Sweet Solutions to Solve Energy up to Waste Problems at International Environment Conference Technology Fair
9th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Dubai/Nairobi, 5 February 2006 - Roads made out of sugar, ships powered and propelled by the sun and grease gobbling bacteria are among the environmentally-sound technologies being unveiled tomorrow at an international United Nations conference in the United Arab Emirates.
The technologies, ranging from renewable energies and waste reduction systems to solar powered fridges for storing vaccines, are on show at the 9th Special Session of the United Nations’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “Technology has a vital role to play in delivering a cleaner, healthier and more stable world. Here in the United Arab Emirates we are show casing the imaginative, creative and practical ideas of local and international companies”.
“I hope their technologies, aimed at solving the energy crisis up to reducing water, soil and air pollution, will be beacons of inspiration for governments, civil society and industry meeting here,” he added.
“Indeed proof that, with the right policies, countries can catalyze creative minds to solve some of the pressing and environment and development issues facing this planet while generating new industries and new jobs,” said Mr Toepfer.
Ecopave GEO 320 is an Australian invention that turns sugars from sugar cane or molasses into road paving.
It is designed to be a substitute for conventional bitumen from fossil fuels used to pave most roads around the world.
The company claims that not only sugars but a wide range of other natural materials can be used to make the paving including tree resins and gums, vegetable oils and potato and rice starches.
It also claims the product is environmentally-friendly in others ways. For example negligible levels of fumes are involved during the laying and unlike bitumen, which must be constantly heated at temperatures of 170 degrees C, the new material can be stored and transported at room temperature.
A novel spin off is that the product can ‘pigmented’ to reflect heat and thus help to cool hot cities, the company claims.
Several solar power products are being showcased including household solar powered wall lamps from the Indian company Kwality Electricals up to solar 50MW thermal power stations being promoted by the German company Schott.
The Schott brochure states: “Approximately one per cent of the surface area of the world’s deserts would suffice for solar thermal power plants to generate enough power to meet global needs”.
2006 is the UN International Year of Deserts and Desertification.
Another idea from Australia is a solar collector cum power station that looks rather like a satellite dish.
A 30 metre dish concentrates and focuses sunlight to 2,000 degrees C into cells containing salt and metal hydrides to generate electricity using a turbine which can be used directly or stored for later
The inventors estimate that 450kw or electricity can be generated from eight hours of sunlight. The also believe the system can be scaled up to form larger power plants.
Meanwhile, a local company called Solar Sailor, is showcasing solar powered ships from catamarans up to houseboats and aqua tankers for water transportation. The vessels can be either fully solar powered or hybrids fueled by sunlight and conventional internal combustion engines.
UNEP is promoting a technology called SolarChill designed specifically to bring reliable and affordable refrigeration to developing countries in order to fight disease and realized part of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.
Prototypes are being tested in Cuba, Indonesia and Senegal.
The anti grease system, aimed a reducing block pipes and water pollution, is being showcased by Aluline, a local Dubai company. It is targeted at kitchens and the catering industry.
Monique Barbut, Director of the UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics which has organized the Environmentally Sound Technology fair, said they hoped to put suppliers of appropriate technologies together with developing world governments and develop partnerships.
UNEP has a new initiative aimed at getting technologies into developing nations called the Bali Strategic Plan on Technology Support and Capacity Building.
Ms Barbut said: “Developing partnerships as a result of exhibitions like this fair can play a role in getting Bali underway. We hope to take these partnership ideas forward to the next Commission on Sustainable Development”.
Notes to Editors
More details on the 9th Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum and the other meetings and events surrounding it – including an online form for media accreditation – can be found at www.unep.org or http://www.unep.org/gc/gcss-ix/
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