Photograph courtesy Eric Rasmussen
Great Energy Challenge Grantee: TapWorld.org
Project: Sustainably harvest juice from the Arenga sugar palm to produce ethanol
Location: North Sulawesi, Indonesia; Village Hub Testing Unit in Tomohon.
Summary: Forester and conservationist Dr. Willie Smits has collaborated with local organizations to develop a small-scale facility to sustainably harvest juice from the Arenga sugar palm. The entire process generates a low-grade ethanol without diverting or competing with food crops for biofuel through a sustainable, low-carbon method. At the same time, it produces a premium organic sugar. A key project benefit, the preservation of existing native rain forest, is paramount to Indonesia, which is a leading greenhouse gas emitter due largely to deforestation. The first Great Energy Challenge grant provides funding for a module to test the production of low-grade ethanol.
Goal: Develop a social cooperative model to revitalize forests, generate energy, create jobs and protect the environment.
"By funding a testing module for the production of lower grade Ethanol deriving from the Indonesian sugar palm tree, NatGeo enabled us to make another important step towards a fully sustainable low carbon ethanol production that can significantly contribute to forest preservation and poverty alleviation in local communities."—Willie Smits, scientist, TapWorld.org Foundation
Related story: "A Rain Forest Advocate Taps the Energy of the Sugar Palm"
- TapWorld.org Foundation is a Netherlands-based non-profit. Dr. Willie Smits, scientist on the ground, is the project visionary.
- SPIE Engineering Group
- Indonesian Masarang Foundation
The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.
@NatGeoGreen on TwitterTweets by @NatGeoGreen
- Tons of Emissions from Power Plants Are Already Locked In, Study Says
- "Zombie" Servers and Inefficiency Drive Energy Waste at Data Centers
- Coal-Dependent Arkansas Faces Stiff Emissions Target and a Running Clock
- New Energy Projects Boost the Use of Undersea Power Cables
- As Fiery Accidents Pile Up, U.S. Proposes New Rules for Oil Trains
Working Toward Smarter Cities
From better mass transit to a stronger mix of renewable energy, what is the most important thing we can do to make cities smarter when it comes to energy use?
Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents, is a perfect setting for a close look at the energy and sustainability challenges of our increasingly urban planet.