Food, Water, Energy and Waste!
Nature is kind!
Its energy is Free!
Use it !
Don’t abuse it!
Global challenges of today! (excluding wars, genocide etc.) are
We tend to overlook the fact that all these challenges could complement each other!
We need water, air, energy in the form of light, a suitable climate and certain nutrients to address the challenges of food supply.
State-of-the-art systems are already in place to convert waste, including sludge and even sewage, into energy and potable water.
There is much more water in our oceans than on the surface of the globe. Seawater greenhouses are some of the newer developments with which crops are now being grown in deserts. These greenhouses produce more water than what the plants require, leaving a bonus in the form of distilled water that can be used for domestic or other applications.
These technologies could be expanded to address many of the our local challenges in South Africa and elsewhere on the globe. We are fully aware of our local challenges as far as continuous electricity supplies concerned on the one side, and also the solid waste management and sewage disposal challenges that are running rife at many of our municipalities around the country.
Water, energy and waste management
Present day waste to energy (WTE) and sludge to energy (STE) technology can convert waste products into energy in the form of heat, gas or electricity. Some of these systems can produce potable water from sewage or other slurries as a byproduct of the process.
Sweden now converts all their municipal solid waste (MSW) into electricity, supplementing it with imported MSW from the UK and some EU countries!
ESKOM: BAD MAINTENANCE - The main cause of LOAD SHEDDING!
Eskom’s chief executive officer Tshediso Matona has blamed inadequate maintenance for South Africa’s electricity load shedding woes. He admitted that the company has been unfaithful to its maintenance philosophy, which was almost like a religion at the utility.
Poor maintenance resulted in unreliable equipment that keeps breaking down.
Economists, business and industry leaders are concerned about the impact of further power outages and the sustainability of electricity in the future. [Source: Eyewitness news, Johannesburg, 2015-01-15].
This snippet of news makes us all even more aware of the electricity challenges that can be expected in the near future. These challenges are especially important for irrigation farming and intensive crop producers using hydroponics and greenhouse technology for optimum production, which require uninterrupted electricity supply and water availability if they want to maintain spectacular yields.
One of the biggest challenges for today’s agriculture is to provide food for the exploding population of the world.
This challenge raises a host of secondary questions, including
* How can we increase production?
* Where can we produce it?
* What will we do with the waste?
* Where will the energy come from?
and many related questions.
These issues are each becoming more and more of a challenge every day!
We need to increase our present levels of food production, reduce the water requirements to produce the food and use less energy to meet these challenges. State-of-the-art hydroponics and greenhouse technology enables us to address these challenges.
A quick overview of today’s hydroponics and greenhouse production figures shows that:
Tomato yields of more than 1,000 tons per hectare have become the norm in first world hydroponic greenhouses. (South Africa’s average yield is ± 56 tons per ha!).
Similar yields are also obtainable from a wider range of other horticultural crops.
Modern systems can produce five million heads of lettuce per hectare per year, versus ± 200,000 heads/ha/year from conventional open field production methods.
Strawberry yields of up to 150 tons per hectare are commonplace where the newest hydroponic and greenhouse technologies are applied to maintain production through year.
Seawater greenhouses using hydroponics produce crops from seawater under desert conditions on a gigantic scale. These production units are already in place, and the technology can be applied in regions where cold seawater is available next to desert or semi-desert conditions (The West Coast of South Africa and Namibia!).
Viable technologies are available to convert a broad range of slurries, including sewage and bagasse (a by-product from the sugar industry), into heat, electricity, gas, liquid fuel or other chemical products.
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What you can expect from my blogs!
My blogs will include discussions on all the subjects mentioned above and many more.
I will be analysing and giving my personal views on a broad range of very interesting (sometimes controversial) topics that I encounter as part of my daily activities. I am sure this will stimulate your interest in my personal observations.
I will always base my blog discussions and analyses on scientific and engineering know-how, which may differ from the information that you receive through mass media, which is often biased or not always trustworthy. I will stay away from political issues.
I expect that will be some of you that will agree or disagree with some of my discussions and conclusions, which can result in very interesting feedbacks. Your comments and feedback will be more than welcome. Your feedback can help me to keep on track with subject material that you can enjoy reading about or would like to discuss with friends or acquaintances.
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