Rio de Janeiro, 7 April — A law that determines the closure of all garbage dumps in Brazil by is fostering investments in this kind of biofuel, produced from the decomposition of organic matter. In Rio de Janeiro, biogas is already a significant source of energy due to a modern landfill built by the government. At the same time, civil actors are focusing on small solutions like homemade digesters. Energy efficiency is a big issue in Brazil, receiving particular attention in recent months. While about one million Brazilians still do not have access to energy the estimate does not include those who live in camping sites, which can't be officially powered , the country faces a major water crisis that demonstrates the weakness of its light supply system, more than 70 percent of which is supported by hydropower. Independent organizations such as Insolar and Greenpeace are fighting on their own to install solar panels in poor communities to combat energy exclusion, but a federal law approved in has fostered investments in a different sustainable and accessible source.
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Rio de Janeiro, 7 April — A law that determines the closure of all garbage dumps in Brazil by is fostering investments in this kind of biofuel, produced from the decomposition of organic matter. In Rio de Janeiro, biogas is already a significant source of energy due to a modern landfill built by the government.
At the same time, civil actors are focusing on small solutions like homemade digesters. Energy efficiency is a big issue in Brazil, receiving particular attention in recent months.
While about one million Brazilians still do not have access to energy the estimate does not include those who live in camping sites, which can't be officially powered , the country faces a major water crisis that demonstrates the weakness of its light supply system, more than 70 percent of which is supported by hydropower. Independent organizations such as Insolar and Greenpeace are fighting on their own to install solar panels in poor communities to combat energy exclusion, but a federal law approved in has fostered investments in a different sustainable and accessible source.
The "Solid Waste Law" determines the closure of all garbage dumps in the country by Brazil is the fifth largest producer of solid waste on the planet, and these informal dumps receive approximately 79 tons of debris daily — potential raw material for the production of biogas, a biofuel produced with methane from the decomposition of organic matter. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, biogas is already a significant source of energy. Much of this is due to the Seropedica Waste Treatment Centre , a modern landfill built to replace an old dump called Gramacho, which for 35 years was considered the largest one in Latin America and received almost all of the garbage produced in Rio's metropolitan area.
Starting in , Saropedica stores and processes, following international conservation standards, approximately nine thousand tons of debris daily that used to be discarded at the Gramacho dump, which has been converted into biogas plant.
The production is significant: 70 million cubic meters a day — a volume that could supply all commercial establishments and residences in the state of Rio. For now, the bioenergy generated in Gramacho is used at an oil refinery, Reduc, but it's soon expected to supply its surroundings neighborhoods, areas of extreme poverty. In the near future, it should provide biogas for public schools and a prison complex nearby — and in Seropedica itself, which will also have a fuel plant.
Seropedica is a government initiative, but civil society actors are also exploring biogas, but focusing on small solutions. This is the case of Guilherme da Silveira Filho public school , where teachers and students built, using common and cheap materials, three digesters that turn food waste and sewage into bioenergy that sustain the school's kitchen.
Leaders from the biogas project have signed a partnership with two universities. They analyzed the fuel generated and are now looking for financial support to install a generator that converts gas into electricity for the entire block.
Other benefits include promoting environmental awareness in the region and training individuals in order to multiply the technology, which can easily be replicated. The production of biogas is still in its infancy in Brazil and needs to evolve. When it is linked to landfills, for example, it should be accompanied by a policy to integrate garbage pickers into the labor market.
Some experts also question its effectiveness to solve the problem in the electricity sector and point out high costs. Despite the obstacles, it is a relevant alternative to strengthen energy inclusion, especially in the current context of environmental calamity — an alternative that certainly has much potential to be explored at both macro and microscales. Lilongwe, 6 April — With formal electricity access off the table, more efficient and sustainable energy solutions for Malawians rely on simple local solutions with potentially wide-reaching impacts.
One such solution is the chitetezo mbaula , or improved cook stove. Organised by Clioma , a partner in the DISCOVER consortium , the event brought together a variety of actors — from the private sector to community groups — involved in developing and promoting renewable and efficient cooking and household energy options for Malawi. This is a serious issue in a country where less than 10 percent of the population is estimated to have access to electricity.
