Creating an Eco-Friendly Project Site

Creating a worksite for construction is already a tough task, you have to get all the workers, tools, set up transportation of resources and materials, source the whereabouts of where this will take place, and more. It can be daunting at times, as you have a lot to plan and think about, plus the costs can be outrageous.

What’s even harder is planning it to be an eco-friendly site, as more people are in a rage about making things environmentally friendly; from power to materials, to transportation, they’d want it all to be as safe and protective of the ecosystem as possible. Luckily for you, you don’t have to look every to figure out how to do so, because you can look here.

Creating an Eco-Friendly Project Site

Finding Sustainable Materials to Work With

When you think of construction and building, you’ll often think of a workplace, workers, cement mixer, pallets of materials, and much more. While this is true, to create a more eco-friendly site, you’d want to start by thinking about what kinds of materials you are using and should you be using.

There are many different materials that you can use in place of concrete or commonly found materials that are not good for the environment thanks to the gases or pollution that they cause. These materials can include bamboo, straw, recycled plastic, and much more.

Manage Powered Equipment More Effectively

Powered equipment can take a great toll on the environment since it uses mass quantities or electricity to remain powered. What’s worse, is most worksites will keep their lights, tools, and everything else on while they are no longer working, or while on break. While this may not seem so bad, this can affect the use of electricity horribly and do damage to the environment.

If you want to become more eco-friendly, ensure your workers are managing their electricity correctly, shutting their tools and lights off when not in use, and opting for more eco-friendly ways to work. This can be difficult to do, but will greatly decrease the effect and use of electricity and harm on the environment.

Try to Conserve as Much Water as Possible

Water is one of the most overused and overlooked resources when at a job site. Water can be used for basic toiletries, cleaning materials, and many other ways. One of the best ways to conserve and repurpose water would be through the use of collected rainwater.

While it may seem a bit off, you can build rainwater collection systems that allow you to repurpose, irrigate, and use water that would have just been discarded or thrown away. This gives you a source of water that is usable but most likely shouldn’t be consumed.

Recycling from Construction Materials and Demolition

Let’s face it, you are going to have a lot of construction trash, broken materials, or unused materials left over from the job site, and you are most likely going to hire some person to quickly pick it up and haul it away. While this is a cheap and easy thing to do, the better choice would be to recycle or repurpose these materials.

Recycling of Construction Materials

You could hire a recycling company that will take these materials away, harvest what’s usable, and then repurpose them for future use. Or if that’s not your fancy, you could donate them to another work site yourself, and they can take these busted materials off your hands and purpose them themselves. Lastly, you could just repurpose a need or use of the material and not let anything go to waste.

Maximize Use of Natural Light and Energy

A way to conserve and maybe even build energy rather than just use it would be to think of your natural sources of energy and light. During the day you won’t need much light as the sun will give you natural light at all times it is out. And a way to use this energy to your advantage and even build a reserve would be to invest in solar.

Solar energy allows you to use the power of the sun, and as technology advances more companies are looking into creating tools and other ways to use solar or more eco-friendly energy conserves. A reserve of energy would not just help the environment but also save you money.

Solar Energy Guide for Students

Reduce Carbon Footprint on Transportation

Moving materials from one place to another can cause a huge increase in carbon production which would hurt the environment. To make the most out of becoming more eco-friendly, try to see if you can manage the use of transportations correctly, or switch to an eco-friendly fuel.

As time advances and many more eco-safe or eco-friendly companies start to come to fruition, more and more are looking into the use and design of more environmentally sound fuels for vehicles or tools. This could be solar power or bio-based fuels that can reduce this carbon footprint.

Planning for a Sustainable Work Site

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when planning or setting up your work site. More is added when you have to start considering all the different ways to make the job site more eco-friendly to appease a bigger crowd that is steadily growing in their desire for environmentally safe construction sites.

While it may be a lot to consider, or even think about while trying to make your project site more eco-friendly, there are many ways you can start doing this. These include finding sustainable building materials that would be more environmentally friendly, conserving the use of electricity, saving water, and even maximizing the use of natural energy sources, recycling what you can from leftover materials or demolitions, and even reducing your carbon footprint by investing in eco-friendly fuel and ways of transportation.

While it is a lot to think of, don’t be afraid to plan this journey out slowly, and take small steps to become more eco-friendly at the job site. Even the smallest steps make a great impact and will slowly add up.

