Sustainable biofuel for beginners: what you need to know

6a00d8341bf67c53ef0148c7969dff970c-800wi

Origins of biofuel

Biofuel originated in tropical countries such as Brazil, India, Cambodia and Mexico. These countries needed an alternative fuel which can replace regular fuel, due to the lack of oil and gas sources and their economic challenges. Sustainable biofuels are derived from crops like sugar cane, oilseed rape, palm oil, wheat, and maize. It has been discovered that these crops can be treated to produce fuels like biodiesel and ethanol. Scientists originating from these countries have found that plants can be used to produce fuel, which means that the initial purpose of sustainable biofuel was more economic than environmental. Bio sustainable fuels have proved to be possible to create and use; however, developing technologies that would make bio-sustainable fuels reliable enough to use in an industry, like the airplane industry or manufacturing, took a lot of time.

biofuel-1

Development of sustainable biofuel technology

The production of sustainable biofuel dates all the way back to the 1970’s when it was originally produced in Brazil. It was derived from sugar cane as a means for the Brazilian government to deal with the oil crisis. Over the years, bio-sustainable fuels have been produced in several other countries, like Cambodia, India, and Mexico. In India and Africa, BSF was produced from a crop called Jatropha, which is considered a highly desirable crop for its ability to grow in terrains where other crops can’t.

The production of sustainable biofuel raised the attention of the United Nations in 2009. The organization published its findings of the benefits (almost 60% less hazardous gas emission than other fuels) but also its concerns (competitive to food industry, etc.).

The organization called “The Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels” released in 2008 its proposed standards for the production of SBF, which was meant to regulate the ethics of BSF production and release any concerns.

As of 2011, when Yale University released research results showing many benefits of using BSF in e airplane industry, International Fuels Standards have allowed airlines to use up to 50% BSF blended with jet fuel.

In 2014, $7.7 million was awarded from the FAA to companies that are dedicated to the development of bio-sustainable fuel.

large_article_im2943_BIOFUELS1

Crop growing and financial benefits

Cultivating crops needed for the production of biofuel is often viewed as competitive to the food industry. Issues also get brought up about ethics in cultivating these crops. However, communities where the most popular crops are used to produce sustainable biofuel have brought many financial benefits to these communities, as well as employment. Experts agree that the most appropriate crops for cultivation would be Harghopha, Sweet Sorghum and PongamiaPinnata. These crops require very little labor and investment while the benefits they bring are significant in terms of economic progress.

Fears and insecurities

Throughout the development of sustainable biofuel technology, some issues have frequently been brought up. First of all, it is considered that cultivating crops for the production of BSF may compete with the food industry, which could result with fewer food supplies. Again, human labor is one of the most important fears, as it has much to do with the ethical aspects of introducing these copies.

Top crops to produce biofuel

Biodiesel-production-schematic

Sustainable biofuel is produced out of crops like maize, wheat, sugar cane and palm tree oil. However, there are three crops that are considered to be most desirable for growing in order to produce sustainable biofuel. These crops are famous for their benefits for local communities, as well as the fuel industry. As sustainable biofuel can be produced out of more conventional crops like wheat and maize, competition with the food industry is a serious concern. Also, the economic impact to a community is an important consideration when we think about producing BSF.

jatropha_curcas

Jatropha

Grown in India, Africa, Cambodia and Mexico, Jatropha is a plant that is considered a great solution for producing bio-sustainable fuel. It is widely popular for its ability to grow on terrain where other crops can’t and for producing very little crop yields.

Growing Jatropha is also economically beneficial for local communities, as it can provide jobs and pay without extreme labor. In fact, hand- picking Jatropha takes only one person/hectare.

In Cambodia, which has no fossil fuel reserves, Jatropha is used to produce biodiesel. In this country, growing Jatropha also brings economic benefits, as it brings employment and development to local communities.

In Mexico, biofuel produced from Jatropha has been used since 2011.

