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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on farming systems research and development
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on integrated systems
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close this folderAbstracts on agroecology
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Rural common property resources: a growing crisis.
View the document2. Making haste slowly: strengthening local environmental management in agricultural development.
View the document3. Farming for the future: an introduction to low-external-input and sustainable agriculture.
View the document4. Public policies affecting natural resources and the environment.
View the document5. Human development and sustainability.
View the document6. Caring for the earth - a strategy for sustainable living.
View the document7. Agriculture and natural resources: a manual for development workers.
View the document8. Environmental guidelines for resettlement projects in the humid tropics.
View the document9. Saving the tropical forests.
View the document10. Values for the environment, a guide to economic appraisal.
View the document11. Alcohol fuels - options for developing countries.
View the document12. Diffusion of biomass energy technologies in developing countries.
View the document13 When aid is no help: how projects fail, and how they could succeed.
View the document14. Natural resources and the human environment for food and agriculture.
View the document15. World development report 1992 - development and the environment.
View the document16. Species interactions and community ecology in low external-input agriculture.
View the document17. Development strategies and natural resource management for humid tropical lowlands.
View the document18. Environmental management of the northern zone consolidation project in Costa Rica: strategies for sustainable development.
View the document19. Environmental assessment: the valles altos project in Bolivia.
View the document20. Environmental crisis in Asia-Pacific.
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agrometeorology
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Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands

11. Alcohol fuels - options for developing countries.

Publ. by Nat. Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418; ISBN 0-309-03386-1, 1983, 106 pp.

This report summarizes information on alcohol fuel technologies for planners, investors, and technical assistance agencies in developing countries. Although the information is primarily aimed at the non-technical reader, it does include some details of the technologies; references are included for those who wish more specialized information.

In developing countries, government and industry are considering the use of locally produced alcohol fuels to reduce the burden of foreign exchange payments for petroleum products; some have already begun constructing facilities to produce alcohol fuels from indigenous materials.

To substitute alcohols for petroleum fuels must create diverse considerations:


- The technical capability exists to substitute the lower alcohols, methanol and ethanol, completely or in substantial part for all types of liquid fuels currently derived from petroleum.

- The technical capability exists in almost all countries to produce ethanol from a broad spectrum of renewable biomass resources, specifically from many varieties of plants and from agricultural, food processing, and urban wastes. The components in these raw materials from which ethanol may be
produced are sugars, starches, cellulose, and hemicelluloses.

- In many situations, alcohol fuels may be the most convenient alternative to gasoline, but on a small scale there may be other energy sources that require less capital, organization, and management.

- The economic consequences that can ensue from adopting biomass- based alcohol fuels must be carefully analyzed; for example, positive indirect-economic factors associated with the replacement of imported petroleum by a home-based fuel industry as opposed to the possible negative effects on food prices and energy costs in different sectors.

- The environmental implications of a biomass-based alcohol fuel strategy are far-reaching but little understood. They range from the extremely damaging, such as deforestation to produce the wood needed for a cellulose-based alcohol industry, to beneficial, such as improved forest management practices leading to higher productivity with better ecological balance. The energy plantation approach to biomass production raises questions about vulnerability to pests, water requirements, and pollution by runoff.

- The substitution of alcohols for petroleum-based vehicle fuels can affect air quality. Although evidence suggests that the overall results may be beneficial, experience with alcohol fuels is too limited to permit unequivocal conclusions.

- The most critical effects are likely to result from the way in which production of alcohol fuels benefits those involved. The adoption of a biomass-based alcohol fuel policy will have other social impacts, depending on which of these two extremes tends to predominate, and will particularly affect land use and ownership.

Finally it can be stated that developing countries must develop or expand their own capabilities to monitor and audit their energy needs, assess their biomass resources, weigh competing requirements, define fuel markets, and evaluate the technologies needed to convert local resources into fuel to meet local needs. These countries should also identify and evaluate, to the extent possible, all potential impacts economic, environmental, and social arising from the implementation of a biomass-based alcohol fuel strategy.

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Review, book, developing countries, renewable resources, technology transfer, sustainable development, social needs, energy technologies, technical factors, cultural acceptability, economics


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