Energy Potential of Palm Kernel Shells

The Palm Oil industry in Southeast Asia and Africa generates large quantity of biomass wastes whose disposal is a challenging task. Palm kernel shells (or PKS) are the shell fractions left after the nut has been removed after crushing in the Palm Oil mill. Kernel shells are a fibrous material and can be easily handled in bulk directly from the product line to the end use. Large and small shell fractions are mixed with dust-like fractions and small fibres. Moisture content in kernel shells is low compared to other biomass residues with different sources suggesting values between 11% and 13%.

palm-kernel-shells

Palm kernel shells contain residues of Palm Oil, which accounts for its slightly higher heating value than average lignocellulosic biomass. Compared to other residues from the industry, it is a good quality biomass fuel with uniform size distribution, easy handling, easy crushing, and limited biological activity due to low moisture content. PKS can be readily co-fired with coal in grate fired -and fluidized bed boilers as well as cement kilns in order to diversify the fuel mix.

The primary use of palm kernel shells is as a boiler fuel supplementing the fibre which is used as primary fuel. In recent years kernel shells are sold as alternative fuel around the world. Besides selling shells in bulk, there are companies that produce fuel briquettes from shells which may include partial carbonisation of the material to improve the combustion characteristics.

As a raw material for fuel briquettes, palm shells are reported to have the same calorific characteristics as coconut shells. The relatively smaller size makes it easier to carbonise for mass production, and its resulting palm shell charcoal can be pressed into a heat efficient biomass briquette.

Palm kernel shells have been traditionally used as solid fuels for steam boilers in palm oil mills across Southeast Asia. The steam generated is used to run turbines for electricity production. These two solid fuels alone are able to generate more than enough energy to meet the energy demands of a palm oil mill. Most palm oil mills in the region are self-sufficient in terms of energy by making use of kernel shells and mesocarp fibers in cogeneration.

In recent years, the demand for palm kernel shells has increased considerably in Europe, Asia-Pacific, China etc resulting in price close to that of coal. Nowadays, cement industries and power producers are increasingly using palm kernel shells to replace coal. In grate-fired boiler systems, fluidized-bed boiler systems and cement kilns, palm kernel shells are an excellent fuel.

Cofiring of PKS yields added value for power plants and cement kilns, because the fuel significantly reduces carbon emissions – this added value can be expressed in the form of renewable energy certificates, carbon credits, etc. However, there is a great scope for introduction of high-efficiency cogeneration systems in the industry which will result in substantial supply of excess power to the public grid and supply of surplus PKS to other nations. Palm kernel shell is already extensively in demand domestically by local industries for meeting process heating requirements, thus creating supply shortages in the market.

Palm oil mills around the world may seize an opportunity to supply electricity for its surrounding plantation areas using palm kernel shells, empty fruit branches and palm oil mill effluent which have not been fully exploited yet. This new business will be beneficial for all parties, increase the profitability and sustainability for palm oil industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the electrification ratio in surrounding plantation regions.

Salient Features of Sugar Industry in Mauritius

Sugar industry has always occupied a prominent position in the Mauritian economy since the introduction of sugarcane around three centuries ago. Mauritius has been a world pioneer in establishing sales of bagasse-based energy to the public grid, and is currently viewed as a model for other sugarcane producing countries, especially the developing ones.

Sugarcane_Biomass

 

Sugar factories in Mauritius produce about 600,000 tons of sugar from around 5.8 million tons of sugarcane which is cultivated on an agricultural area of about 72,000 hectares. Of the total sugarcane production, around 35 percent is contributed by nearly 30,000 small growers. There are more than 11 sugar factories presently operating in Mauritius having crushing capacities ranging from 75 to 310 tons cane per hour.

During the sugar extraction process, about 1.8 million tons of Bagasse is produced as a by-product, or about one third of the sugarcane weight. Traditionally, 50 percent of the dry matter is harvested as cane stalk to recover the sugar with the fibrous fraction, i.e. Bagasse being burned to power the process in cogeneration plant. Most factories in Mauritius have been upgraded and now export electricity to the grid during crop season, with some using coal to extend production during the intercrop season.

Surplus electricity is generated in almost all the sugar mills. The total installed capacity within the sugar industry is 243 MW out of which 140 MW is from firm power producers. Around 1.6 – 1.8 million tons of bagasse (wet basis) is generated on an annually renewable basis and an average of around 60 kWh per ton sugarcane is generated for the grid throughout the island.

