Over 60% of the biorefinery’s output will be directed as feedstock to biodiesel production Fintoil invests over €100m in a biorefinery in Hamina. (Credit: Pixabay/SatyaPrem) Fintoil will build a crude tall oil refinery in Hamina. Fintoil and Port of HaminaKotka have today signed a lease agreement on a site located in the Hamina oil port area. Neste Engineering Solutions Ltd has been commissioned for engineering and delivery of the biorefinery. Construction of the biorefinery will begin as soon as the company has secured the environmental and building permits, estimated earliest at the end of 2020.Crude tall oil (CTO) is a by-product of softwood pulp production. The carbon footprint of CTO derivatives is up to 90% lower than that of comparable fossil alternative products. More than 60% of the biorefinery’s output will be directed as feedstock to biodiesel production. The extensive background of Fintoil Ltd’s key persons in the tall oil industry has enabled the company to secure long-term contracts for sufficient raw material and sales volumes.Chair John Lindahl’s career in the pulp and paper industry spans management of investment projects at e.g. UPM-Kymmene, Madison Paper, Pöyry, Metsä Group and most recently as the Group Technical and Sustainability Director and a member of the Group Executive Committee at Mondi Group. Jukka Ravaska has been appointed as the Managing Director of Fintoil Ltd. Mr Ravaska has an extensive background in the specialty chemicals industry from management and executive positions at e.g. Solvay, Akzo Nobel, Kraton and most recently as Supply Chain Manager at Forchem.For Taaleri, Fintoil Ltd’s biorefinery represents a significant investment in the Finnish industry and expertise which fosters Taaleri’s growth in impact investing and financing of renewable energy. Taaleri Capital acts as Fintoil Ltd’s financial advisor in the financing of the investment project. Source: Company Press Release
Ziad Akle was sentenced in a London court after being found guilty of corrupting commercial tender processes for oil infrastructure on behalf of the consultancy’s clients following Saddam Hussein’s overthrow Al Basrah Oil Terminal in Iraq (Credit: US Army/Spc. Darryl L Montgomery) Former Unaoil executive Ziad Akle, 45, was sentenced to five years in prison today (23 July) for bribing an Iraq government official to secure oil infrastructure projects in the post-war rebuilding period.The British-Lebanese businessman was found guilty earlier this month of paying more than $500,000 in bribes to secure a $55m contract to build single point mooring (SPM) infrastructure on behalf of Unaoil client SBM Offshore, a Dutch manufacturing company.It follows a months-long trial prosecuted by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in London of three former associates of Unaoil, a Monaco-based energy consultancy that is subject to a global corruption investigation for its activities in Iraq and other countries.Steven Whiteley, 65, who was Unaoil’s general territories manager for Iraq, and formerly a vice-president of SBM Offshore, was also due to be sentenced alongside Akle today, but was unable to attend the hearing for health reasons. His sentencing has been postponed to a later date.Jurors in the trial were unable to reach a verdict on a third man, Paul Bond, 68, who was a former vice-president of SBM Offshore. He faces a retrial next year.Co-conspirator Basil Al Jarah, 71, Unaoil’s former country manager for Iraq, pleaded guilty last year to five related corruption offences brought by the SFO. He is due to be sentenced in October. Judge labels offences ‘utterly exploitative’ of a country in need of economic supportIn the immediate post-Hussein years, efforts were made to rebuild the oil industry in southern Iraq. To this end, the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project (ICOEEP) was conceived in 2007 to boost crude export capacity in the region from 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to 4.5 million bpd.The SFO’s case presented hundreds of emails between Unaoil executives and their associates, which it said detailed a co-ordinated effort to corrupt tendering processes worth $1.6bn for infrastructure contracts handed out as part of the ICOEEP scheme.Judge Beddoe said: “Email traffic in which Akle is included is riddled with evidence that corruption was rife. Tendering processes were wholly compromised by and through [Al Quoraishi].“The corruption was successful and very fruitful. Akle knew that what Al Quoraishi was doing was not out of the kindness of his heart or for the benefit of Iraq.“The offences were committed across borders and at a time of serious need for the government of Iraq to rebuild after years of sanctions and the devastation of war.