Posted October 1997
Reported by P.A. Hicks, Senior Regional Agricultural Engineering and Agro Industry Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific. See also: "Power and food security".
The Solar World Congress of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) is a biannual event. The last meeting in the Pacific Rim was in Kobe, Japan, in 1989. The theme of this Congress was "Solar means Business", with good support from the private sector. The concept of integration between energy and environmental issues was promoted during the opening ceremony, by Prof. Eduardo de Oliviera Fernandes, President of ISES. The 1997 Congress was hosted by the Korean Solar Energy Society with the support of the Korean Institute for Energy Research and the Government of the Republic of Korea.
Over five hundred (500) participants registered from fifty (50) countries globally. As RAP Focal Point for Energy, the reporter was nominated by FAO/HQ to participate in the 1997 Solar World Congress.
This Keynote Session focussed on future energy scenarios and the theme "Solar means Business". The goal of a sustainable energy supply globally is unattainable without Solar Energy. At a growth rate of 15%, an energy contribution of only 1% will be reached by the year 2050. Growth rates of 40 to 50% are needed to achieve a 10% energy contribution between 2030 and 2040. Without the necessary political effort, the only alternative is to develop the market for solar energy to provide industrial profits and employment opportunities.
This session showed the importance of education and training needs in renewable energy technologies for sustainable development. Papers from Australia, Hungary, India, Norway, Slovak Republic, Thailand illustrated this theme. Issues were addressed on undergraduate engineering curricula, energy education for technicians, solar energy derices in secondary schools, and a comprehensive solar energy education programme. The importance of promoting youth education was clearly shown to be critical for future generations to be in the mainstream of solar applications.
A particularly appropriate keynote address was given on Photovoltaic Community Infrastructure Applications. Village level electriflication was compared to individual applications in remote rural areas. Applications were illustrated in Australia, China, Indonesia, India, Korea, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea. The needs of farmers households in these rural areas was discussed, as well as health, communications and other social applications, hybrid photovotaic systems, electrification, microwave telecommunication, as well as solar drying aspects.
This session continued the theme of application, showing renewable energy utilization in Russia, Germany, Romania, Korea (Cheju Island) China, Spain and Taiwan. Vital needs of lighting, heating/cooling, cooking and a source of energy for commerce, were shown.
Many useful applications were shown in passive cooling systems for buildings. These included closed-loop earth-tube heat exchangers for buildings in hot and humid climates; cooling and dehumidifying, naturally ventilated buildings, passive cooling walls for cool rooms and nocturnal convection as a strategy for passive cooling of buildings under Indian climates. Examples were given for USA, Japan, Algeria, Canada, Netherlands and India.
The concept of electrofarming was highlighted, a highly efficient method of electricity generation from biomass; the one of Candida yeast for the direct conversion of cellulose to ethanol fuel; the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation to ethanol of lignocellulosic biomass; in particular the pilot scale anaerobic digestion of Korean Food waste for biogas recovery. Examples were illustrated in USA, Germany and Korea.
A critical analysis was made of wind farming for sustainable electricity generation in India. Testing and characterization of a small wind turbine generator was shown in Greece. Simulation studies and commercial applications were shown for China, New Zealand, Turkey, Japan, UK and Korea.
Experiemental studies were shown on desalination, pumping, hydrothermal properties of soil, solar cookers and solar ponds, including thermal sea water desalination. Solar still reformance was evaluated in Hungary also solar thermal water pumps in Hong Kong, hot-box solar ovens in Egypt and Indonesia.
The reporter was chairman of this session, which elaborated the theme, showing practical applications of renewable energy in India, a passive evaporative cooler using photovoltaics in Egypt, Solar Thermal R&D, business opportunities and an improved solar cooker for economic cooking in Ghana. The status of renewable energy in Malaysia, implementation in the Caribbean, community use in Zimbabwe and solar energy technologies and equipment in China, were illustrated.
Experimental studies were discussed on solar refrigeration in India, indirect evaporative cooling techniques for hot, humid climates by the "shower" cooling tower in USA, solar space air heater applications in Australia, open cycle solar absorbtion systems for dehumidifying in Korea and energy storage for dessicant cooling systems component development in Germany.
This continued the Applications I session. US-China joint renewable energy projects were illustrated for the People's Republic of China. Between 80 - 120 m. people are not connected to the electricity grid, in Inner Mongolia and Gansu Provinces. PV-household systems are being installed, as 8-watt strip light, water pump, B&Q TV, being components. The project includes component testing, training, financing and monitoring. The Ministry of Agriculture has an expanded version of the project covering 10,000 homes in S.W. provinces. The next phase will cover 80,000 homes. The World Bank will make available US$400 m by the end of 1997 and UNDP has a large T.A. in this field. The China "Brightness" programme will cover 23 m people by the year 2010. Rural energy needs in India, Gambia, S. Africa, Russia, Malawi, Neal and Poland were also addressed in this session.
The reporter addressed the Plenary Session with a paper entitled "Power and food security". The paper explored the applications of:
Other papers in the Solar in Agriculture covered the performance of a multipurpose "greenhouse" effect Solar drier in Indonesia; Solar and sun drying of green Caribbean herbs; Prospects for solar crop drying in Ghana; Drying of banana fruit in Thailand; Applications of renewable energy technology in farm settlements in Nigeria; Economic and technical aspects for solar heating in milk processing.
The subject of energy production using micro organisms was not given sufficient attention. More urban than rural applications were given overall, indicating the trend, if not the need. A multiplicity of hybrid systems were discussed, indicating an integration between the traditional areas of renewable energy.