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ERB Plans $1.3 Billion Tree-to-Energy Plants at Brazil Factories

June 30, 2011
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Bloomberg reports that ERB (Energias Renovaveis do Brasil), a Brazilian developer of biomass energy, may invest as much as 2 billion reais ($1.3 billion) to build dedicated power plants to run factories. The company is currently building a cogeneration plant that will provide electricity and thermal energy for Dow Chemical Co.’s largest factory in Brazil, and may sign another 10 contracts in the next five years for clients from petrochemical makers to food and beverage producers. High natural gas prices and extensive forest resources in Brazil are driving interest from manufacturers in developing in-house cogeneration plants, fueled by trees harvested from dedicated sources. Some Brazilian factories already run on power generated by wood scraps left over from forestry operations, though outside the steel and paper industries, few companies grow their own trees exclusively for fuel. ERB has identified 7.5 gigawatts of natural gas and diesel oil-fired thermoelectric capacity installed at industrial sites that may be retrofitted to run on wood.

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