Category: Renewable Energy

Key Factors Driving the Waste Management Industry

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The amount of wastes that humans create every day and their potential impact on the environment have been matters of concern for the government and the community for long. There is a dire need to find a sustainable solution to this issue. Proper waste management methods which would be cost-effective, scientifically better, financially viable, environment-friendly, and socially acceptable to people are the need of the hour.

Waste management refers to the collection, transportation, disposal, and monitoring of wastes. It is imperative due to its many benefits which include protection of the environment and the health of the population, resource recovery, overcoming of an epidemic, and elimination of fire hazards due to the accumulation of hazardous substances.

Growth in Waste Management Industry

The market for waste management is witnessing a significant boom in recent years. This growth is driven by unprecedented growth in all kinds of wastes taking place due to the rise in industrialization, growing urban population, and the rise in environmental awareness. The growing adoption of recycling techniques and the development of innovative technologies and advanced waste collection solutions also fuel the growth of the market.

However, lack of awareness of the impact of unattended solid wastes in the developing regions across the globe restrains the industry growth. According to the research firm, Allied Market Research, the waste management industry is expected to reach $435.0 billion by 2023 from $285.0 billion in 2016, experiencing a CAGR of 6.2% from 2017 to 2023.

A recent trend in the waste management industry is the development of novel and innovative technologies in the space, which are helping in the efficient collection and processing of wastes. Another recent trend in the ecosystem is the adoption of strategies such as partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions by companies with an aim to expand their presence globally and grab a greater market share.

One of the recent collaborations is that between PETCO Kenya, the PET recycling company based in South Africa and Mr. Green Africa, a recycling firm in Kenya to increase the collection of PET bottles. Another one is the extension of partnership by Covanta, a waste management company based in the U.S. with the Town of Huntington, New York to continue with its support for waste management.

PETCO Partners with Mr. Green Africa

In November ’18, PETCO Kenya entered into a strategic partnership with Mr. Green Africa to provide funding with the aim of expediting the PET bottles collection process. The funding enables the former company to support infrastructure for waste collectors that service the latter’s trading centers by providing waste collection tricycles. The waste collection capacity of the collectors which is an average of 40 kgs a day, will increase to between 300kgs to 500kgs under the new partnership.

These collectors have been using sacks to collect post-consumer bottles, which is not only straining on their physical bodies but also limiting in the quantities they can collect per day kilograms. John Waithaka, the Chairman of PETCO Kenya said, “PETCO is committed to increasing the amount of plastic collected from the current levels to 70% by 2030. This partnership with Green Africa is one of the many partnerships we will be rolling out in the coming months to help us achieve this goal.”

Covanta and Town of Huntington Extend Partnership

In November ’18, Covanta announced its collaboration extension with the Town of Huntington for the supervision of the Huntington Resource Recovery Facility. The facility is an energy-from-waste facility that processes about 1,000 tons of municipal solid waste each day, produces 25 megawatts of renewable energy, and recycles over 7,000 tons of metal annually.

According to Chad Lupinacci, Supervisor of Town of Huntington, the extension of their partnership with Covanta provides their community with a great solution to waste management. It helps preserve their valuable natural resources while generating clean energy. He feels that the collaboration is a blessing for their residents as they both aim to achieve a more sustainable community. Rick Sandner, Vice President and General Manager of Covanta’s New York/New Jersey region said, “The Towns of Huntington and Smithtown have developed a leading waste management system that includes energy-from-waste for any residual waste that remains after recycling. We are proud of our work in providing safe, reliable waste disposal and a source of clean energy, and look forward to serving these communities for many years to come.”

The Future of Energy Sector is in Electricity Availability

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The energy industry is showing steady growth, which, according to experts, will continue in 2019. In the USA, Western Europe and Russia it will reach 3% per year while it will be faster in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The most dynamic markets now are China, India, some African countries. While the United States is becoming the undisputed world leader in oil and gas production, China is reconsidering its role in the energy sector, seeking to “make the sky blue again.” It is China’s transition to a new economic model with the use of clean energy that determines global trends. Solar power plants in many countries are gradually becoming the cheapest source of energy. The future of the energy sector lies in the increase in the availability of electricity for electric cars, mobile solutions and digitalization.

Projections show growth in demand for low-carbon, renewable energy sources and natural gas. Coal consumption by 2040 should fall by 6–7 times, oil – by 2.5 times, gas – by a few percents, and low-carbon energy sources – by 2 times.

