Thursday, 8 September 2011

Eating Insects - The food of the future?

I have just been listenimg to Costing the Earth on BBC Radio 4 presented by Tom Heap.

He was considering the fact that due to over population and mankinds need for HBV protiens we might be heading towards a society that by neccesity gets some of its protien from bugs.

He kicked off the programming eating a locust stir fry in Bristol, then visted Bart Hogerbrink in the netherlands to taste some cookies made with meal worm flour.

Both recipies sound fine, I think, although steak and chips sounds better.

The fact is that insects are VERY efficient at coonverting what they eat in to protien, WAY WAY WAY more efficient than a cow, sheep, pig or even a chicken.


So it can be seen that Beef is quite lavish in terms of resource use. Other insects such as meal worms will eat rotten fruit and vege proving high quality nutrients from waste.

With meat prices set to double in the next ten years, meat will certainly become a luxury, we will all probably eat less meat

Whether we eat bugs instead is another question I suppose. We could use them to feed fish . . .

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A trip to an industrial composting site.

First we looked at the garden waste composting. The finished product looked really well graded, and they had various courser grades, The Carymore man said that people come and buy it by the trailer load, or sometimes truck load. It is marketed as a soil conditioner. The area looked small for its intended purpose, the windrows were sandwiched right up against each other, and they must have been difficult to work effectively like this. There were pools to catch the runoff from the area, the worry being that the runoff will be nutrient rich and may cause eutrophication in nearby water courses (30/12/09: plus it will be acidic (organic acid) and mobilize nasty’s that may be best left where they are, especially as the site was previously a munitions dump (Heavy Metals etc)!!

It was good to see the in vessel composting system. Application of learning is a good thing. This as the high temperature 70 – 75 C composting to get rid of the foot and mouth pathogens, temps must be maintained at 60 for 48 hours, all overseen by EA. I ironically this was the compost that was most popular with the farmers, even though it carries the highest risk. Why? It’s the cheapest compost there. (Perhaps the high temps also kill off seeds and spores, so the farmer doesn’t get geraniums growing all over his farm?)

Environmental Consultants Bristol
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A National Heat Grid?

By using heat from buring wastem, and steam to gnerate eleticity, you can recover lots nmore energy. However there will be distibution probelms.

Thermal Treatment seems to me at least the most “fuss free” system for dealing with waste. However, I believe it should be applied on a small scale for maximum benefit, in this way, it would be possible to cut down of waste miles and utilize the heat more widely, which is a much more efficient way to use the energy created. Electricity generated would be fed in to the grid, but a new “grid” would have to be constructed for the distribution of heat. However, numerous small scale plants would mean more opportunity for localized use of heat (there for less pipe work etc.). No matter how good this system would be, it will not happen so long as public consultation remains such a dominant force in the planning process.

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How do you test a landfill liner is sealed properly?

The above diagram shows the method that is now used for testing the integrity of the liner used in land fill sites, the pressure is increased within the hollow section and monitored, it has to remain constant for a set amount of time. How long? What pressures are involved? This liner is used with a 1 meter thickness of clay as an additional liner. In hazardous waste sites this clay can be as thick as 5 meters.

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