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7.4 The need for international cooperation

It is certainly true that any country where wood gasifiers could be useful will be able to adapt, develop and introduce the technology without much assistance from other countries. A rapid introduction with a minimum of technical mistakes and disappointments in a country with no active experience of the technology will, however, require that the past and present experiences of European countries and the USA be utilized. On a general level such experiences are available from various non-profit organizations, but it is certainly true that when it comes to actually build equipment, the know-how and experience available from those manufacturers that have recently designed and built successfully operating equipment are essential. Commercial agreement with such manufacturers therefore appear the smoothest route to introduce wood gas as engine fuel.

Introduction of wood gasifiers will initially require some capital which may not be available in most developing countries. Support from international organizations can then be essential as discussed earlier. It should be observed that with the pay-back times estimated in this publication, the need for financial support will be of short duration, since very soon the improved economic situation resulting from lower oil bills may make economic resources available for further investments in wood gasifiers. It deserves mention that there might be benefits, in addition to any commercial advantages to be gained, for the industrialized countries to cooperate with developing countries in the introduction of wood gasifiers. The information feed-back from practical operation of modern engines could be of great value in the case of a petroleum fuel supply crisis.

There is finally a need for joint efforts for improved understanding of and finding ways to reduce the health hazards and possible environmental impacts of wood gas operation. Despite the very promising economy of this technology it may be necessary to limit the use of it to special applications and as an emergency option if the health risks and environmental pollution cannot be mastered. Chronic poisoning and disposal of tarry condensates appear as the most potentially serious in a long term perspective. Careful monitoring of the experiences and exchange of information from such programmes should be given high priority for international cooperation.

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