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Biomass energy in Central America

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to introduce the concept of biomass to energy issues and opportunities in Central America. In this region, made up of seven countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), the biomass sector has the potential to play a crucial role in alleviating the environmental and development predicaments faced by all economies of the region. This paper assesses the available biomass resources at the regional and country levels and gives an overview of the current utilization of biomass fuels. It also describes the overall context in which the biomass-to-energy initiatives are immersed. At the regional level, biomass energy consumption accounts for more than 50% of total energy consumption. In regard to the utilization of biomass for energy purposes, it is clear that Central America faces a critical juncture at two levels, both mainly in rural areas: in the productive sector and at the household level. The absence of sustainable development policies and practices has jeopardized the availability of biomass fuels, particularly wood. Firewood is an important source of energy for rural industries such as coffee processing, which is one of the largest productive activities in the region. This paper comments on some  More>>
Authors:
Blanco, J M [1] 
  1. Biomass Users` Network, Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean, San Jose (Costa Rica)
Publication Date:
Dec 01, 1995
Product Type:
Conference
Report Number:
INIS-XT-001; CONF-9512165-
Reference Number:
SCA: 093000; PA: AIX-30:019817; EDB-99:049015; SN: 99002090883
Resource Relation:
Conference: Symposium on development and utilization of biomass energy resources in developing countries, Vienna (Austria), 11-14 Dec 1995; Other Information: DN: 3 refs, 3 tabs; PBD: Dec 1995; Related Information: Is Part Of Symposium on development and utilization of biomass energy resources in developing countries. Proceedings. V. 1: Thematic papers; PB: 364 p.
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; BIOMASS; CENTRAL AMERICA; COGENERATION; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; ENERGY CONSUMPTION; ENERGY DEMAND; RURAL AREAS; SUGAR CANE; WOOD FUELS
OSTI ID:
340405
Research Organizations:
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna (Austria)
Country of Origin:
UNIDO
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Other: ON: DE99621757; TRN: XT9900010019817
Availability:
INIS; OSTI as DE99621757
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
pp. 74-81
Announcement Date:

Citation Formats

Blanco, J M. Biomass energy in Central America. UNIDO: N. p., 1995. Web.
Blanco, J M. Biomass energy in Central America. UNIDO.
Blanco, J M. 1995. "Biomass energy in Central America." UNIDO.
@misc{etde_340405,
title = {Biomass energy in Central America}
author = {Blanco, J M}
abstractNote = {The objective of this paper is to introduce the concept of biomass to energy issues and opportunities in Central America. In this region, made up of seven countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), the biomass sector has the potential to play a crucial role in alleviating the environmental and development predicaments faced by all economies of the region. This paper assesses the available biomass resources at the regional and country levels and gives an overview of the current utilization of biomass fuels. It also describes the overall context in which the biomass-to-energy initiatives are immersed. At the regional level, biomass energy consumption accounts for more than 50% of total energy consumption. In regard to the utilization of biomass for energy purposes, it is clear that Central America faces a critical juncture at two levels, both mainly in rural areas: in the productive sector and at the household level. The absence of sustainable development policies and practices has jeopardized the availability of biomass fuels, particularly wood. Firewood is an important source of energy for rural industries such as coffee processing, which is one of the largest productive activities in the region. This paper comments on some of the most successful technological innovations already in place in the region, for instance, the rapid development of co-generation projects by the sugar cane industry, especially in El Salvador and Guatemala, the substitution of coffee husks for firewood in coffee processing plants in Costa Rica and El Salvador and the sustainable use of pine forests for co-generation in Honduras. Only one out of every two inhabitants in Central America now has access to electricity from the public grid. Biomass fuels, mainly firewood but also, to a lesser extent, other crop residues such as corn stalks, are the main source of energy for cooking and heating by most of the population. (It is foreseen that by the end of the century an even lower proportion of the population-only one out of three Central Americans-will have access to the national grid). Finally, the paper recommends some actions to enhance alternative options for the conversion of biomass resources to energy in order to address the ever-increasing demand for power in the region. A key recommendation is a biomass technology assessment initiative that would facilitate the effective transfer of technology within the region. (author) 3 refs, 3 tabs}
place = {UNIDO}
year = {1995}
month = {Dec}
}