About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.

An Introduction to Biomethane

Biogas that has been upgraded by removing hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide and moisture is known as biomethane. Biomethane is less corrosive than biogas, apart from being more valuable as a vehicle fuel. The typical composition of raw biogas does not meet the minimum CNG fuel specifications. In particular, the COand sulfur content in raw biogas is too high for it to be used as vehicle fuel without additional processing.

biogas-vehicle

Liquified Biomethane

Biomethane can be liquefied, creating a product known as liquefied biomethane (LBM). Biomethane is stored for future use, usually either as liquefied biomethane or compressed biomethane (CBM) or  since its production typically exceeds immediate on-site demand.

Two of the main advantages of LBM are that it can be transported relatively easily and it can be dispensed to either LNG vehicles or CNG vehicles. Liquid biomethane is transported in the same manner as LNG, that is, via insulated tanker trucks designed for transportation of cryogenic liquids.

Compressed Biomethane

Biomethane can be stored as CBM to save space. The gas is stored in steel cylinders such as those typically used for storage of other commercial gases. Storage facilities must be adequately fitted with safety devices such as rupture disks and pressure relief valves.

The cost of compressing gas to high pressures between 2,000 and 5,000 psi is much greater than the cost of compressing gas for medium-pressure storage. Because of these high costs, the biogas is typically upgraded to biomethane prior to compression.

Applications of Biomethane

The utilization of biomethane as a source of energy is a crucial step toward a sustainable energy supply. Biomethane is more flexible in its application than other renewable sources of energy. Its ability to be injected directly into the existing natural gas grid allows for energy-efficient and cost-effective transport. This allows gas grid operators to enable consumers to make an easy transition to a renewable source of gas. The diverse, flexible spectrum of applications in the areas of electricity generation, heat provision, and mobility creates a broad base of potential customers.

Biomethane can be used to generate electricity and heating from within smaller decentralized, or large centrally-located combined heat and power plants. It can be used by heating systems with a highly efficient fuel value, and employed as a regenerative power source in gas-powered vehicles.

Biomethane to Grid

Biogas can be upgraded to biomethane and injected into the natural gas grid to substitute natural gas or can be compressed and fuelled via a pumping station at the place of production. Biomethane can be injected and distributed through the natural gas grid, after it has been compressed to the pipeline pressure. In many EU countries, the access to the gas grid is guaranteed for all biogas suppliers.

One important advantage of using gas grid for biomethane distribution is that the grid connects the production site of biomethane, which is usually in rural areas, with more densely populated areas. This enables the gas to reach new customers. Injected biomethane can be used at any ratio with natural gas as vehicle fuel.

Biomethane is more flexible in its application than other renewable sources of energy.

The main barriers for biomethane injection are the high costs of upgrading and grid connection. Grid injection is also limited by location of suitable biomethane production and upgrading sites, which have to be close to the natural gas grid.

Several European nations have introduced standards (certification systems) for injecting biogas into the natural gas grid. The standards, prescribing the limits for components like sulphur, oxygen, particles and water dew point, have the aim of avoiding contamination of the gas grid or the end users. In Europe, biogas feed plants are in operation in Sweden, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France.

How to Create Presentations for Your Studies

Writing research seems to a lot of people to be a difficult task which makes them feel nervous and requires a lot of time, urging them to look for a legit essay writing service  like EssayShark or EssayBulls. However, it is only a part of the working process which also includes a preparation of useful presentation which can help the speaker to represent the information from the study in the most effective and understandable way.

We used to think that a process of development of the presentation is a difficult and complicated process because it seems impossible to choose only important parts of the study, as all parts which are included in this study we consider to be essential for the audience. Also, the problem with the preparation of presentation is related to the fact that the speech and slides should be structured in the way which is interesting to the people who will listen to it.

I think that the main task of the presentation is to demonstrate the findings from the study in the way which makes the audience to concentrate on the research and understand its importance, but it is impossible to do this if the presentation provokes the desire to fall asleep or contain too much unnecessary information. So, in this article, you will find a few tips which will make the process of creation of presentation to be easier for you, and with the help of these pieces of advice, you will get a better result in the process of demonstration the findings of your research to the audience.