The surplus exportable electricity in Mauritian power plants has been based on a fibre content ranging from 13- 16% of sugarcane, 48% moisture content in Bagasse, process steam consumption of 350–450 kg steam per ton sugarcane and a power consumption of 27-32 kWh per ton sugarcane.

Sugarcane-mechanical-harvest

 

In Mauritius, the sugarcane industry is gradually increasing its competitiveness in electricity generation. It has revamped its boiler houses by installing high pressure boilers and condensing extraction steam turbine. All the power plants are privately owned, and the programme has been a landmark to show how all the stakeholders (government, corporate and small planters) can co-operate. The approach is being recommended to other sugarcane producing countries worldwide to harness the untapped renewable energy potential of biomass wastes from the sugar industry.

Biogas from Crop Wastes vs Energy Crops: European Perspectives

Most, if not all of Europe has a suitable climate for biogas production. The specific type of system depends on the regional climate. Regions with harsher winters may rely more on animal waste and other readily available materials compared to warmer climates, which may have access to more crop waste or organic material.

biogas-crop

Regardless of suitability, European opinions vary on the most ethical and appropriate materials to use for biogas production. Multiple proponents argue biogas production should be limited to waste materials derived from crops and animals, while others claim crops should be grown with the intention of being used for biogas production.

Biogas Production From Crops

Europeans in favor of biogas production from energy crops argue the crops improve the quality of the soil. Additionally, they point to the fact that biogas is a renewable energy resource compared to fossil fuels. Crops can be rotated in fields and grown year after year as a sustainable source of fuel.

Extra crops can also improve air quality. Plants respire carbon dioxide and can help reduce harmful greenhouse gasses in the air which contribute to global climate change.

Energy crops can also improve water quality because of plant absorption. Crops grown in otherwise open fields reduce the volume of water runoff which makes it to lakes, streams and rivers. The flow of water and harmful pollutants is impeded by the plants and eventually absorbed into the soil, where it is purified.

Urban residents can also contribute to biogas production by growing rooftop or vertical gardens in their homes. Waste from tomatoes, beans and other vegetables is an excellent source of biogas material. Residents will benefit from improved air quality and improved water quality as well by reducing runoff.

Proponents of biogas production from crops aren’t against using organic waste material for biogas production in addition to crop material. They believe crops offer another means of using more sustainable energy resources.

Biogas Production From Agricultural Waste

Opponents to growing crops for biogas argue the crops used for biogas production degrade soil quality, making it less efficient for growing crops for human consumption. They also argue the overall emissions from biogas production from crops will be higher compared to fossil fuels.

Growing crops can be a labor-intensive process. Land must be cleared, fertilized and then seeded. While crops are growing, pesticides and additional fertilizers may be used to promote crop growth and decrease losses from pests. Excess chemicals can run off of fields and degrade the water quality of streams, lakes and rivers and kill off marine life.

Once crops reach maturity, they must be harvested and processed to be used for biogas material. Biogas is less efficient compared to fossil fuels, which means it requires more material to yield the same amount of energy. Opponents argue that when the entire supply chain is evaluated, biogas from crops creates higher rates of emissions and is more harmful to the environment.

Agricultural residues, such as rice straw, are an important carbon source for anaerobic digestion

In Europe, the supply chain for biogas from agricultural waste is more efficient compared to crop materials. Regardless of whether or not the organic waste is reused, it must be disposed of appropriately to prevent any detrimental environmental impacts. When crop residues are used for biogas production, it creates an economical means of generating useful electricity from material which would otherwise be disposed of.

Rural farms which are further away from the electric grid can create their own sources of energy through biogas production from agriculture wastes as well. The cost of the energy will be less expensive and more eco-friendly as it doesn’t have the associated transportation costs.

Although perspectives differ on the type of materials which should be used for biogas production, both sides agree biogas offers an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels.

Renewables Market in MENA

MENA region has an attractive market for renewables due to abundant availability of solar and wind resources. According to a recent IRENA report, the region is anticipating renewable energy investment of $35 billion per year by 2020. Recently, the MENA region has received some of the lowest renewable energy prices awarded globally for solar PV and wind energy.

mena-renewables

Regional Developments

Among MENA countries, Morocco has emerged as a role model for the entire region. The government’s target of 2GW of solar and 2GW of wind power by 2020 is progressing smoothly with the commissioning of Nour-1 Solar project. Jordan and Egypt are also making steady progress in renewable energy sector.

