Ethanol Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass

Cellulosic ethanol technology is one of the most commonly discussed second-generation biofuel technologies worldwide. Cellulosic biofuels are derived from the cellulose in plants, some of which are being developed specifically as “energy” crops rather than for food production. These include perennial grasses and trees, such as switchgrass and Miscanthus. Crop residues, in the form of stems and leaves, represent another substantial source of cellulosic biomass.

Bioethanol_Pump

The largest potential feedstock for ethanol is lignocellulosic biomass, which includes materials such as agricultural residues (corn stover, crop straws, husks and bagasse), herbaceous crops (alfalfa, switchgrass), short rotation woody crops, forestry residues, waste paper and other wastes (municipal and industrial).

Bioethanol production from these feedstocks could be an attractive alternative for disposal of these residues. Lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks do not interfere with food security and are important for both rural and urban areas in terms of energy security reason, environmental concern, employment opportunities, agricultural development, foreign exchange saving, socioeconomic issues etc.

Production of Ethanol

The production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass can be achieved through two different processing routes. They are:

  • Biochemical – in which enzymes and other micro-organisms are used to convert cellulose and hemicellulose components of the feedstocks to sugars prior to their fermentation to produce ethanol;
  • Thermochemical – where pyrolysis/gasification technologies produce a synthesis gas (CO + H2) from which a wide range of long carbon chain biofuels, such as synthetic diesel or aviation fuel, can be reformed.

Lignocellulosic biomass consists mainly of lignin and the polysaccharides cellulose and hemicellulose. Compared with the production of ethanol from first-generation feedstocks, the use of lignocellulosic biomass is more complicated because the polysaccharides are more stable and the pentose sugars are not readily fermentable by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 

In order to convert lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels the polysaccharides must first be hydrolysed, or broken down, into simple sugars using either acid or enzymes. Several biotechnology-based approaches are being used to overcome such problems, including the development of strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that can ferment pentose sugars, the use of alternative yeast species that naturally ferment pentose sugars, and the engineering of enzymes that are able to break down cellulose and hemicellulose into simple sugars.

Ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is produced mainly via biochemical routes. The three major steps involved are pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation. Biomass is pretreated to improve the accessibility of enzymes. After pretreatment, biomass undergoes enzymatic hydrolysis for conversion of polysaccharides into monomer sugars, such as glucose and xylose. Subsequently, sugars are fermented to ethanol by the use of different microorganisms.

Pretreated biomass can directly be converted to ethanol by using the process called simultaneous saccharification and cofermentation (SSCF).  Pretreatment is a critical step which enhances the enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass. Basically, it alters the physical and chemical properties of biomass and improves the enzyme access and effectiveness which may also lead to a change in crystallinity and degree of polymerization of cellulose.

The internal surface area and pore volume of pretreated biomass are increased which facilitates substantial improvement in accessibility of enzymes. The process also helps in enhancing the rate and yield of monomeric sugars during enzymatic hydrolysis steps.

Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Pretreatment methods can be broadly classified into four groups – physical, chemical, physio-chemical and biological. Physical pretreatment processes employ the mechanical comminution or irradiation processes to change only the physical characteristics of biomass. The physio-chemical process utilizes steam or steam and gases, like SO2 and CO2.

The chemical processes employs acids (H2SO4, HCl, organic acids etc) or alkalis (NaOH, Na2CO3, Ca(OH)2, NH3 etc). The acid treatment typically shows the selectivity towards hydrolyzing the hemicelluloses components, whereas alkalis have better selectivity for the lignin. The fractionation of biomass components after such processes help in improving the enzymes accessibility which is also important to the efficient utilization of enzymes.

Conclusions

The major cost components in bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass are the pretreatment and the enzymatic hydrolysis steps. In fact, these two process are someway interrelated too where an efficient pretreatment strategy can save substantial enzyme consumption. Pretreatment step can also affect the cost of other operations such as size reduction prior to pretreatment.

Therefore, optimization of these two important steps, which collectively contributes about 70% of the total processing cost, are the major challenges in the commercialization of bioethanol from 2nd generation biofuel feedstock.