Some research shows that bout 200,000 have found an income source and employment related to growing Jatropha.

pongamiaa

PongamiaPignata

Grown in Australia, India, and Florida as a replacement crop for producing bio diesel, Pongamia is another important crop in producing sustainable biofuel. It is very popular in Australian industry, where Jatropha is being labeled a “weed plant” and is not being grown. In Australia, PongamiaPignata is used as a diesel replacement in modified engines.

sweet_sorghum-cover_lg

Sweet Sorghum

Grown in India, Sweet Sorghum is considered one of the best crops for producing SBF. More precisely, Sweet Sorghum is used to produce ethanol. Sweet Sorghum is also a very low-maintenance crop, as it doesn’t require watering in hot and dry climates where it’s being cultivated.

This crop overcomes many shortcomings of raising other plants. First, only the stalk needs to be used for fuel production, while seeds can remain available to the food industry. Because of this, Sweet Sorghum growing doesn’t compete with the food industry or bring in questions of labor and ethical issues. Sweet Sorghum can also provide food and feed additional to fuel, and for this reason it is very desirable for growing. Growing Sweet Sorghum also has a large impact on the economy in Africa, as it is grown on the surface of 11 million nectars.

Since it was initially found in Brazil during the 1970’s, sustainable biofuels have mostly been used by airline companies and blended with jet fuel. Many experts consider these three crops to be most appropriate, and they don’t demand any unethical labor, aren’t in any competition with the food industry and bring financial benefit to communities involved in growing them.

Top 4 easy go-green strategies

environmental_graphic

With more research being published about problems related to air pollution and ecological issues, companies have become more interested about finding eco-friendly solutions. Some companies have created green substitutes to everyday products while other companies have the opportunity to support them in their efforts by hiring them and going green themselves.

berkeley-organic-dry-cleaners

Organic cleaners

Organic cleaners have become increasingly popular in the last few years. More and more companies have started producing vegan-friendly and green cleaning products. A lot of these products are of really good quality and with very affordable prices as well. Replace your regular cleaners for organic cleaners and enjoy the safer environment in your company. You can replace bathroom cleaners, soaps, and floor, surface and window cleaners for the green option. This way, you will contribute to the environment and make your offices a safer working environment.

organic

Organic food and catering

The organic food industry has reached great heights and has become accepted amongst many. More people are becoming educated about the hazards of a GMO diet and have started to search for more organic food. If you have a cafeteria in your company, make sure to replace regular food with organic food. Also, when you organize meetings, conferences or parties, opt for organic food caterers instead of regular catering services. Promote organic food and a healthy lifestyle in your company. This will do well for your reputation among partners and employees, now more than ever. Considering the growing population of alternative lifestyles, there are good chances that some of most talented, young professionals you wish to groom to experts support environmental awareness and alternative diets. Think of those who are vegan and vegetarian, also, and provide green options in your company’s cafeteria for them.

green-recycling-icon

Recycling

Companies often waste a lot of paper, plastic, and office supplies. Waste of paper on a global level leads to a higher paper demand and further forest destruction. Plastic bottles and packages are amongst the most dangerous industrial waste, as they can’t degrade naturally. Make a decision to motivate your employees to recycle. Recycling takes a simple organization of garbage sorting and disposal, separating organic, plastic and paper garbage. This endeavor is neither complicated nor costly, but it is highly beneficial to the environment. It is also beneficial for the work environment and team spirit lifting. By knowing that they contribute to the idea of a cleaner and safer world, your employees will bring more positive and productive energy to work.

d72c29_0229bffe2dd345eeb8fbc6c287e96c16

Biodegradable packaging and products

Most products these days come with plastic packages that are extremely hazardous to the environment. Once thrown away, plastic packages will never be able to degrade in nature. With time, plastic will also start to release dangerous toxins. Pay more attention to caterers or service companies that care for environmental issues and have been using biodegradable packages for their products. You can contribute by simply buying cleaners, office supplies and other necessities for your company, like cleaning tools, towels and toilet paper, from eco-friendly companies.

