A blog from University of Borås

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ethanol from stillage goes commercial in Sweden using Indonesian fungi

Ethanol with a production of close to 90 billion liters is the largest product of biotechnology in term of the volumes. Ethanol concentration is generally around 10-11% that goes to distillations and ethanol is separated from the slurry named "stillage".  It means we have close to 900 million m3 of stillage per year in the world. The stillage contains about 10% solid materials.

We have worked several years to produce ethanol and animal feed from this stillage. We used an edible fungus that is originated from Indonesia in a food named "oncom". In has been developed in our lab and examined in large scale at the ethanol plant Agroetanol. They are now planning to use it commercially. It is exciting for both the company and also our research group that developed the process. This news was published in the Swedish newspaper NyTeknik a few days ago.

(The fungus Neurospora that gives the orange color in the food)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pop rice, rice film and rice husk!

In Vietnam, rice with a production of about 40 million tons, is one of the most important income in rural areas and also export for the country. In addition to rice as final production, rice in Vietnam is also converted to other products. Rice films and pop rice are two products (you might have heard about pop corn, but not pop rice) When producing these products, rice husk is used as fuel, and then its ash is used as fertilizer to the rice fields. It means no waste but total recycling! Here are some photos about these processes that I took in Mekong delta:

- Producing rice films (that is then used to roll with vegetables as a tasty food):

- For pop rice, sand is first heated up by burning the husk, then rice (with its husk) is mixed with it and you get immediately the rice pop mixed with husk and sand. Then, it is screened to separate the sand and husk:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Global access to water and sanitation

Water and Energy are critical issues in the world now. In the last few decades, we had many conflicts and wars in different regions in the world about these two topics. When it comes to water, the story become more scary, considering the global warming. We hear nowadays that California has shortage of water. But the same story is already known from Africa, Middle East, Spain, India, Pakistan, etc.

On the other hand, according to World Bank Data, we consumed 66 billion m3 water in 2010 and this consumption is going to be doubled (122 billion m3) in 2035. It means that water is going to be even more critical in many regions in the world.

Another factor is the access to sanitation (toilets, pit latrines and pour flush latrines). As for many people, a life without toilet cannot be imagined, 20% of people in urban area and 53% people in rural area do not have access to this sanitation.