Prepare a good plan

You know that for the good research you should develop a well-structured outline first of all, as it is a basic step which helps to make the working process to be easier and more effective. If you want to prepare a successful presentation you should develop a plan which will help you to structure the working process and the whole presentation as well. So, you need to understand the basic steps which you will follow during the working process on your presentation in order not to miss anything important for a good result in the end.

You need to analyze your research, to make sure that you understand the perspective which you want to present to the audience, and highlight the most essential parts of your study in order to use this information in your presentation.

The presentation as an additional tool

One of the biggest mistakes is done by people who prepare their presentation is the lack of understanding of the main function of the presentation. A presentation is an additional tool which helps you to represent your main ideas and findings to the audience. A lot of people perceive the information more effectively if they have visual materials which are related to the presented information.

Speech is the main part in the process of demonstration to the audience your findings, but a presentation is a tool which can help audience to see the most important facts or information on the screen in order to remember it in the most effective way. You have to understand that there is no necessity to put all your speech on slides, as people should not read your speech, but you can use pictures, graphics, and other visual materials in order to help the audience to understand better the information which you present to them. A lot of people put too much unnecessary information on slides, so the audience is distracted from the main points of the speech.

Design and visual effects

Presentation is not only about the content, but also it is about the way in which you represent this content to the audience. It is important to remember that a lot of people perceive information visually, so you should think about the design and visual effects such as transitions between slides in order to make the presentation to be perceived in a better way.

For the best choice in design, you should analyze the topic of your presentation. In the case of presentations for studies, it would be better not to choose too bright or too dark colors. It is important not to distract the audience from the information which you present to them, but make them focus on the main points. Also, if you use too much animation in transitions between slides, it will distract the audience as well or make them nervous. So, the best tip in this aspect of the preparation of presentation is based on total simplicity as design should be a helpful tool but not a distraction from the content of the presentation.

Content

Content of presentation consists not only of the information which you use but also of images and other visual effects. As it was stated above, presentation is a helpful tool which is developed to help people to perceive information using their visual senses. However, it is important to find a balance in your presentation. As we speak about presentations for studies, it is essential to remember that too many images or memes can be inappropriate in this situation, so you should use pictures in order to make your presentation less boring and more informative, but do not focus only on this visual effect.

In addition, you have to find a balance between the amount of text which you put on each slide and the number of images and graphics. The best way to represent information to the audience is to use bullet points in order to help them to define the main aspects of your research and understand better your findings. People cannot remember instantly a great amount of information, and they will memorize the information from your presentation partly, so you have to show them which parts are the most important and what they should understand at first.

Parting Shot

These tips can help you to create a presentation for your studies in a fast, easy, and effective way. A lot of people think that the process of preparation of presentation is based on the necessity to put the information from the speech or research on the slides, but it is related to the importance of visual perception. You should develop your speech and presentation in a way which will not be boring to your audience but will help them to understand your study more effectively.

In this process, everything matters: the choice of font, the number of slides, the order of slides, the choice of images, and visual effects with design. Balance is the most important thing in the process of preparation of presentation, so you should think about the content of the slides and design keeping this rule in mind. Also, try to think like your audience, and if you consider your presentation to be interesting and informative, it means that you did a great job.

Sugarcane Trash as Biomass Resource

Sugarcane trash (or cane trash) is an excellent biomass resource in sugar-producing countries worldwide. The amount of cane trash produced depends on the plant variety, age of the crop at harvest and soil and weather conditions. Typically it represents about 15% of the total above ground biomass at harvest which is equivalent to about 10-15 tons per hectare of dry matter. During the harvesting operation around 70-80% of the cane trash is left in the field with 20-30% taken to the mill together with the sugarcane stalks as extraneous matter.

cane-trash

Cane trash’s calorific value is similar to that of bagasse but has an advantage of having lower moisture content, and hence dries more quickly. Nowadays only a small quantity of this biomass is used as fuel, mixed with bagasse or by itself, at the sugar mill. The rest is burned in the vicinity of the dry cleaning installation, creating a pollution problem in sugar-producing nations.

