LogoCOUNTRY COMPASS

China

Biogas

Since China targets reproducible energy as a viable source of electric power, the market for biogas operations is on the increase. At present, many large cities, such as Nanjing, Beijing, Shenzhen and Beihai, have begun to construct electric power factories that generate electricity by using rubbish and marsh gas. In October 1998, China set up the first this kind of electric power factory in Hangzhou. In June 1999, the Guangzhou marsh gas electric power factory began operation.

The technology route of generating electric power by rubbish and marsh gas is: burying rubbish - fermentation - generating marsh gas - burning - generating electric power. The application of the technology is very important for protecting and improving the environment.

In recent years, with the development of cities, the amount of rubbish in cities has increased at a rate of 6.5 percent every year. At present, more than 90 percent of China's cities deal with rubbish by burying it, thus creating good conditions for generating electricity by rubbish and marsh gas.

According to the information of relevant departments, China now has more than 10 million marsh gas pools, but so far the application of marsh gas is limited. Therefore, the potential of the electric power market in China is considerable. (Source: www.eyeforenergy.com/asia/index.asp?news=21033&nli= energy)

Ethanol plants for fuel production

South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is redoubling its efforts to develop clean energy by constructing two new plants using locally rich resources of cassava and the by-products from its sugar-refining industry to produce ethanol as fuel. The two plants will be situated in the regional capital, Nanning, and the city of Guigang, respectively. The plant in Nanning will have an annual production capacity of 500 000 tonnes of ethanol on completion.

The two projects will cost more than US$120 million. (Source: Asian Energy News, October 2001.)


Cuba

Realidades y oportunidades del uso de combustibles forestales en Guantánamo

En Cuba, durante la última década, los combustibles de madera han alcanzado importantes niveles de consumo entre la población, algunos sectores de servicios, y pequeñas y grandes industrias. Esta situación, que se presenta en todo el país, tiene marcada importancia en las provincias orientales de Cuba, siendo la provincia de Guantánamo un caso emblemático.

En los años 2000-2001, como parte del Proyecto FAO/TCP/CUB/8925 - La dendroenergía, una alternativa para el desarrollo energético sostenible en Cuba, se realizó un estudio sobre el Consumo y flujo de combustibles forestales en los sectores residencial, pequeño industrial y de servicios en la provincia de Guantánamo.

La importancia de los combustibles de madera en la provincia de Guantánamo es evidente, pues el 77 por ciento de la población los utiliza bajo forma de leña o carbón vegetal, mientras que en los sectores pequeño industrial y de servicios el nivel de saturación es del 85 por ciento. Esta situación contrasta con la que existía en la década de los ochenta, cuando el nivel era del 26 por ciento en el sector residencial y del 39 por ciento en los otros sectores. La razón del aumento de la demanda de combustibles de madera es la entrada de Cuba en el denominado «periodo especial», cuando el país perdió el 90 por ciento de sus mercados y enfrentó una fuerte crisis económica. En la etapa crítica del «periodo especial», los años 1993 a 1994, la saturación de combustibles de madera en el sector residencial de la provincia llegó al 95 por ciento y en los restantes sectores al 90 por ciento.

El actual volumen provincial de consumo de combustibles de madera se estimó en 550 000 m3/año, descansando el 91 por ciento en el sector residencial y el 78 por ciento en las áreas rurales y pequeño urbanas. Este consumo es muy superior a los reportados por las estadísticas oficiales, que van de 17 000 a 77 000 m3 para el año 1999.

Los patrones de consumo y abastecimiento dentro de la provincia son diferentes entre las áreas urbanas y las pequeño urbanas y rurales, lo cual indica que se debe dar un tratamiento distinto a cada una de ellas.

En el sector residencial de las áreas urbanas (Ciudad de Guantánamo, Caimanera y Baracoa), la saturación de combustibles de madera es del 54 por ciento, siempre con uso combinado de leña y carbón con otros energéticos, menores consumos específicos (1,5 kg de leña seca/per capita/día y 0,4 kg de carbón/per capita/día), y abastecimiento comercial.

