In 1997, people around the world donated more than US$2 million to TeleFood. One of the first projects funded by TeleFood has enabled local cooperatives in the villages of Temenetaye and Bonfi in Guinea to build fish-smoking ovens. About 150 women in the two villages have replaced their ovens with an improved type, which conserves scarce wood and reduces smoke by concentrating the heat. The processed fish is therefore of a better quality and fetches a higher price. The new fish-smoking ovens have now been built using locally available mud bricks and stone.

The impact of the project has been significant: a reduction in production costs thanks to a more efficient use of wood for smoking; less damage to the environment as a result of the reduced consumption of fuelwood; and, most important of all, an improvement in the health of the women during the smoking process, some of whom are among the poorest in the community.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Karin-Lis Svarre, Director,
Information Division, FAO,
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39) 06 57056167;



Just US$1 will buy five baobab saplings for planting in a West African village, thus greatly improving family nutrition.


Household energy, smoke and healt

Heat energy is the fundamental requirement for cooking and space heating. Heat energy in rural homes is obtained by the combustion of fuel in an appropriate device; in addition to heat energy, the combustion process produces smoke and gases which are major causes of health problems. Fuels range from the very basic animal waste, crop residues and wood, which are available at zero or minimal financial cost, to liquid and gaseous fuels, which can be expensive and, in addition, incur transport costs. The emission of hazardous combustion products is closely related to the grade of the fuel used.

Health hazards are associated with a range of activities, from collection of the fuel, processing to make it suitable for burning, to the combustion process itself.

Biomass fuels will continue to be the only source of heat energy for 75 percent of people in the developing countries; the adverse health effects of the products of combustion, and particularly smoke, are evident. The level of awareness must be raised and interventions made at the technical, educational and policy levels in order to improve the household environment. (Source: Boiling Point, No. 40, Spring 1998.)

Forestry, Farm and Community Tree Network (FACT Net)

Fuelwood: agroforestry production and productive use - why multiple-purpose tree species?

As land use worldwide intensifies, and the area of natural forests decreases, a higher percentage of woodfuels are taken and will continue to be taken from plantings on private and public lands. As the pressures on these resources increase, there will be a need to expand and improve tree planting and management activities.

The Forest, Farm and Community Tree Network (FACT Net) is sponsored by the Forestry and Natural Resource Management Program of Winrock International (WI). It is an international network of 2 000 partners in more than 100 countries who share an interest in the use of multiple-purpose tree species (MPTS) - that is, trees which are grown to provide more than one product or service.

Many MPTS have a primary or secondary value as fuel, and can be incorporated into community and private landholder plantings as pure stands, strips or individual trees to help meet family or local energy needs.

Through extension, communications and research FACT Net provides the skills and resources needed to introduce, manage and improve this renewable, agroforestry resource successfully. (Source: REPSource, 3(3), 1998.)

For more information, please contact:
FACT Net, Winrock International, 38
Winrock Drive, Morrilton, Arkansas
72110-9370, USA.
Fax: (+1 501) 7275417;
e-mail: forestry@winrock.org

European Agriculture and Forestry Biomass Network

In January 1995, three networks were established in different sectors of the biomass energy industry. The overall aims of the networks were to coordinate information exchange and to promote coordination and collaboration across Europe. The networks focus on: Agriculture and Forestry Biomass; Liquid Biofuels; and Industrial Waste.

The Agriculture and Forestry Biomass (AFB) Network coordinates the exchange of information on agriculture and forestry between the national biomass energy programmes of the 14 member countries. The aim of Phase II of this project, which is coordinated by the Energy Technology Support Unit, Department of Energy, United Kingdom, was to maintain the existing network of voluntary participation in the biomass industry in order to achieve the following objectives:



Smog-eating trees

Trees which absorb smog are being genetically engineered by Toyota to help fight the war against vehicle pollution. They are being reared to consume amounts of carbon dioxide far in excess of the amount that normal trees would usually take in as part of their natural cycle. Scientists at Toyota believe the special trees will help reduce the so-called "greenhouse gases" emitted by cars which are partly blamed for global warming.