Cane trash and bagasse are produced during the harvesting and milling process of sugarcane which normally lasts between 6 to 7 months. Cane trash can potentially be converted into heat and electrical energy. However, most of the trash is burned in the field due to its bulky nature and high cost incurred in collection and transportation.

Cane trash could be used as an off-season fuel for year-round power generation at sugar mills. There is also a high demand for biomass as a boiler fuel during the sugar-milling season. Sugarcane trash can also converted in biomass pellets and used in dedicated biomass power stations or co-fired with coal in power plants and cement kilns.

Burning of cane trash creates pollution in sugar-producing countries

Burning of cane trash creates pollution in sugar-producing countries

Currently, a significant percentage of energy used for boilers in sugarcane processing is provided by imported bunker oil. Overall, the economic, environmental, and social implications of utilizing cane trash in the final crop year as a substitute for bunker oil appears promising. It represents an opportunity for developing biomass energy use in the Sugarcane industry as well as for industries / communities in the vicinity.

Positive socio-economic impacts include the provision of large-scale rural employment and the minimization of oil imports. It can also develop the expertise necessary to create a reliable biomass supply for year-round power generation.

Recovery of Cane Trash

Recovery of cane trash implies a change from traditional harvesting methods; which normally consists of destroying the trash by setting huge areas of sugarcane fields ablaze prior to the harvest.  There are a number of major technical and economic issues that need to be overcome to utilize cane trash as a renewable energy resource. For example, its recovery from the field and transportation to the mill, are major issues.

Alternatives include the current situation where the cane is separated from the trash by the harvester and the two are transported to the mill separately, to the harvesting of the whole crop with separation of the cane and the trash carried out at the mill. Where the trash is collected from the field it maybe baled incurring a range of costs associated with bale handling, transportation and storage. Baling also leaves about 10-20% (1-2 tons per hectare) of the recoverable trash in the field.

A second alternative is for the cane trash to be shredded and collected separately from the cane during the harvesting process. The development of such a harvester-mounted cane trash shredder and collection system has been achieved but the economics of this approach require evaluation. A third alternative is to harvest the sugarcane crop completely which would require an adequate collection, transport and storage system in addition to a mill based cleaning plant to separate the cane from the trash .

A widespread method for cane trash recovery is to cut the cane, chop into pieces and then it is blown in two stages in the harvester to remove the trash. The amount of trash that goes along with the cane is a function of the cleaning efficiency of the harvester. The blowers are adjusted to get adequate cleaning with a bearable cane loss.

On the average 68 % of the trash is blown out of the harvester, and stays on the ground, and 32 % is taken to the mill together with the cane as extraneous matter. The technique used to recover the trash staying on the ground is baling. Several baling machines have been tested with small, large, round and square bales. Cane trash can be considered as a viable fuel supplementary to bagasse to permit year-round power generation in sugar mills.

Thus, recovery of cane trash in developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America implies a change from traditional harvesting methods, which normally consists of destroying the trash by setting huge areas of cane fields ablaze prior to the harvest. To recover the trash, a new so-called “green mechanical harvesting” scheme will have to be introduced. By recovering the trash in this manner, the production of local air pollutants, as well as greenhouse gases contributing to adverse climatic change, from the fires are avoided and cane trash could be used as a means of regional sustainable development.

Cane Trash Recovery in Cuba

The sugarcane harvesting system in Cuba is unique among cane-producing countries in two important respects. First, an estimated 70 % of the sugarcane crop is harvested by machine without prior burning, which is far higher than for any other country. The second unique feature of Cuban harvesting practice is the long-standing commercial use of “dry cleaning stations” to remove trash from the cane stalks before the stalks are transported to the crushing mills.

