Saturday, 21 October 2017

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Environment and Renewable Energy (ERE) 




This division was formerly called the Renewable Energy but now known as the Environment and Renewable Energy.  The primary function of the division is to achieve reduction on fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions by development of locally available renewable energy resources suitable for road transportation and electricity generation. Potentials as import substitution for oil and petroleum products will be investigated. These resources developments will be strictly monitored for their environmental impact such as greenhouse gas emissions and associated climate change phenomena


Bio-ethanol

With anticipated global crisis on food and fuel security facing the third world nations in particular including Samoa, the project may have to change focus down the tracks and move away from the biomass initially selected for the project; namely breadfruit, cassava and nonu crops. The bioethanol project is at its early stages and with external funding secured for conducting laboratory investigations it is expected a possible bio-ethanol production process using varies feedstock available locally can be determined. The bio-ethanol main drive at the moment is the need to reduce the cost of production, improvement in feedstock pretreatment, lowering enzyme dosage, improving the overall starch hydrolysis, shortening of reaction time and integration of the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation process. This is seen as the basis of cutting down production cost. The two main feedstock materials been look into currently are manioka and nonu crops, which are locally grown and abundant.


Research & Development

The study will identify all cellulose biomass materials locally available and potential to develop into high yielding materials for ethanol production;
•  Residues form plantation, gardening, landscaping and forestry (tree, plant & grass cuttings, elephant grass, woods, falling trees, etc)
•  Residues during food harvesting (stalk, stem, leaves, roots, etc)
•  Factory residues (coconut sap from oil producing factories, brewer’s spent grain, pulp discard from nonu juice production) and kitchen refuse (skin peelings) etc
•  Surplus breadfruits (windfall) and cassava not suitable for human consumption (hydrogen cyanide content).
•  Close consultation with overseas research teams and consultants on the progress of relevant technology require for the conversion of cellulose materials for fermentation and distillation. This will require new mechanical and process means for raw material preparation, new set of enzymes and chemicals and the application of new genetically engineered micro-organisms suited for the fermentation of the biomass identified.
•  Pilot scale production to assess technological and economic parameters.
•  To target commercialization phase of the project by 2012  


Bio-diesel

In line with SROS mandate of exploitation and promotion of locally available renewable energy resources for production of energy particularly in the road transportation and electricity generation in light of economic burden on the country of imported fuel products, the Government’s food security concerns and priority, and limited water resources for hydropower development. These issues have helped in the formation of core activities and necessitated the development of bio-diesel products and work in sync with private industries already producing coconut oil for bio-diesel fuel blends in the road transportation sector. In this regard several organisations namely SPREP and STEC with MNRE soon to join, already running 2 of their respective vehicles on SROS B10 biodiesel fuel blend as results of signed MOUs between SROS and these Organisations. More organisations/Foreign Missions Offices have shown interests in running their vehicles on B10 biodiesel fuel and are expected to formalise arrangements for same soon. In addition to coconut oil as feedstock for biodiesel production jatropha curcas has been identified as good non-food source of feedstock and planned planting programmes of same whereby they will be intercropped with existing coconuts at STEC Mulifanua Coconut Plantation will commenced shortly. Funding has been secured from Govts of Austria/Italy and IUCN for the Jatropha Curcas biodiesel expansion project. Both aspects of bio-fuel will form part of SROS commitment in the next couple of years in finding a solution for this dilemma.


Research and Development

The bio-diesel study will identify all potential sources of oil from locally available plants and seaweeds materials for development and production of suitable bio-diesel fuel blends. 
•  Coconut oil – current focus 
•  Jatropha oil (Pafiti tree) – grown here already – current focus also 
•  Castor Oil 
•  Candle nut oil (Lama) tree
•  Ifi oil (Ifi tree)
•  Seaweeds or algae oil
•  Close collaboration with overseas research institutions and consultants in the latest relevant technology advances in bio-diesel area.
•  Pilot scale production for assessment of economic and technological viability and feasibility
•  Employment of the “Enzymatic Process” at lab scale for biodiesel production whereby chemicals in the transesterification process are replaced by Lipase (enzyme) which has economic viability potential for being reused / recycled several times before reculturing. 
•  Targeting the project commercialization phase by 2012


Other Renewable Energy Resources

Solar

SROS is looking at harnessing solar energy resources for production of electricity for government ministries and corporations buildings.
These buildings will solely be powered by solar energy for all lightings, power utilities and air conditionings need.
The country has an abundance of sunshine and this resource should be extensively promoted and encouraged for its environmental and economic benefits.
Solar Samoa Ltd has an IPA with EPC for electricity production from solar energy which will directly feeds to the Grid from its Faleolo airport plant site and SROS is expected to work in collaboration with Solar Samoa Ltd in provision of technical advisory services.


Wind

Harnessing of wind resources is another area of focus for SROS. Several areas around the country are wind-swept and appropriate, suitable research projects for assessment of wind resources for wind farm potential for electricity production can be implemented. As with solar energy this is another renewable and very substantial resource.
This is also in line with EPC/MOF proposed Upolu Wind Power Project under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.