En las áreas rurales y pequeño urbanas, la saturación es del 97 por ciento, con mayor número de usuarios exclusivos de leña, altos consumos específicos (3,0 kg de leña seca/per capita/día y 0,8 kg de carbón/per capita/día), y autoabastecimiento.

A pesar de los altos volúmenes de madera consumidos como combustible se constató, como en muchos otros estudios, que la extracción de leña y carbón vegetal tiene un impacto negativo muy bajo sobre los recursos forestales. Esto se debe a que más del 60 por ciento de la leña proviene de podas de formaciones vegetales antropizadas, tales como potreros, cafetales, cercos vivos y marabusales (Dichroshtachys cinerea).

También se reconocieron importantes impactos económicos (positivos y negativos) del uso de combustibles forestales, por cuanto:

(Una contribución de: Teresita Arias Ch.)

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Biól. Teresita Arias Chalico,
Consultora del Proyecto TCP/CUB/8925,
La Colina 1313, Eldorado,
Misiones, 3380,
Argentina.
Fax: +54 3751 423395;
correo electrónico: azul@ceel.com.ar

 

India

India's villages need power, not just participation

India's "joint forest management" programmes have been widely touted as giving communities greater control over forests and a higher share of forest revenues. State forestry departments sign agreements with local representatives in which the government promises to finance local plans, forest guards, tree nurseries and other activities and to let residents keep some of the earnings from selling forest products. The local representatives agree to conserve their forests and to follow the programme's rules. The World Bank and other agencies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these programmes.

In many places the results have been positive. However, Madhu Sarin's paper, Disempowerment in the name of participatory forestry? - Village forests joint management in Uttarakhand, points out the dangers of applying "participatory" schemes that do not acknowledge what people are already doing. FAO's Forests, Trees and People newsletter published Sarin's paper.

In 1958, the elected forest council of Pakhi received the right to manage a 240-ha forest, which women use to collect fuelwood, fodder, leaf litter and other products for their families. For years, the local women's welfare association controlled the forest. It decided how to use the forest and employed a woman as a guard to fine people who violated the rules. Voluntary contributions paid the guard's salary. While the women managed the forest it was always kept in good condition.

When the Village Forests Joint Management programme came to Pakhi in 1999, the women lost control of their forest. The local men, who had previously shown little interest in the forest, took over. They used project money to hire three male forest guards and fired the woman. Conflicts broke out over the funds for the village forest plan and the tree nurseries. The Forestry Department now makes key decisions about how the forest will be used. It has marginalized the women's welfare association and turned the men and women in the village into virtual wage labourers. The villagers need the money, but they did not realize they would no longer be able to manage their forest. It also appears that no one consulted the women when the village leaders agreed to enter the programme.

The Uttarakhand region in Uttar Pradesh has more than 6 000 community forests like the one in Pakhi. Studies show that on average these forests have faired as well as or better than the government-managed Reserve Forests. About 50 percent of the region's rural households depend heavily on village commons and forest lands for their livelihoods. Some 40 percent of household heads are women.

The Village Forest Joint Management programme looks really good on paper. Unfortunately, the villagers of Pakhi do not live on paper. (Source: Polex Listserve, 21 June 2001.)

For more information or to request a copy of Madhu Sarin's paper, please contact: Dina Hubudin (d.hubudin@cgiar.org ).

 

Malaysia

Power generation from biomass in Malaysia

The total land area in Malaysia amounts to 32.90 million hectares. The major agricultural crops grown in Malaysia are rubber (39.67 percent), oil palm (34.56 percent), cocoa (6.75 percent), rice (12.68 percent) and coconut (6.34 percent). One of the major characteristics of the forestry and agricultural sector is the production of large quantities of processing residues that have no economic value. Their presence in recent years poses a major disposal problem now that burning is being actively discouraged by the Department of Environment of Malaysia.