Cuba has over 900 cleaning stations to serve its 156 sugar mills. The cleaning stations are generally not adjacent to the mills, but are connected to mills by a low-cost cane delivery system – a dedicated rail network with more than 7000 km of track. The cleaning stations take in green machine-cut or manually cut cane. Trash is removed from the stalk and blown out into a storage area. The stalks travel along a conveyor to waiting rail cars. The predominant practice today is to incinerate the trash at the cleaning station to reduce the “waste” volume.

What Should You Look For in an Environmental Consulting Firm?

If you or your business has ever wanted to develop a property, chances are, you have probably worked with an environmental consulting firm at some point in the process. If you haven’t yet, the chances are that you will. Environmental consulting is one of the most critical aspects of the planning process for any project. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

If you think you might be in need of environmental consultants for your project, keep reading to learn more about two of the most important services they can provide. Also, try to keep in mind that while these services may increase your initial costs up front, they save you time and money in the long run by ensuring things are done correctly from the start. This can also protect you from potential liabilities later on, should something go wrong on your property or with your project.

What Environmental Consultants Do

Environmental consultants offer many services that provide information necessary for any project, such as environmental impact assessments, ecological studies, and environmental and natural resource management systems. Some consultants, like the Sydney-based environmental consultants Molino Stewart, also offer stakeholder and community engagement and education services. These can be helpful in cases where developers, stakeholders, and the community may harbor different views of a project.

Most environmental consulting firms offer a very wide range of important services. However, some can have a larger impact on the success of your project than others. Not all consulting firms are made equal, but the really great ones share a few key hallmarks: a solid community and stakeholder engagement/education program, and a well-organized environmental and ecological impact assessment and management service.

Ecological Studies and EIAs

Before you can begin any construction or development project, you have to conduct ecological and environmental impact assessments (EIAs). These assessments map the flora and fauna of the ecosystems potentially affected by the project and quantify the biodiversity in these locations.

This information is required by various environmental protection acts to gain approvals for a project. The outcomes of these studies might also require management plans for vegetation and wildlife.

A good environmental consulting firm will have experts with all the proper certifications required to conduct every aspect of the study. They will also help you with the process of submitting the results and developing biodiversity management systems.  A great firm will even offer the planning and technology to implement those systems and help you through the entire approval process.

Stakeholder and Community Engagement

No matter the project or what it entails, chances are that someone, somewhere, will have an objection. Therefore, one key service you should look for in an environmental consulting firm is a good community education/outreach or a stockholder education program.

What does a good education program look like? Well, the first indicator is an adaptive education plan that can effectively target a broad range of demographics. This encompasses everything from local government councils and nearby residents to businesses and schools. This will help clear up any objections borne of misunderstandings. It will enable the community to more fully understand how your project will impact their environment and help them feel engaged in the process.

When it comes to stakeholder education and engagement, you want to look for a slightly different approach. These are people who will be directly impacted by the proposed project and hold a stake in its outcome. An effective education plan will provide subject background information that is relevant to all concerned parties. It will also include learning activities that cover the scope of the topic and clear guidelines that establish when and what is being done to address the issue.

Conclusion

You can’t overstate the importance of environmental consulting, so it is critical that you go with a good firm. It can be a little tricky to know which ones are best. Your best bet is to stick with ones that have a strong outreach and education program and a comprehensive impact assessment and management service.

Is Your Commercial Cleaning Service Sustainable?

It’s becoming more evident with time that people who want to ensure any form of financial security in the future need to start their own businesses. You can’t rely on your day to day job anymore to give you that feeling of financial security, and many are starting to realize this. So, people invest their money in all sorts of ventures, but one in particular has much potential for it if you know what you’re doing: commercial cleaning services. It’s probably crossed your mind at one point or another to start one, but there’s a problem stopping you. Is it sustainable? It can be, if you do all the right things.

A huge industry

In case you didn’t know it, the cleaning services industry is a multi-billion dollar one that is growing every year, and it’s a great business to get into if you know what you’re doing. The first thing you should do is identify if you want to get into home cleaning service or commercial cleaning service. The latter naturally takes the bigger chunk of the industry as a whole since companies hire cleaning services for regularly maintaining their office spaces. Residential cleaning is also relevant to millions of people calling services to keep their houses clean, but it definitely isn’t as big as its commercial counterpart, and that’s why you probably started your cleaning service in the commercial sector. If you are aiming to make your business sustainable, you need to do a couple of things.