As far as GCC is concerned, the UAE has also shown serious commitment to develop solar energy. The 100MW Shams CSP plant has been operational since 2014 in Abu Dhabi while 13MW Phase I of Dubai’s solar park was completed in 2013. In Saudi Arabia, the newly launched Vision 2030 document has put forward a strong regulatory and investment framework to develop Saudi clean energy sector which should catalyse renewable energy development in the country.

Renewables – A boon for MENA

Renewable energy has multiple advantages for MENA in the form of energy security, improved air quality, reduced GHG emissions, employment opportunities, apart from augmenting water and food security.

The business case for renewable energy proliferation in MENA is strengthened by plentiful availability of natural energy resources and tumbling solar PV technology costs which are leading to record low renewable power generation costs. The recent auction for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park 2 in Dubai yielded prices as low as 5.85 US cents per kWh which is one of the lowest worldwide.

Impact of Falling Costs

The falling costs will have a significant positive impact in the developing world where tens of millions of people still lack access to cheap and reliable supply of energy. Reducing costs will help MENA, especially GCC, to meet its target of steady transition towards renewable energy and thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels for power generation and seawater desalination.

The slump in renewable energy tariffs will also encourage utility companies in emerging markets to include more renewable energy in transmission and meet the targets set by respective countries. However, it should also be noted that there have been several instances where the actual renewable energy production failed to take place because of low bids.

Emerging Trends

Off-grid renewable energy technologies have tremendous potential to popularize clean energy among remote and marginalized communities across the world. Access to clean, reliable and relatively cheap energy from renewable resources, especially solar power, will usher in a new era in developing countries. Off-grid (or standalone) renewable power systems are already making a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people across the developing world.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

Advancements in battery energy storage have pushed this particular sector into media as well as public spotlight. With big industry names like Tesla and Nissan leading from the front, energy storage technologies are expected to make great contribution in transition to green grid powered by intermittent energy sources like solar PV, CSP, wind and biomass.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) has the potential to transform seawater desalination industry, one of the largest energy consumers in the Middle East. CSP offers an attractive option to power industrial-scale desalination plants that require both high temperature fluids and electricity.  CSP can provide stable energy supply for continuous operation of desalination plants, based on thermal or membrane processes. Leading CSP technology companies are already taking a keen interest in Middle East CSP market and rapid developments are expected in the coming years.

Key Hurdles to Overcome

Lack of strong regulatory framework, low renewable energy tariffs and weak off-take mechanisms are some of the issues confronting renewable energy projects in MENA. Regulatory framework in the GCC is in early stages and marred by heavy subsidy for oil and gas. The largest barrier to growth of solar sector in MENA has been the lack of renewable energy policy framework, legislations, institutional support, feed-in-tariffs and grid access.

The power sector in MENA is, by and large, dominated by state utilities which discourage entrepreneurs and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter the local markets. Lack of open and transparent market conditions in MENA are acting as deterrent for investors, technology companies and project developers.

Among regional countries, Jordan and Morocco have the most advanced legal infrastructure in place to support renewable energy projects, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tips for New Entrants

MENA solar market is complex due to different electricity market structure and myriad challenges in each country. Different countries have different motivations for renewable energy. Solar companies who want to foray in MENA market must give special attention to land access, grid access, transparent licensing schemes, high-quality meteorological data, creditworthy customers, long-term off-take contracts, soiling of PV panels and related issues.

Make Your Pool More Sustainable Now!

The word sustainable has no single definition since its meaning changes to different people over time. But simply put, sustainability is the use of practices that creates the least blueprint to the environment. When you choose materials or implement policies that promote environmental awareness, you are practicing sustainability.

A pool is not a pool without water, electricity, and chemicals for its maintenance and operation. With this in mind, is it possible to own a pool without damaging the environment?

The answer is yes. There are many ways to have a highly sustainable pool. Here are some of them:

swimming pool maintenance

1. Use water-neutral method

Water-neutral pools have water-saving and water-harvesting devices like water reservoirs to collect rainwater that can replenish the pool. Another way to save water is by installing backwash-minimization systems to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain the swimming pool. The upfront cost for buying water-neutral devices can be expensive, but considering the benefits they offer, they are practical tools in the long run.

