Category Archives: Renewable Energy and Biofuels

The complicated world of technology transfer for climate change

Its been seven years already since I came across my first technology transfer project on climate change mitigation.  Anaerobic biodigesters at that time, was seen as a major force in methane capture and waste to energy as part of the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM.  The Philippines was seen as having a very large potential due to the widespread practice of microscale pig farmers which is embedded in our Filipino culture. Also, the concept and projects have taken off in Thailand and had been earning enough from emission trading schemes.

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So what happened after seven years? Not much really but of course there was the camaraderie developed among the trainers and project implementers.  Though the funding from the US EPA has somewhat died down.

When a technology is transferred, how do you sustain it? How do you localize it, how do you make it a point everyone will work on it with a common goal in mind?

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Filed under Climate Change, GHG Mitigation Effort, Pollution Control, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

A Reaction to Gina Lopez’ DENR Appointment

vampira-me-laffIt has been quite a while since I have written a post,  and Gina Lopez in the news have resurrected my ecoblogging from the grave. My last post  in 2012 was about my encounter with her in DAP in 2010.

The worst that you could tell me at this point in my life is that you see me as the future Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary.  I believe I have good scientific training and technical experience in environmental management. Being a media hype is not something I would dream about. I do want a certain degree of concrete expertise.

The appointment of Gina Lopez, is something I do frown about. The second one I frowned at after Mark Villar for DPWH. These are the cases that seem muddy rather than concrete. But the established safeguards in government systems will hopefully deliver regardless of leadership. I wish them the best, but I don’t like them. Some things will be difficult, but we can always wait for the next administration to patch things up.

Gina Lopez has always been a pet peeve for me.  Maybe its the energy she exudes when I met her. Why did I end up in that meeting anyway? Was it her seemingly lack of regard for Filipino Scientists?  Her know-it-all naivete with excerpts of arrogance?  Her “alalays” Diosa and Eugene…Oh gosh, the seemingly staged entrance to the meeting, the bohemian outfit or the fact that she kind of looks like my old boss, who was deeply insecure of me. Red flags here and there, naive comments on ecology and sustainability showing limited technical knowledge….blah blah blah.

Have I really come a long way? I have nothing to do with the DENR or LLDA at the moment. As much as possible I do not want to involve myself in shallow environmentalism and media propaganda.  I do want to exude technical expertise in the most modest, humble and  academically appropriate manner.  Being recognized as a media hype, will not be me because I don’t have  and will never have that advantage.

I do believe that Climate Change is the most critical environmental issue in the Philippines. Though our focus is Adapting to the Change, mitigation should also be focused at.  I believe I can contribute my training, experience and expertise on this area and I need to learn more.

I guess my issue with Gina Lopez is that people around me compare me to her, which to me is NOT a good thing. I have nothing against her, but her ways and means are not something I want to emulate. Gina Lopez is an environmentalist, I am not like that, and I am  doing my best to break away from that perceived mold.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels

MOLDS and LEED…S not the wine type

Mold infestations have been bothering me. In 2008, I worked in the 7th floor of a High Rise building. I was always sick, I can smell the sour stench from the carpeting, when Test America came, they could sense a degree of Sick Building Syndrome on the lower floors given the lack of ventilation among that levels. Should we get used to it or spend efforts on eliminating it?

Green buildings are not only limited to energy and resource efficiency but  also the health and wellness of the people using it. Molds are just one aspect, emissions of volatile organic compounds, thermal comfort, adequate acoustics, illumination and overall indoor quality is essential and as a requirement periodically tested. 

Sometimes that’s the irony of it all, such concepts are popular but are not fully implemented and lacks adequacy of implementation. How can I work efficiently and effectively if I don’t have a workplace at all and I have to utilize my creativity to improvise? 

In the Philippines, there are only two (2) USGBC certified buildings. I guess, there is the Philippine Green Building Council and they have more certified buildings. There is a premium on this building, but who gives a damn about this?

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Management System, GHG Mitigation Effort, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Earth Houring, Crowd Sourcing and Trafficking.

Time flew fast.   I just finished earth hour.  I didn’t stay home, I was driving during the course of earth hour and changes in local government jurisdiction also changed the lighting condition of roads. It is only now that I realized that lack of lighting can be hazardous specially towards traffic, increasing the risk of traffic accidents. Whoa!  Are we supposed to pull-over during earth hour, but that will waste an hour of travel. First time, an earth hour paradox had occurred.

The last time I was active for Earth Hour / SWITCH 2010 when I have to go to the Mall of Asia to join the concert of darkness organized by WWF but the for the previous years I just spent it at home. This year, fully unaware what time it was, I was driving.

Anyway, Spiderman was supporting the Earth Hour movement. Things are changing, because now Earth Hour has funded environmental improvement projects.  Does this make economic sense? Of course, environmental improvement has an economic value and any degradation is a loss of value.  Everyone has a responsibility to internalize their externalities.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Disaster Management, Environmental Management System, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Hot Oil Treatment

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I think I just got duped from buying argan oil online.  The product was obviously a fake because it was not absorbed by OCM cleansed skin the first time I tried it. God bless OCM!  It seems the product I bought was mixed with sunflower oil as carrier oil because doing the same with my  current HHN sunflower oil on hand, the effect was essentially the same, the rate of absorption was the same, the HHN sunflower oil was even absorbed faster when I swatched it together.  I should have known better but it was really difficult to detect if it was bought online, what a waste of money. I was even planning to make it as a gift. It is true, you can not get good, authentic argan oil at such an incredibly low price.