Forestry residues

Forestry or wood residues are defined as those forms of wood that cannot be marketed at a profit from a given logging or manufacturing operation under the current economic situation and state of technological development. In Malaysia, wood residues are in the form of logging residues (bark, stumps, tops, branches, broken logs, defective logs, injured standing trees), primary manufacturing residues (slabs, edgings, trimmings, sawdust), plywood residues (veneer cores, defective ends and irregular pieces of veneer sheets) and secondary manufacturing residues (sawdust, planer shavings, small pieces of lumber trimmings, edgings, barks, fragments).

Agricultural residues

Apart from forestry residues, the agricultural sector also generates about 9.30 million m3 per annum of residues of which 27.0 percent is used as fuel for the kiln for drying timber, for the manufacture of bricks, the curing of tobacco leaves, the drying of rubber sheets and for the manufacture of such products as particleboard and fibreboard. The rest has to be disposed of by burning. The use of biomass (particularly rubberwood) for the generation of energy has been practised for the past 30 years.

Present use of biomass as fuel in Malaysia

a. Solid woodfuel combustor

There has been substantial development in biomass combustion equipment in recent years particularly in the industrial unit to use rubberwood as fuel. The burner is a single compact unit with controlled combustion at the primary chamber. The gas is then reacted in the secondary chamber. Complete smokeless combustion is attained in the third chamber by means of a patented cycloburner resulting in an exhaust gas free of taint and odour. For the drying of cocoa beans the exhaust gas is utilized by firing into the heat exchanger pipes. For the drying of rubber sheets, the exhaust gas is directly fired in the boiler. The burner has been used by the country's rubber and cocoa industry for the past five years. There has recently been keen interest in a direct-firing, solid-fuel burner, with a preheated model with sliding roller doors for charging and an indirect firing or heat exchanger model with eight different capacities ranging from 315 to 10 500 MJ per hour. At present, some of the models are retrofitted into existing diesel dryers.

b. Rotary pyrolysis combustor

In 1988, the town council of the State of Trengganu installed an industrial-scale rotary pyrolysis-combustion system with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day. This system is the largest biomass combustor system to be installed in the country. The unit is coupled to a waste heat boiler with a superheater and a four-stage steam turbine. The system is capable of supplying 1.5 MWe into the national grid.

c. Power plants operated on rice husk

Two power plants that involve the direct combustion of rice husk are located in the State of Kedah. Each plant has an output capacity of 350 kW. The first system is the Parkinson System built by Parkinson Cowan, United Kingdom, in conjunction with Terry Corporation, United States. The boiler is a three-pass horizontal fire tube type with a fluidized bed furnace. Husk is delivered into the furnace by a pneumatic feeder from a husk silo. After initial heating by an oil burner, the husk ignites and burns without auxiliary fuel. The steam turbine is a three-stage Terry turbine with a capacity to drive a 350-kW generator.

The second system is the lmaco System installed by the Industrial Machinery Company, United States. In this system, the furnace is an air-suspension furnace, lined with refractory. A mechanical feeder is used to feed the vertical cyclonic furnace. The boiler is a water tube type. The generator output of this system is also 350 kW. The fuel consumption of both systems is approximately 1 tonne per hour of husk of which 30 percent was obtained from the existing stockpile while the rest came from the husk output from the rice mill. The electricity generated is utilized in the milling and drying of rice.

Pyrolysis of biomass

A pyrolysis conversion process is defined as thermal degradation of biomass without complete combustion, that is, in the absence of air or with a very limited amount of oxidizing agents. Depending on the type of process used, the three main products that are formed are char (solid), pyrolytic oil (liquid) and gaseous fuel of low heating value. The process runs in a reactor where heat is applied to the solid waste and, as a result, the volatile matter is separated from the char residue. The volatile matter is composed of gases and condensable vapours. These are then cooled below their dew point to obtain liquid products and the remainder is in gaseous form. The quality of charcoal was found to be comparable to that of industrial grade, with an average fixed carbon of 80 percent. The pyroligneous acids were found to be suitable for use as a coagulant in the natural rubber industry. Tar, when distilled, can be used as a plasticizer comparable to Durex R, a petroleum-based product. Although the spirits form a minor proportion of the product fraction, they can be used for denaturing ethyl alcohol. The gas was found to have a calorific value of 8 000 kJ/kg and can be used as a fuel to supply heat to the retort.

