Renewable energy technologies — their applications in developing countries

Renewable energy technologies — their applications in developing countries

156 Book reviews is so often the case with new biomass energy concepts, based on a specific region linked with a particular set of economic, politic...

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156

Book reviews

is so often the case with new biomass energy concepts, based on a specific region linked with a particular set of economic, political and social circumstances. In this case the area is Puerto Rico and the scenario the declining cane based sugar industry. T h e Energy cane alternative represents the efforts and opinions of one man who has shown that high yields of high-fibre cane can be produced in the field. Whether such cane really has a significant place in either the energy or money based economics of the tropical nations has yet to be established. Certainly, if planting of such cane becomes widespread Hugot's book will have to go to a fourth, much revised edition. In the meantime the combination of the two volumes will be invaluable reading for anyone approaching the use of cane as an energy crop for the first time, whilst the Handbook, at least, will continue as one of the major works of reference for the sugar miller. Note: In the U S A and Canada these books are available from Elsevier Science Publishers Co. Inc, PO Box 1663, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163.

J. Coombs

Energy for Rural and Island Communities IV. J. Twidell, I. H o u n a m and C. Lewis (eds). Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1986. Hardback, xii + 346 pp. ISBN 0.08-033423-7. Price: $55.00.

Renewable Energy Technologies- Their Applications in Developing Countries. L. A. Kristoferson and V. Bokalders. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1986. Hardback, xviii+319 pp. ISBN 0.08-034061-X. Price: S66.00. These two volumes deal with all the major renewable energy technologies, including aspects of biomass production and use. They are similar in that they are directed towards rural use, with an emphasis on the developing countries. Energy for rural and island communities is the proceedings of the fourth conference on the subject which attracted delegates from 30 countries in September 1985. The theme of this conference was integrated energy systems and most papers discussed the use of one or two renewable supplies in combination with conventional systems based on the assumption that the challenge today is to blend the

Book reviews

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best options, in what are now proven alternative technologies, at a particular site in order to produce an economically viable and reliable supply for the community concerned. The conference dealt with all the major alternatives for electricity generation, including geothermal, wave, wind, hydro, tidal and solar (photovoltaic) power, as well as aspects of direct solar energy use and energy efficient building design. The section on biofuels consists of six contributions covering examples of the use of a wood chip fired boiler to save heating oil, the production of biogas from seaweed, the use of peat, anaerobic digestion of high solids wastes, small scale power generation using biogas, and an assessment of the domestic market for biofuels in the UK. The scope of Renewable energy technologies is similar, although the grouping of topics and emphasis is somewhat different with sections on bioenergy production, biomass engines and engine fuels, solar energy, and then hydro, wind and water power grouped together. The book is published as a study from the Beijer Institute (Sweden) and the authors acknowledge the contributions from 16 commissioned papers (which have been published separately in a special volume). The biomass related sections cover the production of fuel wood (including both forestry and agroforestry), the growth of energy crops, the use of agricultural residues and organic wastes, the use of peat, briquetting of biomass, charcoal production, small stoves, small industrial combustion systems, biogas, animal power, alcohol fuels, vegetable oils (for diesel engines), producer gas, steam engines and turbines and stirling engines. The book, although produced direct from typescript, is well laid out and easy to read with numerous small drawings (mainly of an illustrative rather than a technical nature). The only complaint is the lack of an index. As far as the Beijer Institute report is concerned the extent and quality of the biomass portion is such that it will merit a place on the shelves of anyone involved with biomass in the developing countries. In contrast the Highland and Islands symposium probably does not contain sufficient on biomass to justify its purchase by the specialist. However, it will be of value to those who wish to understand the relative merit of biomass energy in comparison with other renewable sources of energy. J. Coombs