“They were utterly exploitative at a time when the political and economic situation was extremely fragile, and when we owed it our best to help overcome a war that we had chosen to start.” Unaoil positioned itself to take advantage of oil infrastructure rebuilding in post-war IraqUnaoil is accused of positioning itself to fraudulently take advantage of a project to revitalise dilapidated oil and gas infrastructure in the south of the country in the years following US invasion in 2003 and Saddam Hussein’s subsequent fall from power.Akle “played a full part [in the] direct and sustained corruption of a senior figure performing a public function,” said Judge Martin Beddoe at London’s Southwark Crown Court.He added the businessman was “fully aware” of a plan to corrupt Oday Al Quoraishi, a project manager for Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company (SOC), who the court was told used his position within the company “to do Unaoil’s bidding” by influencing commercial tender processes in favour of the consultancy’s clients.SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “Akle and his co-conspirators exploited a country reeling from years of dictatorship and military occupation to line his own pockets and win business. It is this combination of greed and heartless avarice that led to these convictions.”
FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail Installation Underway For New Evansville BishopDECEMBER 15TH, 2017 BRITNEY TAYLOR EVANSVILLE, INDIANACatholic Diocese will have new leadership by the end of the day in Evansville. Joseph Siegel will be installed as Bishop soon.In just a few hours, the sixth Bishop of Evansville, Joseph Siegel will start his tenure during an installation mass.Pope Francis appointed him to the job back in October, but he’s will officially take over as Bishop today. This comes after Charles Thompson, the fifth Bishop of Evansville, was appointed Archbishop of Indianapolis in June.Bishop Siegel comes to Evansville from Joliet, Illinois, where he served as the Auxiliary Bishop for years.The installation mass happening at St. Benedict’s in Evansville is set to begin at 2 p.m. It’s expected to be a packed crowd for the ceremony.We will bring more information tonight on 44News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.Britney TaylorWeb ProducerMore Posts – WebsiteFollow Me:
The FOOD Standards Agency has bowed to pressure from food industry bodies including the Federation of Bakers with revised targets for salt content in foods including bread.The new voluntary targets, published on Tuesday include 1.1g salt (or 430mg sodium) per 100g on pre-packed bread and rolls by 2010. Targets will be reviewed in 2008, in the light of industry progress.All supermarket own-label bread, except that sold by Morrisons, is already below this target. Sainsbury’s leads the field with own label that boasts 0.8g per 100g salt content. Branded loaves are typically above the threshold at 1.25g salt per 100g.The FSA’s original targets aimed to reduce daily salt intake to 6g. They were set in February 2005 and included a proposal that salt content in bread should be reduced to 0.9g salt per 100g by 2010. This target was put up to 1g of salt per 100g in a consultation that started last year. The Federation of Bakers counter proposals were 1.25g salt per 100g.The new targets, which follow months of negotiation, are a “compromise we are not unhappy with”. Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson told British Baker. The Federation is working with the FSA to provide average data to review progress against the new targets.Gordon Polson said: “Although we are happy to be working with the FSA on this issue, the reduction of salt in bread thus far has been immensely challenging for the entire industry due to technical issues as salt plays such a critical role in dough formation.”But anti-salt campaigner Professor Graham MacGregor accused bakers of “letting the British public down”, pointing out that bread is the main source of salt in the UK diet.He told British Baker: “Bread [salt content] is hardly going to be reduced any further than it stands at the moment. Talk about technical constraints is pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes. These new targets will only result in an 8g daily salt intake for the average consumer.”Professor MacGregor said the FSA is not to blame for the “erosion” of its original targets. He said: “The FSA has no power to legislate – only the Department of Health. It can only publish voluntary targets.”The new targets, which apply to 85 food categories, have been “set as challenging levels that will have a real impact on consumers intakes”, according to the FSA. They will help progress towards its target of bringing down average salt intakes to 6g a day, it said.
