Aviation fuel from Jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water


Photo credit: Google

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Egypt produces jet biofuel from jatropha

Speed read

  • Research team produces aviation fuel from jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water
  • Aim is to cut aviation emissions, but high cost remains a challenge for use by the end of 2017
  • Semi-industrial experiments kicked off to develop a production method that may cut the cost
Jatropha curcas is being grown for biodiesel – https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/54/14/b1/5414b1fcf289cfc0c62554f2f29659ea.jpg

Researchers at Egypt’s National Research Centre have produced a biofuel suitable for aeroplanes after successful semi-industrial experiments conducted last December.

The centre was officially commissioned by the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation to find a local biofuel to power aircrafts. This was to support the implementation of the International Air Transport Association plan, aiming to halve carbon dioxide emissions caused by aviation companies by 2050. Commercial aviation contributes about 2 per cent of global carbon emissions annually.

Gizine El Diwani, professor at the centre’s chemical engineering and semi-industrial experiments department, says it all started with the production of a biofuel for cars. The researchers made biodiesel from the seeds of the jatropha tree — the seeds’ oil content is between 20-25 per cent. The oil can be easily extracted using organic solvents such as hexane, according to El Diwani.

“Globally, the lowest price of biofuel is 90 per cent higher than that of the average fuel; this is due to the high cost of the materials needed for the manufacture of biofuel.”

Khaled Fouad, Zagazig University in Egypt

Because the properties of jatropha oil differ from those of traditional engine oil — in terms of viscosity, density and degree of combustion — it has to go through a number of fairly simple chemical processes to be adapted for use in running engines.

At this stage, the fuel is suitable for car engines. To be suitable for jet engines, it should be able to resist freezing until at least minus 45 degrees Celsius. The research team sought to resolve this at a later stage in the fuel’s development.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Marine Microalgae, a top candidate to combat global warming, energy and food insecurity.

Photo credit: AZO Cleantech: Image credit: moonoi172 / Shutterstock.com

We may have stumbled onto the next green revolution.

Charles H. Greene, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University

Marine Microalgae may Help Create Green Fuel, Combat Global Warming and Food Insecurity

According to a study published in the journal Oceanography (December 2016), microalgae, which are taken from the bottom of the marine food chain, may soon become a top candidate to combat global warming, energy and food insecurity.

The new study provides an overview of the idea of large-scale industrial cultivation of marine microalgae (ICMM).

ICMM could minimize the use of fossil fuel by providing liquid hydrocarbon biofuels for cargo shipping and aviation industries. Lipids are extracted from microalgae biomass for producing biofuels and the remaining microalgae biomass can then be converted into nutritious animal feeds or maybe consumed by humans.

In order to produce biofuel, researchers harvest freshly grown microalgae, extract most of the water, and then remove the lipids for the fuel. The residual defatted biomass is highly nutritious and protein-rich byproduct, which can be added to feeds for domesticated animals, such as pigs and chickens, or aquacultured animals, such as shrimp and salmon.

Growing sufficient algae to meet the current global demand for liquid fuel would require an area of approximately 800,000 square miles, or a little less than three times the size of Texas. Simultaneously, 2.4 billion tons of protein co-product would be produced, which corresponds to nearly 10 times the global annual production of soy protein.

Related Stories

Read the full story: AZO Cleantech

People have resorted to use burning wood or other biomass for heat instead of using fossil fuels.


Photo credit: AZO Cleantech


Scientists Find Greener Way to Generate Heat using Biomass

Written by AZoCleantech

Woodstoves and campfires have long been used to warm people up in cold weather. Recently, people have resorted to use burning wood or other biomass for heat instead of using fossil fuels.

Scientists have recently reported a greener technique to generate heat using biomass. Instead of burning biomass, researchers allowed fungi to break them down to discharge heat. This research wok has been published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

One of the main advantages of using biomass is that it comprises of animal waste and plant materials that are abundantly available. It is produced in large quantities as a waste product from agricultural and paper industries. Since burning biomass emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other fine particles that lead to environmental and health problems, scientists have been trying to find techniques to utilize biomass with minimal emission levels.

One technique involves addition of microorganisms that possess the ability to degrade the materials. In this technique, heat is discharged without emitting fine particles or VOCs. Until today, almost all of the investigations into this method were conducted in room-temperature conditions.

Read the full article: AZO Cleantech

Spineless Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear) is used in dye-making, as feed for livestock and as feedstock for anaerobic biogas production (Renewable Energy World)



Image: Cultivated Opuntia (prickly pear cactus)

Prickly Pear Cactus: Nuisance or Bioenergy Opportunity?

Agave americana and Opuntia ficus-indica for rural prosperity



Biogas production from the spineless prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis)

A new “Wealth from Waste” project

This will bring rural prosperity and generate employment and carbon sequestration.