A Glance at Woody Biomass Resources

Woody biomass resources range from corn kernels to corn stalks, from soybean and canola oils to animal fats, from prairie grasses to hardwoods, and even include algae. Woody biomass may be used for energy production at different scales, including large-scale power generation, CHP, or small-scale thermal heating projects. Some of the major sources of woody biomass are being discussed in the following paragraphs:

Pulp and Paper Industry Residues

The largest source of energy from wood is the waste product from the pulp and paper industry called black liquor. Logging and processing operations generate vast amounts of biomass residues. Wood processing produces sawdust and a collection of bark, branches and leaves/needles. A paper mill, which consumes vast amount of electricity, utilizes the pulp residues to create energy for in-house usage.

Forest Residues

Forest harvesting is a major source of biomass for energy. Harvesting may occur as thinning in young stands, or cutting in older stands for timber or pulp that also yields tops and branches usable for bioenergy.

Harvesting operations usually remove only 25 to 50 percent of the volume, leaving the residues available as biomass for energy. Stands damaged by insects, disease or fire are additional sources of biomass. Forest residues normally have low density and fuel values that keep transport costs high, and so it is economical to reduce the biomass density in the forest itself.

Crop Residues

Crop residues encompasses all agricultural wastes such as straw, stem, stalk, leaves, husk, shell, peel, pulp, stubble, etc. which come from cereals (rice, wheat, maize or corn, sorghum, barley, millet), cotton, groundnut, jute, legumes (tomato, bean, soy) coffee, cacao, tea, fruits (banana, mango, coco, cashew) and palm oil.

Rice produces both straw and rice husks at the processing plant which can be conveniently and easily converted into energy. Significant quantities of biomass remain in the fields in the form of cob when maize is harvested which can be converted into energy. Sugar cane harvesting leads to harvest residues in the fields while processing produces fibrous bagasse, both of which are good sources of energy.

Energy Crops

Dedicated energy crops are another source of woody biomass for energy. These crops are fast-growing plants, trees or other herbaceous biomass which are harvested specifically for energy production. Rapidly-growing, pest-tolerant, site and soil-specific crops have been identified by making use of bioengineering.

For example, operational yield in the northern hemisphere is 10-15 tonnes/ha annually. A typical 20 MW steam cycle power station using energy crops would require a land area of around 8,000 ha to supply energy on rotation.

Miscanthus-Elephant-Grass

Herbaceous energy crops are harvested annually after taking two to three years to reach full productivity. These include grasses such as switchgrass, elephant grass, bamboo, sweet sorghum, wheatgrass etc. Short rotation woody crops are fast growing hardwood trees harvested within five to eight years after planting. These include poplar, willow, silver maple, cottonwood, green ash, black walnut, sweetgum, and sycamore.

Industrial crops are grown to produce specific industrial chemicals or materials, e.g. kenaf and straws for fiber, and castor for ricinoleic acid. Agricultural crops include cornstarch and corn oil soybean oil and meal wheat starch, other vegetable oils etc. Aquatic resources such as algae, giant kelp, seaweed, and microflora also contribute to bioenergy feedstock.

Urban Wood Wastes

Such waste consists of lawn and tree trimmings, whole tree trunks, wood pallets and any other construction and demolition wastes made from lumber. The rejected woody material can be collected after a construction or demolition project and turned into mulch, compost or used to fuel bioenergy plants.

Everything You Need to Know About a Paperless Office

Businesses are the largest users of papers and this is taking a heavy toll on the forests and other natural resources. The paper production process consumes a lot of wood and water, besides generating effluents which are harmful for the environment.  One of the best ways a business can become environmentally-friendly is to minimize the use of paper in the workplace. Going paperless is one of the essential features of an eco-friendly office. The conversion of paper files into electronic documents is a key step in the journey towards a paperless office. But what is a paperless office and how can it benefit your organization? Read on to know more:

What is a Paperless Office?

A paper-free office uses the lowest amount of paper and relies heavily on digital documents, thus drastically reducing the use of paper in workplace.  But going paperless is not a magic wand and requires careful planning, organization and employee participation. The right set of tools and proper employee training is required to realise the dream of a paperless office.

paper-free-office

In addition to being eco-friendly, a paper-free office should also provide tangible benefits in order to motivate the office staff. Saving time and efforts through easier filing and document retrieval system is an important step in eliminating paper from the workplace. Another notable step is to replace individual printers with a centralized network printer to track paper usage and restrict the purchase of ink and toners.

The digital filing system is the heart of a paperless office. Digitizing your documentation will not only help in easy document filing but also aid in smooth and fast retrieval. Infact, a cloud-based document management system will enable employees to access important documents off-site, besides safe storage of documents.