Stick to your niche

So, you started a commercial cleaning service, and there’s a lot of money in it. But that doesn’t mean you should get greedy and try to get into residential services as well. Spreading yourself too thin could be the end of your business, and you don’t really need to do it because the commercial cleaning industry is more than capable of sustaining your company. Even if you hit a dry spell, don’t think about abandoning your specialty for the sake of another; instead, wait it out and things will get better for your company.

Cost VS quality balance

One of the most important things you need to do to keep your commercial cleaning service running is maintaining a balance between keeping the cost low and yet giving your customers excellent quality. You need to understand that there are dozens of others like you out there, so if your business sees a dip in quality, you’ll lose all your clients. Instead, you can cut costs by not having a large office space, for instance, or opting for older cleaning technologies, while still maintaining quality.

Invest in your people

For Wimbledon cleaning services, the most important asset is their personnel! All of the cleaning technicians are professionals who’ve gone through thorough training, allowing them to handle the great variety of cleaning solutions and to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the customers! They must always maintain professional conduct, so expect nothing but perfect results!

These are the most important points you need to tackle in order for your commercial cleaning service to be sustainable. If you can do that, the sky’s the limit for your business.

Collection Systems for Agricultural Biomass

Biomass collection involves gathering, packaging, and transporting biomass to a nearby site for temporary storage. The amount of biomass resource that can be collected at a given time depends on a variety of factors. In case of agricultural residues, these considerations include the type and sequence of collection operations, the efficiency of collection equipment, tillage and crop management practices, and environmental restrictions, such as the need to control soil erosion, maintain soil productivity, and maintain soil carbon levels.

biomass-collection-systems

The most conventional method for collecting biomass is baling which can be either round or square. Some of the important modern biomass collection operations have been discussed below:

Baling

Large square bales are made with tractor pulled balers. A bale accumulator is pulled behind the baler that collects the bales in group of 4 and leaves them on the field. At a later date when available, an automatic bale collector travels through the field and collects the bales.

The automatic bale collector travels to the side of the road and unloads the bales into a stack. If the automatic bale collector is not available bales may be collected using a flat bed truck and a front end bale loader. A loader is needed at the stack yard to unload the truck and stack the bales. The stack is trapped using a forklift and manual labor.

biomass-collection

Loafing

When biomass is dry, a loafer picks the biomass from windrow and makes large stacks. The roof of the stacker acts as a press pushing the material down to increase the density of the biomass. Once filled, loafer transports the biomass to storage area and unloads the stack. The top of the stack gets the dome shape of the stacker roof and thus easily sheds water.

Dry Chop

In this system a forage harvester picks up the dry biomass from windrow, chops it into smaller pieces (2.5 – 5.0 cm). The chopped biomass is blown into a forage wagon traveling along side of the forage harvester. Once filled, the forage wagon is pulled to the side of the farm and unloaded. A piler (inclined belt conveyor) is used to pile up the material in the form of a large cone.

Wet Chop

Here a forage harvester picks up the dry or wet biomass from the windrow. The chopped biomass is blown into a forage wagon that travels along side of the harvester. Once filled, the wagon is pulled to a silage pit where biomass is compacted to produce silage.

Whole Crop Harvest

The entire material (grain and biomass) is transferred to a central location where the crop is fractionated into grain and biomass.  The McLeod Harvester developed in Canada fractionates the harvested crop into straw and graff (graff is a mixture of grain and chaff). The straw is left on the field. Grain separation from chaff and other impurities take place in a stationary system at the farmyard.

McLeod Harvester fractionates the harvested crop into straw and graff

For the whole crop baling, the crop is cut and placed in a windrow for field drying. The entire crop is then baled and transported to the processing yard. The bales are unwrapped and fed through a stationary processor that performs all the functions of a normal combine. Subsequently, the straw is re-baled.