Biogas

Biogas is produced from the anaerobic bacterial decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. In Malaysia, the potential is in the palm-oil mills, which generate about 3.5 tonnes of liquid effluents per tonne of palm oil produced. Anaerobic processes were used during which biogas is produced at a rate of 28 m3 per tonne of palm-oil mill effluent (POME). Utilizing the gas in a gas engine could generate 1.8 kWh/m3 of biogas. There is also biogas production from palm-oil mill effluent to produce methane gas for power generation and process heating. The biogas, with a methane content of 60 to 70 percent, 30 to 40 percent C02 and small traces of hydrogen sulphide, is used as fuel in steam boilers and thermal heaters in the palm-oil refinery. In a conventional palm-oil mill, about 2.5 m3 of POME is generated for every tonne of palm oil produced. About 28 m3 of biogas is generated for every cubic metre of POME treated. In a gas engine it was reported that about 1.8 kWh of electricity could be generated from one cubic metre of biogas. The gas is usually distributed in the neighbourhood of the palm-oil mill to other industries which use gases, such as the ceramic products industry or palm-oil refining industries.

Palm-oil solid waste

Fibres and empty fruit bunches are used in making mulch mat as a planting medium and medium-density fibreboard. Depending on the quality of the waste, it can be produced to make animal feeds, with some added ingredients, or be pelletized to make fuel pellets. Char is used to make activated carbon for water treatment and gas-absorbent materials, pollution control materials, carbon sieve materials for gas separation and microwave shielding material. Pyrolysis oil from oil-palm shells contains a substantial amount of phenols that could be extracted to produce resins. The palm fronds, fibres and empty fruit bunches could be used in the manufacturing of pulp, furfural and lignin. The POME could be converted to produce bioplastic from the waste effluent.

Conclusion

Peninsular Malaysia generates large amounts of wood and agricultural residues, the bulk of which are not being utilized at present for any further downstream operations. To tap the economic potential fully, the government has actively encouraged industries that are able to reduce the wastage. Various studies conducted in Malaysia have indicated that the use of biomass as a source of energy is one of the most promising ways of effectively using the residues.

For more information, please contact:

Hoi Why Kong and Koh Mok Poh,
Forest Research Institute Malaysia,
52109, Kepong,
Selangor, Malaysia.
Fax: +60 3 6367753;
http://frim.gov.my/



Biomass-based power plants

Tenega Nasional Bhd (TNB) will enter into four separate deals by the end of the year to buy power from plants that are fuelled by renewable resources such as biomass and gas produced from landfills. It is scheduled to sign power purchase agreements (PAA) in September 2001 for the 7-MW Bumi biomass-fired power plant, and the 2-MW landfill gas-fired power plant of Tenaga's SPL. By the end of 2001, it will sign two other PPAs for a 9-MW biomass-fired plant, and a 5-MW palm waste-fired power plant. Each project would involve investments between $M 40 million (US$10.5 million) to $M 50 million (US$13.16 million). The government is yet to agree on the price of electricity produced from renewable energy sources. It could be around $M 0.13-0.17 (US$0.034-0.045) per kWhr, which is comparable to the $M 0.11-0.13 (US$0.029-0.034) per kWhr that Tenega pays independent power producers using conventional fuels. Tenega's programme is part of the government's plan to increase the contribution of renewable energy in the power mix to 5 percent by 2005. (Source: New Strait Times, 20 September 2001, quoted in Asian Energy News, October 2001.)