Benefits of Going Paperless

Going paperless has numerous benefits for both the business owner and the employees, ranging from saving time and money to boosting security. It is important to analyse the use of paper in the workplace from an individual level upto the organizational level.

Let us analyse the major advantages of a paperless workplace:

1. Saves Time and Space

The filing, organizing and retrieval of paper documents is a time-taking process. Having an electronic filing system will enable file management to be done at the click of a mouse, thus helping business owners to assign employees to more productive and revenue-generating tasks.

Finding ample office space for the filing cabinets is a nightmare for many business owners as the files keeps piling up with each passing year. In particular, the problem is serious for industries having a long document retention time, such as government departments and financial sector.

A digital document management system allows you to store the documents in a cloud-based server with negligible physical footprint.

2. Saves Business Expenses

A paper-free office will reduce the business costs incurred on paper, printers, toners, files, filing cabinets and office space. Studies have shown that a paperless office has a better process efficiency and can handle a larger volume of documentation than traditional offices, thus making a significant savings in employee time with respect to repetitive tasks like expense reimbursements.

electronic-filing-system

3. Protects the Environment

The production of paper and related products leads to the emissions of greenhouse gases, causes deforestation and precipitates climate change. Paper recycling can reduce the environmental impact of paper in the workplace, but only upto to a certain extent. Employees may engage in group activities, like making paper bags from waste papers, to know the importance of waste reduction at work stations.

In the absence of source segregation, most of the paper ends up in landfills or waste-to-energy plant. In addition, toxic chemicals in inks and toners are detrimental to the health of the environment. The most sustainable solution to all these environmental problems is to transform your workplace into a paperless one.

4. Improves Security

A chronic problem in traditional offices is the hardship in tracking paper-based documents on account of misfiling, accidents etc. Moreover, it is difficult to monitor the access, printing and copying of sensitive business documents. A paperless office has a digital document management system with advanced security features to prevent such incidents by restricting access rights at different levels.

How to Tackle Stress in a Paperless Office?

A paperless office may create stress among employees due to increased exposure to technology. Static work postures may also lead to musco-skeletal health issues. An excellent solution to relieve stress is to use art therapy. But, what is art therapy?

Art therapy is a type of therapy that enriches the life of a person through art-making activities , such as drawing, painting, collage or sculpting. It helps in developing self-awareness, boosting self-esteem, trauma-coping and fostering social skills, under the guidance of a qualified therapist.

Conclusions

A paper-free office will not only save time, natural resources and money but also help in smoother and safer flow of information in an organization, thus helping in quick decision-making and responsible business growth.

Popular Feedstock for Biogas Plants

Anaerobic digestion is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biofertilizer and biogas. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion.

Biogas_Plant

Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment.  The popular feedstock for biogas plants includes biodegradable waste materials such as waste paper, grass clippings, leftover food, sewage and animal waste.

Large quantity of waste, in both solid and liquid forms, is generated by the industrial sector like breweries, sugar mills, distilleries, food processing industries, tanneries, and paper and pulp industries. Poultry waste has the highest per ton energy potential of electricity per ton but livestock have the greatest potential for energy generation in the agricultural sector.

1. Agricultural Feedstock

2. Community-Based Feedstock

  • Organic fraction of MSW (OFMSW)
  • MSW
  • Sewage sludge
  • Grass clippings/garden waste
  • Food wastes
  • Institutional wastes etc.

 3. Industrial Feedstock

  • Food/beverage processing
  • Dairy
  • Starch industry
  • Sugar industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Cosmetic industry
  • Biochemical industry
  • Pulp and paper
  • Slaughterhouse/rendering plant etc.

Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion process. This includes biodegradable waste materials such as waste paper, grass clippings, leftover food, sewage and animal waste. The exception to this is woody wastes that are largely unaffected by digestion as most anaerobic microorganisms are unable to degrade lignin.

Anaerobic digesters can also be fed with specially grown energy crops such as silage for dedicated biogas production. A wide range of crops, especially C-4 plants, demonstrate good biogas potentials. Corn is one of the most popular co-substrate in Germany while Sudan grass is grown as an energy crop for co-digestion in Austria. Crops like maize, sunflower, grass, beets etc., are finding increasing use in agricultural digesters as co-substrates as well as single substrate.

biogas-energy-crop

A wide range of organic substances are anaerobically easily degradable without major pretreatment. Among these are leachates, slops, sludges, oils, fats or whey. Some wastes can form inhibiting metabolites (e.g.NH3) during anaerobic digestion which require higher dilutions with substrates like manure or sewage sludge. A number of other waste materials often require pre-treatment steps (e.g. source separated municipal organic waste, food residuals, expired food, market wastes and crop residues).