Properties and Uses of POME

Palm Oil processing gives rise to highly polluting wastewater, known as Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME), which is often discarded in disposal ponds, resulting in the leaching of contaminants that pollute the groundwater and soil, and in the release of methane gas into the atmosphere. POME is an oily wastewater generated by palm oil processing mills and consists of various suspended components. This liquid waste combined with the wastes from steriliser condensate and cooling water is called palm oil mill effluent.

POME

On average, for each ton of FFB (fresh fruit bunches) processed, a standard palm oil mill generate about 1 tonne of liquid waste with biochemical oxygen demand 27 kg, chemical oxygen demand 62 kg, suspended solids (SS) 35 kg and oil and grease 6 kg. POME has a very high BOD and COD, which is 100 times more than the municipal sewage.

POME is a non-toxic waste, as no chemical is added during the oil extraction process, but will pose environmental issues due to large oxygen depleting capability in aquatic system due to organic and nutrient contents. The high organic matter is due to the presence of different sugars such as arabinose, xylose, glucose, galactose and manose. The suspended solids in the POME are mainly oil-bearing cellulosic materials from the fruits. Since the POME is non-toxic as no chemical is added in the oil extraction process, it is a good source of nutrients for microorganisms.

Biogas Potential of POME

POME is always regarded as a highly polluting wastewater generated from palm oil mills. However, reutilization of POME to generate renewable energies in commercial scale has great potential. Anaerobic digestion is widely adopted in the industry as a primary treatment for POME. Biogas is produced in the process in the amount of 20 mper ton FFB. This effluent could be used for biogas production through anaerobic digestion. At many palm oil mills this process is already in place to meet water quality standards for industrial effluent. The gas, however, is flared off.

Palm oil mills, being one of the largest industries in Malaysia and Indonesia, effluents from these mills can be anaerobically converted into biogas which in turn can be used to generate power through CHP systems such as gas turbines or gas-fired engines. A cost effective way to recover biogas from POME is to replace the existing ponding/lagoon system with a closed digester system which can be achieved by installing floating plastic membranes on the open ponds.

As per conservative estimates, potential POME produced from all Palm Oil Mills in Indonesia and Malaysia is more than 50 million m3 each year which is equivalent to power generation capacity of more than 800 GW.

New Trends

Recovery of organic-based product is a new approach in managing POME which is aimed at getting by-products such as volatile fatty acid, biogas and poly-hydroxyalkanoates to promote sustainability of the palm oil industry.  It is envisaged that POME can be sustainably reused as a fermentation substrate in production of various metabolites through biotechnological advances. In addition, POME consists of high organic acids and is suitable to be used as a carbon source.

POME has emerged as an alternative option as a chemical remediation to grow microalgae for biomass production and simultaneously act as part of wastewater treatment process. POME contains hemicelluloses and lignocelluloses material (complex carbohydrate polymers) which result in high COD value (15,000–100,000 mg/L).

POME-Biogas

Utilizing POME as nutrients source to culture microalgae is not a new scenario, especially in Malaysia. Most palm oil millers favor the culture of microalgae as a tertiary treatment before POME is discharged due to practically low cost and high efficiency. Therefore, most of the nutrients such as nitrate and ortho-phosphate that are not removed during anaerobic digestion will be further treated in a microalgae pond. Consequently, the cultured microalgae will be used as a diet supplement for live feed culture.

In recent years, POME is also gaining prominence as a feedstock for biodiesel production, especially in the European Union. The use of POME as a feedstock in biodiesel plants requires that the plant has an esterification unit in the back-end to prepare the feedstock and to breakdown the FFA. In recent years, biomethane production from POME is also getting traction in Indonesia and Malaysia.

5 Money-Saving Upgrades To Make Your Home Energy-Efficient

Did you know the average American household spends about $2,000 annually for utilities? What’s more, $200 to $400 is money wasted due to drafts, air leakage, and outdated HVAC systems. That’s a lot of money, right? You can save that money by making energy efficient upgrades to your home.

Let’s take a look at these money-saving upgrades, shall we?