A huge site near Toyota's headquarters in Japan has been planted with the smog-eating trees. The company says it is feasible for similar forests to be planted near its factories in the United Kingdom. Yasuhiko Komatsu, the project's general manager, said "We are focusing on plants' natural ability to cleanse the atmosphere. We are developing plants that have a superior ability to recycle air." (Source: The Daily Mail, 10 August 1998.)

Daimler-benz - Department of Renewable Energies

Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG is responsible for several space division activities. Its centre in Trauen is one of the three test and experiment centres of the Daimler-Benz Aerospace-Space Division (Dasa-RI) in Germany. Several environmental activities are being carried out alongside the propulsion tests for the rocket Ariane; it was in this context that the Department of Renewable Energies was founded in 1995.

This department is involved in the promotion of systems for the utilization of renewable energy sources and the development and management of projects in this field. Its main focus is on the identification, acquisition and development of sites for wind energy utilization, as well as fuel cell technology, autonomous energy supply systems and, increasingly, electricity generation from biomass. Of special interest is the perspective of realizing hybridly operating wind farms and biomass power generation plants.

A project is currently being developed for the biomass-based electricity and process steam supply of a paper factory in northern Germany. The installation of a 70-80 MW gasification system with a gas turbine is being considered for this project.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Scharaf Girges, Daimler-Benz
Aerospace, Center Trauen, 29328
Fassberg, Germany.
Fax: (+49 5055) 598 202;
e-mail: Scharaf.Girges@ri.dasa.deD

FAO´s Young Professionals Programme

The purpose of this programme is to strengthen national capacities in developing countries and countries in transition and to provide young graduates from FAO member countries with an opportunity to acquire experience in an international environment by closely associating them with the implementation of FAO priority programmes.

Candidates should normally be from the developing countries and countries in transition which are in particular need of capacity-building; however, candidates from developed countries may also join the programme provided that their assignment is funded by their government or their employer. Preference will be given to candidates who are currently employed, although candidates who have just graduated and have not yet found employment are eligible on condition that their candidature is supported by their government. While the programme is open to both male and female candidates, the candidatures of qualified women are especially encouraged. Assignments will be for a maximum of one year and will not be renewed.

Young professionals may be assigned to their own or a third country, at field projects, FAO decentralized offices or FAO headquarters. Please note that, although the educational qualification requirement is a university master's degree, preference will be given to candidates holding a Ph.D. degree.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Miguel Trossero at the address
given on the first page.

Wood Energy Textbook

Dendroenergía: fundamentos y aplicaciones

The final draft of the Wood Energy Textbook has now been fully revised and is undergoing its final editing. The main topics of the textbook are: the importance of wood energy; wood energy systems; woodfuel production; woodfuel conversion (basics, technology and examples); and economic and environmental aspects. The textbook is intended to be used by university students at forestry and engineering faculties.

The textbook has been prepared in Spanish but will eventually be translated into English and French.

For more information, please contact:
Mr M.A. Trossero at the address given
on the first page.

Carbonisation: méthode simple et efficace

Un moyen facile d'utiliser les déchets de bois et peut-être d'en tirer un revenu d'appoint dans les pays en développement sans mettre la forêt en péril. Un fût de 200 litres en bon état, par exemple, peut servir de four. Dans un premier temps, on découpe le fond du fût le plus près du rebord et, du côté opposé, on dévisse les deux bouchons du couvercle. Deux ouvertures de 2 cm sur 4 cm sont pratiquées à égale distance des bouchons qui joueront un rôle d'évents. Ces derniers doivent reposer sur deux tiges (tuyaux) afin de permettre une circulation d'air lors de la mise à feu.

On dépose des brindilles et menus bois au fond du fût sur 10 cm de hauteur, et, par la suite, le bois est enfourné à la verticale en deux longueurs de 30 à 40 cm. Moins il y aura de vides, meilleur sera le rendement en charbon.