The Best Warm Winter Getaways in the US

After working for a long time, it is always advisable to go on vacation especially if there is enough cash. Going on a getaway is one of the few things to do to have fun and keep body and soul together. There are lots of places that one could visit for a getaway especially if one’s family will be going as well. The best getaway is ways the family getaway where you go with your family to a new land. This is always a good thing to do as it binds family love. To enjoy getaway, it is importance to look for a perfect destination that will offer everything needed to have a memorable getaway.

United States is a good destination for getaways as there are lots of beautiful things and amazing places that will make the getaway awesome. The United States also has a record of hosting a lot of tourists every year because of the numerous tourist attractions and beautiful places in various cities and towns. Getaway in the United States is always unique because you will find your choice of interest in the various cities.

Also, no matter your budget you will always find good places that are suitable for getaways. If you want your getaway to be fun, easy, and straight forward, you should know your targeted locations in the US before leaving your country.

There is a big difference between winter getaways and planning a trip in every other season. The winter is always cold, and it could be extremely bad in some cases. It is always advisable for every visitor to visit some of the perfect warm locations in the US whenever the trip falls in winter. Here are some of the best warm winter getaways in the US that one could visit to have a good time.

1. Leavenworth

This is a popular town in the state of Washington that is suitable for a winter getaway. There are lots of warm locations in the town that makes it easy for tourists to have a great time in the town. Since the weather is always closed during winter, it is better to go with a good winter jacket.

Another way to have great time in the town during winter is to visit some of the warm locations. There are good parks to host family picnics, good restaurants to eat both native and foreign foods, and other sightseeing locations that will make you want to visit the town again.

The good thing about visiting Leavenworth for vacation is that a lot of things are cheap making it easy for foreigners to access almost every activity and event in the town. No matter where you come from, you will always find something interesting about Leavenworth town. Memories are very important, and it is good to keep a record of good events thus try as much as possible to take a lot of pictures in the beautiful town of Leavenworth.

The ESTA is compulsory for every citizen of VWP countries that are planning a trip to the US. ESTA check online to know if your country is eligible.

2. Truckee

This is another town that is suitable for getaways, especially during winter. It is a town in California that attracts a lot of new visitors now and then. Truckee is a place to be during winter as there are several warm locations that will enhance excellent satisfaction. This is a place to be if you want to impress your kids because they will enjoy their time in the town. There are numerous children fun centers that provide children with top-notch services that keep them busy.

Choosing Truckee as a getaway location will provide you with a lot of amazing things needed to have a fulfilled vacation. You will meet a lot of other tourists that have come to explore the small town thus try as much as possible to make new friends and buy the best cheap luggage. It is also important for one to take pictures to save good memories, and also make use of green ways to travel.

3. Ithaca

This is another good location for a good getaway. It is one of the most visited towns in New York. There are lots of sightseeing locations and landmarks that will make your getaway an unforgettable experience. Apart from exploring some of the amazing places in this town, you can also visit some of the popular cities in New York to explore some popular landmarks and sightseeing locations.

Ithaca town has a lot of warm locations making it a suitable location for a winter getaway. Visit some of the parks and recreational centers with your kids because this will go a long way. Exploring this town maximally will show you the beauty of Ithaca town and New York. There are a lot of beautiful places to take good pictures; try your possible best to take a lot of pictures.

The Impact of Machine Learning on Renewable Energy

Machine learning, as well as its endgame, artificial intelligence, is proving its value in a wide variety of industries. Renewable energy is yet another sector that can benefit from machine learning’s smart data analysis, pattern recognition and other abilities. Here’s a look at why the two are a perfect match.

Predicting and Fine-Tuning Energy Production

One of the biggest misconceptions about solar power is that it’s only realistic in parts of the world known for year-round heat and intense sunshine. According to Google, around 80% of rooftops they’ve analyzed through their Sunroof mapping system “are technically viable for solar.” They define “viable” as having “enough unshaded area for solar panels.”

Even with this widespread viability, it’s useful to be able to predict and model the energy yield of a renewable energy project before work begins. This is where machine learning enters the equation.

