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close this bookGATE - 1/97 - Eco-label: Organic Cotton (GTZ GATE, 1997, 52 p.)
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A modular installation combines regenerative and conventional energies

Kassel - Although regenerative energies hold the key for the future, technical solutions are not yet mature enough to ensure their broad scale use. Scientists at Kassel University are presently developing a modular system to combine the different electricity generating methods with each other. The philosophy behind it all is that only a combination of different energy sources can guarantee a daily 24-hour supply of electricity.

We want to standardise the individual technologies so that the different energy supply systems can be linked to each other and coupled to the grid", said Fotios Raptis from the "lnstitute for Solar Energy Supply Technologies" (ISET). Such efforts failed in the past because of lacking compatibility. Uniform energy interfaces are to change this situation. Engineers hope that in this way decentralised energy supply systems will become far cheaper because they will no longer require a high engineering input.

Thanks to the research scientists from Kassel, feasible regional electricity supplies based on environmentallysound generating technologies are practically ready to grasp. The mega-hybrid-pilot-plant (mega standing for a plant which is modular, can be expanded and is generally adaptable), which ISET built with support from the European Union and is now presenting to the public, combines solar and wind energy with a battery storage unit for installation in a house in the

Alps or bio gas combined with wind energy for a farm in Northern Germany.

The new technology is also a feasible option when connections to the distant grid is an economical solution. Some two billion people in countries of the South have no hope of being connected to the grid in the foreseeable future. A small plant generating electricity via solar cells would be a meaningful alternative. The modular plant can be extended and adopted to the individual users needs.

Institut fare
Energieversorgung (ISET)
Kstor 59
D-34119 Kassel, Germany
Tel.: +49 561/72 94-0
Fax: +49 561/72 94-300

First Anaerob Conference in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City From December 9th to 1 3th, 1996 experts in the field of anaerobic technology from eleven countries met in Ho Chi Minh City for the Regional Seminar for Southeast Asia on Anaerobic Technology for Waste and Wastewater Management. Southeast Asia was represented by Vietnam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand and Europe by Germany and The Netherlands. The meeting also focused on the economic, social and ecological implications of anaerobic technology.

The experts met in Ho Chi Minh City to:

· discuss the state of the art in the development and application of anaerobic technologies,

· develop strategies for the promotion of anaerobic technologies in order to support sustainable development, and

· identify a concept for the interregional exchange of information on anaerobic technologies.

The seminar was sponsored by GTZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and jointly organized by the Renewable Energy Centre (REC), Cantho University and the Centre for Environmental Technology (CEFINEA), National University Ho Chi Minh

City under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, SR Vietnam. Assistance was provided by the German consultancy company TBW and by RISE AT, Thailand.

The technical reports presented show that anaerobic technologies are widely used for the treatment of domestic effluents in decentralized units and for the digestion of mainly agricultural residues and effluents as well as for the pretreatment of agroindustrial effluents. During the last decade, more sophisticated highrate digestion systems have been established, which have proven to be efficient in treating organic wastewater from agroindustries, food industries and chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

UASB concept) was installed by Heineken Breweries in Ho Chi Minh City to treat their wastewater. The participants of the seminar were given the opportunity to study the design and management of this unit during a field trip.


Anaerobic technologies can serve as cost-efficient (pre-) treatment systems to be integrated with other technologies to achieve optimal results in the treatment and valorisation of organic residues (solids, slurries and liquids/wastewater). The application of anaerobic technologies for the treatment of high-strength industrial effluents is considered a proven technology and is steadily gaining an increasing share of the market.

The large-scale application of anaerobic technologies for the treatment of (low-strength) municipal wastewater how ever, though not fully accepted as a proven technology, has been demonstrated on full scale in warm countries and on pilot scale in moderate climates with very promising prospects due to the favourable economic and ecological implications.

The advantages of anaerobic technology and the set of problems to be managed in the implementation process are country specific. For this reason, its introduction and implementation should reflect the specific climatic, socioeconomic and technological conditions of the region.

Promotion and dissemination of anaerobic technology is neither adequately nor properly carried out. Anaerobic technologies are available in developed and in some developing countries. But information is not widely circulated or transferred. The flow of information from Northern to Southern countries is adequate. However, from Southern countries to other Southern countries it is inadequate, and much less adequate from Southern to Northern countries.

Information in the form of publications, databases, newsletters, electronic forms, etc. on technologies, human resources, and responsible institutions in the field of anaerobic technologies is not well known or not established.

The potential users of anaerobic technology are generally unaware of the potentials and advantages of this technology for their pur poses due to a low level of education in the field. Eco nomic benefits of the technology are not studied in detail. Nor are they demonstrated in an appropriate form.

The private and public sectors do not co-operate adequately to make maximum use of the potentials of anaerobic technology. Sharing of information is sorely lacking. This is due to:

· lack of channels to transfer information
· few regular meetings
· few training courses
· scattered research and interest groups
· electronic media for technology transfer is not adequately used
· information on anaerobic technologies is not systematically available
· technologies developed in private companies are not shared.

Anaerobic technology can serve as a core technology for the treatment of wastewater and organic residues as part of an integrated resource management system. Waste and wastewater management strategies should start with avoidance, separation, re-use and reduction of transport costs. For cost and ecological reasons centralised "all inclusive" landfills, incineration and wastewater treatment plants should be the last choice only. A (socially fair) "polluter pays" principle, including an estimate on long-term costs, should be applied on all legal, fiscal and control levels.

Werner Kossmann
Postfach 51 80
65726 Eschborn (Germany),
Tel: +49 6196/79-3189
Fax:+49 6196/79-7352
E-mail: Werner.Kossmann @

Discussions on Local Agenda 21 in Germany

Bonn - Leipzig, Germering, OsnabDrden, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Rostock, Munich and Berlin-Kick are some of the German towns already working on a Local Agenda 21. The Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 stipulated that by the end of 1996, local authorities worldwide should begin drawing up a Local Agenda.

Although it took a long time for things to get going, the discussion in Germany began to spread last year, and to date 36 authorities have now resolved to start their Local Agenda 21. One of Rio's key demands was that local authorities in the North and in the South intensify their exchange of information.

At the public hearing organised by the German Parliament's Enquete Commission on Protection of Mankind and the Environment, and attended by representatives of local authorities, the wide spectrum of discussion around the communal follow-up to Rio was demonstrated.

Whereas some authorities together with citizens' groups have already been successfully working on Agenda 21, others reported that there was no interest in such a discussion outside the authority for some two years now.

All participants agreed that implementing the demands in the Local Agenda 21 is just as difficult a task as integrating citizens into this process. This makes it all the more important for an exchange of experience to be organised through national and single-state-based organisations.

The Rio conference came to the conclusion that many problems are rooted in situations and conditions experienced at local level, and this is where solutions are to be found.

Further information:
Berliner Platz 23
D-53111 Bonn, Germany
Tel: +49 228/60 46 10
Fax: +49 228/60 46 1-17
E-mail: caf-agenda21