Clean energy or an uncertain future

Clean energy or an uncertain future

By Benjamin Bof

Agriculture and forestry could be the main sources of bioenergy, a key element to achieve the Millennium Development Goals: eradicate poverty and hunger and ensure environmental sustainability

In his editorial on November 24 in Ecoportal No. 228 entitled "The earth is sick and has a fever", the environmentalist Ricardo Natalichio said:

"As long as more money is invested in research on new weapons than in clean energies, as long as the economic system is based on consumption, while in productive, agricultural, forestry, mining, fishing, and industrial activities, the central objective is maximization of economic benefits and not environmental sustainability and life, we will continue heading as before, towards a very difficult future. "

Bioenergy; key to the fight against hunger

Agriculture and forestry could become the main sources of bioenergy, a key element in achieving the Millennium Development Goals: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability, says the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The increase in the use of bioenergy benefits the diversification of agricultural and forestry activities, food security and sustained development, explains the document.

Bioenergy is obtained from biofuels. Solid fuels, biogas, liquid fuels such as ethyl bioalcohol and biodiesel from crops such as sugar cane and herbaceous plants or wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and derived products or forest residues, manures and others.

Biomass reduces the costs of imports.

Biomass is a local energy source capable of generating heat and electricity. It helps to substitute imported fossil fuels to strengthen national energy security, reducing the total cost of imports of petroleum products and fighting poverty.

Increasing the use of biomass to produce energy would benefit economic development, especially in rural regions, since it would arouse interest in small and medium-sized companies in investing in new opportunities presented by production, preparation, transportation and trade in addition to the use of biofuels.

The use of biomass to produce energy also generates jobs for the field man. "Indeed, the production of bioelectricity has a capacity to generate employment superior to any other form of renewable energy production. It can multiply the creation of direct jobs with respect to to those generated by the production of electricity using conventional means for each new job. ”This said the FAO report.

Ethanol; a thriving reality

In 1991 we published in La Prensa "Energy Self-Sufficiency" where we showed a microdistillator set up in the city of Corrientes that produced ethanol from sugar cane to meet the needs of rural producers. We commented to a resident of the city of Bela Vista, also in that province, who told us that in the 1940s when there was a lack of oil they produced alcohol from molasses that they obtained from a sugar mill in Villa Ocampo in the north of Santa Fe. He explained to me that with a simple 210-liter metal drum with a simple adaptation of a serpentine they built an alembic. Alcohol was used in the stern engine to move along the Paraná River. When we photographed the distiller, it fascinated us but as a result of the explanation of the inhabitant of its alembic, it led us to suspect that simple technologies could be highly competitive in certain conditions, especially when there is a lack of resources, mainly in remote regions lacking support infrastructure and with little development. .

Economics is the science of scarcity. This awakening for us of the possibilities of ethanol that had already been studied by the Department of Mechanics of the Faculty of Agronomy of Buenos Aires in 1937 in all proportions in a mixture with gasoline as well as the aptitude of castor oil as a motor lubricant . In 1994, in Bella Unión, Uruguay, where CALNU, a sugar mill operates, we tested a 4.5 HP Villa irrigation motor that supplied water to five greenhouses with thirty percent Tucuman alcohol and Uruguayan naphtha with excellent results. Transferred to Brazil, we saw that ethanol has been used as fuel in automobiles for thirty years since the launch in 1975 by General Ernesto Geisel, then president of Brazil, of the PROALCOOL program. We attended a seminar on November 8 that was opened by the Minister of the Civil House; Dilma Roussef at the headquarters of O Estado de São Paulo, a newspaper that is published in São Paulo and is the most important in Brazil. There the future possibilities of this production were discussed, reviewing the thirty years of PROALCOOL, which already reaches three hundred million tons of cane used to produce alcohol and sugar. It became clear that the space where this production can expand is through the hydrolysis of bagasse to obtain cellulose as a raw material for paper, livestock fodder or in the complementary production of ethanol through fermentation with enzymes.

E85, our passion

Reached by the light of the appeal of the environmentalist Ricardo Natalichio, we are ready to spread the word by preaching the conversion to E85 of vehicles that use the polluting oil that warms the planet, leaving consequences of destruction and death in the wake of the hurricanes that showed a force never before seen as was the Katrina that hit New Orleans reaching as always happens in major disasters mainly the poorest.