Cupcakes don’t just look pretty and taste good – they are also a barometer of political opinion judging by an unexpected twist in the Scottish independence referendum.Edinburgh’s Cuckoo’s bakery has been selling Opinion Poll cupcakes adorned with either a Union Jack, Scottish flag or a question mark since March and has monitored sales to get a steer on the outcome of today’s highly anticipated Scottish referendum.As it stands the ‘no’ cakes have outsold the cakes striving for independence, though not by much. Of thousands of cakes bought and eaten 47.7% were ‘no’, 43.5% were ‘yes’ and the remaining 8.8% were question marks as people failed to commit – or just wanted a cake. The cakes are raspberry and white chocolate-flavoured and cost £2.50 to take away or £3 to eat in.Co-founder Graham Savage told Edinburgh Evening News: “We have seen an increase in sales generally and some big orders have come in from both sides.“Our poll has been conducted professionally throughout the campaign and we are delighted that the results have shown to be so similar to the official results.“We have calculated that since the campaign was launched, we have sold 80,000 cupcakes from our full range, including the Opinion Poll cupcake.”Today’s referendum, bang in the middle of National Cupcake Week, will reveal whether the cupcakes were right.
For this year’s Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival, the festival is mixing it up, expanding “The Other Tent” into a full-blown stage that will be blasting hip-hop and electronic performances late into the night. Once the tent comes down and the stage area is built out, the new stage simply named “The Other” will host performances by artists such as Marshmello, Big Gigantic, Yellow Claw, D.R.A.M., Goldfish, Haywyre, Skepta, and others.Bonnaroo, which takes place in Manchester, Tennessee, and is known for its ability to draw huge headliners, with U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, and Chance The Rapper topping the 2017 lineup. However, the downbill of Bonnaroo’s line-up is always is varied, catering to a bunch of different musical tastes and allowing the more mainstream festival to still appeal to concertgoer’s diverse musical sensibilities. This year, Umphrey’s McGee, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Mandolin Orange, Turkuaz, and Twiddle are just a few of our favorite artists who will be hitting Bonnaroo this year.This year, the festival runs from June 8th through June 11th, and is sure to be bigger than ever with the expansion of “The Other Tent” into a larger stage in its own right. You can check out Bonnaroo’s website for more information and tickets.
GAZETTE: What about the short-term answers?HOLDREN: The shorter-term solution is what we already talked about: scientists, engineers, and innovators getting better at explaining not just what they know, but how they know it. What I have found to be extremely effective in my communications about climate change, for example, is not just to explain what we know, but to explain how we know it in terms of the converging lines of evidence from observations, analysis, and modeling, and from paleoclimatology — the study of how climate has changed over the millennia under natural influences, which helps us understand that human influences have now overwhelmed the natural ones.The other thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to start by listening to people with contrary views — by asking them what they think before starting to lecture them about what you think. When I am discussing climate change or energy policy with people who hold views drastically differing from mine, for example, I have found it most effective to start by listening respectfully to what they think and why they think it. Then I can craft my response to the specific concerns that have animated their views. If you listen first, you will get a lot further in communicating with people with views different from yours.GAZETTE: What is an example of a classic, successful government policy backed by good science? I’m thinking back to the Montreal Protocol for ozone depletion, or Apollo. Those had political backing, but they were also underpinned by good science. What to your mind is the classic example?HOLDREN: I would point to the Paris Agreement, which was an immense step forward in which 195 countries all across the world committed to take constructive steps toward reducing their climate-altering emissions going forward. The industrialized countries of the world also committed, in the Paris Agreement, to sharply increase their assistance to less-developed countries for their efforts not only on emission reductions but also on adaptation, preparedness, and resilience against the changes in climate that can no longer be avoided. That was all based in science and scientists were extremely effective in helping to develop that international consensus that the agreement embodies. Many of us in the U.S. scientific community were involved over the decades preceding the Paris Agreement with scientific colleagues and policymakers in China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and many other countries, laying the foundation for international consensus on what needed to be done. And it worked.GAZETTE: Didn’t I hear that the day after the election was the day we