 

Mali

Women as commercial charcoal suppliers

Women are becoming involved in commercially supplying biomass, breaking into a traditional male preserve such as charcoal production. In Mali, 60 percent of charcoal producers are women. These women have access to a lucrative business, which is important for supporting their families. A project in Mali aims to provide the women with a more efficient technology, and so increase their incomes as well as reducing the environmental impacts of tree felling. This project seems to have all the right elements: low-cost technology, oriented towards income generation, women are involved in the development of the technology, low-cost loans - yet not all women charcoal makers participate. The authors of a recent article in Energia News give some insights into the reasons why not. It is a good lesson in not treating women as a homogenous group - even poor rural women. (Source: Energia News, vol. 4, issue 2, July 2001; www.energia.org/resources/newsletter/en-072001.pdf )


Mexico

Case study on sustainable fuelwood use through efficient cooking stoves in rural Mexico

Approximately three quarters of total wood use in Mexico is devoted to fuelwood. Currently, 27.5 million people in the country cook with fuelwood. Despite increased access to LPG in the last decades, Mexican rural and peri-urban inhabitants continue to rely on fuelwood in a pattern of "multiple-fuel cooking". Efficient wood-based cooking stoves are being disseminated in the Patzcuaro region of rural Mexico. The stoves are part of an integrated programme that exploits the synergies between health-environment and energy benefits, building on the local knowledge of indigenous women and community organizations to provide better living conditions at the household level as well as improved forest resources. The programme also provides a link between research institutions, NGOs and local communities in a technology implementation-innovation cycle.

Currently more than 1 000 Lorena-type stoves have been disseminated in the region. A subsidy of US$10 is provided to users in the form of tubes for the chimney and part of the construction materials. Users provide their own labour as well as the rest of the materials. Total stove costs are estimated at US$15. The scaling-up of the programme has been initiated as local municipalities are now providing funds for its enlargement. In addition to substantial benefits to the users from reduced indoor air pollution and a reduction in fuelwood collection and cooking times, and to the local environment through reduced pressure on forests, efficient cooking stoves can also provide significant global climate benefits through lowered carbon dioxide emissions.

Background

The vast majority of rural communities in developing countries will continue to depend on biomass energy sources in the foreseeable future. Even in countries such as Mexico, where LPG has started penetrating the highest-income rural households, fuelwood is still used in a highly resilient pattern of "multiple fuel" cooking, which results in poor savings of fuelwood. The continued and, in many cases, increasing use of fuelwood and other biofuels for cooking by the rural populations of Asia, Africa and Latin America has resulted in increased pressure on local forests. A high level of indoor pollution (IAP) from burning biomass fuels in poorly ventilated rooms results in serious respiratory infections. The Patzcuaro region case study illustrates a new generation of wood-based efficient cooking stove dissemination programmes that have been launched in different parts of the world with high success rates. The key to their success is a shift from narrow technology-centred approaches to more integrated approaches, centred on understanding local women's priorities and providing capacity building, as well as multiple health-environment-financial benefits. Efficient cooking stoves have been shown to provide reductions of more than 30 percent in IAP, a cleaner cooking environment, reductions of 30 percent in fuelwood consumption and, thus, in fuelwood gathering time or fuel purchasing.

Approach

The Sustainable Fuelwood-Use Programme in the Patzcuaro region is based on an integrated and participative strategy that tries to find synergies between environmental and local socio-economic benefits. It departs from local indigenous knowledge and traditions, and aims to strengthen the abilities and capabilities of local women. To do so, socio-economic and environmental problems associated with fuelwood use are first identified and possible solutions developed by the local women themselves.

