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[en] This paper presents a review of bio-diesel development and economic potentials. The basics of biodiesel and its production technology are described. Attention is given to development potential, challenges and prospests of bio-diesel in Nigeria with ground facts on bio-diesel production feasibility in Nigeria highlighted.
[en] A fusion power plant would rely on practically unlimited supplies of primary materials, and possess very favourable environmental and safety properties. Exploiting the nuclear fusion reaction for continuous power production requires, however, the solution of some of the most demanding physics and technology issues. At the same time the final proof of principle of a self-sustaining fusion reaction can only be delivered in a device with a thermal power rating in the 1 GW range, as the power production by fusion reactions increases much stronger with volume than the energy losses from a hot plasma. A range of well conceived tokamak devices have generated during the last couple of decades the experimental basis and the physics understanding for proceeding now to the construction of such a demonstration device: ITER. This device will also incorporate, partly in the form of test modules, nearly all the critical technologies required for the operation of a commercial power plant. A notable exception to this are materials, where the much lower neutron fluence of ITER allows to work with readily available, conventional steels, whereas power plants will have to use radiation resistant, low-activation materials now under development. The presentation summarizes briefly the development path that has led to the ITER design, and the physics criteria determining its layout. Seven technologies were identified by the international design team (constituted by engineers and scientists from Japan, the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the USA) as critical, and made subject to seven large R and D projects, successfully carried out with an investment of about 400 Million $. The roadmap for the development beyond ITER foresees as subsequent step a power plant (DEMO) that will already be largely identical to the first generation of commercial installations. The physics of this device will be completely verified by the beginning of its planning by the operating experience of ITER. Two, material related issues are, however, also on the critical path: development of heat and plasma particle flux resistant materials for contact with the plasma, and neutron fluence tolerant materials for structural functions and the breeding blanket. The further development of the former will proceed on ITER itself, as their performance tests require a plasma environment. ITER will, however, not have sufficient fluence to carry out conclusive nuclear tests, which require the availability of a dedicated test facility with a suitable neutron energy spectrum ( IFMIF). Based on these scenarios we should have the critical physics and technology information for a fusion power plant fully available in 2020
[en] High production, transport and refining costs have long led oil companies to shun heavy crude oils. Advances in the technology of upgrading heavy oils, however, are likely to reduce transport costs and improve the refinery output. Research and development by Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has resulted in a process called Aquaconversion which permits the upgrading of heavy crude oils using a catalyst and the hydrogen from steam. This may be carried out at the wellhead in small low-pressure and relatively inexpensive units. In addition, higher distillate yields of higher value could be produced by revamping the thermal cracking units of refineries to incorporate the new technology. This has generated considerable interest in Venezuela's large extra-heavy crude oil reserves and has led multinational oil companies along with PDVSA to pledge $17 billion to their development. Even at a $2 to $3 per barrel upgrading cost, Venezuela's extra heavy crudes are competitive with lighter oils from other countries. Other major markets for the new technology are likely to be China and Russia, given their own large heavy crude reserves. (UK)
[en] The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1991 to assist central and eastern European countries in making the transition from command economies to market economies. The Bank provides loans, equity investments, guarantees, advice, and technical cooperation to qualified applicants through its merchant banking and development banking operations. In the energy sector, the Bank recognizes that the energy resources of eastern Europe are enormous but so are the problems associated with their development. Since its foundation, most of the Bank's energy-related lending has been in the oil and gas sector in Russia and the Baltic countries. The Bank has approved eight projects in that sector with total capital costs of ca US$1.7 billion. Major problem areas to be overcome include uneconomic domestic pricing, high energy intensity and pollution, inadequate legal frameworks, inappropriate tax structures, and institutional complexity. Canadian firms have been actively involed in Bank-financed projects in the Russian oil and gas sector, and two such projects are briefly described. They comprise joint ventures with Russian enterprises or associations and include rehabilitation of Siberian oil fields and drilling new wells in the Komi (Arctic) region. A common feature of these projects is that they were well under way before the Bank got involved, but the Bank brings the benefits of additional financing and providing moral support and expertise which can be useful in overcoming administrative and regulatory difficulties
[en] World energy use is predicted to double in the next 40 years. Today, 80% is provided by burning fossil fuels, but this is not sustainable indefinitely because (i) it is driving climate change, and (ii) fossil fuels will eventually be exhausted (starting with oil). The resulting potential energy crisis requires increased investment in energy research and development (which is currently very small on the scale of the $3 trillion p.a. energy market, and falling). The wide portfolio of energy work that should be supported must include fusion, which is one of very few options that are capable in principle of supplying a large fraction of need in an environmentally responsible manner. The case for fusion has been strengthened by recent advances in plasma physics and fusion technology and by studies of fusion power plants that address safety and cost issues. The big questions are, 'How can we deliver fusion power as fast as possible?' and 'How long is it likely to take?' I will review progress in fusion, and argue for a focused fast-track program that could deliver a working prototype power station in less than 30 years.
