Free Research Proposal Paper: Evaluation of the importance of food waste use in energy production
Research proposal: Evaluation of the importance of food waste use in energy production
Kuwait is one of the highest energy consuming countries in the world. According to Global Footprint Network, every person in Kuwait uses 22 times more energy and resources than the country can supply to every individual. This usage is due to highly subsidized electricity and extreme weather conditions (AlRashidi, 2010, p.320). A high level of energy consumption in the country is a crucial sign for the country to prepare itself in overcoming any probable electricity shortage. With rapidly growing population and record of soaring energy consumption in the country, there is need to for the country to prepare itself for any form of electricity shortage. As an effort to improve the supply of electricity for the consumers, this research endeavors to provide an alternative source of energy. The paper will focus on the use of natural and readily available food wastes in all over the country to generate electricity. Landfills are full of food wastes, and this will provide a good source of raw materials for the project.
The high population of Kuwait is producing a lot of garbage while there is a need for low-cost power, which is inadequate in the country. Moreover, the garbage produced has adverse effects on the integrity of the environment. This paper proposes the use of food waste to generate electricity.
Kuwait has registered high consumption rate of electricity with the increasing population. Moreover, the growing population in the country has caused an elevated level of food waste release that could cause environmental and health hazards (Tower, Wetzel & Lombard, 2006). Alsulaili et al. (2014, p55) add to this by stating that 50 % of all the waste produced in Kuwait is organic. Currently, all the waste produced in the country is dumped into landfills with disregard to its impact on the environment. Considering such an aspect, it would be critical to access benefits of using food waste in the production of electricity. An energy production project using food waste will solve some issues affecting the people and country at large. The project will evaluate the availability of food waste and its use in electricity generation and the results of the process in a bid to reduce garbage release. Garbage release causes various drawbacks such as environmental pollution and health problems to people living near the dumpsites. There has also been a case of an outbreak of fires on the landfills.
The focus of the project will be on domestic demand power demand, considering both susceptibility and adaptation opportunities. The domestic sector is preferred for analysis since it is currently the largest consumer of electricity and producer of most of the food wastes. The demand of electricity in domestic sector is expected to grow rapidly as the population grows and the demand rate remains the same as usual (AlRashidi, 2010, p.343). The local sector highly depends on national grid electricity supply.
The growing population in Kuwait will require an increase in power demand and supply (Al Bakri & Kittaneh, 1998). Possible adaptation measures are assessed concerning their effectiveness in curbing future power demands
. Provision for alternative sources is important since energy consumption in Kuwait has hit the highest in the past years. Demand for electricity has been increasing at more than 8 percent yearly for the past few years (Jones, 1986, pp.69-81). Electricity shortages are rampant in summer; hence, there is the need for an alternative source. For instance, the country has invested in solar sector as a means of long-term supply of cheap and renewable resource.
In 2011, Kuwait produced approximately 1.35 million domestic waste products of which 50% was organic (Alsulaili et al., 2014, p.55). The high amount of waste has contributed to the progressive increase in the size of landfills which Alsulaili and colleagues observed that they do not meet the minimum safety precautions. The country is small yet it has the highest number of landfills, which occupy approximately 45.5 km2 (Alsulaili et al., 2014, p.55; Jones, 1986). These landfills have been shown to cause harsh public health and serious environmental issues. Massive amounts of sewage sludge produced daily pose significant danger due to its high cost of treatment. The waste creates a risk to the environment, human health, and marine life. Apart from causing huge garbage pile up in landfills, waste matter also produces significant amounts of toxic gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide.
Problems resulting from high production of garbage can be reduced by converting waste into renewable energies right from the site of production to the landfills. Renewable energy from waste matter is free from pollution and does not cause health hazards. This research will intend to evaluate benefits of garbage use in power generation (Jones, 1986). Prompting reduction of food waste and mitigate environmental pollution requires the research to advocate minimal dumping of food waste through production of renewable energy in such as methane gas and electricity (Al Bakri & Kittaneh, 1998, p.278). Energy production from food waste involves the use of anaerobic respiration to produce various gasses. This process involves the breakdown of food waste by anaerobic bacteria in digesters to produce methane and carbon dioxide gasses, referred to as biogas. The gas produced is then injected into heat and power engines to generate electricity. The electricity generated is in varying quantities depending on the size of engines. The power will then be sold to residents on long-term power purchase agreements so that the whole project is sustainable.
According to Otaraku and Ogedengbe (2013), biogas production from waste food on treatment plants is the most convenient way to reduce pollution while generating electricity for household use. Various technologies are used to produce electricity by converting chemical energy by use of heat engines into mechanical energy.
Waste food required for generating biogas for generation of electricity is present in sufficient amounts in most countries in the world (Wellinger, Murphy & Baxter, 2013, p.492). Small and medium-sized biogas plants could be used to supply a reasonable amount of electricity to the national grid in many of these countries. However, when compared to developed countries, very limited small sized biogas plants are for generating national electricity. Van Foreest (2012, p.42) evaluates some of the European countries that have successfully used organic waste in the production of energy. For instance, van Foreest states that Sweden had 47 upgrading plants with 7 of these being connected to the national gas grid. The country has been acknowledged in its use of this energy in promoting biogas transport.