The programme was initiated 15 years ago as a collaborative effort between the National University of Mexico (UNAM), two local NGOs (GIRA and ORCA) and local communities. Stoves are disseminated in village clusters. In each village, women are trained by local promoters through two workshops, where the linkages between fuelwood use, health and the environment are emphasized. Users actively participate in their own stove construction and they also help in the construction of other stoves in the village. A strict stove monitoring programme provides user feedback and assures the acceptance and adequate performance of the stoves already built. A subsidy policy, in the form of the stove chimney and specific building materials implemented three years ago, has been instrumental in substantially increasing the adoption of cooking stoves. The subsidy is justified to make up for the difference between higher social benefits (prevention of forest degradation and reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases) and lower private benefits (reduction in expenditure for fuelwood, savings in cooking time, cleaning and fuelwood collection, and reduction in respiratory illnesses) accruing to users. The user-centred approach has resulted in dramatic programme benefits: stove adoption rates are higher than 85 percent; stove construction time has decreased from two weeks to four hours, and on average stove duration is 4.8 years.

Impacts

The programme has had positive socio-economic and environmental impacts. Measured fuelwood and IAP reduction can be more than 30 percent compared with traditional devices. Fuelwood collection time has been reduced, as has the time needed for cooking and cleaning pots. Participating women and their respective families are increasingly involved in forest restoration and management programmes in their own villages. The forestry options promoted by the NGOs range from the promotion of agroforestry systems in private lands to the support of common property forest management, and are proving effective in increasing the sustainability of fuelwood resources. A multiplier effect has taken place both within the region

and at the national level. Locally, the region's municipalities have started to fund the programme using the same subsidy incentive; 100 people, mostly women, have been trained in stove construction and dissemination; in several villages, demand for stoves now surpasses the programme's current supply possibilities. One hundred promoters from all over Mexico have been trained by the programme, and at least three other regions have started similar programmes. Carbon benefits from the use of stoves have been preliminary estimated at 0.5 tonnes C per stove per year from fuelwood savings which, for the average duration of the stove, means 2.4 tonnes C per stove. Thus US$6.3 per tonne of carbon would cover the present subsidy provided for stoves.

Efficient Lorena-type cooking stove shown during tortilla-making. Users' adaptations are almost the rule; in this case a cover has been added to the stove to increase durability and cleanliness

Lessons learned

The Sustainable Fuelwood Use Programme in Rural Mexico shows how a user-based and integrated approach for efficient cooking stove dissemination can result in substantial environmental and socio-economic benefits. Actively involving local women and relying on their own priorities and traditional knowledge has proved essential for stove adoption. Also essential has been the adoption of a flexible stove design, based on basic principles and critical dimensions rather than on a fixed design. The active collaboration between research institutions and local NGOs and users has provided a nurturing field for technology innovation and adaptation. The small in-kind subsidy is important to get users initially involved in the programme, and to speed the dissemination process. Linking fuelwood demand with environmental issues has been important in making users more aware and actively involved in programmes to increase the sustainability of fuelwood resources. Government involvement through this clear and transparent financial support and through a decentralized approach is essential for project success. (Source: Case study on sustainable fuelwood use through efficient cookstoves in rural Mexico, by Omar Masera and Rodolfo Díaz, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM and Grupo Interdisciplinario de Tecnología Rural Apropiada (GIRA A.C.), Patzcuaro, Mexico.)

For more information, please contact:
Rodolfo Díaz, Programme Manager,
Sustainable Use of Biomass Resources,
GIRA A.C., PO Box 152,
Patzcuaro 61609,
Michoacán, Mexico.
Tel./Fax: +52 434 23216;
e-mail: rdiaz@oikos.unam.mx

 

Netherlands

Ten-year overview of Netherlands green energy

Sustainable energy sources accounted for 1.2 percent of the Netherlands energy supply last year, representing almost a trebling in the market share since 1990.

The figures were released by the Netherlands' statistical agency and the national energy and environment centre Novem. The data cover renewable energy plus heat recovery technologies such as district heating. Of the renewables, wind and thermal and photovoltaic solar grew fastest during the 1990s, although biomass and biofermentation together still account for three quarters of all sustainable energy.