Opuntia and Agave for biogas/biofuel


By Dr.A.Jagadeesh (Nellore, AP, India)


Opuntia and Agave are care-free growth, regenerative CAM-plants.



Agave americana, the Sisal Agave is a multiple use plant which has 10% fermentable sugars and it is rich in cellulose. The fibres are used in rope production and for weaving clothes in The Philippines under the trade name DIP-DRY.



In Brazil, a paper factory runs on sisal as input. A steroid, called HECOGENIN is extracted from this plant’s leaves. Since on putrification it produces methane gas, it can be cut and used as input for biogas production. In Kenya and Lesotho, dried pieces of Agave are mixed with concrete since the fibres act as binding material.


A perfect anti-desertification plant : the spineless prickly pear (Willem Van Cotthem)


The cultivation of the spineless prickly pear or nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica, a type of cactus), is very important in Mexico and Brazil. According to Rodrigo Morales, a Chilean engineer, this cactus “allows you to generate inexhaustible clean energy.

Wayland Morales, Head of ElquiGlobal Energy, argues that an acre of cactus produces 43.200 m3 of biogas or the equivalent in energy terms to 25,000 liters of biodiesel. Jatropha curcas would produce only 3,000 liters of biodiesel on the same surface. Another of the peculiarities of this nopal cactus is the possibility to produce biogas with the same composition as natural gas, but its production does not require machinery or devices of high complexity. Unlike natural gas, it contains primarily methane (75%), carbon dioxide (24%) and other minor gases (1%), “so it has advantages from the technical point of view since it has the same capacity heat but is cleaner”, he says, and as sum datum its calorific value is 7,000 kcal/m3.

Desertification: nopal cactus more efficient than Jatropha for the drylands – (Got Powered / Elqui Global Energy / Rodrigo WAYLAND M.) – https://desertification.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/opuntia-biogas-elquiglobalenergy-p9270040.jpg

The fruits of Opuntia ficus-indica are edible and highly nutritious. Their juice is exported by Israel.

Nowadays, I am experimenting with the pads of this cactus for malaria control.

Developing countries like ours, which have millions of hectares of wasteland, can transform their rural economy by investing in Agave and Opuntia plantations on a massive scale.


Green biodiesel production from unrefined feedstock



Catalyst for green biodiesel production from unrefined feedstock

October 3, 2016
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
A durable catalyst for green biodiesel production from low grade feedstock through one-step catalysis has been developed, report scientists.

Biodiesel is a renewable liquid fuel originated from biomass, but it is not widely used because of its complicated production process and high cost. Since conventional liquid catalyst can only convert plant oil in its purest form into biodiesel, raw plant oil must be purified by adding strong acid or alkali before it can be used. To remove the added acid/alkali, the biodiesel must undergo a purification procedure which generates a huge amount of waste water. Therefore, a research team at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a new class of solid catalyst for biodiesel production.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Sand to store solar power


Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Masdar Institute

Abu Dhabi project uses sand to store solar power

by Ali Audi

Speed read

  • Sand can store solar heat of up to about 1000° Celsius
  • A pilot project improves the efficiency of solar power plants and reduces costs
  • But more investment is needed to bring the technology to market.

Researchers in Abu Dhabi are testing a pilot device that can store solarenergy in sand to improve the efficiency of power plants and provide energy at night.

The technology, developed at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, uses gravity to drain sand from a higher basin into a lower one, heating up the sand grains with solar power during the transition. In the lower basin, the energy can be stored and withdrawn at low cost to provide extra energy if needed, for example during peak hours and at night-time.

“Two pilot models of the system have been tested in an effort to prove its efficiency and applicability on a large scale in big projects,” says Nicolas Calvet, an assistant professor at the Masdar institute’s department of mechanical engineering.

The next step is to test a more sophisticated model in preparation for its commercial marketing, Calvel says.

Read the full story: SciDevNet

Are we killing the earth?



Population, agriculture and energy: Are we killing the earth?

What is the future of earth?futureearth

As the world’s population grows, the already depleted natural resources are reduced further. As citizens of the planet, we are the only ones who can change how we live in order to make the way we live sustainable. Continuing to consume like we are does not seem sustainable without new innovations being created.

In the 1960s the planet reached what the scientists said was the max capacity of human beings at 3 billion. We were told this was the optimal number of people for earth to sustain. We are now at 7.4 billion with projections of around 8.9 billion by 2050. In order for this enormous population to survive, we had to adapt. What is known as the Green Revolution occurred.


We began monoculture, created fertilizer and pesticides, dwarf crops, irrigation and genetically modified crops in order to produce enough food to feed the world. These practices have impacted the earth negatively in a number of ways. Water systems have been affected by either being diverted or polluted by agriculture. In addition, farms on such a scale have diminished biodiversity and have damaged ecosystems. Agriculture is just one aspect of the consumption that occurs around the globe. Since food is kind of important to us, how we grow that food should be as well.