2. Use eco-friendly technologies

Another way to make your pool greener is to use eco-friendly accessories such as LED lights instead of the usual halogen bulbs. LED lights use less power than other types of lamps. This means that they consume less electricity too, which means it lets you save on money. They are also easier to automate, so you can set a timer for them through your mobile phone. If you have older pools that come with halogen lamps, you may consider changing them for LED bulbs.

3. Harness the power of the sun

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a dip in a warm pool. However, running your pool heater consumes a lot of electricity which causes a surge in your electric bill. Installing additional 2-3KW solar panels on top of the pool heater can cover the cost of running pool accessories. You can connect the pool pump to the solar panel and let it run between 10 am to 3 pm while the sun is up. This solar pool setup will save you a lot of money later on.

If there is a downside to installing a solar panel, it’s the fact that it needs ample space and the right location where it can get a lot of sun rays.

4. Use a thermal pool cover or solar “bubble blanket”

One of the simplest ways to prevent pool heat loss is to cover the pool when not used. Pool covers help in heat retention, reduces evaporation, lessens the need to top up the pool, and maintains chemical balance.  Thermal covers are specially designed to withstand strong UV, which helps retain the heat more. Thermal blankets with the highest R-value work best in heat retention.

5. Keep your pool clean

Cleaning the pool is a lifetime responsibility. Skimming the pool to remove visible objects, vacuuming the walls and floor to loosen up dirt and algae, and using chemicals to remove bacteria and other microscopic organisms are all part of the cleaning process.

Typically, pool cleaning needs your pool pump and water filtration to run to replenish the pool and backwash the filter to remove the debris. However, there is a better way to clean your pool without wasting a lot of water and electricity.

swimming pool maintenance

Using an automatic pool cleaner (also known as pool vacuum) to maintain the water’s good condition is efficient and eco-friendly. A pool robot saves a lot on electricity since it has its own pump and filtration system, meaning you don’t need to run the pool system while cleaning. A pool vacuum has four different types: suction-side, pressure-side, pressure with booster pump, and robotic.

Some of the best pool cleaners only use the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb or about 5 cents per hour. If it takes three hours for them to clean, it translates to an additional 15 cents on your electric bill. This amount is definitely lower compared to running the pool’s pump and filter at the same time.

A pool robot also comes with filters for collecting debris. The dirt is trapped inside the device, not in the pool’s filter system. This process reduces the need to apply chemicals and performs backwashing to clean the pool’s ducts and filter system.

Your Choices for Alternative Energy

While using alternative sources of energy is a right way for you to save money on your heating and cooling bills, it also allows you to contribute in vital ways to both the environment and the economy.  Renewable energy sources are renewable, environmentally sustainable sources that do not create any by-products that are released into the atmosphere like coal and fossil fuels do.

Burning coal to produce electricity releases particulates and substances such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur and carbon monoxide into the air, all of which can cause health problems in humans.

Other by-products from burning coal are acid rain, sludge run-off and heated water that is released back into the rivers and lakes nearby the coal-fired plants.  While efforts are being made to create “clean coal,” businesses have been reluctant to use the technology due to the high costs associated with changing their plants.

If you are considering taking the plunge and switching to a renewable energy source to save money on your electric and heating bills or to help the environment, you have a lot of decisions to make. The first decision you need to make is which energy source to use in your home or business.  Do you want to switch to solar energy, wind power, biomass energy or geothermal energy?

Emissions from homes using heating oil, vehicles, and electricity produced from fossil fuels also pollute the air and contribute to the number of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer.  Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and in the use of motor vehicles.  Neither coal nor fossil fuels are sources of renewable energy.

Replacing those energy sources with solar, biomass, geothermal or wind-powered generators will allow homes and businesses to have an adequate source of energy always at hand.  While converting to these systems can sometimes be expensive, the costs are quickly coming down, and they pay for themselves in just a few short years because they supply energy that is virtually free.  In some cases, the excess energy they create can be bought from the business or the homeowner.

While there are more than these three alternative energy options, these are the easiest to implement on an individual basis.  Other sources of alternative energy, for instance, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and natural gas require a primary power source for the heat so it can be fed to your home or business.  Solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy can all have power sources in your home or business to supply your needs.

1. Solar Energy

Solar power is probably the most widely used source of these options.  While it can be expensive to convert your home or business over to solar energy, or to an alternative energy source for that matter, it is probably the most natural source to turn over to.