actually withdrew from the Paris Agreement?HOLDREN: That is true. The agreement requires that a country must give three years’ notice before actually exiting. But the sad fact is that President Trump, when he announced in 2017 his administration’s intention to withdraw, immediately terminated virtually all U.S. efforts to comply with the commitments that the United States made in Paris. So we had effectively withdrawn long before the formal withdrawal the day after the election. But I think our participation will be very quickly restored by our new president, and the rest of the world will welcome the return of U.S. participation and leadership on global climate change. There are, of course, many, many other examples of policies successfully driven, in substantial part, by understandings from science and technology. “That is going to be the hallmark of what Biden and Harris do in office: … They are going to interact closely with them. Their science and technology experts are going to be in the room and at the table for the many policy discussions where science and technology are germane.” After a hard election, the real work begins Looking for hints of future prospects in the past and predicting what lies ahead GAZETTE: When we talk about the intersection of science and politics, should scientists be saying, essentially, “Do this. We’ve studied it. We believe this is the best course”? Or should they be presenting politicians with a menu of options? With climate change, I’m thinking of the role of nuclear power. From a strictly carbon standpoint, it seems nuclear would be an important part of the mix. But clearly there are a lot of voices saying, “Nuclear should go too.”HOLDREN: It is very important that, in talking about these matters, scientists separate what they know or believe as scientists from what they prefer as citizens in terms of public policy. It’s very important to distinguish between issues of fact and issues of values and preferences. And it’s possible, in my view, for scientists to do that successfully. Some people say that scientists should simply stick to their science, confine themselves to clarifying what they understand to be the scientific realities, and not talk about policy at all, that to do so is to politicize science. I reject that view. If scientists absent themselves from the policy process, society loses a very important set of voices from its policy discussions. I often tell my students that the facts about science and technology are not everything in public policy, but they are usually something. They matter. Of course, policymakers are not always going to make the choices that scientists would prefer. That’s OK, because other sources of insight and value are also relevant and it’s appropriate for policymakers to take them into account.GAZETTE: What would you advise the Biden administration as a top priority once they take office?HOLDREN: I think President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have already made clear that their highest priority has to be recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy cannot flourish; science and technology cannot flourish; and the climate-change issue cannot be addressed successfully unless and until we master the COVID-19 challenge. Biden and Harris are completely right about that.At the same time, I think they’re going to give very high priority to the restoration of the vitality and inclusiveness of the U.S. economy. President-elect Biden comes from a working class. He understands the predicament of working people in this country, and he is determined to address it. He also knows that immigration reform is related to the economy, as is leadership in science and technology, as are fundamental American standards of ethics and humaneness. And restoring a humane and science- and technology-friendly immigration policy will likewise be a boon to the economy and will be a priority for the Biden administration.In the climate space, the Biden-Harris administration will not only rejoin the Paris Agreement, but without question they will restore many of the Obama administration executive orders on emissions reduction and climate-change adaptation, preparedness, and resilience that were rescinded virtually immediately by President Trump following his inauguration. I am still hopeful, by the way, that when the two remaining races for the Senate in Georgia are sorted out, the Democrats will finally again control the Senate and it will become possible then to move forward on climate change with Congress’ help, rather than its opposition.Another very high priority is going to be restoring U.S. relationships internationally. I think one of the many consequences of President Trump’s fecklessness and unpredictability is a loss of confidence — a loss of trust — in the United States as a reliable partner in international arrangements. I believe Biden and Harris are going to be at pains to restore those relationships, to restore confidence in the United States as a partner. That will require rebuilding the U.S. institutions that nourish these relationships. Under Trump, the State Department has been hollowed out, the Environmental Protection Agency has been hollowed out, and a real former bastion of administration competence, the White House itself, has been hollowed out. Fixing all that is broken