[en] This paper presents a new source of energy production, from grass fermentation, implemented in Switzerland. The by-products of the treatment are also recovered for industrial applications. The process, its performance and cost are detailed. (A.L.B.)
[en] Syncrude Canada supplies 11% of total Canadian crude oil production, over 60 million bbl/y, from oil sand deposits in northern Alberta. Syncrude is the world's largest synthetic crude oil producer, and its operating costs are comparable to the costs of finding and producing new conventional oil sources. Some 200 billion bbl of oil are recoverable from the oil sands using present extraction techniques, but more research and development is needed for the northern Alberta deposits to realize their full potential. A key to much of Syncrude's success is its personnel policies, which include involvement in working with local native communities to hire and train aboriginal employees, establishment of partnerships with educational institutions, on-the-job education, and employment equity programs for women and minority groups. 2 figs
[en] The current state of financing and security issues which in the past have constrained the amount of foreign investment and project financing in the electric power market in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are reviewed. Past impediments to foreign investment and financing of power projects revolved around the rate of return on investment, the difficulties of obtaining project approvals, conflict of interest issues wherein the Chinese power bureau could act in its interest as a contracted party rather than for the joint venture as an equity investor, and currency convertibility. Recent developments such as the new security law, the new electricity law, and new project financing regulations represent major improvements, but foreign investment and financing is still much less than originally anticipated, the potential of the PRC power market for foreign investments notwithstanding. (For example, in 1997, 13,500 MW of new generation capacity was added to the Chinese grid system. This increased the total installed capacity to 250,000 MW, making China the second largest installed capacity in the world.) Recent trends in the market and the likely future of foreign investment in the PRC are also discussed, the conclusion being that although the size of the IPP and project finance market in China is probably smaller than originally hoped, a sufficient proportion of new generation capacity has been allocated to foreign investors to ensure a steady stream of investment opportunities
[en] This paper briefly deals with the achievements relating to Hydro-electric Power Plants within the process of development of the National Power System in Romania. Also presented is the Romanian industry contribution to hydro-electrical power plant equipment manufacturing. (author)
[en] Qatar is pursuing one of the most ambitious long-term investment programmes in the world in a drive for gas-fuelled growth. The country has 5% of the world's proven gas reserves and the government is in effect taking out a $10bn mortgage and dedicating the proceeds of a doubling of its oil output to ensure it retains two-thirds of the ownership of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects on which its future prosperity will depend. Qatar is trading several years of increasing debt for the prospect of massive revenue earnings from LNG sales. In the 21st century, the state should be producing enough income from hydrocarbons alone to meet the government's budgetary requirements in full. The investment does entail a level of risk, however, through the several key factors on which its success depends. These include: the ability to maximise oil export earnings to cover short-term budgetary requirements; the securing of long-term debt; and the ability to transform memoranda of understanding on LNG projects into firm sale and purchase agreements which will survive the vagaries of the market over a long period. An examination of these factors suggests that Qatar should still secure a real return on its investment by the beginning of the new millennium. (UK)