In 2010–2016, the share of coal when creating new generation facilities averaged about 65 GWh annually, gas – about 47 GW, nuclear decomposition products – about 3 GW, and renewable sources – almost 130 GW. In 2016–2040, the share of coal should fall to 18 GW, the share of gas should remain the same, the share of atomic decomposition products should double, and the share of renewable sources should reach 160 GW. Of which, solar power should grow the fastest – from about 30 to 73 GW per year. Solar panels are ahead of other types of energy from renewable sources. China, India and the United States are ahead of everyone here, while for Europe the wind remains the most important green energy.

The value of renewable sources is growing in shares to the rest of the energy sector. If in 2015 it was 24% versus 76% for traditional sources, then in 2050 the ratio should roll over: 85% versus 15%. Now the most significant share of green energy consists of various types of hydroelectric power plants, 16% of the total world energy production. By 2050, its share should be 12%, the share of wind – 36%, sun – 22%, gas will remain 10%, and coal – 1%.

Despite the fact that electric cars are conquering the world, the demand for oil continues to grow – though not in the energy sector. The fleet of electric cars is expected to grow to about 50 million units by 2025 and 280 million by the year 2040. The increase in oil consumption is likely to be associated with the petrochemical industry, aviation and shipping, and road freight.

About the author: Melisa Marzett thinks broadly. She keeps track of events working for Star Writer Custom Writings and cherishing a hope to write a book someday, which would blow people`s mind. Meanwhile, she practices yoga, travels, studying drawing, singing, dancing, art of paper folding and playing the piano.

Biomethane: Promise and Potential

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Biomethane can drive sustainable development in many parts of the world due to its attractive properties as a clean fuel. The carbon footprint of biomethane is one of the smallest among the known energy sources. The emission factor of conventional diesel (around 90 gCO2eq/MJ) is almost 200 percent (or thrice) more than that of biomethane (30 gCO2eq/MJ). Biomethane is less corrosive, has higher calorific value and easier to handle than biogas. Biomethane, either liquified or compressed, can be transported relatively easily and can be stored for a long period of time which is not possible in case of biogas.

Ease in storage and transportation

Liquid biomethane (LBM) is transported in the same manner as LNG, that is, via insulated tanker trucks designed for transportation of cryogenic liquids. Biomethane can be stored as compressed biomethane (CBM) to save space. The gas is stored in steel cylinders such as those typically used for storage of other commercial gases.

Rapid growth of biomethane industry

The global biogas industry is growing at a rapid rate of around 10 percent annum, mainly driven by increasing traction in industrial waste-derived biogas sector and public acceptance of biogas as a clean fuel. Biomethane is witnessing increasing demand worldwide, especially in European countries, as it is one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives to diesel for heavy good vehicles (HGVs).

Suitability of biomethane

Biomethane is most suitable for vehicles having engines that are based on natural gas (CNG or LNG). Once biogas is cleaned and upgraded to biomethane, it is (chemically) virtually the same as natural gas. Because biomethane has a lower energy density than natural gas, due to the high CO2 content, in some circumstances, changes to natural gas-based vehicle’s fuel injection system are required to use the biomethane effectively.

Turning Household Waste into Clean Fuel

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As more and more governments and businesses are racing to find efficient and reliable solutions for providing energy, the one option that is both widely achievable on a house-by-house basis, as well as tackling two major environmental issues is turning household waste into fuel.

We know there are already many organisations that are doing this on a large scale, collecting household waste from large areas and turning it into energy in Waste to Energy plants. However, arguably a better way to benefit from this is to produce energy on a household basis. In this article we explore some of the reasons why this is a good idea and how we can practically turn our own waste at home into energy.

Reduce Waste Transportation & Limit Landfill Use

Let’s take for example the UK, where they throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink waste as a population every year. Every bit of this waste is collected by local council services and transported some distance, eventually disposed of at landfill sites across the country.

The impact on the environment is twofold in this case. Firstly, the heavy duty vehicles required to collect the household waste are less than environmentally friendly. On the surface this may seem like a minor point, however when you consider how heavy these vehicles are, how slowly they move and how long they spend idling, they contribute a large amount to traffic pollution.

In fact, recent figures show that the average efficiency of these vehicles is around 4.4 mpg. Transportation of waste obviously remains an issue even where commercial Waste to Energy plants are concerned, but can be remedied by turning waste to fuel at home.

The second and arguably more obvious impact of the traditional waste disposal process is that it requires a vast amount of land. Quite simply, by using home waste to generate energy we are able to limit the amount of rubbish currently going to landfill sites.

