A blog from University of Borås

Monday, November 28, 2011

Biorefining with water hyacinth in China

Taihu lake with 2250 km2 is the third largest lake in China. This lake is located in west of Shanghai in an agriculatural province named Jiangsu. It is a very beautiful lake with many islands and also a local tourist attraction. We visited this lake last week. The wastes and wastewater from agriculture, industries and also municipal of the huge population who live around the lake, result in dramatic pollution of the water in the lake. It means the nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphates, etc. in the water is quite high. It is most likely difficult to stop draining of the wastewater into the lake, and it result in growth of algae, so the water becomes green. Therefore, the Chinese authorities decided to cultivate Water Hyacinth in the lake in order to clean the water and reduce the algae blooming. They planted more than 400 ha water hyacinth in the lake. As I saw the results, it had a great impact on water quality. However, the question is now what to do with this 200,000 tons water hyacinth per year. Let's hope our collaboration result in great improvement of the environment in that region.

(Algae blooming in Taihu lake in Chaina)

(Plantation of water hyacinth in the lake)

(Harvesting water hyacinth last week)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Peak oil debate

It is now many years that we hear about the oil production, if it will increase, decrease or stay as the same level as today. The fact is that the oil resources are limited and cannot end forever. But, we are extracting more and more. In 2010, the global oil production was 86.8 million barrels per day, compared to 84.6 million barrels/day in 2007. However, the current sources of the oil is converting to CO2 by human faster and faster, and we have to find new fields of crude oil and also invest on alternatives. The prognosis of International Energy Agency is the oil production to increase to 96 million barrels per day in 2035. So, we can say that we have a peak in the current oil fields, and perhaps a platue in the total oil productions, but an increase in the natural gas liquids and also the unconventional oils. So, why not to investo more on the oil with the biological sources?

(The IEA’s world oil production)

Friday, November 4, 2011

World subsidies for fossil- or biofuels?

When talking about biofuels, many actors and authorities complain that biofuels such as ethanol, biogas, biodiesel etc. cannot survive without subsidiary and need governmental financial support. It is a fact and can be true in several cases. However, a recent report from IEA- World Energy Outlook in 2011, shows that the world subsidies to fossil fuels in 2009 and 2010 was about 300 and 409 billion USD, respectively, while the subsidies for the biofuels was less than 20% of this amount.

(The data from IEA, and the picture has borrowed from here)