In Lilongwe, the cost of electricity and, significantly, the cost of electricity connections, means only nine percent of households are connected to the parastatal provider ESCOM, and, inevitably, those represent the wealthier households in the city. This leaves Lilongwe's poor, like most of the country, to rely on using biomass — wood, charcoal — for cooking and heating needs. Although wood can be a sustainable source of energy, heavy reliance on biomass in Malawi has myriad negative impacts: extensive deforestation, respiratory illnesses especially among women and children who are subjected to air pollution , fire hazards, and burdens on the already meagre incomes of the poor.
The issue has received high level attention in Malawi. While President, Joyce Banda made a commitment to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to make two million cleaner cook stoves available to Malawians by the year Likewise, during his keynote address at the Cleaner Cooking event this year, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Atupele Muluzi stressed that "[w]e have to replace charcoal.
We have to replace wood fuel and we have to find alternatives that are environmentally sustainable and alternatives that are cost effective, affordable and with health benefits as well.
One of those alternatives is the improved cook stove, known as chitetezo mbaula in Chichewa. In Lilongwe, they are a fixture at many petrol stations, but also available at local markets in the townships where many are also produced. The key benefits of the stoves are that they consume up to 80 percent less wood and produce less hazardous smoke than a customary three-stone fire. While any household using the stove will benefit, there are reasons the urban poor in particular can gain from using improved stoves.
As there is a limited amount of firewood available for collection in Lilongwe and wood must therefore be bought, lower fuel consumption results in direct savings for poor households. According to the Maeve Project, which promotes the stoves in both rural and urban areas, the " [c]hitetezo mbaula saves one ton of wood per household per year. Production of the stoves also offers gainful income-generating opportunities for the urban poor.
Clay is easily available in many peri-urban settlements, and Lilongwe's growing population offers an ideal customer base. Many of the organisations providing training in the production of chitetezo stoves focus particularly on women, for a combination of reasons; the women strong Kauma Stove Production Group in north-eastern Lilongwe not only generates an income for its members, but has also helped elevate the position of the women in the community more generally.
Comprehensive statistics on the reach of the improved stove in Lilongwe or elsewhere in the country are not yet available. However, the message from the Cleaner Cooking event is positive, to a large extent because the chitetezo stove has several key features that should help Malawi reach its two million goal by the stoves are quick and easy to use, they are locally made, and come with an eminently affordable price tag, even for the poor. Cairo, 3 April — In an innovative initiative, SolarCITIES found a way to engage the residents of an informal area to produce their own cost-effective clean energy using their kitchen waste and roofs.
Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy. With a seven percent annual rise in electricity consumption and generation in Egypt over the past decade, the country has faced increasing energy shortages since The demand rate is now more than the actual power generation capacity.
Although the prevalence of electricity nationally was Due to these power shortages, many initiatives and private projects were launched in the last few years focusing on producing clean energy, such as solar energy, and using biogas from recycled materials and waste in order to generate renewable energy.
The government established the New and Renewable Energy Authority back in , which aims at conducting research and establishing mutual agreements with other countries and private corporations to apply the best practices of usage and generation of renewable energy in Egypt.
Alternative energy and green living are often criticized as being only accessible to affluent individuals in developed countries. But due to their needs, poor Egyptians created a model of clean energy living. SolarCities Connecting Community Catalysts and Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Systems has helped more than 20 households in the El Darb El Ahmar district to build green technologies made from recycled materials and use solar power to heat water and for cooking necessities.
In addition to providing clean energy for the poor, the project has helped the community increase its understanding of green technologies. The project started with workshops on the creation and installation of solar hot water systems using recycled waste, as well as biogas usage and rooftop gardening.
The program then helped the inhabitants to develop their solutions based on these techniques. Eventually, the project helped the residents build solar hot water heaters and biogas digesters from waste, so that they can turn regular kitchen waste into clean fuel.
The solar panels were made from scrap aluminum, glass, and unusable copper pipes. The team also used liters of shampoo containers as water tanks. El Darb Al Ahmer's residents were therefore able to build solar water heaters and biogas digesters on their small living units' roofs in one of the poorest and most populous districts of Cairo.
Green energy should not be limited to developed nations; local innovation can create a real difference in solving the global climate crisis. These initiatives, if applied in various developing countries, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help achieve self-sufficiency and a good standard of living for the disadvantaged inhabitants of the Global South. Buildings are an important part of the sustainability picture for Mexico City.