Anaerobic Digestion

Up until now it has been technically difficult to create usable gas from household waste such as food leftovers. However, recent developments have made it easier than ever to produce energy from these wasted items. This has been made possible by a start-up that has created a user-friendly unit that can be used to collect left over food waste and turn it into biogas using the anaerobic digestion process. This biogas can then be used directly in the connected house for cooking, heating and even lighting.

For those with the ambition and technical experience, it is possible to produce biofuels and build your own biogas generator at home. Practically this is much easier in a tropical climate where the environment makes perfect conditions for the production of biogas from a wide variety of organic wastes. However, with the right equipment and insulation it is possible to do this in other climates.

Car Fuel from Household Waste

We are going to see a continuing rise in fuel prices across the globe. This fact is seeing a trend for eco car manufacturers to develop alternatives for traditional fuels, ranging from solar power through to electric. One alternative is fuelling your car on used vegetable oil. Practically, most diesel cars can be run off used vegetable oil with some minor alterations. This can be done by a specialist, but equally can be also achieved at home by those mechanically-inclined with specialist kits.

Arguably this may not be the most environmentally friendly option for fuelling cars as burning the oil for energy is comparable to diesel in terms of emissions. However, vegetable oil based fuels are carbon neutral due to absorbed carbon during the plants growing process. Also, when we consider the global issues with waste management, running our cars on vegetable oil is a smart solution.

Using household waste may not be as negative for the environment as media often paints it out to be. By limiting landfill and the harmful emissions generated during the waste disposal process we are able to create environmental benefits. We have also explored some of the practical ways you can use home waste to generate fuel for use in your home and for your car.

Renewable Energy in the United Kingdom: A Data-Driven Infographic

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Renewable energy generation in the United Kingdom has increased by 230% since 2009, according to a series of new reports by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial. The future looks promising for renewable energy in the UK, which now accounts for almost a third of the total electricity generation in the UK.

The steady growth of renewable energy in the United Kingdom is related, to some extent, to the increasing concerns about climate change among the UK population. A survey conducted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy reveals that 71% of the respondents are concerned about climate change in 2017 compared to 66% in 2013. Furthermore, 79% of the respondents support renewable energy in 2017 compared to 74% in 2016.

The biggest source of renewable energy in the UK is wind, which accounts for 13.8% of the total renewable electricity generation in the UK. Infact, UK is the best location for wind power in Europe.

In terms of electricity generation by country, Scotland generates most of its electricity from renewable resources (42.92%), followed by Northern Ireland (25.33%), England (23.15%) and Wales (12.33%).

While renewable energy is gaining ground in the United Kingdom, coal is being used less and less as an electricity source. By generating more and more renewable electricity, the UK is spearheading the sustainability movement in Europe.

Greenmatch.co.uk has created a data-driven infographic titled ‘Renewable Energy in the United Kingdom’ that visualises the main findings of the reports.

 

Biomass Energy: Driving Rural Development

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Biomass energy offers attractive opportunities for rural development, and has got tremendous potential to rejuvenate the agricultural economy and community empowerment. The development of efficient biomass handling technology, improvement of agro-industrial systems and establishment of small, medium and large-scale biomass-based plants can play a major role in rural development.

Improvements in agricultural practices promises to increased biomass yields, reductions in cultivation costs, and improved environmental quality. Extensive research in the fields of synthetic biology, plant genetics, analytical techniques, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) and IoT promised to help in increasing the energy potential of biomass feedstock.

Biomass-based microgrid developed by Husk Power Systems in Bihar (India)

Rural areas are the preferred hunting ground for the development of biomass energy sector worldwide. By making use of various biological and thermal processes (anaerobic digestion/biogas, combustion, gasification, pyrolysis), agricultural wastes can be converted into biofuels, heat or electricity, and thus catalyzing sustainable development of rural areas economically, socially and environmentally.

There are many areas around the world where people still lack access to electricity and clean cooking fuel, and thus face enormous hardship in day-to-day lives. Biomass-based microgrids, clean cookstoves and biomass-based fuels can reduce ‘energy poverty’ commonly prevalent among remote and isolated communities.  To conclude, when a marginalized community is able to access reliable and cheap energy, it will lead to overall socio-economic growth, poverty alleviation, youth empowerment and sustainable development.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

Biofuels from Waste

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A variety of fuels can be produced from waste resources including liquid fuels, such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, and gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen and methane. The resource base for biofuel production is composed of a wide variety of forestry and agricultural resources, industrial processing residues, and municipal solid and urban wood residues. Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles, heat homes, and for cooking.