Top 5 benefits of companies ‘going green’

url-1

The ecosystem is not the only one to benefit from companies turning to cleaner choices in their business. Businesses themselves often benefit from implementing green technologies and strategies, be it the implementation of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies or something as simple as going paper-free. In any case, companies will harvest financial fruits of their eco-friendly labor also.

Reputation amongst consumers

The latest research shows that a growing number of consumers are willing to pay extra money to purchase from an eco-friendly company. With the growing vegetarian and vegan population, the demand for vegan, cruelty-free and environment-friendly products continues to grow. In fact, several studies have shown that consumers tend to stay loyal and have a better perception of the company that shows its ecological awareness. Consumers tend to stay loyal to these companies for a greater period of time than to companies that don’t demonstrate eco-awareness.

legal_0

Legal regulations

With society becoming more aware of ecological issues, more and more regulations come out that are meant to protect the environment against irresponsible and unconscious businesses. Penalties for breaking these rules are rather high, but damage in reputation amongst consumers and activist groups threatening to address issues of particular companies around the cornerisa very high risk for a company to take. Being ecologically aware in business will help the company to stay on track and keep tabs on any new legal regulations coming out.

Daylight-Saving-Time

Time Savings

Applying green technologies in business is also very time-effective. The number one thing that becomes efficient in business is communication. A lot of businesses that go paper-free replace folders with desktops and internet networks, which makes communication within the company, especially the transfer and turning in of documents, rather faster. This way, you can count on your employees spending more time working productively, instead of trying to pull a stuck piece of paper out of the printer.

istock_000007105467small

Money savings

Going paper free, using bio-degradable materials and recycling also gives a great deal of money savings. Companies cut expenses on purchasing paper, printer cartridges, office supplies and paying phone bills for phones employees use. Nowadays, e-mailing a colleague who works in an office next to yours is nothing unusual. Why would you be wasting money on telephone traffic when you can benefit from using the internet? In terms of costs, companies can cut down expenses by holding online meetings and conference calls instead of paying for business trips.

teamwork-spirit-at-work

Lift in work spirit

Every company wishes its employees to stay loyal and devoted. This will be much easier if the staff feels like they are working for a company that cares about the bigger picture and moral values. Working in a positive environment can only bring better performance results and better devotion to the company. Remember, more and more people are becoming ecologically aware, and many of your employees could also be. There is also an increase in vegetarian and vegan supporters, and businesses need to acknowledge their attitudes to enjoy benefits from their full working commitment.

Top 5 benefits of digitizing for companies

photo_8_03-12-2014_ff28409eaaf5ae4fc6161414268c145c_latest-newspaper-songs-addicted-1392811158n4kg8

Almost all of the world’s most successful companies compete in implementing cutting-edge technology in their work environment. As sleek and elegant folders become thinner and thinner each year, more employees than ever are sitting in on conference calls, Skype meetings, and presentations and walking around with thin tablet computer bags instead of massive briefcases. These are good examples for any aspiring business to follow. These strategies not only reduce paper waste but are also very beneficial and profitable for a business.

moon light fantasy

Fast communication

Digital communication is instant, simple and practical. Interchanging documents, reports, checklists, scanned documents, etc. not only saves paper and environment, but it also saves time. The time employees would spend printing, sorting and organizing paperwork can be better used. Digitizing paperwork actually helps employees to spend more time doing their effective work. The more time someone spends focusing on their job, the better work is done.

data_organization_circle

Data organization

Tracking down and pulling out files and folders is time-consuming and disturbs focus. Juggling piles of papers on their desk as they work is annoying to employees and consumes a lot of time. Getting important files, folders and documents lost can waste a lot of time for a business. As important documents can simply be organized in files and folders on a computer, there is no need for storing paperwork that is not critically important.

Data-Warehouse

All data in one place

Another upside of digitizing data and paperwork is being able to access information fast at all times. Imagine the time and effort staff can save once they have all the information they need in one place. Completing reports, making important calls and managing duties is a lot simpler when all needed information is in hands’ reach.

