From Australia

Biofuel heater that uses low-grade fuels

A simple, efficient biofuel heater, invented by Australian Frank Scott, is ready for further development. The device, which is designed for domestic use, can use anything from waste paper and wood, to animal manure and lawn clippings.

Resembling a pot bellied stove, the biomass heater is started by burning a small amount of high-grade fuel and then continues to run on almost any material that has some calorific value. A prototype unit has been tested using a variety of fuels, including: wet pine needles; composted leaves; a mixture of fresh chicken manure and straw; and spoiled lettuce heads. The heaters could have applications in developing countries and rural economies. In particular, where industries such as coffee, olive oil and citrus fruit production create excess pulp and fibre, the technology could provide cheap heat and reduce the volume of waste.

The next step is to find project partners to develop a full production prototype of the heater for domestic use and to scale-up the design for other commercial uses, such as treatment of green waste at landfill sites.

For more information contact Frank Scott by  e-mail at

From the Netherlands

Green certificate trading to start in 2001

Europe will start trading in green certificates early next year, allowing renewable energy to be sold from one country to another. While many governments are not yet ready, the market is forcing the pace and Dutch organisations will certainly be involved.

International trade in the Renewable Energy Certificate System (RECS) will start if at least three countries participate. RECS is an informal initiative of utilities and knowledge centres from across Europe. The aim is to harmonise all certificate systems, as some countries already have their own. For example, the Netherlands consumers of renewable energy do not have to pay the energy tax that applies on energy from fossil fuels; Italy has adopted an obligatory quota system and Germany has a beneficial subsidy scheme. The new system will have clear conditions, eg renewable energy must not be sold twice. Certificates must show clearly where the energy is generated, what the source is and if a subsidy is received. The Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Norway will probably be involved from the start, but Denmark, France and the UK may also participate. Eventually, the system could be transformed into a CO2 certificate trading scheme.

For more information contact the CADDET Dutch National Team in Sittard.

Oil from biomass

In October last year, a pilot plant at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) started to produce oil from biomass. The oil, called biocrude, can be used in the furnaces of coal-fired power plant. The plant can also produce automotive fuels from kitchen and garden waste (sometimes known as VGF).

Shell Laboratories in Amsterdam developed the hydro thermal upgrading process in the early 1980s. Under pressures of 120–200 bar and in temperatures of 300–350°C, biomass molecules change into a liquid and a gas within 15 minutes. The liquid forms the basis for the biocrude and a chemical process then changes this into automotive fuel. How the reaction happens is not yet known, but the presence of wet biomass plays an important part.

For more information contact the CADDET Dutch National Team in Sittard.

From Norway

New “green” apartment block in Oslo

In central Oslo, a co-operative building association has constructed a 35 unit environmentally-sustainable apartment block. Life-cycle cost analysis was an important part of the design and everything is planned to have the minimum impact on the environment. There is a south-facing, double wall of glass (U value = 1.1 W/m2) and the north wall, where the bedrooms are situated, is well insulated. The outdoor garden includes a wastewater treatment pond. Material use has been optimised and the indoor climate has been carefully considered. The roof is covered partly by thermal solar panels and partly by grass and herbs planted to cool the building in summer and provide insulation in winter. Energy from the solar heating system is distributed via hot water and further heated for tap water purposes.

For more information contact the CADDET Norwegian Team in Rud

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for  Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.