RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 21 (Tierramérica).- Coffee dregs can be used to produce biodiesel. That is the result of an experiment of the Polytechnic School's chemical engineering department at the University of São Paulo.
Brazil is the world's leading coffee producer, second in coffee consumption and generates a great deal of waste that until now went unutilized.
The process involves extracting the essential oil of the dregs using ethanol as a solvent. Then the oil is put in contact with an alkaline catalyst that triggers a chemical reaction called transesterification -- which produces biodiesel.
"We suggest this method for small agricultural communities for the production of their own biodiesel as a fuel for machinery. Producing at the industrial scale depends on educating the population for selective waste disposal," Denise Moreira dos Santos, head of the study, told Tierramérica.
The Monarch Returns
MEXICO CITY, Feb 21 (Tierramérica).- The population of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and the forest area it occupies in Mexico grew last year in comparison to 2009, according to reports from various organizations.
"The fact that there are more colonies is because there is a greater influx of butterflies migrating. In the United States, at the end of the summer, the climate conditions were cooler and that affected the species fertility," Eduardo Rendón, coordinator of the Monarch Program in Mexico City of the World Wildlife Fund, told Tierramérica.
Monarch monitoring, conducted in December and presented Feb. 14 by the WWF-Telcel Alliance (with the Mexican mobile phone company), and the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas, found that the monarchs occupied an area of 4.02 hectares -- 109 percent more than in the previous season.
Monarchs migrate every year between October and march from Canada and United States to the Mexican states of Michoacán (southwest) and Mexico (central).
Greater Local Autonomy for Environmental Management
TEGUCIGALPA, Feb 21 (Tierramérica).- Honduras will promote the autonomy of local governments in environmental management, putting administrative tasks in their hands, like authorizing minor construction permits and charging specific taxes.
The project will begin with eight municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, with the rest following as the process develops, according to Carlos Bendeck, president of the Honduran Association of Municipalities, and signatory of the agreement with the national government.
The municipality of Puerto Cortés, in the northwestern department of Cortés, will be the first given autonomy for environmental management, creating the Municipal Environmental Unit, which can authorize the first construction permits under the program.
Until now, that task was up to the Secretariat of Natural Resources and Environment, and often has meant delays, Bendeck said. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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