Based on the season and time of day, machine learning can produce realistic and useful predictions for when a residence or building will be able to generate power and when it will have to draw power from the grid. This may prove even more useful over time as a budgeting tool as accuracy improves further. IBM says their forecasting system, powered by deep learning, can predict solar and wind yield up to 30 days in advance.

Machine learning also helps in the creation of solar installations with physical tracking systems, which intelligently follow the sun and angle the solar panels in order to maximize the amount of power they generate throughout the day.

Balancing the Smart Energy Grid

Predicting production is the first step in realizing other advantages of machine learning in clean energy. Next comes the construction of smart grids. A smart grid is a power delivery network that:

  • Is fully automated and requires little human intervention over time
  • Monitors the energy generation of every node and the flow of power to each client
  • Provides two-way energy and data mobility between energy producers and clients

A smart grid isn’t a “nice to have” — it’s necessary. The “traditional” approach to building energy grids doesn’t take into account the diversification of modern energy generation sources, including geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric. Tomorrow’s electric grid will feature thousands and millions of individual energy-generating nodes like solar-equipped homes and buildings. It will also, at least for a while, contain coal and natural gas power plants and homes powered by heating oil.

Machine learning provides an “intelligence” to sit at the heart of this diversified energy grid to balance supply and demand. In a smart grid, each energy producer and client is a node in the network, and each one produces a wealth of data that can help the entire system work together more harmoniously.

Together with energy yield predictions, machine learning can determine:

  • Where energy is needed most and where it is not
  • Where supply is booming and where it’s likely to fall short
  • Where blackouts are happening and where they are likely
  • When to supplement supplies by activating additional energy-generating infrastructure

Putting machine learning in the mix can also yield insights and actionable takeaways based on a client’s energy usage. Advanced metering tools help pinpoint which processes or appliances are drawing more power than they should. This helps energy clients make equipment upgrades and other changes to improve their own energy efficiency and further balance demand across the grid.

Automating Commercial and Residential Systems

The ability to re-balance the energy grid and respond more quickly to blackouts cannot be undersold. But machine learning is an ideal companion to renewable energy on the individual level as well. Machine learning is the underlying technology behind smart thermostats and automated climate control and lighting systems.

Achieving a sustainable future means we have to electrify everything and cut the fossil fuels cord once and for all. Electrifying everything means we need to make renewable energy products more accessible. More accessible renewable energy products means we need to make commercial and residential locations more energy-efficient than ever.

Machine learning gives us thermostats, lighting, and other products that learn from user preferences and patterns and fine-tune their own operation automatically. Smart home and automation products like these might seem like gimmicks at first, but they’re actually an incredibly important part of our renewable future. They help ensure we’re not burning through our generated power, renewable or otherwise, when we don’t need to be.

Bottom Line

To summarize all this, machine learning offers a way to analyze and draw actionable conclusions from energy sector data. It brings other gifts, too. Inspections powered by machine learning are substantially more accurate than inspections performed by hand, which is critical for timely maintenance and avoiding downtime at power-generating facilities.

Machine learning also helps us predict and identify factors that could result in blackouts and respond more quickly (and with pinpoint accuracy) to storm damage.

Given that the demand for energy is only expected to rise across the globe in the coming years, now is an ideal time to use every tool at our disposal to make our energy grids more resilient, productive and cost-effective. Machine learning provides the means to do it.

4 Ways to Make Your Next Home Greener

There is a huge spotlight on the construction industry when it comes to green initiatives – and rightly so. After all, this is one of the biggest contributors to all of the sustainable problems that the world faces. However, this increased focus does prompt some problems. It can make some people believe that going green in the home is out of the question – and is only going to be achieved through some really costly implementations.

Granted, there are some major infrastructure projects you can invest in if you are building a home, with solar power and ground source heat pumps tending to grab the headlines. At the same time, there are smaller wins – and these shouldn’t be underestimated, such as solid wood flooring. In fact, if everyone was to invest in these, we’d suggest that the typical carbon footprint across cities such as San Diego would drop substantially.

Taking this into account, let’s now take a look at some of the quick, green wins you can succeed with as you bid to make your next home greener and more sustainable.

1. It starts with the placement of your windows

As we work with our architect in the initial design phase of our project, many of us are more concerned about the size of our bedrooms and so on.

A common afterthought is the placement of windows. Sure, some people might think about this as they consider natural light implications – but it’s time to think bigger.

