WISIONS of Sustainability

The main objective of WISIONS is to make clean energy a default solution for basic energy needs in developing regions, by helping local partners to identify successes and bring them to scale through regional networks, marketing and demonstration. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

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International Wind Energy symposium in Lima, Peru

News from WISIONS posted on November 15th, 2013

WISIONS will participate in the International Wind Energy symposium next week in Lima, Peru. It will focus on small-scale developments in the field of wind energy in Latin America.

Biogas systems in the Guatemalan highlands

News from WISIONS posted on November 13th, 2013

Asociación Alterna, a NGO based in Quetzaltenango (Guatemala) implemented one of our SEPS projects between March 2012 and August 2013. Their goal was to demonstrate the feasibility and adequacy of biogas systems for small-scale productive units in the Guatemalan highlands.Read moreMinimize

Subsistence economies that involve growing crops and keeping backyard animals are common among rural and peri-urban households in Guatemala. Processing procedures require energy for cooking, roasting or baking, which is traditionally generated by using firewood and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Biogas systems can translate into a threefold alternative: providing clean fuel (biogas) and organic fertilizer (digestate) by treating organic waste (originating from the farm).

Alterna's approach is based on a partnership with existent organisations that possess a long and strong linkage to local farmers (e.g. cooperatives, farmer associations, NGOs). Through a careful assessment – involving both Alterna's skills and knowledge of the local organisations – 14 pilot sites were selected for the installation of biogas systems. Particular attention was paid to accompanying users through the process of adopting the technology to their daily lives. The strategy comprises a daily journal entry by the users, weekly telephone calls as well as visits every 6-8 weeks during the initial six months of operation.

The intensive monitoring work during this demonstration phase was crucial to reach the current status of the project: By now, 13 systems have been producing gas for at least nine months. The ‘oldest' system is already operating for more than one year. Current biogas users have become the best ‘emissaries' for the technology among neighbours and associates of the involved organisations; not only by showcasing the technology in their farms and informing about their experience, but also by sharing digestates, whose fertilizing effect is receiving growing interest.

Based on the diverse lessons learned, Alterna plans to engage on a further project phase in order to scale up the diffusion of the technology. Yet again, their close partnerships with other organisations will be the baseline for their activities. The main goal is to develop plans and mechanisms with these local organisations, so that the diffusion of biogas solutions eventually becomes an integral part of their services. WISIONS will support this up-scaling phase for the diffusion of biogas technologies in the Guatemalan highlands.

5th RedBioLAC Conference in Honduras

News from WISIONS posted on November 13th, 2013

The yearly meeting of RedBioLAC took place this year from October 14th - 19th. Host of this year's event was the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School (Zamorano University) in Honduras.Read moreMinimize

The seminar started with a short but intensive course about biogas technologies, which was held during the first two days. The course provided the participants with basic tools for the design of biogas systems, for thermal needs and the supply of electric power. It combined both theoretical knowledge as well as empirical findings from experts with a long record in designing, installing and monitoring biogas systems. During one day of field visits the participants had the opportunity to appraise actual applications of the technology in different kinds of agricultural systems.
During the last two days more than 20 experts presented the latest advances in crucial research topics as well as practical applications of anaerobic digestion to meet energy related needs in Latin-America and the Caribbean.
Some key challenges for the future development of the technology in the region emerged during the expositions and discussions: Understanding the actual value of digestates as fertilizer, validating the applicability of anaerobic digestion for ‘non-agricultural' sectors (like the treatment of sewage and the organic fraction of municipal wastes) and accelerating the diffusion of biogas technologies among large agro-industrial sectors of the region, which still have huge potentials in terms of optimizing the treatment of their effluents and wastes.
Most of the materials shared by the speakers during the event are available at the online library of the Network [in spanish]: Presentaciones curso introductorio al biogas 2013

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