Food is not the only resource we are consuming. Energy consumption is another issue as standards of living in nations around the globe continue to rise. This energy currently comes mostly from a nonrenewable source: fossil fuels.

Read the full story: Restore our Planet

Solar greenhouses to save energy

Photo credit: WVC 1995-1999 – Picture5-Gao-Jia-Van-02b.jpg

Belgian TC-Dialogue Foundation’s Greenhouse project in the Lanzhou region (Gansu Province, P.R. China 1995-1999)

Reinventing the Greenhouse

The modern glass greenhouse requires massive inputs of energy to grow crops out of season. That’s because each square metre of glass, even if it’s triple glazed, loses ten times as much heat as a wall.

However, growing fruits and vegetables out of season can also happen in a sustainable way, using the energy from the sun. Contrary to its fully glazed counterpart, a passive solar greenhouse is designed to retain as much warmth as possible.

Research shows that it’s possible to grow warmth-loving crops all year round with solar energy alone, even if it’s freezing outside. The solar greenhouse is especially successful in China, where many thousands of these structures have been built during the last decades.

Read the full article: Low-Tech Magazine

You can do it with fruit walls

Photo credit: Low-Tech Magazine


Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s

We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been tranported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn’t always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

Montreuil peachesThese crops were grown surrounded by massive “fruit walls”, which stored the heat from the sun and released it at night, creating a microclimate that could increase the temperature by more than 10°C (18°F).

Later, greenhouses built against the fruit walls further improved yields from solar energy alone. It was only at the very end of the nineteenth century that the greenhouse turned into a fully glazed and artificially heated building where heat is lost almost instantaneously — the complete opposite of the technology it evolved from.

Continue reading “Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s” »

New hydropower project in the world’s most arid desert

Photo credit: Treehugger

Google Maps/Screen capture


Chile’s new hydropower project will be in the world’s most arid desert, but it actually makes sense

by Megan TreacyMegan Treacy

In the past, energy projects in Chile that have involved hydropower have beenenvironmental nightmares. Damming of pristine rivers and running of transmission lines through environmentally sensitive areas have led to an automatic negative association between the words “Chile” and “hydropower.”

A new clean energy project set to break ground next year has a brand new approach to creating hydropower in Chile that won’t touch any rivers. In fact, it will be located in the world’s most arid desert — the Atacama Desert.

Chile currently imports a majority of its electricity, most of it generated from fossil fuels. The country has needed to find renewable energy solutions that could make it energy independent. Luckily, the country has three wonderful natural resources that can get it there: sun, mountains and the sea.

The Atacama Desert is located where the mountains meet the sea and it gets abundant sunshine, which makes it the ideal location for a new project that would use solar power to pump ocean water up into two reservoirs high in the Andes Mountains. The water would then be released to rush back down the mountain through pipes to a hydroelectric plant where it would generate electricity. Pumped storage hydro plants are not new, but this particular combination of using solar power to pump ocean water up a mountain, and at this scale, definitely is.

Read the full story: Treehugger

Something to please the hungry Africans: “We will need finance”.

Here is something to make the hungry Africans and their malnourished children extremely happy.  Maybe some companies, selling solar panels, too. We would rather think at needing finance for offering a kitchen garden to all the hungry. (Willem Van Cotthem, Belgium)


Photo credit: UN News Centre

“Saving energy is a triple-win solution. It can save money, reduce emissions, and provide additional energy capacity,” he added, noting that renewable energy technologies are becoming cheaper and more competitive, with many people accessing energy for the first time thanks to solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro power plant.

“But, to replicate this experience for billions more people, we will need finance,” he declared.


COP21: saving energy ‘triple win,’ Ban says, as $5 billion Africa plan launched at climate summit

The United Nations and partners launched today a $5 billion initiative to expand renewable energy capacity in Africa today as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the UN climate change conference (COP21) in Paris that saving energy is a triple-win in the battle against global warming.

“The production and use of energy is responsible for more than half of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. That means energy is also more than half of the solution. We need sustainable energy to reduce global greenhouse emissions and avert the risks of runaway climate change,” Mr. Ban said, stressing that clean energy is equally important for ending extreme poverty.

“Saving energy is a triple-win solution. It can save money, reduce emissions, and provide additional energy capacity,” he added, noting that renewable energy technologies are becoming cheaper and more competitive, with many people accessing energy for the first time thanks to solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro power plant.

“But, to replicate this experience for billions more people, we will need finance,” he declared.

“Let us build on these bold initiatives. A global energy transformation must reduce heat-trapping emissions. It also needs to ensure that we leave no one behind. Those things can only be achieved if we tackle the issues of energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy together as a trinity.”

Read the full story : UN News Centre

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