Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My first edocument article - read it and spread it.

Bio Based Economy for Empowering Women

We are now in a petroleum based economy. That is why increasing oil price affect our living cost tremendously. Our economy is affected by other countries policy decisions. The oil barrel hit 106 $ recently and I think it will not take years to rise up to 200 $ price level. This is a sign of a major financial break down, especially in developing countries.

Women are the most sensitive group to commodity prices, because they are the policy makers for food processing, buying commodities and other day today expenses. [I am scoping on Sri Lankan families] Recently Gas price increased in huge amount. Now total cost for 12.5 kg gas cylinder + transportation is about 2000 LKRs. [approximately 20 USDs] Petroleum oil prices are also increasing.

While most of people income is an approximately constant the commodity prices are increasing day by day. We can not blame any one over this scenario. We must follow alternative paths to overcome this problem.

Depending on Crude Oil as a fuel source is nowadays not an option. Because it is depleting and it is not widely spread source. Addicting on petroleum fuel is a disaster for oil poor countries and it has become a wealth flow for oil rich countries.

In Sri Lanka we do not still have oil rigs and we import petroleum fuels for our requirements. Even a primary student knows that in order to import we need to pay them with foreign exchanges. In order to earn what are we export. Tea, coconut, rubber …… suddenly people will say. But do not forget “providing cheap slaves” is also a major income of foreign exchange. We send housemaids into Middle East countries, where most of them are being treated like animals. When you refueling your fossil fuel drinker do you ever think about these things. The tragedy behind this scenario is we are importing fuel far away while having fuels every where. Bio Based Economy offer wide range of opportunities to extract valuable products including fuels from biomass.

We are running a refinery in Sapugaskanda to extract fuels and some other products from crude oil. The existing capacity is not enough, so Lanka Indian Oil Company also serving fuels in Sri Lanka. Petroleum Oil refinery is high energy sensitive plant and it add high cost in to petroleum products.

In bio based economy we employee biorefineries. The main advantage of biorefineries is it can be installed as small, medium or large scale. Biorefineries can be installed in decentralized way. It is a way to distribute wealth across the nation rather that centralized money flow into one place.

Bio Based Fuels can boost rural economy and can be used to empower women. As example we can invest on dendro plants and it will increase the demand over Gliricidia. A woman or group of women can be work as a supplier of Gliricidia and earn 100,000 LKRs per annum as a part time job. They do not want to involve with the supply chain 24x7. While involve in day today life as a housewife + farmer they can earn handsome payments from their secondary crop, Gliricidia.

Rather than open a fossil fuel powered power station, installing bio fuel power station will boost countries economy. It will help to share wealth across the nation and eliminate extreme poverty from nation.

The LPG is middle class women’s choice and poor women’s dream because of easiness. But the present prices hikes will be a nightmare for users. But do you know that biogas can be produced using organic waste and it is working as waste management tool and a fuel generator at same time. It is a smoke free gaseous fuel and it eliminates indoor air pollution related diseases and work loads of women included fire wood collection and preparing them as fuel. Most of causes collecting firewood is young girls’ duty and it reduce their time to spend on academic works. But we have to work on biogas system on several days per batch and we can continuously obtain gas for months. [I am writing about Lanka batch system]

With the increases and development in green chemistry makes new paths to extract many materials. Bio ethanol, bio diesel, methanol, hydrogen, poly lactic acids, enzymes, methane, … etc are some of valuable products which can be extracted from bio resources.

Increasing usage of agricultural waste to produce methane and other cellulosic based products will add a more values to farmlands.

When we addicted to use something it is harder to over come. Do you know that fossil fuel internal combustion engine has maximum of 40 % efficiency (in long run)? Do you believe that we can develop our nation with 60 % inefficient process? But imitating Mother Nature energy trapping mechanism is more advanced and it will provide high efficiencies and less environmental impact.

In Sri Lankan economy women are playing major role in foreign exchange earning. They work aboard, in export processing zones, estates even without human rights to earn these foreign exchanges. So we have responsibilities to spend that foreign exchange in sustainable way.


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