A blog from University of Borås

Friday, June 24, 2011

Should I run my car on ethanol?

In 1998, when I attended to a conference in Wisconsin, USA, there was a big dispute between those who love ethanol and those who hate ethanol. Each of them had their own reason to defend or attack fuel ethanol. At that time, oil industry was on one side, and farmers on the other side. This debate is still going on, in which one is for ethanol such as this one (sorry in Swedish) or against ethanol, such as this one.

Today, we see ethanol production in the world has passed more than 70,000,000,000, which is about 5 times more than its lever in 1998. It is a big business for many people in the world. However, we are still running on the first generation of ethanol, and we have no commercial second generation yet. The fact is that we have no single substitute for oil, and I believe we will have several different alternatives in the fuel market in the future. Now, there are many people believe in e.g. electrical vehicles. It is a good alternative for the cities and reducing CO2 emissions. However, are we allowed to destroy the amazon forests in order to access the lithium in that area for the batteries in electrical cars? It seems this debate will continue as long as we need energy (i.e. for ever).....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Resource Recovery

I read recently in the news that production of bioplastics will increase from 700,000 tons in 2010 to 900,000 tons this year and 1,700,000 tons in 2015. Europe in the biggest market of the bioplastics, where also the research and development is dominant. We at resource recovery at University of Borås are also working on this direction. Our vision on increasing the value of wastes in form of different products is presented in the following picture, while we have now intensive research on some fo these directions!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Waste Recovery in Vietnam?

I together with my colleague from the city council in Borås, Olle Engström had an intensive days this week in Vietnam. Together with the Swedish ambassador and his collegues in embassy, and the representative from ICLD, Swedish CENTEC in Vietnam and Sustainable Business Hub, we started our trip from Hanoi and visited Da Nang, Hoi An, Quy Nhon, Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau from north to south of the country in 6 days. These cities have 120,000 to 9 million inhabitants, and all of them were interested to initiate collaboration with us in "Waste Recovery" in order to solve their huge problems with the wastes. We had good discussions with the local goverments, municipalites, universities and companies. The Swedish embassy did their best and the workshops were very well planned although very intensive, and resulted into some concrete discussions. Let's hope we can have enough capacity to handle all these new contacts and friends!

(The beautifull view of the beach in Quy Nhon from Seagull hotel)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

1,300,000,000 tons/year food waste!

We see nowadays in the news that cucumbers are thrown away because of the this mysterious EHEC desease in Germany. It makes a bad feeling when we see such pictures. However, without being ashamed, we in Europe and North America throw away between 95 and 115 kg/year food each person. The corresponding number in Southeast Asia is 6-11 kg per person.

According to a recent report from FAO, developed country and developing countries throw away 670 and 630 million tons per year, respectively, which is a total of 1.3 billion tons each year.

The full FAO report about "Global food losses and food wastes" is available here!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interested in MSc or PhD education?

Yesterday was the graduating ceremony of our BSc students at the School of Engineering. There is generally a good job market for the engineers now. However, som of them might be interested to continue their education toward MSc or even PhD afterward.
I got a tips from Matt O'Brien about his blog on "Top 50 Must-Read Blogs Before Attending Grad School". It is a good collection for those of the students who are going to apply further education toward MSc or PhD. You may find some interesting points:

This is also another intersting collection posted by Brandi Poss:

In addition, education in our area on resource recovery has its own website:

I wish good luck for all of the applicant, who are going to continue their educations!