Moreover, Germany and the United Kingdom have also been at the forefront in the production of energy from organic waste. The country had 7,000 biogas plants by 2008 while the UK supports biogas and biomethane developments, especially in sewage treatment. These countries have been able to reap from the cheap energy produced from biogas, have boosted their gas grid. Moreover, use of biogas has played a critical role in environmental and climatic conservation. On the contrary, Kuwait does not have any recycling program (Koushki, Al-Humoud & Al-Duaij, 2004, p.175). Alsulaili et al. (2014, p.55) explain that all the waste from the country is dumped into landfills without any sanitary criteria. It is due to such lack of a sanitary program like biogas that makes Alsulaili doubt the country’s ability to sustain its landfills by 2025 when they are prospected to occupy approximately 60 km2.
Biogas is an efficient way of producing electricity from organic, renewable energy resources. This process is only possible if heat from power generator is used in an economical manner (Browne, Allen & Murphy, 2013). The average potential of biogas is 21-23 MJ per meter cubic of biogas, which is capable of producing about 6kWh.
Jones (1986) argues that generating electricity using organic materials is cost-friendly. The project is important for developing countries as it reduces the rate of pollution to the environment while providing affordable electricity for its growing population. The easy home and farm-based anaerobic digestion provide low-cost energy for homesteads (AlRashidi, 2010, p.89). United Nations is currently funding projects in developing countries using biogas for power generation or other uses. The driving factor is its ability to reduce carbon emissions to the environment
Lettinga and Haandel (2003, p.151) highlight that biogas from sewage has been used to run gas engines that in turn produce electricity. Production of biogas from household waste significantly reduces the amount of solid waste and carbon dioxide released into the environment. Reduced waste means that the health of individuals will improve consequently (Otaku & Ogedengbe, 2013).
Aims and objectives
The aim of the research will be to determine the importance of production of electricity from food waste in Kuwait. The research will also seek to prompt reduction of environmental pollution by reducing food waste dumped in landfills. Reducing the amount of garbage entering landfills and sewage that is treated or ejected into water bodies will reduce health hazards on people living near these sites.
The objective of this proposal it to prompt a project that effectively recycles biological material to produce energy. Besides, the objectives of the research will include
· Determine operational cost of producing electricity using food wastes
· Determine the lifespan of biogas plant being used to generate electricity
· The impact of recycling of food wastes in reduction of greenhouse gasses
· Determine the level of livelihoods of people engaging in the recycling of wastes and selling of electricity to the national power grid.
I. Is an increase in population a cause for the shortages of power in the country?
II. Does the government provide subsidized sources of renewable energies?
III. Does the increase in garbage dumped in landfills cause of environmental pollution?
IV. Is the increase in environmental pollution cause of rampant health problems?
V. Has the government taken any measures to provide alternative sources of energy?
VI. Has the government taken any steps to reduce environmental pollution?
The research would use primary and secondary methods of collecting data. The research would focus on the population of the country and the status of landfills in Kuwait. People selected from various parts of the country will conduct the survey. Multiple choice questionnaires will be used in the survey, and it will be carried out in the shortest time possible, approximately 3 minutes. However, the survey will ensure that data is captured in a comprehensive manner.
Secondary data will also be collected by performing research on past literature on the use of waste food to provide alternative sources of energy. Secondary data will be used in guiding the direction of the study. Information about the population of Kuwait is also readily available as demographic statistics conducted from other secondary sources.
The data would be used to estimate the amount of waste produced by each family in Kuwait (Camstra, 1992, p.23). The questionnaire would be used to collect information from waste producers and their daily energy consumption. The final data would be used to estimate the amount of waste that is produced by individual families and compare with energy produced by the waste. This data would aid in determining the potential of these energy production projects.
The research would use random sampling method in the collection of information. A random sample will be picked from the list of residents obtained from domestic setting. A table of random numbers of individuals with names will be selected to get a population of 100 people. This number of participants will represent a good number of subjects concerning gender and residential setting. The method is favorable since it would ensure an equal chance of selection (Camstra, 1992, p.16). This data would provide information regarding average consumption of power and average production of waste food. Descriptive statistical analysis would be used to analyze and present information regarding the research. Charts and graphs would be used to present information.
Data collection methods are subject to limitations. For instance, lack of responses on questionnaires and misunderstanding of the questions are some of the challenges (Camstra, 1992, p.34). Collecting data is expensive and time-consuming even in the context of small data. This problem affects the sample size because only a part of the population will be investigated. Also, information concerning current power demand and supply rates is inadequate. The future state of landfills is again poorly illustrated. Hence, supplementary population modeling power characterization would be necessary before susceptibility of renewable energy can be evaluated.
The completion of the project prospected to be within a period of seven months with each task taking approximately one month since some of them will be run concurrently. The time plan of the intended schedule is as illustrated below. The Gantt chart below gives an illustration of the project plan.
Conducting the research may involve risks that need evaluation to determine possible risks and their magnitude of harm. Understanding of risk is critical as it may compromise the delivery of results in time. The risks that may involve the researcher include;
· physical injuries such as pain or discomfort while collecting information from respondents on the field
· Psychological harms such as anxiety and distress that may be experienced while conducting the whole research.
· Invasion of participants’ privacy can be demoralizing.
· Breach of confidentiality involving data may lead to psychological harms.
There is also a probable risk of not collecting first-hand information in time that may lead to the use of secondary information which might have been biased. High reliance on secondary data may compromise the quality of research since validating secondary source might be a problem. Comprehensive collection and analysis of data, especially due to the various may take a lot of time than expected hence failure to meet the objectives of the research.
Moreover, there is a probable risk of funding and time. Lack of adequate funding may jeopardize the course of the project and consequently undermining its validity and result weight. Besides, lack of support may lead to failure of achieving project aims.
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