1. Insulation

A very cost effective way to save on energy is by adding more insulation in the attic, or switching out the typical blanket insulation for either cellulose loose-fill insulation or spray foam insulation. The spray foam insulation is the most effective type of insulation for energy efficiency.

home-insulation

With that in mind, installing spray foam insulation requires professional installation and it can range anywhere from $1 to $1.50 per square foot.

2. Energy efficient appliances and HVAC system

Older appliances tend to use a of energy and are nowhere near as energy efficient as newer models. Look for appliances and electronics that are ENERGY STAR approved products. By replacing the refrigerator, washer and dryer and even the ranges, you can save 15% on how much energy your home uses.

The same with heating and cooling. When you upgrade your HVAC system, you can save up to 20% to 50% on your energy bills – providing you make some of the other upgrades on this list.

hvac-repair

3. Programmable thermostat

It seems like everything is a smart device doesn’t it? Smart thermostats are an excellent way to reduce the amount of heating and cooling is used, especially when you’re not home. In the winter, you can decrease the temperature when you’re not at home and increase it to a comfortable temperature about 30 minutes before you get home, and vice versa.

eco-friendly-business-practices

If you don’t want to go the smart thermostat route, there are programmable thermostats where you can change the settings so the temperature is where it’s set to at the desired time.

4. Eliminating air leaks

One of the biggest culprits of wasted energy is air leakages. A whopping 40% of a home’s heating or cooling is lost due to drafty doors and windows and ill-fitted air ducts. You can prevent this by upgrading your doors and windows to high energy options. Not only are the new doors and windows themselves energy efficient, but the new seals will prevent air leakage.

If you cannot afford new windows or doors, you can always use exterior-grade caulking and new weatherstripping to seal up cracks or gaps you may find.

5. Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to add a bit of style to a room, but they can also help circulate the air, regardless of the season. Most fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction the fan moves. In the summer, it should rotate counterclockwise to push the cooler air down, therefore making the air feel cooler than it actually is. In the winter, it should rotate clockwise to pull the cool air upward and push the warm air downward.

Keeping your home’s energy costs as low as possible isn’t just smart as a homeowner, it’s also a good way to increase the value of your home. And, according to HomeLight’s Q2 2020 survey, we are in a seller’s market! 60% of agents who participated in the survey said there were 60% more bidding wars in June 2020 and the market doesn’t seem to be slowing.

That means if you’re looking to sell, these energy efficient upgrades are a great way to pique a buyer’s interest – maybe even more than one!

Biofuels from Syngas

An attractive approach to converting biomass into liquid or gaseous fuels is direct gasification, followed by conversion of the syngas to final fuel. Ethanol can be produced this way, but other fuels can be produced more easily and potentially at lower cost, though none of the approaches is currently inexpensive.

The choice of which process to use is influenced by the fact that lignin cannot easily be converted into a gas through biochemical conversion. Lignin can, however, be gasified through a heat process. The lignin components of plants can range from near 0% to 35%. For those plants at the lower end of this range, the chemical conversion approach is better suited. For plants that have more lignin, the heat-dominated approach is more effective.

Gasification_Process

Layout of a Typical Biomass Gasification Plant

Once the gasification of biomass is complete, the resulting syngas or synthetic gas can be used in a variety of ways to produce liquid fuels as mentioned below

Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) fuels

The Fischer-Tropsch process converts “syngas” (mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen) into diesel fuel and naphtha (basic gasoline) by building polymer chains out of these basic building blocks. Typically a variety of co-products (various chemicals) are also produced.

The Fisher-Tropsch process is an established technology and has been proven on a large scale but adoption has been limited by high capital and O&M costs. According to Choren Industries, a German based developer of the technology, it takes 5 tons of biomass to produce 1 ton of biodiesel, and 1 hectare generates 4 tons of biodiesel.

Methanol

Syngas can also be converted into methanol through dehydration or other techniques, and in fact methanol is an intermediate product of the F-T process (and is therefore cheaper to produce than F-T gasoline and diesel).