is going to be a big agenda, but I have every confidence that Biden and Harris are going to prove to be up to it. With the creation of a coronavirus advisory board among its first acts, the incoming Biden-Harris administration has moved quickly to reinstall science as a foundation for government policy after four years of a president who disdained accepted scientific wisdom on subjects from wildfires to hurricane tracks, climate change to COVID-19. The Gazette spoke with John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and professor of environmental science and policy in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, about what the reversal means. Holdren, Barack Obama’s top scientific adviser as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, discussed the need to restore trust in scientific facts, their potential limitations, and their necessary interplay with other disciplines — including politics — in setting government policy.Q&AJohn HoldrenGAZETTE: In an era when everyone seems to have their own set of facts, how do you restore the public’s faith that science really does know what it’s talking about?HOLDREN: There are a couple of dimensions to that. One is the role of the White House and the other is the role of the scientific community, including institutions like the [National] Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the other professional societies.It is tremendously important what attitude the president of the United States and the vice president take toward facts, toward science, and toward the use of science and facts in the formation of public policy. We had, with President Obama and Vice President [Joseph] Biden, a fact-friendly and science-savvy leadership. They appointed highly capable, nonideological people to the key science and technology positions across the administration. And that friendliness to facts and science propagated downward and interacted constructively with the inclinations of the career civil servants in the departments and agencies with science and technology responsibilities. Those inclinations have always been to use science and technology to advance the public interest.That’s what we need to restore under President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris. I think it will be restored once they are inaugurated. But even before, they are already saying all the right things in the course of this somewhat freighted transition. You see President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris talking very constructively about how they will bring science and technology to bear on advancing the national interest. For example, a new panel on COVID-19 that will be advising Biden and Harris on crafting a comprehensive national response, which we have lacked, has already been announced. The panel is bipartisan; it is diverse in terms of gender, in terms of political affiliation, in terms of geography; and above all, it is a collection of absolutely first-rate people. That is going to be the hallmark of what Biden and Harris do in office: They are going to appoint competent people. They are going to listen to them. They are going to interact closely with them. Their science and technology experts are going to be in the room and at the table for the many policy discussions where science and technology are germane.GAZETTE: And what about the role of the scientific community in restoring faith in science?HOLDREN: I have said for a long time that every scientist and every engineer in this country should tithe 10 percent of her or his time to engaging with public policy and with public education on science and technology issues. We no longer have the luxury of staying in our laboratories, of sitting at our desks working on advancing our science and engineering disciplines. We have to interact with broader society in ways that communicate what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why it matters. The scientific community has to get better at telling informative stories about how science works and about what it is doing in support of the aspirations of the American people.GAZETTE: How do you handle the cultural divide between science and politics and account for normal scientific uncertainty without undermining what we know as facts?HOLDREN: There are short-term approaches to that dilemma and longer-term approaches. Starting with a longer term, we have to do a better job in our schools, at the K through 12 level, with science education. Our K-12 science teachers have been spending too much time instilling facts about what science knows and too little time instilling understanding of how science works — what the sources of progress are, the sources of error correction, peer review, the sources of credibility and authority in science. We cannot expect the entire population of the country to be sufficiently educated about scientific matters to sort out technical controversies on the details of climate change, the details of COVID-19, the details of the interaction of science with economic policy. But what we can expect is to develop in the public a greater understanding of how science works and what the sources of credibility and authority in scientific findings are. We need to surmount the liability from which we have suffered for a long time. In many facets of the media there