Let’s not forget that as well as allowing rooms to heat naturally, windows are something that lets warm air escape. It means that their position is crucial, and treating them as an afterthought is asking for a completely inefficient dwelling.

2. Never forget insulation

In some ways, we were almost tempted not to include this next point. After all, insulation is an old classic when it comes to energy efficiency. It is something that has been suggested for years, mainly because it is incredibly cheap to implement whilst also being very effective.

Of course, it’s always easier to install insulation during the early phases of a project. Try and remember to focus on the roof and walls; this is where most of your heat is lost and is where you can make the biggest difference.

3. It’s not just about energy; think water as well

A lot of today’s guide has looked at energy, and rightly so. We are also going to dip into a point about water consumption, though.

This is something that often gets forgotten about, but the benefits are substantial. A lot of older, traditional bathroom fittings are anything but efficient – they deliver water at a ridiculous rate, and ultimately waste it.

If you turn to modern-day solutions, you’ll find that you can save gallons every year. Suffice to say, this isn’t just going to benefit your environment, but your pocket as well.

4. Your roof is crucial

Finally, if there was just one area of your next home to concentrate on, your roof should be up there as a priority. Nowadays, there are all sorts of materials that can help your plight. For example, for those of you who reside in hot countries, you can turn to roofs with reflective paint to deal with the heat somewhat. Green roofs are another solution which are surging in popularity but in truth, the list could go on.

Recommended Green Resources:

The Impact of Smart Homes on Generations

America is already feeling the impact of smart homes. A large industry based on this technology is forming. But, what is the effect of it on the different generations? Here you can find a brief discussion of the impact of smart homes on generations.

What is a Smart Home?

Smart homes consist of all the different smart products owned by the user. These products are interconnected. It makes use of the internet to connect to other products. This technical feature is called the Internet of Things (IoT).

There are all kinds of products. Every room or space in a home can be automated by smart home products. You can even install smart devices into your backyard like smart lawnmowers and irrigation systems.

Benefits for all generations

Smart home products are designed to benefit its users. The technology is developed for all generations. So there are benefits to its use that applies to everyone.

These benefits include:

  • An increase in comfort of the user’s lifestyle.
  • Increased life expectancy caused by the usage of these products (i.e. smart security products).

Impacts on different generations

Three larger generation groups have been defined for the purpose of this discussion. It’s been split into the retirees, the working force, and the youth.

Retirees

Smart home products can connect to all kinds of services and devices. Elderly people can enjoy minor medical check-ups from the comfort of their homes. Video calls and domestic smart medical equipment can supply all the information a doctor needs. Doctors can keep an eye on patients that are too far from their offices.

Retired people can make use of smart home technology to automate simple tasks. Grocery shopping and other basic services are accessible through these products. Retirees will enjoy the improved elderly care and greater access to basic services caused by smart homes.

The working force

Smart home products like smart thermostats have been known to save its users an average of 20% in yearly warming and cooling costs. According to a study conducted by SafeAtLast, 57% of American smart home owners save about 30 minutes per day. Automating your home will save you lots of time and effort in the process.

The working force who owns smart home products will be more productive. They will also have more cash on hand due to extra savings. Smart homes can help to create a wealthier economy by assisting the working force.

The youth

The youth of today is the promise for tomorrow. Smart home technology is indirectly designed to increase the life expectancy of its user. All these benefits will help to cultivate a better tomorrow. The youth who grow up with smart home technology will have an advantage over their lesser privileged youths. Though, the psychological effects of this technology (over the long term) is yet to be studied.

Conclusion

This technology wants to make your life better. It will benefit every generation. Give it a try to experience the benefits yourself. Read on to for interesting facts on smart homes.

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your AC Unit

Without a doubt, one of the reasons why so many homeowners are hesitant about the use of their air conditioning unit is due to the potential spike in the utility bills. While it is understandable to want to save money on an AC unit, it makes no sense to have an AC and never use it. It can be challenging to be comfortable in a warmer climate without the help of air conditioning, but a rising utility bill should not deter you from using it when you want to.

That said, there are some ways to help ensure that you are making the most of the AC unit you have. While services such as Elite AC Repair Austin are there for the more severe issues that can pop up, here are a few methods to help you save money by treating your AC unit right.

1. How you handle the ventilation in your home can make all the difference

For example, there are plenty of houses with furniture that ends up blocking the vents, stopping air from effectively moving freely around the home. While it might not be such a big deal, when you are trying to utilize your AC unit to cool things down, it can result in an uneven experience. Before starting, it would be a good idea to check and ensure that the vents in your house are not blocked or clogged in any way.