Performance_eval

Performance evaluation

For a CEO wanting to know how much time employees spend doing quality work, how much time it takes for them to complete their written work or the time they spend on writing, they can find that files and folders are time-stamped and can easily show when the work was started and when it was finished.

recording-instructor1-670x670

Recording

Digital files are easy to trace and check for time stamps, location, and additional information. Using the internet as a means of communication to hold meetings instead of traveling not only saves fuel and accommodation expenses but also gives you the opportunity to record a transcript of the meeting, which later can be used in other purposes, like legal or educational. In fact, using technology for business communication is another great form of protection for your business, because, essentially, everything that is done using software and the internet can be traced, recovered and used for later educational purposes.

Top 5 easy strategies for companies to go greener

gogreen-copy

Being ecologically aware, by all means, doesn’t need to be difficult, costly, or impractical for business owners. These are a few ideas for business owners to contribute to environmental protection while simultaneously improving their own work performance and benefiting financially.

recycle

Recycling

Recycling is very simple to do in the business environment. Considering that most waste in firms comes from paper and plastic, the amount of waste that would be recycled would definitely be significant. By simply throwing in additional trash cans, a company can contribute to environmental protection, while keeping its own environment clean at the same time. Reminding employees to recycle can also lift the work spirit and make employees feel like they are contributing to society more while being at work.

count map digitizing

Digitizing

The modern era has brought many technological advances. Internet, laptops, tablet computers, iPhones and mobile apps can all be integrated into the working environment. It is fairly easy for a company to digitize its paperwork, archives, and other files. These days, companies can form a joined network of computers under one main administrator. Companies can now abandon printing documents on paper if not necessary and simply keep important files in the ‘cloud’ memory.

content_en

Online meetings

Instead of driving or taking airplanes for staff to travel to business meetings, these can now be held online thanks to the internet and many new apps. When held online, business meetings can show to be more fruitful and better organized, since all sides participating are sitting in the comfort of their own company, with all information they need at their hands’ reach.

Inner networks

Interchanging of documents between employees can take a lot of time from work hours, and a lot of paper is being used for printing out temporary documents. This is a big waste of time, employees’ efforts and paper being used. Instead, companies can easily form an internet network of computers within their company, making it easier for employees to transfer files, consult and edit their work. This is both an ecological and financial benefit for the company.

slider2

Introducing latest technologies

In companies using cutting-edge technologies, notepads are being replaced by tablet computers. Briefcases are being replaced with laptop bags, and typing is frequently done using voice-to-text programs and applications. Paper waste is being reduced to the minimum while the business is benefiting from faster and better communication and well-organized documents at the same time. As big as an investment in cutting-edge technology may look like, when compared to benefits and long term savings it would bring, it is a very valuable investment.

Top 5 visible effects of climate change

effects-of-climate-change-and-mitigation-policies-6-728

Climate change seems like something rather distant when heard about it on television or read about on the internet or in magazines. However, some manifestations of climate change are pretty much already here, all around us, impacting each individual’s life without them even knowing.

Cars in snowstorm

Hotter summers, cooler winters

Did you notice that summers have become hotter and hotter each year while winters are becoming cooler? This happens as one of the effects of climate change, and though it may not look drastic in the current time, it becomes scary if you think about what the seasons will look like, for example, in ten to fifteen years. Hotter summers are already becoming a great danger for people of sensitive health. Also, it becomes more frequent each year that high temperatures collapse entire cities, making it impossible for people to leave the house or go to work. The same happens more frequently than ever during winter when temperatures become more and more extreme each year. Snow blizzards often paralyze even the world’s biggest cities, completely blocking roads and literally leaving people trapped inside their houses for days. These are some of the consequences of climate change.

1320_effects-image

No spring and fall?