Durant la carbonisation qui dure normalement de cinq à six heures, il faut remuer le fût de temps à autre pour faire descendre le charbon et y ajouter du bois. Dès l'instant où le fût est rempli de charbon, le fond est attaché à quatre endroits avec un fil de fer et on retourne le fût de haut en bas. Après échappement de la fumée, les évents sont fermés hermétiquement, et sur le pourtour, un talus de terre ou de sable est relevé. Après une période de refroidissement de 15 à 18 heures, la quantité de charbon produit est d'environ 50 kg si le bois est moyennement sec.

Pour plus d'informations, veuillez contacter:
Gaëtan Sirois, 390
D'Anjou St, Longueuil (Québec), Canada J4H 1K8.
Télécopie: (+11 450) 679 2043;
mél.: M276351@nobel.si.uqam.ca

Biomass energy and coffee processing

Coffee is one of the most important agricultural exports of Central America, and has been a key element in the shaping of the economies and societies for the different countries in the region. Central American countries produce about 10 million quintals of coffee (1 quintal = 46 kg of dry coffee). Energy requirements for drying the coffee range from 20 000 to 25 000 kcal/quintal, depending on the net efficiencies of both the dryers and the furnaces. In general, coffee-drying operations use from 18 to 25 kg of biomass to dry 1 quintal of coffee. Coffee husk, a very good biomass fuel, is capable of supplying about 50 percent of this energy requirement, which is normally supplemented by the use of traditional fuelwood. Currently, coffee drying consumes about 15 percent of the total wood supply in the region.

The coffee sector faces several challenges from the sustainable development perspective in Central America. Its processing clearly has major effects on the environment, including the fact that it consumes a large amount of biomass, creating serious pressure on the sustainability of available forest resources.

Fundación Solar is currently involved in several projects related to biomass use in coffee processing, as well as in assisting small coffee processors in Guatemala to improve energy consumption in processing facilities and in developing systems that will make biomass supply more sustainable in the years to come. (Source: REPSource, 3(3), 1998.)


Green energy update

In May 1998, the Netherlands and Austria had green electricity programmes approved by the European Community. For the people of the Netherlands, electricity generated from renewable sources will be exempt from energy taxes. This will narrow the gap between electricity produced from renewable sources and that from conventional sources. Austria is subsidizing the use of biomass in the region of Vorarlberg. Grants will be available for converting to wood-fired heating systems. (Source: Energy ... In Demand, 10(2), June 1998.)





New terminology discussion group

The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) Working Unit 6.03.02 is pleased to announce the formation of a new terminology discussion group on reforestation, afforestation and deforestation (RAD).

The purpose of the group is to provide a platform to discuss these key terms for forestry's part in climate change and the Kyoto Protocol in order to make people aware of terminology differences and, wherever relevant, point out the conceptual convergence behind the differences.

The discussions will focus on descriptive rather than prescriptive principles and will not be a form of negotiation. We aim to point out geographical and cultural differences rather than recommending definitions. A report found at http://home.att.net/~gklund/DEFpaper.html will serve as a starting-point for discussions.

We invite people around the world who are interested or involved in the subject to join our discussions. If you are interested in joining the RAD discussion group:

The discussions are expected to terminate in December 1998 when a summary report will be prepared.

Background information on WU 6.03.02 may be found at:
http://iufro.boku.ac.at/iufronet/d6/hp60302.htm; and at

And have you heard about ...



Renewable Energy for Development - the newsletter published by the Stockholm Environment Institute's Energy Programme with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency?

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an international research institute focusing on local policy as well as regional and global environmental and development issues. The scientific and administrative work of the institute is coordinated by SEI's headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, with centres in Boston (USA), York (UK) and Tallinn (Estonia). In addition, SEI works with an international network of independent scientists and research institutes located in many parts of the world.

A substantial part of SEI's Energy Programme is concerned with energy issues in developing countries. Studies are carried out in close cooperation with local institutions.

For further information, please contact:
Ms Solveig Nilsson,
SEI Energy Programme, Box 2142,
103 14 Stockholm, Sweden.
Tel.: (+46 8) 412 14 10;
fax: (+46 8) 7230348;
e-mail: solveig.nilsson@sei.se;

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page