Daily Archives: January 7, 2015

“Climate Denier” Term is Nonsense

Political groups continue to use the term “climate denier” or “climate denial” in their statements and rhetoric (e.g. here). This is nonsense. No one “denies” climate, or even changes in climate. Continued use of the “denier” label is simply poisoning the well and inhibiting any meaningful discussion.

Membrane Technology Powered by Renewable Energy to Treat Drinking Water

Schäfer AI, Hughes G, Richards BS. Renewable energy powered membrane technology: A leapfrog approach to rural water treatment in developing countries? Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Dec2014, Vol. 40, p542-556.

Lack of access to safe drinking water remains a present concern in many developing countries, particularly in rural locations. Membrane water treatment technologies have the potential to remove microbiological and chemical contaminants reliably and simultaneously from a wide range of water sources. When powered by renewable energy, these systems are autonomous and have the ability to ‘leapfrog’ over installation of traditional infrastructure for electricity and water supply to reach remote communities. In this paper, current estimated costs for water, membrane plants and infrastructure are compared to indicate the window of opportunity for these exciting renewable energy powered membrane (RE-membrane) technologies. General estimated costs for decentralized membrane systems are within the range of some untreated water costs in developing countries. Specific system costs, however, are very process and location dependent. The appropriateness of a successful approach thus depends partially on careful examination of these parameters. In view of the comparisons made here, the biggest hurdle to adoption of the RE-membrane technology in a remote location may not be cost, but rather sustainability issues such as the lack of skilled personnel for operation and maintenance, service networks, availability of spare parts, socio-economic integration and adaptive capacity of communities to transfer and develop technology appropriate to local needs and circumstances.

Click here for paper (fee).

Small-Scale Renewable Energy Projects in Developing Countries

Julia Terrapon-Pfaff, Carmen Dienst, Julian König, Willington Ortiz. A cross-sectional review: Impacts and sustainability of small-scale renewable energy projects in developing countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Volume 40, December 2014, Pages 1–10

Access to sustainable and affordable energy services is a crucial factor in reducing poverty in developing countries. In particular, small-scale and community-based renewable energy projects are recognized as important forms of development assistance for reaching the energy poor. However, to date only a few empirical evaluations exist which analyze and compare the impact of these projects on local living conditions and their sustainability ex-post implementation.

To better understand the impacts and the conditions that influence sustainability of these projects, the research presented in this paper evaluated 23 local development projects post implementation. By applying an standardized evaluation design to a cross-sectional sample in terms of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, hydro), user needs (electricity, food preparation, lighting, productive uses), community management models, finance mechanisms and geographical locations, the review results provide valuable insights on the underlying conditions that influence the success or failure of these small-scale local energy interventions. The empirical evidence suggests that the sustainability of small-scale energy implementations (≤100 kW) in developing countries is determined by the same factors, independent of the socio-cultural, political and ecological context. These findings allow to better predict the long-term success of small sustainable energy projects in developing countries, this can help to improve project designs and increase the certainty for future investment decisions.

Click here for paper (Open Access).

Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water

Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water 2007