In some parts of the world, weather conditions have polarized to summer and winter. Springs become cooler and cooler every year, more resembling winter. If you have noticed during the last few years that spring comes later and later, you are right. On the other hand, extremely hot summer weather often remains throughout October and November, making us feel like the summer hasn’t even passed. After this, winters come suddenly and hit roughly with extremely low temperatures.

thailand_flood_climate_change_ipcc_606

Floods

You can’t help but recall all the devastating floods all over the world in the last ten years. Floods happen when more rain falls than the soil can absorb water. Floods have so far devastated even modern cities, like New Orleans.

20130613cnsbr0685 [colorado fire]-001

Wildfires

Itis common for wildfires to happen during the summer to a certain degree, depending on the climate and continent. However, wildfires have now become fueled by global temperature increase, dry summer air and drought. Wildfires hit even urban places, destroying forests, leaving animals without their natural habitat and endangering human communities.

climate-change

Unusual weather conditions

Has the news reported unusual weather conditions all around the world ever more frequently in the last few years? Atypical heat waves in what once were countries with cooler climates and storms, cold weather, and snow in tropical countries are just some amongst the many extreme manifestations of climate change and global warming.

Even though for people who are not oriented towards environment protections the story of some kind of apocalyptic climate change disaster seems distant, most people are still remaining unaware that they are already being hit, and hit directly, by climate change. This should be yet another warning sign to everyone who is left uneducated or uninterested about issues of climate change. The truth is that it has already become everyone’s problem.

Top 5 effects of climate change in Africa

4039717_orig

Climate change is hitting Africa harder and harder every year. Here, devastating consequences of global climate change and global warming are surfacing every step of the way. Climate change hits southern parts of the continent particularly hard, making already challenging climate conditions even worse.

climate-change

Temperature rise

Research shows that the average temperature throughout the African continent rises between two and three degrees every year. This temperature rise has many effects on the weather, wildlife, agriculture and water supplies. With a population that already suffers from insufficient food and water supplies, many communities in Africa are now suffering even more. An increase in temperature puts already endangered animal species in even more danger.

drought11

Drought                                        

The increase in average temperature causes longer periods of drought. Drought poses a danger for the human population as well as the animal population and plants. Animals are losing their supplies of food, which leads to endangered animal species facing extinction, and it roughly hits small farms. Livestock is losing its basic food and water supplies. Drought periods in Africa are becoming longer each year, threatening to endanger basic life and industries such as agriculture and farming.

20130613cnsbr0685 [colorado fire]-001

Fires

With the African continent becoming hotter and hotter each year, fires are getting more frequent, destructive and harder to control. Dry desert trees easily succumb to catching fire, especially when combined with hot and dry air and lack of rain. Fires are becoming more and more destructive. The loss of plants and animals and the additional air pollution as a result of these fires are the main and most devastating consequences of climate change. Communities of people inhabiting endangered areas face danger and suffer the loss of food and water supplies as another result.

csm_Fotolia_24231357_S_c__vom_-_Fotolia.com_e3c9f0e43d

Agriculture

Agriculture seems to be the industry suffering the worst consequences of climate changes in Africa, as it is heavily struck by all the other changes joined together. Agriculture suffers because of the temperature rise, which is disturbing normal crop grow and causes them to dry. Crops are also heavily hit by drought, which devastated fields all over Africa. Without a minimum amount of water needed for plants to survive, income from agriculture, as well as food supplies for the local population, is being compromised.

Climate-change-impact-on--010

Wildlife

Livestock, as well as wild animals in Africa, suffer devastating consequences of yearly climate change. Livestock is being deprived of grass and water, but endangered animals in Africa are hit even more heavily with climate conditions making it harder, almost impossible, for them to survive in the wild. The ecosystem is now in serious danger, as many species like lions, rhinos, hippos, tigers, giraffes and other sensitive species stand ever decreasing chances of survival, let alone multiplying in numbers.

We would think that Africa has already suffered enough with its tough economy and humanitarian crisis. Despite activists’ best efforts in areas of human rights, environment and animal protections, Africa keeps falling victim to all global changes. This should be a warning to us all.