You can use the sun’s energy to power your home or business and heat water.  It can be used to passively heat or light up your rooms as well just by opening up your shades.

2. Wind Power

You need your wind turbine to power your home or office, but wind energy has been used for centuries to pump water or for commercial purposes, like grinding grain into flour.  While many countries have wind farms to produce energy on a full-scale basis, you can have your wind turbine at home or at your business to provide electricity for your purposes.

The cost of alternative energy systems has dropped sharply in recent years

3. Biomass Energy

Biomass energy has rapidly become a vital part of the global renewable energy mix and account for an ever-growing share of electric capacity added worldwide. Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes.

Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include wood from natural forests and woodlands, agricultural residues, agro-industrial wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastewater, municipal sewage and municipal solid wastes.

4. Geothermal Energy

A geothermal heat pump helps cool or heat your home or office using the earth’s heat to provide the power needed to heat the liquid that is run through the system to either heat your home in the winter or cool it off in the summer.  While many people use it, it doesn’t provide electricity, so you still need an energy source for that.

Top Ways to Save Energy at School

The issue of saving energy amid the exponential advancement of the technology-dependent studying process is one of the critical challenges school systems face today. Modern students are avidly embracing energy-powered tools in class, from learning the techniques of successful coursework writing service on popular websites like EssayShark, to sharing their studying notes with peers via file storage services like Google Drive.

On that account, the matter of energy efficiency at schools has taken on unprecedented urgency, weighing heavily on school boards to be absorbed in how to minimize electricity consumption. This has led school authorities to employ a great variety of solutions aimed at mitigating the destructive impact of environmental pollution. Following the universal eco-inspired trend of reducing the use of electricity, we handpicked the most productive ways of saving energy for you to employ at your school!

Utilize LED Lighting

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more innovative and energy-efficient alternatives like LED or CBL lamps is the perfect solution to start saving energy at your school. Powered by light emitting diodes, which is what this acronym stands for, LED lamps consume a lot less energy than traditional fluorescent lighting and have a much longer lifespan. This makes this type of lighting highly efficient for school. While incandescent light produces too much heat, LED light bulbs preserve it, preventing you from splurging money on cooling.

Another way to promote energy savings in schools is to use LED screens as they consume less energy and help in power consumption.

Give Preference to Natural Light

Not only will sunlight cut the electricity costs your school pays, but it will also create a favorable learning environment for students as opposed to light bulbs. Following several comprehensive studies, sunlight allows people to stay focused on their tasks longer and is thus one of the key factors in promoting a healthy studying process. In order to make the best of natural light, you can equip your classrooms appropriately, such as using suitable blinds or curtains.

Consider Advantageous Cooling Options

Air conditioning provides total salvation for people when it’s boiling hot outside. And its role gets especially critical when it comes to a score of students sharing a stuffy home room during scorching weather. But, no matter how beneficial the effect produced by an air conditioner might be, this system consumes way too much electricity. Adopting effective cooling solutions is the key to saving energy and keeping it cool in your educational institution.

college-green

Use Sensors to Regulate Lighting

For safety reasons, many schools keep the lights on in the premises for the entire day. This is by far the least reasonable option to adhere to if you want to minimize electricity consumption. As an efficient alternative of providing your students with constant lighting, you can contemplate using motion sensors.

These devices can make the lights go on only if there’s someone in the room and off once the room is empty. Motion sensors are designed to detect motion and can thus automatically trigger lighting if there’s a need, instead of keeping the lighting unrestrained for the whole day.

Keep the Doors Closed

As another effective trick for reducing thermal loss in your classroom, keeping the doors closed will also maintain the coolness of the room. Thus, this practice can save you some good cash you would be forced to spend on a high-end air conditioning system.

Modernize the Kitchen

The school kitchen is veritably the hub of its electric appliances. Here you have ovens, a microwave, fridges, freezers, and the works. All these devices use a great deal of electricity and, based on the funding schools get from the government, most of them are probably old, which doubles their energy inefficiency. For this reason, replacing your kitchen appliances with newer and more cost-effective models will resolve some of the school’s energy consumption issues.

Drawing the Line

By following today’s all-embracing path toward saving energy, school authorities demonstrate their regard for environmental problems as well as their money management acumen. The modern technology-driven world offers us a variety of options to create a more energy-effective environment, improving the quality of our lives. The essentials we have provided in this article will help make your school routine less costly and more up-to-date.

