A blog from University of Borås

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waste energy for ice-free streets!

If you experience icy winters and falling down in slippery roads, you are not alone! It is common in Sweden to hear about this type of news when temperature falls down suddenly and ice covers the roads.

In Borås as the same as many other cities in Sweden, waste is burned to produce electricity and district heat to warm up the houses in the city. In Borås, there are 2 waste incinerators with total power of 40 MW and burning about 300 tons wastes per day (municipal and industrial). Part of this heat is used to heat up the streets in the central part of the city and thaw the ice during the winter. This heat is transported via hot water and distributed to the tubes that are underground in the street. I took this picture recently, when they are renovating one of the streets in the city. If you are in Borås now, you can see how the make it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Windpower? Yes please, but not in my neighborhood!

There is an interesting debate on wind power now in Sweden. We have about 2000 wind turbines producing more than 6 TWh electricity in 2011. In the next few years, the number of wind turbines will be almost doubled, while the turbines will be bigger and are expected to produce about 18 TWh electricity in 2015.

Yesterday, in the tv program "Vetenskapens Värld" in the Swedish SVT, there was debate about it. People are interested to environment and renewable energy. But, nobody wants wind turbines in their backyard. It has too much noise and disturb the silence of the area around it. In a radio program this morning (Swedish Radio P1), there was also news about the 700 wind turbines that is going to built offshore, but got protest in for example damaging the landscape over the sea!

There are many such news in Sweden. Wind power is growing, and so the protests against it. These debates remind me the debates a few years ago about ethanol, in which negative news about ethanol was circulated in media after this fuel was established in the market in Sweden.

I believe we as human are too naiv and selfish. We are looking for a superman to save the world. We first just talk positively about it, and then when it comes to the market, we talk just negatively and look for its drawbacks!

All the renewable energies have their own advantages and drawbacks, as the same as oil, gas, and coal. In this market, there is no angel and no evil. With this volume of global energy consumption in the world, we should have all these energy sources in the market. It is a fact that we have to accept it, even if we have to put in our backyard!

(The number, installed capacity and yearly production of wind power in Sweden)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

From wood to fish feed!

One of our aims in working with zygomycetes fungi is to produce fish feed. These fungi contain chitosan as well as the proteins and are good quality feed for fishes. In recent years, our partner company Cewatech AB in collaboration with Nordic Paper Seffle AB with support from Vinnova, put their efforts to cultivate these fungi on sulfite liquor in large pilot plant. This liquor is the residual of pulp industries using sulfite process, in which, hemicellulose is degraded to the sugars and lignin is dissloved in water in form of lignosulfonate. The fungi can well grow on the liquor by assimilating the sugars and now ready to go to fish feed industry.

This topic is particularly important in connection with traditional fishing of small fishes for feeding the larger fishes. This project has the potential to cut this chain and help for a more sustainable world. I wish good luck with our partners and hope to see soon this process in industrial scale!

(Schematic process of fish feed from sulfite liquor. Here is the reference)