant, for community scale, the evaluation over the whole spectrum from gwell-to-wheelh may be little more complicated. However, if the closed-loop system could be maintained, sustainability/sufficiency for a certain degree can still be achieved. For example, if sugar cane or cassava is applied as raw materials with fertilizer from discharged plant water, and electricity from waste burner, then high degree of sustainability and benefit for local farmers could be attained.

              For the bigger ethanol plant at commercial scale, the system must be carefully designed for self- sufficiency and LCA would be needed as a tool for evaluation. The system is rather complex especially with the plant that extended from the sugar refinery. There are several such plants in Thailand at present and tend to be more in then future. Brazil has proved that the gdualh plant system helps to promote flexibility with respect to the ability to adjust the ratio between sugar and ethanol amount with respect to market prices.

Comments on the gReports on the Investigation and Technological Exchange Projects Concerning Sustainable Agriculture and Related Environmental Issuesh
Dr. Nuwong ChollacoopiThailandj


The report provides the detailed investigation of the small- and medium-scale biomethanation technology using the animal, kitchen and agricultural wastes as the feedstock.  As mentioned in the report, the main purpose of this technology utilization in Thailand is for the fuel especially for cooking and/or the organic fertilizer, with the secondary benefits of improved hygiene and/or less waste management.  The small-scale biomethanation technology is most popular in the rural areas, where animal farming and agricultural waste are plenty, due to simple technology with minimal operation requirement.  On an average, 1 m3 of typical biogas yields about 3,000-5,000 Kcal depending on the gas quality, which is equivalent to 0.46 kg. of LPG (liquid petroleum gas), 0.67 liter of gasoline, 0.6 liter of diesel, 0.55 liter of fuel oil, 1.5 kg. of wood or 1.2 kw.h.  Three most common problems found in the biomethanation come from the contaminations of moisture/water, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.  Note that if the content of methane gas is less than 45%, it will be difficult for ignition.  As estimated in the report, the energy efficiency is quite low due to the simple technology.  With an aim for improved sustainable energy independency, Department of Agricultural Extension within Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative has campaigned the biogas project by providing technical consultancy, expert, training and funding to construct the more efficient unit with the quality control for 1 year.  The key factors are identified as temperature, pH value, alkalinity, nutrient, inhibiting material, organic substance and size/type of the biogas unit.    

On the other hand, medium to large-scale biomethanation technology are also developed for commercial animal farms and waste-water treatment unit in other industries.  Involved organizations include National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC, http://www.biotec.or.th), Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR, http://www.tistr.or.th) and Biogas Technology Center (BTC, http://www.biogastech-cmu.com).  The research outcome will be implemented as well in the small-scale unit.

              With the commercialization of ethanol-blend gasoline (10% by volume) of octane 91 and 95 nationwide at the lower prices than the petroleum gasoline, the increasing demand for ethanol has attracted cassava being used as a raw material, due to a rather strict sugarcane production regulation.  Ethanol production from cassava has begun last year and been projected to increase in the future.  As explained by the plant manager during the investigation, the shift toward using cassava for ethanol has rooted from the increasing price for molasses, which have been the main feedstock for ethanol production in Thailand, from the sugarcane factory.  In term of farmer well-being, the ethanol-from-cassava route is preferred since the farmer can sell cassava product to the ethanol plant directly, as opposed to the traditional ethanol-from-molasses route, where the sugarcane plant, not the farmers, will get more income with increasing ethanol demand.  The farmers only sell sugarcane directly to the sugarcane plant, not the ethanol plant.  In term of the technology, the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process is typical for ethanol-from-cassava plant.  For either raw material, the most common dehydration process for 95% to 99.5% ethanol in Thailand is molecular sieve, with a R&D effort from various organizations to establish know-how domestic technology.   

Comments on the gReport on the Investigation and Technological Exchange Projects Concerning Sustainable Agriculture and Related Environmental Issuesh
Tzay-An Shiau (Chainese Taipei)

This article illustrates and demonstrates the process of investigation tours in Asian countries. It really provides valuable and interesting information for me. I tried to summarize some important aspects as follows:

1. The effective way in view of biomass utilization depends on local conditions, i.e. they take actions that suit their local circumstances.
2. Most of the biomass utilization projects seem to be stayed in demonstration stage, and the main reasons may be
(1) lack of more advanced technologies to improve cost-efficiency, i.e. financial feasibility is the key to assure sustainability in large scale application;
(2) lack of the integration of supply and demand, i.e. cost down could be achieved by implementing an effective supply chain management and then enhance the market
3. The policies of the government are very important. Sustainable biomass utilization always concerning environmental issues. How effective would be the environmental
management mechanisms operated, including incentives and regulations, mainly depends on the attitudes of the government.