This year that is ending, we were able to install equipment that allows us to transform a mixture of alcohol and fifteen percent naphtha into cars that consume pure gasoline to E85. This is accomplished by mounting under the carburetor of a heater that uses hot water from the engine. We tested it in a GM four-cylinder Opel K 180 engine with excellent results, the gicleurs and diffuser were also changed. Another manifold was also adapted for a VW 1500 engine that uses the exhaust gases to heat it since the engine is air-cooled. The automotive industry sells FFV (Flex Fuel Vehicular) cars that automatically adapt to consume alcohol and gasoline in any proportion. Injection engines by changing the "chip" for about two hundred dollars are also prepared to receive fuel mixtures. The same old story; the rich can be an environmentalist and the poor are left out of the discussion, which is why we seek to create this space for old cars adapted for this fuel mixture. In the case of Argentina, 22 percent ethanol was already used during the Alconafta experience, which is the current formulation of Brazilian "gasoline" that also contains that percentage of alcohol.

We defend E85 because it is the optimal proportion that achieves the best detonation strength and speed value as well as its gas balance thanks to the "cofiring" which is the combustion of two or more fuels, such as phosphorus, which is composed of impregnated wood. of stearin so a total burn is achieved.

Water, source of life

All plant or animal production needs water to run.

At the end of 2004, during the Climate Summit in Buenos Aires, the intention was to impose the Kyoto Protocol, which does not consider land clearing as responsible for climate change. Unfortunately once again we were right and the sky gave us the reason: eight months of dry in the saline region of Chaco, another dry in the southwestern pampas and the worst dry of the Amazon in seventy years. We warned about the dire consequences of the Micheletto Law that allows to destroy the Amazon sanctioned on September 4, 2001 sanctioned by the Brazilian Congress, which this year was involved in an unprecedented moral crisis due to allegations of corruption that ended with the expulsion of José Dirceu and others involved. The forest has its mysterious laws. Dorothy Stang was assassinated in Altamira, for whom we offer a prayer. Rectangular development models assuming the homogeneous forest as a figure on paper failed miserably. The inhabitants of the interior of the Santiago forest saw the four horsemen of the Apocalypse arrive, hunger, plague, war and death. Not satisfied with exploiting them for many decades to forests and settlers, the "Ottoman" Curi left them a cursed inheritance by selling the papers that supposedly attributed property rights to financiers of a bank that was melted. We sent a letter to Governor Gerardo Zamora asking for the intangibility of that environment and we managed to remove the specter of the Apocalypse. Expelled from their habitat, the settlers had nowhere to go.

That interior space of the Argentine semi-arid regions still does not solve the problem of water channels. The Desaguadero-Salado River, the Dulce River, the five ordinal Cordovan rivers, the continuation of the Quinto River in Buenos Aires territory, the Pampean Salado River, the Salado de Puelches River, the recharge of both Puelche and Pampeano aquifers. There is no water plan. It was once said of the Almirante Portillo channel and channels were tried by diverting the Bermejo river. They remain on paper and as usual the fault lies with the others, IMF etc., etc ...


To solve the urgencies of hunger, we believe that corn and cassava can provide important support with foods of pre-Columbian origin such as "farinha" made from corn and cassava. After being macerated for five days, these products are quickly dried on a hot plate. The Pastoral de la Crianza develops in Brazil the "multimistura" which is a vitamin-protein supplement used for children and people under chemotherapy treatment. It is made up of wheat and rice germ, ground egg shells, dried cassava and beet leaves, roasted soybeans, and roasted peanuts. Children urgently and urgently need these nutrients to fully develop their nervous and brain systems. The lack of time and form produces permanent and irreparable injuries with consequences for their future life.

In 1995, we published a drum oven for cooking food on July 22 in La Nación. We have another more efficient model built with a truck gas oil tank and three burners. For the toasting of food we use a modified plow disc, flattening its bottom through blacksmithing. We recycle aluminum cans into pots and pans. We have manufactured a reversible animal-drawn plow that is lightweight and can plow left and right going back and forth in the same furrow. Useful in small family gardens for food self-sufficiency. We recently obtained the "watercorn" technology, which is the production of green forage for animal feed that with water and micronutrients makes it possible to obtain 5,000 (five thousand tons) per hectare and per year of corn shoots, which shows the importance of water and not soil to produce food. We recycle truck wheels to produce "booties" (I wear) comfortable and durable shoes that are worth five dollars a pair. We have also shown a "borrachudo" asphalt (borracha is rubber in Portuguese, and borracheiro; gomero) that allows to asphalt streets and routes. With the cardboard of the tetra-pak boxes, roof sheets are manufactured using polyester resin as a binder.

According to an anonymous author, the important thing about a long walk is to take the first step.

* By Benjamin Domingo Bof

Video: Hydraulic Fracturing: Bridge to a Clean Energy Future? (May 2021).