has been a preoccupation with “balance” that has led to overwhelming scientific consensus on one side being countered with tiny minorities of dissenters who somehow get equal time and equal weight. People need to understand what the National Academy of Sciences is and how it works; what the National Academies of Engineering and Medicine are and how they work; how the great professional societies — the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society — work and why the considered positions of these bodies deserve more weight than the voices of a very small number of contrarians, on whatever issue. “If scientists absent themselves from the policy process, society loses a very important set of voices from its policy discussions.” Experts tease out the scientific, legal, economic, political, and philosophical costs and benefits of the problem — and the solutions Red flags rise on global warming and the seas What scares you most about climate change? GAZETTE: How handicapped will a new administration be if the Senate has a Republican majority? Clearly, a lot can be done with executive orders, but can everything be done that needs to be done?HOLDREN: No, everything cannot be done with executive orders. It is much better to get major things done with the help of the Congress through legislation, which is, of course, much harder to unwind than executive orders are. I hold out hope that even if the Senate remains with a Republican majority, the fact that President-elect Biden has had a longstanding and generally productive relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will make it possible to have greater collaboration and cooperation once Trump is gone and the dust settles. There are so many inherently bipartisan national projects waiting to happen; we simply must hope that Republicans and Democrats will be able to work together to get it all done.Interview was lightly edited and condensed. Related Former Obama science adviser says somber intergrovernmental panel report may understate the urgency
Student government vice president Sibonay Shewit revised the committee structure in student senate this year, a slight departure from issue-specific committees formed last year.“We have one that does student outreach, one that does faculty and administrative issues and one that works on the constitution,” Shewit said. “I thought that by doing this they’d be more in touch with what’s going on around campus and carry more of a responsibility to cover everything that students are talking about.”The constitution committee has proposed several amendments that have passed, which aim to create consistency throughout the constitution and be more explicit about quorum and the role of proxy members, Shewit said.“I want to see next semester be more of the senators bringing topics of their own and resolutions of their own, and it started really well with our constitution changes,” she said. “I feel that they’re starting to feel a little bit more comfortable bringing things to senate.”Unexpected events have required the senators to change focus quickly, Shewit said, but having simultaneous projects have not affected the underlying goals of senate.“I definitely didn’t expect a lot of the sudden things that we’ve responded to, like the housing policy and our work with [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] students,” Shewit said. “Both things took up a significant amount of their time, and [we] didn’t see it coming, but they really did respond to those quickly and really did a good job of engaging with their groups.”Next semester, Shewit said, she hopes for the senators to finish their work with the housing policy and support for DACA students, then turn their attention towards other issues, such as a campaign to encourage reusable coffee tumbler use and an effort to create business classes for students outside of the Mendoza College of Business.“I think it’s been a really good start to the year,” Shewit said. “They’ve made a pretty big impact on a lot of issues that our executive time has really put our back behind.”Shewit conducted a mid-season review of senate to discern the current sentiment among senators and how to improve next semester. She said the survey asked senators to rate their experience on the committees and offer recommendations they have going forward.“The responses were really positive. I just wanted to make sure that they felt engaged in senate,” Shewit said. “One pretty unique thing is how close they’ve all gotten, and they have wanted more opportunities outside of these meetings to hang out as a group. They really have become a unified body.”This semester, senators have heard from a variety of speakers including representatives from Campus Dining, The Shirt Project committee and Title IX.“A lot of times when we invite these speakers, they’re super excited to talk to the senators,” Shewit said. “They know how many voices [the senators] represent and how much of what they say is going to be spread onward.”Shewit said she believes in the importance of empowering the senators and in showing them how much influence they have on campus.“Senate — from when I started in student government — has changed so much, and I think it’s moving in such a good direction,” Shewit said. “I think that they do a lot of really great work, and they’re a really representative body and have brought a lot of voices into one room.” While the senators meet frequently outside of their weekly meetings to work on their committees, continue to discuss issues and push for change, they were set behind somewhat by dealing with unexpected issues by taking more symbolic than concrete actions. Shewit and the rest of the senators now hope to turn their attention to more concrete issues next semester.Grade: B+Tags: 2017 Student Government Insider, Notre Dame Student Senate, Senate