This means that improving energy use in buildings must be part of any comprehensive strategy aimed at helping the city hit its ambitious goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by This quiet, simple, but effective project has helped more than 4, households in HCMC, with the participation of 6, Union members.
Since , the Union has helped maintain the electric facilities for 4, poor households in HCMC, contributing greatly to energy savings and power safety. Too poor for a good lightbulb. Understanding that replacing broken bulbs, preventing electricity leaks through worn wires and connections, and installing convenient switches are as important to energy saving as the other more trendy applications of renewable and bio energy sources, the youth of the state-owned enterprise Vietnam Electricity , Ho Chi Minh City office EVNHCMC chose to apply their resources and expertise in maintaining the current electric networks.
All households receiving governmental support, including those of veterans, Vietnam Heroic Mothers, the elderly living alone, and the extremely poor, are eligible to receive free maintenance.
In return, the younger Union members in the project receive mentoring and improve their skills, house after house. After six years, the Union has helped 4, households in and around HCMC, providing , meters of new electric wires, 4, new energy-saving bulbs, and more than 9, electric boards. Not enough money for rice, how to even call an electrician? Since the [Union members] came and replaced the bulb, we've been very thankful. Besides providing maintenance, the Union members now also educate families about money- and energy-saving methods.
They inform families about using models of bulbs, fans, and other common appliances that are both energy-saving and suitable for the family's needs.
I hope this work continues to expand so that more of the poor can receive the warmth of electricity," said Mr. The Union members also encourage landlords to apply for subsidized electricity prices for their poor migrant, worker, and student renters. By the end of , 98, landlords had applied, and 1,, poor renters have benefited from the subsidized prices. This work is a stable, long-term project that is able to continue every year because of the proven benefits it creates. Equally important, the project also receives substantial support from the EVNHCMC, who understand social welfare as important to the organization's work.
A simple, practical plan with a strong enterprise backing is a wonderful mix for successful social initiatives, which are all too rare. Nairobi, 1 April — Residents of informal settlements in Nairobi lack widespread access to affordable and sustainable energy sources. One innovative organization is working to transform raw waste into energy that is both affordable and accessible to impoverished individuals.
However, for many residents of Nairobi's slum communities, charcoal remains one of the only accessible and relatively affordable sources of energy. In a prior article, " Gendering development planning to address persistent quality of life challenges ," we discussed the water and sanitation WASH challenges associated with living in Nairobi's slum communities. As we highlighted there, the complex security issues faced by many women and girls to access pit latrines or flush toilets are very real and contribute to the high utilization of "flying toilets" by many.
As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Across the slums of Nairobi, an organization called Umande Trust has been demonstrating how the right mix of science, entrepreneurship, and community education can transform human waste from a hazard to an asset. Founded in , the Umande Trust currently operates 72 biogas centers across Kenya — 44 of them in Nairobi's informal settlements — that provide improved sanitation options to tenants of informal settlements, income generating opportunities to cooperative self-help organizations, and, most importantly, an affordable and highly sustainable source of fuel for cooking to residents.
Each biogas center has an underground digester that uses bacteria to digest the human waste, which is then filtered and converted into acid. It takes roughly one month for the methane gas to convert to liquid form; it is then piped out to communal kitchens and sold to individual residents. Tackling perceptions proved to be one of the organization's largest challenges: assumptions that food cooked with the methane gas would be unhygienic, smelly, and foul-tasting required targeted education and information campaigns within the communities where the centers where installed.
With targeted social marketing, the Umande Trust has been able to empower local self-help groups not only to address the immediate challenges of widespread lack of water and sanitation access for many of Nairobi's slum residents, but also to provide a clean and renewable source of energy that will not degrade. The average human produces anywhere from to grams of feces on a given day, meaning that the roughly four million impoverished households living in Nairobi's informal communities collectively produce upwards of metric tons of excrement daily.
As previously discussed on TheCityFix, informal street vendors in cities around the world experience daily challenges to their economic livelihoods.
For example, street vendors are perceived to be detrimental to city life, unhygienic, noisy, and to obstruct smooth flow of commuters, pedestrians and traffic.
In the minds of some policymakers, hawkers crowd sidewalks, plazas and parks, come too close on the subway, or sell too close to local businesses.