An examination of ethanol Gelfuel as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel use in informal settlements

Jackson, Neil Steven (2007-12)

Thesis (MPhil)-- Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Socio economic factors ansmg from a combination of a legacy of apartheid, rapid urbanization and dramatic levels of poverty force many South Africans living in shack environments to make energy choices that are often unsafe and unsustainable. This study sets out to establish why this is the case and then to determine the viability of an alternative energy carrier, an ethanol based gel fuel. The aim was to ascertain through a set of indicators the levels of sustainability of the product both under lab conditions and then through a pilot study in the Joe Slovo Informal settlement in Cape Town. Hundreds of thousands of Informal settlement dwellers rely on paraffin to meet daily energy requirements and suffer dramatic fires, child poisonings and the noxious fumes that come from burning a fossil fuel in closed cramped environments. Although this work examines in great depth the reasons behind paraffin choice specifically within the Western Cape it also provides a commentary on other energy carriers used throughout the country. The purpose of both the pilot and lab study were to present the empirical evidence backed by a social commentary largely justified by the available literature into the need for providing more sustainable energy choices particularly for the poor. Critical to the intentions of the outcomes of the document was to ascertain and measure the sustainability of ethanol Gelfuel and its potential future utilization. This assessment examines the economic, social and environmental parameters of the product under current conditions and then sets out to establish what conditions and criteria are required for its future distribution. Although the evidence regarding a definitive answer on the future of gel fuel in South African environments could not comprehensively be established through a single work such as this, it is hoped that this thesis and other limited material on the subject act as inspiration towards future research in this field.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Sosio-ekonomiese faktore wat uit 'n kombinasie van die nalatenskap van apartheid, snelle verstedeliking en dramatiese vlakke van armoede ontstaan het, verplig baie Suid-Afrikaners wat in plakkersbuurtes leef om energiekeuses te doen wat dikwels onveilig en nie volhoubaar is nie. Hierdie studie beoog om vas te stel waarom dit die geval is en vervolgens om die lewensvatbaarheid van 'n altematiewe energiedraer - 'n etanolbasis-jelbrandstof - te bepaal. Die doel was om deur middel van 'n stel aanwysers die vlakke van volhoubaarheid van die produk onder laboratoriumtoestande te bepaal sowel as deur 'n loodsstudie daama in die Joe Slovo informele nedersetting in Kaapstad. Honderde duisende inwoners in die informele nedersetting is aangewese op paraffien om aan hul daaglikse energiebenodighede te voldoen en ly onder traumatiese brande, kindervergiftigings en die gifgasse afgegee deur die brand van fossielbrandstof in 'n geslote, beknopte omgewing. Hoewel hierdie werk die redes vir die paraffien-keuse intensief ondersoek - spesifiek binne die grense van die Wes-Kaap - lewer dit ook kommentaar op antler energiedraers wat dwarsdeur die land gebruik word. Die doel van sowel die loods- as die laboratoriumstudies was om die empiriese bewys te voorsien - gerugsteun deur sosiale kommentaar, grotendeels geregverdig deur die beskikbare literatuur oor die noodsaaklikheid vir die voorsiening van meer volhoubare energiekeuses - spesifiek vir behoeftiges. Krities tot die oogmerk van die uitvloeisels van die dokument was om die vlakke van volhoubaarheid van etanol-jelbrandstof en sy potensiele toekomstige gebruik te bepaal. Hierdie evaluering ondersoek die ekonomiese, sosiale en omgewingsparameters van die produk onder huidige toestande. Vervolgens wil dit vasstel watter toestande en kriteria benodig word vir sy toekomstige verspreiding. Hoewel die bevinding nie 'n besliste antwoord op die toekoms van jelbrandstof in Suid-Afrikaanse omgewings volledig deur 'n enkele werk soos hierdie kon bepaal nie, word gehoop dat hierdie tesis en antler beperkte materiaal oor die onderwerp as inspirasie tot toekomstige navorsing in hierdie veld sal dien.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50679
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