The largest potential feedstock for ethanol is lignocellulosic biomass wastes, which includes materials such as agricultural residues (corn stover, crop straws and bagasse), herbaceous crops (alfalfa, switchgrass), short rotation woody crops, forestry residues, waste paper and other wastes (municipal and industrial). Bioethanol production from these feedstocks could be an attractive alternative for disposal of these residues. Importantly, lignocellulosic feedstocks do not interfere with food security.

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

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

Green Investments and Private Equity

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Green investments, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, provides a strong linkage between the financial industry, environment protection and economic growth. Private equity, as an independent player, is playing a vital role in financing green projects and is now well-positioned to fund development projects worldwide. Last year, the venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy firms was a whopping USD7.5billion.

Green private equity helps project developers and entrepreneurs in securing venture capital for sustainable and green projects. Investors and funds make direct investments into private companies which lead to delisting of public equity.

Equity for renewable energy projects can come from a utility that is financing the whole project; or from the developer who is contributing partial equity (usually 20% to 40%) of the investment cost; or it may originate from outside investors such as infrastructure funds, private equity funds and insurance companies. Capital for private equity can be used to finance new technologies, expand working capital, make acquisitions, or to strengthen balance sheet.

Whether they are venture capital in a start-up electric vehicle company or the financing of a solar power project, green technologies represent investments that are crucial to our transition to low-carbon economy. The prime beneficiaries of private equity are renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean transport, forest management, water management, sustainable land use and other low-carbon projects, all of which are urgently required in the developing world.

Green private investment is a major enabler for financing needs of green projects.

Green investments are a major enabler for local, regional and international financing needs of green projects. In recent years, environment awareness has rapidly increased in the developing countries and it is expected that business opportunities for private equity firms will also show an upward trend.

Short-term sustainability issues, such as water management or energy management, and longer-term issues like renewables and waste management, are already on the radar and the coming years will witness a heightened activity from private investors and equity firms in developing countries. To sum up, green private equity promises to play a big role in aligning financial systems with the financing needs of a sustainable world.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

Which is the Most Efficient Form of Renewable Energy

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The renewable energy sector is growing fast. Its strength lies in its diversity and its numerous tangible benefits. This infographic explores the different types that are currently in use. Learn more about how they work and how experts determine their efficiency.

To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree program.


NJIT Online

The Statistics

Renewable energy accounted for a tenth of the total US energy consumption in 2015. Half of this was in the form of electricity. There are a several possible sources including geothermal, solar, wind, hydroelectricity and biomass. Biomass has the biggest contribution with 50%, followed by hydroelectricity at 26% and wind at 18%.

Geothermal energy is generated by harnessing the Earth’s natural heat. There is a tremendous amount stored in the planet with the conduction rate pegged at 44.2 terawatts. According to a recent report, the global industry is expected to produce around 18.4 gigawatts by 2021.

Wind energy, on the other hand, makes use of air flow to move massive wind turbines. The mechanical action generates electric power. Rows of windmills are usually constructed along coastal areas where there are no barriers to impede flow. This industry could make up 35% of US electrical production by 2050.

By that time, experts believe that solar energy could be supplying us with 25% of our energy needs. The estimate is based on combined photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems. This might not be far off from reality given the continuing improvements in solar technology and the steady decrease in the cost of the panels.

Biomass refers to wood, biofuels, waste and other forms of organic matter which are burned to produce energy. The burning process releases carbon emissions but it is still considered renewable because the plants used can be regrown. Generation will rise at a slower pace that the rest from 4.2 quadrillion BTU in 2013 to 5 quadrillion BTU in 2040.

Hydroelectric plants use the power of moving water to generate electricity. The conventional method is to build dams to control the flow. This requires massive investment but operation and maintenance costs are quite low. This currently accounts for 7% of US the total US energy production.

Measuring Efficiency

We can find out which one of these renewable energy sources is the most efficient by calculating the costs of the fuel, the production, and the environmental damages. Wind comes out on top by a wide margin over all the other sources. It is followed in order by geothermal, hydro, nuclear and solar.

A formula was devised to compute the levelized cost of electricity or LCOE of the various methods we discussed. The outcome depends on several factors including the capital cost, the fuel cost, the projected utilization rate, the operation cost, and the maintenance cost.