Beware of Diluted Argan Oil-Best Quality Argan Oil is Organic and Cold Pressed.

Talking about oils, I just got back from San Francisco, Agusan del Norte this morning via Butuan. My last encounter with that town was my first EIA assignment for Jollibee Foods Corporation in 2008 when I prepared the Initial Environmental Examination of Jollibee San Francisco.  I haven’t had the time to visit that store located at the town proper similar to what I did with  Jollibee Buhangin Davao, I do feel a bit awkward dropping by and saying hi or hello to the  store managers and checking their current environmental compliance status and asking for difficulties communicating with the corporate office. That was my job five years ago, my job right now is for an ISO audit.

From Butuan City, we went straight ahead to one of the only Palm Oil Plantations here in the Philippines.  Inside it was a Palm Oil Refinery and the palm olein we use in our kitchen is heat processed.  I just read about cosmetic grade oils and food grade oils that we are supposed to eat. Heat processing kills microorganisms that might affect the food supply but it also reduces the cosmetic efficacy of most oils we use.  Palm oil may be good at deep frying food stuff but it is highly not recommended as oil for OCM.

Though I was duped for buying argan oil online, I am now one of the people who swear by the fact that OCM did work for me after a month. One or two pimple broke out in my nose and my sideburns but generally my skin had somewhat improved.  My OCM mixture is not exact. I transferred the castor oil in a 100 ml pump bottle, I would make two small pumps of castor oil and two pumps of HHN sunflower cleansing oil which was more generous in amount and use it as my cleanser every evening.  After the steaming and wiping with a hot washcloth I still use my TFS E’thym Moisture Lotion as moisturizer.   I am still stuck with my conventional moisturizer, I am currently testing rosehip oil and argan oil in place of it but I was duped from buying online.

This is actually not a beauty blog, I am not a beauty blogger who test products and make reviews but at this point I am trying to make this post light and selfie…it seems I am onto acronyms. OCM for Oil Cleansing Method, HHN for Human Heart Nature and TFS for the The Face Shop all related to beauty and skincare.

I want to mention something about RSPO or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.   RSPO is a council of palm oil producing countries, companies and stakeholders based in Malaysia to ensure that palm oil that is sold in the market did not cause forest degradation, habitat loss or caused suffering to local communities. The organization is currently being attacked for its failure to prevent farmers or growers in Sumatra to convert more land into palm oil plantations and eventually caused another Southeast Asian Haze.

If there is a global RSPO organization, there is a CARP here in the Philippines or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.  Many lands are idle in Mindanao, not forest lands but alienable and disposable lands with certificate of titles that are unproductive.  Can a smallholder palm plantation work for these types of land?   http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/323541/news/regions/tanker-loaded-with-palm-oil-runs-aground-off-palawan We’ve got a big demand for food grade palm oil based on the importation and smuggling that is currently happening.

Another acronym is PDAF or Priority Development Assessment Fund which is the hottest of all the acronyms  I mentioned…to note this is not a political blog.  Oils are either heat processed or cold pressed.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Fast Food Greenwash, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

The Academic Temptation

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I am currently being tempted to apply for a PhD Scholarship, I know the rejection feels really really bad and it hurts so much, but I am so tempted to dive back into it.  I have been rejected due to over qualification, they feel my current affiliation with a big time testing, inspection and certification firm does not make me eligible for financial assistance, as if my current salary could pay their big time doctorate tuition fees.  I’m from a developing country, I couldn’t afford that.

Mentioning the word Big Time twice, that is another challenge…time, I haven’t got much of a time to get a PhD locally, I already have a kid in tow who is starting to go into puberty, being a mommy posts a part-time doctorate disaster…

It is almost September 2013 and this is when scholarship announcements for the next school year just flies in to my inbox. I have subscribed for such announcements just in case one institution may be kind enough to offer me a position in their research program with an add on for a studentship.

Oh well, I already had my masters six years ago and that seems ages…or is it the frustration of not having my GHG qualification yet….still EPt(GHG) attached to my name.  It is really tempting to get more education because I feel I am not learning anything new anymore.

Though feeling some sense of financial stability at the moment, it still scares me what lies ahead. I feel so mediocre in my current assignments as if I am not moving forward with confidence.  That sounds familiar. Why do I have wind turbines in this post anyway?

Maybe having those wind turbines means that’s what I have to look forward to. Is it me, is it my office or there really is something wrong with my country because nothing is just moving forward.

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Filed under Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Waking Up Fire Retardant

Waking Up Fire Retardant

I never expect that I would do work for the oil and gas industry, but currently most of my GHG verification opportunities have been related to oil and gas from upstream to downstream. It is only now that I started driving and getting fuel for my vehicle has always been convenient, we have always been dependent on fossil fuels that most of us could not imagine what will life be like without gasoline, diesel, LPG or even natural gas.

Investments in oil and gas infrastructure have been massive since we have been used to it. It is extremely hazardous but safety had been a primary concern.  A spark can flame up any fugitive emissions that is released in the common storage and handling process that having a cotton/fire retardant clothing is mandatory.  The industry is already forced to reduce its overall emissions, we are still slow in implementing investments to alternative fuels and renewable energy.

I am mind-boggled by how limited and minimal or even blocked efforts have been to achieve a low carbon economy.

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August 11, 2013 · 5:40 am