Biomethane Utilization Pathways

Biogas can be used in raw (without removal of CO2) or in upgraded form. The main function of upgrading biogas is the removal of CO2 (to increase the energy content) and H2S (to reduce risk of corrosion). After upgrading, biogas becomes biomethane and possesses identical gas quality properties as  natural gas, and can thus be used as natural gas replacement. The main pathways for biomethane utilization are as follows:

  • Production of heat and/or steam
  • Electricity production / combined heat and power production (CHP)
  • Natural gas replacement (gas grid injection)
  • Compressed natural gas (CNG) & diesel replacement – (bio-CNG for transport fuel usage)
  • Liquid natural gas (LNG) replacement – (bio-LNG for transport fuel usage)

Prior to practically all utilization options, the biogas has to be dried (usually through application of a cooling/condensation step). Furthermore, elements such as hydrogen sulphide and other harmful trace elements must be removed (usually trough application of an activated carbon filter) to prevent adverse effects on downstream processing equipment (such as compressors, piping, boilers and CHP systems).

biomethane-transport

Although biogas is perfectly suitable to be utilized in boilers (as an environmental friendlier source for heat and steam production), this option is rather obsolete due to the abundance of alternative sources from solid waste origin.

Most Palm Oil Mills are already self-reliant with respect to heat and steam production due to the combustion of their solid waste streams (such as EFB and PKS). Consequently, conversion to electricity (by means of a CHP unit) or utilization as natural gas, CNG or LNG replacement, would be a more sensible solution.

The biogas masterplan as drafted by the Asia Pacific Biogas Alliance foresees a distribution in which 30% of the biomethane is used for power generation, 40% for grid injection and 30% as compressed/liquefied fuel for transportation purpose (Asian Pacific Biogas Alliance, 2015).

For each project, the most optimal option has to be evaluated on a case to case basis. Main decision-making factors will be local energy prices and requirements, available infrastructure (for gas and electricity), incentives and funding.

For the locations where local demand is exceeded, and no electricity or gas infrastructure is available within a reasonable distance (<5-10 km, due to investment cost and power loss), production of CNG could offer a good solution.

Moreover, during the utilization of biogas within a CHP unit only 40-50% of the energetic content of the gas is converted into electricity. The rest of the energy is transformed into heat. For those locations where an abundance of heat is available, such as Palm Oil Mills, this effectively means that 50-60% of the energetic content of the biogas is not utilized. Converting the biogas into biomethane (of gas grid or CNG quality) through upgrading, would facilitate the transportation and commercialisation of over 95%  of the energetic content of the biogas.

Within the CNG utilization route, the raw biogas will be upgraded to a methane content of >96%, compressed to 250 bar and stored in racks with gas bottles. The buffered gas (bottles) will be suitable for transportation by truck or ship. For transportation over large distances (>200km), it will be advised to further reduce the gas volume by converting the gas to LNG (trough liquefaction).

Overall the effects and benefits from anaerobic digestion of POME and utilization of biomethane can be summarized as follows:

  • Reduction of emissions i.e. GHG methane and CO2
  • Reduced land use for POME treatment
  • Enhanced self-sufficiency trough availability of on-site diesel replacement (CNG)
  • Expansion of economic activities/generation of additional revenues
    • Sales of surplus electricity (local or to the grid)
    • Sales of biomethane (injection into the natural gas grid)
    • Replacement of on-site diesel usage by CNG
    • Sales of bottled CNG
  • Reducing global and local environmental impact (through fuel replacement)
  • Reducing dependence on fossil fuel, and enhances fuel diversity and security of energy supply
  • Enhancement of local infrastructure and employment
    • Through electrical and gas supply
    • Through Fuel (CNG) supply

Co-Authors: H. Dekker and E.H.M. Dirkse (DMT Environmental Technology)

Note: This is the second article in the special series on ‘Sustainable Utilization of POME-based Biomethane’ by Langerak et al of DMT Environmental Technology (Holland). The first article can be viewed at this link

More Reasons To Check Out Alternative Energy Sources

In recent years, the world has seen significant economic progress, which greatly relied on energy fueled by coal and petroleum among others. With the continuously growing demand for energy, it is a fact that these energy sources may be depleted in the near future. Apart from this, there are several other reasons why humankind already needs to find alternative energy sources.