Methanol is somewhat out of favour as a transportation fuel due to its relatively low energy content and high toxicity, but might be a preferred fuel if fuel cell vehicles are developed with on-board reforming of hydrogen.

Dimethyl ether

DME also can be produced from syngas, in a manner similar to methanol. It is a promising fuel for diesel engines, due to its good combustion and emissions properties. However, like LPG, it requires special fuel handling and storage equipment and some modifications of diesel engines, and is still at an experimental phase.

If diesel vehicles were designed and produced to run on DME, they would become inherently very low pollutant emitting vehicles; with DME produced from biomass, they would also become very low GHG vehicles.

Everything You Need to Know About Construction Project Manager

A construction project manager basically coordinates material resources and employee schedules throughout an entire project. This is normally accomplished by using different techniques and determining the scope of the project, the cost of the project, the time that is required from start to finish, and the quality of the completed work. Anyone who works in this field knows that a construction project manager’s day is never the same, as the work is continuously changing as the project progresses.

construction-project-professionals

Construction project managers can work on residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings, or they can work on bridges, roads, and schools. They will hire all the contractors and oversee the work of the architects, engineers, and all the vendors. Depending on the size of the project, a single construction project manager may be in charge, or there may be multiple ones in charge of their own specific sections.

While some construction project managers do not have a degree, it is becoming more common for a Bachelor’s Degree to be required for this position. The degree should be in a construction related field like construction management, civil engineering, or building science, but that may not be necessary if a person has quite a bit of hands-on experience in the field. That same hands-on experience is still necessary though, even with a construction related degree, and it can be earned by working as an intern, craftworker, and even a supervisor at a construction site.

 

Successful construction project managers will continue with their schooling to earn their Master’s Degree, as well as earning their certification for either Associate Constructor, Certified Professional Constructor, or Certified Construction Manager.

One of the first things that a construction project manager will do when they are hired for a job is to create a schedule for the entire project. This schedule will list everything that needs to be done in chronological order, while including the time needed for each item. They may need to make a few changes before the schedule is complete, due to ensuring that everything is finished at the agreed upon time.

Once a construction project manager has the schedule figured out, they will need to determine how many workers they will need and when each one will be needed. This can be tricky, as one small mistake can throw the entire schedule off. Each part of the project will need different workers, as many construction workers specialize in one thing or another. That means that project managers will be hiring painters, plumbers, electricians, drywallers, flooring installers, waste management professionals and numerous other workers to keep each part of the project moving along on time.

As soon as the project begins, a construction project manager must inspect and review everything that is being completed, so that it all meets current building and safety codes and regulations. In order for that to happen, they must explain all the plans and contract terms to everyone who is working on the project. This can be accomplished all at once or spread out over multiple meetings as the project progresses.

Changes are always part of the construction world, whether the client changes their mind on something in the original design or part of that design will not work the way that it was thought. Those changes always need to be documented somewhere and construction project managers need to be the ones that make sure that they are. Changes can be written as revisions or a change order and then approved by all parties.

There is always a need for permits and licensing when constructing a new building and if any are not obtained when they need to be, the construction may not start on time or the work that was completed may need to be torn down. Most construction project managers are well-versed in the necessary permits and licenses that are needed, but if there are ever any questions, they would need to contact the local town or city board for the proper answers.

While a good part of a project manager’s day will be spent supervising all the workers, they will also need to complete paperwork and track all the progress and costs. This is necessary so that they can stay on budget and on time, but it is also something that the clients like to keep an eye on as well. This is also an excellent way to see how delays have affected the schedule or how future delays could jeopardize the entire project.

The quality of a construction project should always be high and project managers are in charge of ensuring that quality control programs are in place. This can be as simple as doing in-house inspections routinely. Those inspections can also show if there is any damage or ways that an accident can happen and how those can be prevented.

A construction project manager has quite a bit to do each day, but thankfully, due to the use of computers, they can easily do some of their work wherever they are. They will also have everything that they need at any time, since they can easily access that information from their smartphone or laptop.

Every project manager needs to be organized and a quick thinker, but those who choose this profession thrive in the hustle and bustle of their everchanging workload.