TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 9 (Tierramérica).- Small-scale coffee growers in the northern Honduran region of Subirana are promoting the use of solar power to dry coffee beans in order to mitigate the pollution caused by other processes. Similar initiatives are also underway in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Some traditional methods of coffee drying have harmful impacts on the environment, such as those that involve the use of firewood, explained Raúl Raudales of the Mesoamerican Development Institute, which has offices at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and is backing the initiative in Costa Rica and Honduras.
The process to be used combines the use of solar panels and organic fuels. The higher quality of the coffee dried through this method, according to experts, will mean greater value added and make it possible to sell it on the European market at higher prices, Raudales told Tierramérica.
Coffee exports bring in export revenues of 1.2 billion dollars annually for Honduras.
First Wind Power Project to Debut in Indigenous Region
CARACAS, Jan 9 (Tierramérica).- Twelve wind power turbines are really to be installed in Alta Guajira, a region in northwestern Venezuela bordering on Colombia, in what will be the first phase of a wind park that will supply electricity to some 10,000 families. Most of the project beneficiaries belong to the Wayúu indigenous ethnic group, whose members live on both sides of the border.
"This project, which takes advantage of the average 10-meter-per-second winds in the area, marks the debut of the use of wind power in Venezuela, and will result in savings of tens of thousands of barrels of diesel fuel," said Francisco Quintero, director of alternative energy sources at the state-owned National Electric Corporation.
The turbines, mounted on 80-meter-high posts, were purchased from the Argentine company Impsa, Quintero told Tierramérica
In just a few short weeks, the new turbines could be generating two megawatts of electricity, which will jump to 75 megawatts when the wind park is fully completed. The overall cost of the project will be around 65 million dollars.
Cyanobacteria Could Be Used for Biofuel Production
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 9 (Tierramérica).- The use of cyanobacteria as an alternative source of biofuel production is being studied by a team of researchers at the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA) at the University of São Paulo.
"Cyanobacteria are bacteria capable of photosynthesis and are among the oldest living organisms on the planet. Their use in the production of biofuel is highly advantageous because they are a cheap and abundant raw material and do not pose a conflict with regard to food production," researcher Caroline Pamplona told Tierramérica.
Another benefit of so-called "cyanodiesel" is its potential profitability. "Corn produces 168 liters of oil per hectare, for the production of biofuel. These photosynthetic microorganisms could produce around 140,000 liters per hectare," said Pamplona.
"Studies are still underway and we don’t expect conclusive results yet, but I believe this fuel source could become a major energy supplier," she concluded. *Source: Inter Press Service.
up for Tierramerica's free weekly newsletter!