A recent press release from Statistics Netherlands reports that "In recent years the production of sustainable energy by the combustion of biomass has increased sharply. One reason for this is the realization of new projects which have expanded the capacity to combust biomass. Another cause is that more wood has been used as fuel in the manufacturing industry and more and more electricity plants are also burning biomass to generate electricity." (Source: Environment Daily, 1097, www.environmentdaily.com/docs/dutchstats1.doc)

Cleaner and greener fuels in the Netherlands

Novem, the Netherlands agency for energy and the environment, has produced a brochure which describes a process that has been completed in the Netherlands to determine the importance of climate-neutral fuels for achieving government objectives and industry perspectives.

For a copy of the report, please contact:
Novem, Swentiboldstraat 21,
Postbus 17, 6130 AA Sittard,
the Netherlands.
www.novem.nl

 

Philippines

Environmental and socio-economic impactsof biofuel use in Southeast Asia: a case study of Cebu Province, Philippines

A study on biofuel production and use is currently being undertaken by the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, the Philippines. The overall objective of the study is to gain a fuller understanding of how biofuels are produced and utilized in Cebu and the ecological, economic and social ramifications of these processes in order to make recommendations in the area of biofuel policy and programme intervention. Specifically, the study intends to assess the changes and trends of the contribution of biofuels in the energy budget, and to explore the land use and tree management implications of such a scenario.

Cebu represents an ideal location for the study of biofuel production and use inasmuch as, like many densely populated regions in Southeast Asia, the island has undergone a long process of deforestation and land degradation. Official concern over the extent and magnitude of environmental degradation and soil loss in the uplands of Cebu have prompted a large number of government and NGO efforts to reforest critical watersheds and disseminate more environmentally sound agricultural practices. These efforts have led to a substantial increase in vegetative cover in the upland environment since the 1970s. In fact, there is a strong possibility that along with urbanization, the major land use change in Cebu in the past 20 years has been some form of reforestation. As such, the biofuel situation in Cebu could very well be improving. The long history of environmental change and the possibility that Cebu represents the environmental future of much of Southeast Asia make this a particularly appropriate site for investigating the subject of biofuels. Comprehensive baseline data on biofuel production and use will allow an examination of how the supply and demand patterns for biofuels have changed in response to a variety of social and economic changes in recent years (e.g. population growth, rapid rates of urbanization and out-migration from rural areas).

The study requires two phases to carry it to completion. Phase 1 intends to quantify the consumption of biofuels in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the Cebu metropolitan area. This will be accomplished through a combination of energy consumption surveys as well as by making use of recently collected census data and findings from ongoing energy research at the University of San Carlos.

The second phase examines the ways in which biofuels are grown and harvested in Cebu. The aim is to conduct a more comprehensive assessment of biofuel production patterns in approximately eight to ten rural regions of the province. Analysis will focus the inquiry on the motivations for biofuel production and management, and how these production patterns are shaped by specific economic policy and social conditions. In addition, the research also intends to examine the degree to which biofuel production may have shifted spatially over time and the reasons for such a shift.

The study will consult and coordinate with relevant Philippine governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations on all aspects of the research. It will hold a series of consultative meetings on completion of the research to inform these agencies and organizations of the findings and suggestions for policy reform and/or programme design.

For more information, please contact:
Dr Terrence G. Bensel, Allegheny College,
Pennsylvania,
USA,

and

Fulbright-Hayes Visiting Professor,
University of San Carlos, Cebu City,
Philippines.
E-mail: tbensel@alleg.edu ;

  and

Prof. Elizabeth M. Remedio,
Department of Economics,
University of San Carlos,
Cebu City,
Philippines.
Fax: +63 32 2531000;
e-mail: eremedio@skyinet.net

 

United Kingdom

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) was set up after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to help reduce CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom. EST is a non-profit organization funded by the government and the private sector and is involved in a number of initiatives concerning energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean fuels:

Future Energy is an accreditation scheme which vets energy suppliers' claims about their renewable energy service options. Run by the Energy Saving Trust and backed by the Government, companies are only accredited if they fulfil a list of strict criteria.

