Mauritius turns to bagasse to cut power costs: Mauritius is producing an increasing amount of electricity from local renewable resources, such as bagasse, obtained from sugar cane to reduce its reliance on hydro-carbons. Nasseem Ackbarally reports from Port-Louis.
Mauritius is increasingly turning to renewable resources to meet its energy requirements and bagasse bagasse
Fibre remaining after the extraction of the sugar-bearing juice from sugarcane. The term was once applied more generally to various waste residues from processing plant materials. is becoming an important source of energy. Bagasse is obtained as a by-product by·prod·uct or by-prod·uct
1. Something produced in the making of something else.
2. A secondary result; a side effect.
1. of the island's all-important sugar cane industry. After sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice to make sugar, the waste product can then be burnt to generate electricity. One tonne of crushed sugar cane produces between 250kg and 300kg of bagasse. This material contains about 50% cellulose fibre and 48% water.
Bagasse processing plants have been built near many sugar factories. Previously this resource was simply used by individual factories to produce electricity for their own consumption, but today, thanks to bagasse, the island can substitute 200,000 tonnes of coal annually and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 650,000 tonnes. This saves the island some [euro]20m in foreign exchange a year, and reduces oil imports by around 20,000 tonnes. About 35% of Mauritius' electricity needs is currently produced by independent power producers (IPPs) using bagasse and coal.
Continuous power producers that just use bagasse operate only during the crop season when this material is available. They produce 7% of the electricity for the national network managed by the Central Electricity Board (CEB CEB Chief Executives Board (United Nations)
CEB Council of Europe Development Bank
CEB Corporate Executive Board
CEB Ceylon Electricity Board (Sri Lanka) ). The biggest IPP (Internet Printing Protocol) A protocol for printing and managing print jobs over the Internet using HTTP. Initially conceived by Novell, Xerox and others, the IETF made it a standard in 2000 that includes authentication and encryption. See printing protocol and LPD. , the Centrale Thermique de Belle Vue Belle Vue may refer to:
Developing the use of bagasse, says Deputy Prime Minister A Deputy Prime Minister or Vice Prime Minister is, in some countries, a government minister who can take the position of acting Prime Minister when the real Prime Minister is temporarily absent. Pravind Jugnauth, is a priority of Mauritius' energy policy in the medium to long term. He says that from 2006, all new electricity generation projects must include a bagasse component in line with the government's Sugar Sector Strategic Plan (SSSP SSSP Student Support Services Program
SSSP Society for the Study of Social Problems
SSSP Single-Source Shortest Path
SSSP Society of Southeastern Social Psychologists
SSSP Site Safeguards and Security Plan (Dept of Energy) ). That will help alleviate the rapid rise in the price of energy that the island's economy has been facing.
After years of a tariff freeze, electricity prices have gone up by 37% in the past few months. The price of services has also risen sharply as producers and transport operators demand an increase in their charges to defray de·fray
tr.v. de·frayed, de·fray·ing, de·frays
To undertake the payment of (costs or expenses); pay.
[French défrayer, from Old French desfrayer : des-, the increased cost of fuel and electricity.
Energy crisis in SADC SADC Southern African Development Community
SADC State Agriculture Development Committee
SADC St Albans District Council (administrative authority for St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK)
SADC Sector Air Defense Commander
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Cyril Mayer, director-general of the Centrale Thermique de Belle Vue, the potential of bagasse is enormous. "If all of Mauritius' bagasse was used efficiently, the island could generate 800m KW of electricity meeting about 50% of its demand for electricity," he says.
"This is a low-cost resource as compared to other forms of energy," explains Jean-Claude Hoareau, director-general of the Mon Desert Alma sugar estate. Eleven sugar factories are operational in the island and they produce about 700,000 tonnes of sugar and 2m tonnes of bagasse, largely sufficient to feed the thermal station's demand for feedstock feed·stock
Raw material required for an industrial process.
Noun 1. feedstock - the raw material that is required for some industrial process
raw material, staple - material suitable for manufacture or use or finishing during the year. Using bagasse as a combustible com·bus·ti·ble
Capable of igniting and burning.
A substance that ignites and burns readily. to produce electricity and selling it to the national network brings additional revenue to the Mauritian sugar industry in the face of severe threats from decreasing sugar prices on the European market.