Aside from these, both the plant owners and investors must consider the potential effects on efficiency of other external factors. For instance, there will always be an element of uncertainty when it comes to fuel prices and government policies. One administration may be supportive with tax credits and other stimuli for the industry. Another may not be as keen on seeing it take off.

Aside from LCOE, another formula used is called the levelized avoided cost of electricity or LACE. This measures the cost if the grid was to generate electricity displaced by a new generation project. LACE seeks to address the gaps in LCOE by comparing technology efficiencies while accounting for regional differences.

Types of Wind Power

There are different types of wind power including offshore, distributed and utility-scale wind. Offshore is characterized by turbines located in bodies of water. Their placement makes construction difficult such that they can be 50% more expensive than nuclear and 90% more costly than fossil fuel generators.

Utility-scale wind refers to electricity that is generated in wind farms that is then delivered to the power grid for disbursal by utility companies to the end-user. The turbines used are bigger than 100 kW. Distributed wind power, on the other hand, is also called small wind because the turbines are 100 kW or less. The electricity is delivered directly to the end-user.

Wind turbines could use the horizontal-axis or the vertical axis design. The former is more popular than the latter. These are made up of blades, a tower, a drivetrain, controls, electrical cables, group support, and interconnection equipment. Small turbines for homes have rotors between 8 and 25 feet in diameter and stand over 30 feet.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

This form of energy is providing 88,000 jobs all around the US with 21,000 of these being in the manufacturing sector. It is a free and renewable resource that is clean and non-polluting. Since it is in harmony with nature, it can be built on land that is also used for growing crops or grazing animals. The initial investment may be high but the operating expenses is low. No fuel is needed to keep things going.

As for economic benefits, it is considered as a drought-resistant cash crop for farmers as well as ranchers. The taxes paid by the wind farm owners are channeled into rural communities. Indeed, around 70% of the turbines in existence are in low-income counties. These generated more than $128 billion in investments between 2008 and 2015. This resulted in $7.3 billion in public health benefits by reducing air pollutants.

Not all is rosy, however, as there are also notable disadvantages. Engineers have to address several issues including the intermittent nature of wind. The ideal locations for construction are generally remote and far from the cities that need power the most. Bridging this gap is of primary importance.

They tend to be noisy while they turn and are difficult to build. Imagine building 20 story towers that can accommodate blades as long as 60 meters. The transportation of materials to the remote sites is a logistical challenge. While land animals are safe, birds often fall victim to the blades as they try to pass through. Offshore turbines should be operated with migratory patterns in mind to keep marine birds safe.

Conclusion

Exports by wind turbine manufacturers jumped from just $16 million in 2007 to $488 million in 2014. This can be attributed to advances in wind turbine technology. This includes that development of a special blade that can increase energy capture by 12%. Thanks to this and other innovations, this form of renewable energy is becoming more efficient and attractive for investors.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

Poultry Waste to Biogas: An Overview

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Fresh poultry waste and animal manure is weighed and stored in a collection tank before its passage to the homogenization tank where the waste stream is diluted with fresh/recycled water and mechanically mixed to obtain a uniformly mixed waste stream.

The slurry is passed through a macerator to obtain uniform particle size of 5-10 mm and pumped into the primary anaerobic digester where stabilization of the waste takes place. The effluent from the primary digester is fed to the secondary anaerobic digester so as to ensure complete degradation of the waste stream.

Biogas from both the digesters are collected and sent to the biogas purification unit. Apart from water vapours, biogas contain significant amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas which needs to be removed due to its highly corrosive nature. The removal of H2S takes place in a biological desulphurization unit in which a limited quantity of air is added to biogas in the presence of specialized aerobic bacteria which oxidizes H2S into elemental sulfur.

Gas is dried and vented into a CHP unit to produce electricity and heat. The size and nature of the CHP system depends on the amount of biogas produced daily. The digested substrate is passed through screw press for dewatering and then subjected to solar drying and conditioning to give high-quality organic fertilizer.

The press water is treated in an effluent treatment plant based on activated sludge process which consists of an aeration tank and a secondary clarifier. The treated wastewater is recycled to meet in-house plant requirements.

A chemical laboratory is necessary to continuously monitor important environmental parameters such as BOD, COD, VFA, pH, ammonia, C:N ratio at different locations for efficient and proper functioning of the process.

The continuous monitoring of the biogas plant is achieved by using a remote control system such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This remote system facilitates immediate feedback and adjustment, which can result in energy savings.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

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