For the purpose of sharing the experiences with each other, I would like to introduce the efforts of promoting the utilization of biomass in Taiwan. The related strategies and actions can be concluded as follows:

1.The biodiesel demonstration plant is supported by our government. The source of raw materials are assured by cultivating sunflower, rapeseed et al. and then tourism value added can be created. The implementation schedule can be divided into four stages:
(1) green bus with B1-B5 from 2006;
(2) green county project from 2007;
(3) B1 for all equipments which use diesel from 2008;
(4) B2 for all equipments which use diesel from 2010.
2. The development of bioethanol is concentrated on using rice straw as raw material. The potential output is estimated to be 2,700ML per year. The technologies with productivity
advantage are still under R&D stage. In the meanwhile, to produce bioethanol with sweet potato is planned to be a demonstration project.
3. The goal of biomass power generation is set to be 741MW capacity by 2010, which will share 1.44% of installed capacity in total. There are three main kinds of sources to
provide biomass power generation, including urban solid wastes, bio-gas, agricultural &industrial wastes.

Based on the consideration of financial sustainability, commercialized application of biomass with no subsidies is expected. I hope the ABA activities will enhance regional cooperation in Asian countries, not only the introduction of more advanced technologies with productivity advantage, but also marketing raw materials between Asian countries.

Comments on the gReport on the investigation and technological exchange projects concerning sustainable agriculture and related environmental issuesh
Jin-Suk Lee (Korea)

As concerns over the energy crisis and the climate change are increasing, the sustainable growth is becoming a key issue among all countries in the world. It is expected that bioenergy may play a key role for the sustainable development of the world. However, not much information about the real aspects for the biomass resources and for its utilization in each country have not been available.  

The project supported by the Japanese Ministry of Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery is the first and very important step to identify a good strategy for achieving the sustainable growth in Asia. Throughout the work, several important findings have been reported. According to the report, the three technologies (small-scale biomethanation, Jaropha plantation and large-scale ethanol production using agricultural crops) have been recommended as an effective short term approach for achieving the goal. I agree that rural development (or improving farmersf living standards) should be considered first for activating the biomass utilization. I also believe that this work is a good starting point for making well and balanced growth of the countries in Asia.

The report recommends that further work on the detailed LCA work for Jatropha utilization and ethanol production. In addition to the works mentioned in the report, I think that biofuel production from lignocellulosic materials should be carried out as a long term project. The work requires very extensive investigation activities on many issues. So various organizations in Asian countries should share the role and cooperate to get the fruitful results. By promoting the cooperative work, we may achieve the real sustainable and balanced development in our region. I am sure that the work should be beneficial to all countries in our region.   

Response to the Report on the Investigation and Technological Exchange Projects Concerning Sustainable Agriculture and Related Environmental Issues
Mohamad Ali Hassan (Malaysia)

The 95-page report on selected projects involving small scale biomethanation, biodiesel production from jatropha and bioethanol production from Thailand, Indonesia and Peoplefs Republic of China was very well written, with a lot of data and detailed discussion. I am impressed that the study not only evaluated the technology used, but was also aimed at the appropriateness of the technologies towards increasing the standard of life for the farmers. It is evident that there should be more research and development done to improve these technologies, coupled with proper education of the stakeholders, especially the farmers. With the support from the government and the implementing agencies, as well as dedication and nation building spirit from the scientists and researchers, we can do a great deal towards sustainable agriculture and biomass utilization in this region. The knowledge and know-how developed should be shared, in line with gprosper-thy-neighbourh concept, for our common good.

Comments to greport on the investigation and technological exchange projects concerning sustainable agriculture and related environment issuesh
Truong Nam Hai
  1. Biomethanation plants

Judging from the report on the investigation tour it is clear that biomethanation plants (small and large scales) are useful and desirable for diversifying energy resource and environment improvement. But why this kind of biogas plant is not popular. What are reasons?

Education of peoples is important.
Cost and inconvenience of biomethanation production is not always suitable for poor farmers.
Biogas utilization is not unique form of energy for farmers.
Efficiency of technology (gasification and energy) should be improved.
Propaganda on usefulness of biomethanation plants is necessary.
Support from government for installation of biomethanation plants and using biogas is important as compensation for natural resource exploitation.

  1. Oil from Jatropha plant

It is a good and interesting example of using additional agriculture source for production of biofuel.

  1. Bioethanol production

-          Ethanol produced from molasses and cassava is the main production way at the present. The use of corn and wheat for ethanol production faces conflicts in application purposes (food, ethanol, animal feed and so on).
Technology development for ethanol production from additional sources, such as lignocellulosic sources (rice straws, marine algaec) is important.

  1. General comments for 3 approaches

-          Improvement of the farmerfs standard of living is important way to encourage peoples to follow sustainable agriculture development process.
Applicable and efficient technologies should be developed and exchanged between economies.
Commercialization and development of market for all these products are very important.