Global Warming

It is a known fact that different manufacturing processes and human activities, such as using vehicles, cause pollution in the atmosphere by releasing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the earth, and this phenomenon is known as global warming. Global warming has several harmful impacts such as stronger and more frequent storms, as well as drought and heat waves. Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass to name a few, all generate minimal global warming emissions.

Wind power, for instance, has the capability to supply energy with a significantly lower emission compared to burning coal for fuel. This is the reason why wind energy is more beneficial compared to carbon-intensive energy sources. Still, the emissions generated by wind power are even lower compared to other renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power sources. This makes a huge potential for wind power to sustain the world’s energy demands, while preserving the environment.

Public Health

It goes without saying that the pollution caused by burning coal and fuel not only has an environmental impact, but it also has a significant effect on public health. Various diseases and ailments can be attributed to pollution, which usually affects the respiratory tract. Contaminated water also causes various bacterial infections. Wind power, solar energy, and hydroelectric systems have the capability to generate electricity without emitting air pollutants.

Additionally, wind and solar energy sources do not need water to operate, thereby, eliminating the probability of polluting water resources. Clean air and water that is free from pollutants, will have a significant positive impact on public health.

Constant Energy Source

While coal and fossil fuels are on the threshold of depletion, renewable energy sources are inexhaustible. Wind can be a constant energy source and no matter how high the demand for energy will be, the wind will not be depleted. In the same manner, as long as the sun shines bright on earth, there will always be an abundant solar energy source.

Fast-moving water that can be translated into hydroelectric energy, the earth’s heat that can be converted into a geothermal power source, as well as abundant plant matter that can be used as biomass, can all be constantly replenished. These can never be fully exhausted no matter how great the energy demand will be. The utilization of a combination of each of these energy sources will prove to be even more beneficial. Additionally, with its continued use, there will no longer be a need for combustible energy sources.

Lower Energy Costs

The cost of electricity continues to be a burden on the earth’s greater population. The use of renewable energy sources to light up the earth is considerably cheaper and inexpensive compared to the cost of burning fossil fuels for electricity and other energy needs. Apart from a cheaper cost, renewable energy sources can help stabilize to cost of energy in the long run, with an unlimited supply being able to cater to greater demand.

While it cannot be denied that setting up clean energy technologies comes with a cost, it can be noted that the cost of its operation is significantly lower. Conversely, the cost of coal and fossil fuels for energy consumption fluctuates over a wide range and is greatly affected by the economic and political conditions of its country of origin.

Economic Benefits

Fossil fuel technologies, often, revolve around the capitalistic market. Hence, the use of combustible fuels is often linked to unfavorable labor conditions, and even child labor and slavery. On the other hand, the use of renewable energy sources provides decent jobs, contributing to several economic benefits and aids in decarbonizing the future.

For instance, workers are needed to install and maintain solar panels. In the same manner, wind farms employ technicians for maintenance. Thus, jobs are created directly in parallel with the unit of energy produced. This means that more jobs will be produced if more renewable energy sources are utilized.

Reliability

Clean energy sources, specifically wind and solar power, are less susceptible to large-scale failures. The reason behind this is that both wind and solar power both employ distributed and modular systems. This means that electricity will not be totally cut off in instances of extreme weather conditions because the energy sources powering up the electricity is spread out over a wider geographical area. In the same manner, there will still be a continuous supply of energy even if certain equipment in the entire system is damaged because clean fuel technologies are made up of modules such as a number of individual wind turbines or solar panels.

With all the reasons to check out alternative energy sources, it still holds true that there remain several barriers that hinder the full implementation of renewable energy technologies. Some of these challenges are capital costs because of reliability misconceptions, as well as a difficult market entry due to an unequal playing field.

Because renewable energy sources are cheap to operate, the bulk of the expenses in its implementation is building the technology. Thereby, the rate of return for capitalists and investors in the market entails a longer waiting period. Adding to this barrier is the hidden political agenda that most governments need to overcome.

Economic progress and advancement in technology are not at all bad. On the contrary, it has brought forth a lot of benefits such as cures for ailments and diseases, resources for deep-sea or space explorations, as well as meaningful collaboration and communication. However, this progress came with a price, and unfortunately, it’s the world’s energy resources that are on the brink of exhaustion. Hence, mitigation has been already necessary and finding alternative energy sources is just one of the probable solutions.