Worldwide action to combat climate change has focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Traditional forms of generating electricity generate high levels of carbon dioxide, with domestic consumption accounting for more than a quarter of all electricity generated. In order to help reduce CO2 emissions, the government set a target of 10 percent electricity generation from renewable sources by the year 2010. Renewable energy generation results in very low levels of carbon dioxide. Future Energy is designed to give consumers the confidence to demand and purchase renewable energy while also encouraging suppliers to invest in renewable energy production.

     

    Energy from waste

    However much we try to reduce waste and increase recycling, there will always be a substantial amount for which the best environmental option is energy recovery. Household, commercial, industrial and agricultural wastes can be used for electricity production, or for combined heat and power, with the heat available for district heating schemes.
    Most waste in the United Kingdom ends up in landfill sites. Natural decomposition of the organic matter gives off a methane-rich "biogas". Unless this is collected, it seeps into the atmosphere and damages the environment. Burning the biogas to produce electricity is recognized as a sound and cost-effective way of managing landfill sites. Alternatively, waste can be burnt directly in properly controlled and regulated waste-fired power stations to ensure that emissions are kept within internationally recognized limits.

    Waste from households, commerce and industry pose a difficult and costly environmental problem. Using waste materials to produce energy as either heat or electricity or both can reduce these problems.

    Energy crops

    Energy crops are plants grown specifically for use as fuel. Many parts of the developing world still use traditional woodfuels as the main source of energy. Today, fast-growing trees such as willow or poplar can be employed as commercial energy crops to meet local heating needs, or used in power stations to generate electricity. Forestry and agricultural residues are also used in this way. Energy crops offer a means of developing renewable energy sources in many agricultural areas of the country, supplying power and providing employment opportunities. Combined heat and power can also be generated from energy crops.

     

 

Today, EST is the United Kingdom's leading organization working with a range of partners to deliver the sustainable and efficient use of energy. Current priorities are: to stimulate energy efficiency in households in the United Kingdom and achieve social, environmental and economic benefits; and to create a market for clean fuel vehicles to deliver local and global environmental benefits. (Source: Energy Saving Trust Web site [www.est.co.uk/].)

For more information, please contact:
Graham Carr, Energy Saving Trust,
21 Dartmouth Street,
London SW1H 9BP, UK.
Fax: +44 (0)20 76542444;
e-mail: grahamc@est.co.uk

 

Viet Nam

Role and importance of wood energy in Viet Nam

Viet Nam is a developing country with a predominantly agricultural economy. About 76.5 percent of the population (1999 statistical data) lives in rural and mountainous areas.

The share of biomass accounts for about 60 percent of Viet Nam's total final energy consumption, making the country one of the largest consumers of biomass energy in the Asian region. Because of the high population growth rate, 1.71 percent per year on average (in the period 1986-1999), and the low incomes of the rural inhabitants, dependence on wood or biomass energy resources is still very high and meets the energy requirements of households, local handicraft units and other industries. This requirement is constantly growing, leading to a demand-supply imbalance in many local areas. This is one of the reasons for forest destruction, especially the watershed area forests, and this, in turn, has extremely adverse effects on the country's ecological environment.

A 5 million hectare reforestation programme for the period 1999-2010, which has been approved by the National Assembly, with the objective to increase forest cover to more than 40 percent of the whole country's natural land (equivalent to the forest area in 1943), is the government's response to this very serious situation. This shows that planning and development of wood energy have an important role in the socio-economic development of the country.

In order to develop wood energy on a sustainable basis, wood energy planning should be integrated in national energy planning. As a start, through the effective cooperation of related organizations in Viet Nam and technical and financial assistance from REWDP/FAO, a case study on wood energy planning for Viet Nam is currently being carried out. This aims to update and improve the wood energy database step by step and increase the capability of Viet Nam's energy planners. (Source: Wood Energy News , July 2001.)

 

 

[Contents]