2. Purposefully blocking ventilation can have its advantages

Once you are confident that everything is in order, there is still the question of which vents to block when the AC is on. After all, there are areas of the home that do not need to be cooled down – such as the basement. By blocking the ventilation in certain areas, you can cool other rooms much faster and save money at the same time.

3. Understand exactly when to have your AC serviced

There are plenty of situations where it seems like the best course of action would be to use a service such as eliteaustinac.com. That said, understanding which situations merit the intervention of a professional can save you plenty of money in the long run. For example, a leak might not be so bad, but it could end up leading to mold as time goes on, eventually turning into a health hazard for you and your family. Clean dirty HVAC air filters regularly to decrease HVAC energy consumption.

clogged-filter-AC

There is also the issue of odd smells, as well as the lack of cold air. If you want to save money, it would be a good idea to have your unit serviced by an expert as soon as possible.

Aside from the tips above, ensure that you keep the condenser clean by washing it with a garden hose every now and then. If you are curious about where to find quality AC units, Trane can help provide you with the best air conditioning units around. The tips above will help you save money while simultaneously giving your AC the treatment it deserves!

Biomass Energy in Indonesia

It is estimated that Indonesia produces 146.7 million tons of biomass per year, equivalent to about 470 GJ/y. Sources of biomass energy in Indonesia are scattered all over the country, but the biggest biomass energy potential in concentrated scale can be found in the Island of Kalimantan, Sumatera, Irian Jaya and Sulawesi.

Empty_fruit_bunches

Studies estimate the electricity generation potential from the roughly 150 Mt of biomass residues produced per year to be about 50 GW or equivalent to roughly 470 GJ/year. These studies assume that the main source of biomass energy in Indonesia will be rice residues with a technical energy potential of 150 GJ/year.

Other potential biomass sources are rubber wood residues (120 GJ/year), sugar mill residues (78 GJ/year), palm oil residues (67 GJ/year), and less than 20 GJ/year in total from plywood and veneer residues, logging residues, sawn timber residues, coconut residues, and other agricultural wastes.

Sustainable and renewable natural resources such as biomass can supply potential raw materials for energy conversion. In Indonesia, they comprise variable-sized wood from forests (i.e. natural forests, plantations and community forests that commonly produce small-diameter logs used as firewood by local people), woody residues from logging and wood industries, oil-palm shell waste from crude palm oil factories, coconut shell wastes from coconut plantations, as well as skimmed coconut oil and straw from rice cultivation.

The major crop residues to be considered for power generation in Indonesia are palm oil, sugar processing and rice processing residues. Currently, 67 sugar mills are in operation in Indonesia and eight more are under construction or planned. The mills range in size of milling capacity from less than 1,000 tons of cane per day to 12,000 tons of cane per day. Current sugar processing in Indonesia produces 8 millions MT bagasse and 11.5 millions MT canes top and leaves.

There are 39 palm oil plantations and mills currently operating in Indonesia, and at least eight new plantations are under construction. Most palm oil mills generate combined heat and power from fibres and palm kernel shells, making the operations energy self–efficient. However, the use of palm oil residues can still be optimized in more energy efficient systems.

Other potential source of biomass energy can also come from municipal wastes. The quantity of city or municipal wastes in Indonesia is comparable with other big cities of the world. Most of these wastes are originated from household in the form of organic wastes from the kitchen. At present the wastes are either burned at each household or collected by the municipalities and later to be dumped into a designated dumping ground or landfill.

Although the government is providing facilities to collect and clean all these wastes, however, due to the increasing number of populations coupled with inadequate number of waste treatment facilities in addition to inadequate amount of allocated budget for waste management, most of big cities in Indonesia had been suffering from the increasing problem of waste disposals.

With Indonesia’s recovery from the Asian financial crisis of 1998, energy consumption has grown rapidly in past decade. The priority of the Indonesian energy policy is to reduce oil consumption and to use renewable energy. For power generation, it is important to increase electricity power in order to meet national demand and to change fossil fuel consumption by utilization of biomass wastes. The development of renewable energy is one of priority targets in Indonesia.

The current pressure for cost savings and competitiveness in Indonesia’s most important biomass-based industries, along with the continually growing power demands of the country signal opportunities for increased exploitation of biomass wastes for power generation.