Meanwhile, a severe energy crisis looms over the 14 member countries of SADC. Last August, at the Heads of States and Governments Summit in Mauritius, Secretary-General Prega Ramsamy warned that electricity suppliers would be unable to meet demand in the region during the next two years because of a rise in economic activities and population growth.
"The crisis will reach us in 2007 if no concrete action is taken at the SADC and Nepad level," Ramsamy warned. He commented that energy generation in the region had remained static during the past year as regards distribution while demand had grown rapidly.
Within SADC, energy is considered a priority issue as a key to regional development. A number of projects have been launched, two of them to be found in DRCongo and Mozambique.
The one with the greatest potential is in DRCongo which, if it came to fruition might generate about 3500 megawatts of electricity initially to supply four other countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. from the Inga Dam The Inga Dams are hydroelectric dams on the largest waterfalls in the world, Inga falls, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here the Congo river drops 96 metres and has an average flow of 42,476 m³/s. . This was approved in October last year by the energy ministers and public service directors from the five countries. A company would be established with a total investment of $4.5bn from these countries. The company, based in Botswana, would be the first of its kind on the continent.
The other big development in the region is the restructuring and upgrading of the immense Cabora Bassa Bas´sa
n. 1. See Bashaw. dam in Mozambique, built under Portuguese colonial rule initially to distribute electricity to South Africa at preferential rates.
Mozambican and Portuguese officials have lately discussed the transfer to Mozambique of the 82% shareholding of the Hydroelectrique Cabora Bassa owned by the Portuguese government. Currently, Mozambique owns just 18% of the company that operates the dam on the Zambezi River Zambezi River
River, south-central Africa. It rises in northwestern Zambia, flows south across eastern Angola and western Zambia to the border of Botswana, then turns east and forms the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. in the central region of Mozambique.
Both these projects will take some years to come on stream. Mauritius is meanwhile determined to diversify its energy resources by encouraging the use of solar energy solar energy, any form of energy radiated by the sun, including light, radio waves, and X rays, although the term usually refers to the visible light of the sun. , and has launched a wind energy project. Research is also being undertaken on ocean tidal energy, and ethanol is being produced from sugar cane as an alternative to petrol. It is envisaged that more and more cars in Mauritius will be converted to run on this fuel.
RELATED ARTICLE: TURNING TO THE SUN FOR HEATING
In recent years thousands of Mauritians have installed solar water heaters on the roofs of their homes to heat their water supply with solar energy. About 10,000 households have obtained loans at a preferential annual interest rate of 6% over five years from the Development Bank of Mauritius The Bank of Mauritius is the central bank of the Republic of Mauritius. It was established in September 1967 as the central bank of Mauritius. It was modelled on the Bank of England and was, in effect, set up with the assistance of senior officers of the Bank of England. (DBM (DeciBels below 1 Milliwatt) A measurement of power loss in decibels using 1 milliwatt as the reference point. A signal received at 1 milliwatt yields 0 dBm. A signal at .1 milliwatt is a loss of 10 dBm. See deciBel and dBA. ) to purchase these water-heating photo-voltaic solar panels costing between [euro]800 and [euro]1000.
Many others have taken loans at commercial rates, or paid cash for their water heaters. Kaveeta Aubeeluck is one such householder to have invested in this technology. "I installed solar heaters because the fuel crisis will never end. I get hot water 24 hours a day. One day, I would like to light my house with the help of the sun. I am not worried about fuel because the sun shines over my head," she says.
The DBM loan programme for solar technology was initiated by the Mauritius government in 1992 after fuel prices rose dramatically following the first Gulf War. Mauritius was importing oil from Kuwait, the country whose invasion by Iraq sparked that conflict.
The aim was two-fold: to encourage people to use the sun as fuel to reduce the dependency of the island on petroleum products, and to protect the environment of the small 2,000sq km island from pollution resulting from burning fossil fuels.
Across the island there are many houses equipped with solar panels which tap the sun's rays to heat between 185 and 300lt of hot water daily--sufficient for families of between four to eight members. Poles supporting small panels are also a common sight in many public gardens, parks and car park areas. They were installed by the local authority to charge batteries during the day which then power sodium lamps at night. Port-Louis councillor Tirat Moossun says the use of solar energy helps to reduce the council electricity bill which otherwise would keep growing as the city develops.