By Dr David Fulford, Ashden Assessor
Blog posts tagged with 'biomass'
Abellon, who won an Ashden Award in 2011, has just commissioned a new solid biofuel manufacturing facility in Vithalapara, Gujarat. Covering 7.5 acres of land, the facility is the largest and first of its kind in Asia. It has the capacity to handle different kinds of biomass, and to process 75,000 tonnes of biomass pellets each year saving up to 100,000 tonnes of CO2. All agricultural residues will be sourced from farms within a 50km radius.
How far can you get in an electric milk float only powered by renewable energy? Well Tim, Thom and Trevor, stars of Channels Four’s current documentary series ‘Three Hungry Boys’, are taking a trip to find out just that - and they’ve been shedding light on some interesting clean energy projects in the process.
Land being acquired to grow biomass fuels could threaten local food crops and puts extra pressure on food security in the developing world – that’s the warning from a new briefing paper put out by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) this month.
European carbon reduction targets will increase demand for biomass fuels. One estimate suggests this will require an additional 90 million tonnes of biomass per year to fuel electricity, heating and cooling. This demand for biomass will quickly outstrip national supply and push companies to look for sources beyond the usual suppliers in places like Russia and North America to the developing world - largely tropical regions where plants grow more quickly. There’s no evidence that shifting biomass fuel production to developing countries will improve local energy access, and there is much concern that it could increase local vulnerability as plantations compete with food crops for the most fertile land in areas where land rights and food security are already an issue.
The farmers in Gujarat used to get nothing for the crop residues left over after a growing season. The ‘waste’ would simply be burned in the fields. Meanwhile, the growing industrial sector is emitting greenhouse gases at increasing rates through its use of lignite as a boiler fuel. And it can only grow in coming years.
Within Bihar, the so called 'darkest state' in India, a reliable supply of electricity to your home is not a reality for most people - just 10% of the state's demand is currently being met by grid electricity. Husk Power, one of our five 2011 international winners, has proved there is an answer. Their village-scale electricity grids are already bringing 32,500 households clean and reliable energy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) kick-started the week by releasing a report outlining our capability to provide 80% of the world’s energy needs with renewables by 2050. In 2008, about 13% of the world’s energy was renewable (and the UK only managed 3%). As one of the lead authors puts it, the ‘Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN)' is 'an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage.’
Following recent announcements on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), Juliet Heller speaks to Ashden Award winner Andrew Rowe, Senior Manager at Suffolk County Council about their work promoting sustainable woodfuel and installing biomass boilers in schools.
Suffolk CC is leading the way in promoting biomass in their region and they aim to use the RHI to go even further. They have now installed 22 wood fuel boilers in local schools, replacing their old, inefficient oil boilers. In all they work with over 100 schools across the County encouraging them to go green by using biomass, energy saving schemes and renewable energy technologies.