Vice president of Notre Dame athletics Jack Swarbrick urged the campus community Thursday in an email to continue following safety precautions at Notre Dame’s first football game of the season Saturday.“This is not the time to relax,” Swarbrick said in the email. “If we let down our guard, no matter how briefly, the momentum you have built will quickly be lost, and so too will our chances of winning the battle against COVID-19.”He reminded students that all forms of tailgating are prohibited, and all will be required to wear masks and maintain physical distance throughout the game. Students must also remain in the seats assigned to them.“I am very proud of all that your fellow students on the football team have done to put themselves in a position to represent you on the field this year,” Swarbrick said. “I am also proud that, unlike almost every other university in the country, Notre Dame, with support from our local public health officials, found a way to ensure that every student who wanted to attend home football games during the pandemic has the opportunity to do so.”Tags: COVID-19, Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame football
Veinte Cohol bananas appeal to an ethnic market and sell for as much as $1.99 per pound. Americans typically pay between 45 cents and 65 cents per pound for Cavendish, Fonsah said. “If we are satisfied to import all of our bananas, the money will go overseas. We may not be able to produce enough to compete oversees, but we can cut into that profit and keep part of our money over here,” Fonsah said. “We can also invest in other parts of our economy by purchasing fertilizer, equipment for farming and creating jobs.” American BananasMost bananas are imported from Central America. American bananas — worth $13 million annually — are currently grown on 1,500 acres in Hawaii and 500 acres in Florida. The types produced in Florida are ethnic varieties, unlike the ones typically found in grocery stores. “(Veinte Cohol) is perfect for small growers,” Fonsah said. “It is great to grow for fun, part-time, for agritourism and for additional supplemental income. Kids just freak out when they see these bananas growing.”UGA Banana TeamThe UGA banana collaborative team includes UGA plant pathologist Pingsheng Ji, entomologist Will Hudson, agricultural engineers Paul Sumner and Gary Hawkins, Patricia Timper with USDA, and Fulbright scholar Daouda Kone from Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa.In addition to growing bananas as a food crop, the team’s engineers are looking at the potential of using bananas or its byproducts for alternative fuels. The team first started the project at the UGA Bamboo Farm and Coastal Garden in Savannah, Ga. In 2009, they began studying them on the UGA campus in Tifton, Ga., too. When most people think of bananas hanging from a branch, they picture tropical places. A University of Georgia researcher wants them to start associating Georgia with the popular fruit, and he’s found a new variety to help do that.Americans love bananas. They eat 33 pounds per person every year, consuming 31 percent of the world’s bananas. Some 99 percent of all bananas eaten in the U.S. come from another country, said Greg Fonsah, an economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and head of the UGA banana project.Bananas could be much like strawberries or blueberries, which have both turned into multi-million dollar crops in just the past few decades in Georgia. “It will be our new commodity, and at least part of that $1.5 billion spent to import bananas to the United States would be going back to boost our economy,” said Fonsah, who worked with multinational companies such as Del Monte Fresh Produce and Aloha Farms Inc. in Hawaii with bananas before coming to Georgia.Fonsah and his colleagues have investigated 35 banana varieties in Georgia since 2003. One variety called Veinte Cohl – discovered in Florida — looks promising, he said.Viente CoholVeinte Cohol is a short-cycle banana that grows well in Georgia and the Southeast. Its pups, or small shoots from the tree, can be planted in April. Its fruit is ready to harvest in October before plant-killing frost hits the southern part of the state. Like all bananas, it doesn’t tolerate cold temperatures.Fonsah said Veinte Cohol can grow anywhere in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8A as an ornamental landscape or nursery plant in addition to fruit production. Typically, bananas need to mature on the tree for three months before harvest. Veinte Cohol’s bananas need just four to six weeks before they are ready to be plucked. There are hundreds of varieties of bananas, but Americans typically prefer the Cavendish variety. When compared to Cavendish, Veinte Cohol bananas are smaller and a little tangier with a slight citrus taste.