A blog from University of Borås

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hydropower plants: friend or foe?

Hydropower plants are generally considered as one of the most environmentally friendly methods for production of electricity. That's correct, if all the ecological aspects of the dams are considered. However, there are some cases that the hydropower plants are foe than friend to the environment.

There is a recent debate on Brazilian hydropower plants. The dams in this country result in flooding of the forest area. It result in anaerobic digestion of the organic materials (wood, leaves, etc.) in the water and formation of biogas and methane, which is 21 times worse than CO2 for the environment. Some studies show these hydropower plants to threat the environment more than fossil fuels. I believe it is a complicated case and could be true or not, depending on how to consider the factors. However, what is clear is the necessity of considering all the ecological aspects of each project.

Another similar case is the largest lake in Iran with 5,200 km2 called Orumieh, which is drying most likely because of the bad management and the dams of the feeding rivers. Dryness of this lake will result in disaster for the entire region, in terms of the ecological aspects, spreading the salts, and not least the economy of the people in that area. Lets hope for a higher weight facctor fot the environment in considering such projects.

(A hydropower plant in Brazil. The photo taken from SR)

(The large Urmia lake that is drying now)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Glass recycling in Sweden

When it comes to recycling of the waste materials, glass is generally one the materials that is considered to be recycled. Sweden has developed dedicated collections of trasparent and color glasses that are avialable close to all residential areas.

The data from 2009 shows that more than 90% of the glasses were recycled in Sweden. This recycling is mainly carried out by a company named "Svenska GlasÅtervinning". It is a good business with 177 million SEK turnover of just this company (data for 2010) as well as good for the environment.

(Recycling center for glasses. Photo from Göteborg Posten)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making money of hazardous wastes

I was surfing today on the news, and I saw a conflict in Tehran which was about the wastes of a private hospital and its leakage that run on the street. Actually, this is a problem in many cities and countries.

Hazardous wastes should usually get the first priority in treatment and should not be mixed with other wastes. When talking about the hazardous wastes, we may talk about the hospital wastes, or the wastes containing organics like PCB, heavy metals such as cadmium, acids, bases, corrosive materials, silver, mercury, oils, etc.

One of the big companies in Sweden is SAKAB, that recieves about 500,000 tons/year hazardous wastes from different cities in Sweden. They have different technologies to take care of various hazardous wastes, and produce electricity and heat. It is a double payment for recieving the wastes and also selling the products, with almost nothing left to the environment. I wish them good luck with their work, and hope to see more such companies around the world.

(The plant at SAKAB in Kumla, Sweden that take care of the hazardous wastes)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Swedish Royal Family visited Waste Recovery

We had great day today with the visit of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustav and the Queen Silvia. As far as I know, it was their first visit to Borås together. It was a great PR for our work in Waste Recovery, which has a total solution to waste problems in its organization, including education, research, planning and implementations of waste treatment and resource recovery. When it comes to this total solution, we can most likely say that Borås is the best in Sweden, Sweden is the best in Europe and Europe is the best in the world.

Both the King and the Queen showed great interest to our work and the model that we develop for a more sustainable world, better environment and a better life of the scavengers!

(The king, queen and me, Photo taken by Borås Tidningen)