Dhaka Saturday December 03, 2011

Awards for change makers in climate battle

Left, Dancers perform at HSBC-The Daily Star Climate Awards 2011 at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. Top(right), Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid speaks at the event. Bottom, A section of Guests are seen at the ceremony. Photo: Star

Md Fazlur Rahman

Energypac Electronics plans to expand its capacity to produce compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs as the country eyes to incline towards more environment-friendly sources of energy.

The company, a pioneer in energy efficient CFL bulbs in Bangladesh, has formulated a clear roadmap on renewable energy.

Energypac Electronics, a subsidiary of Energypac Power Generation, began selling CFL bulbs in 1998. It then used to import the bulbs in collaboration with a Sri Lankan company.

The company started manufacturing CFL bulbs and electronic ballasts in Tejgaon in 2001 and later it set up its factory in 2004 in Hotapara, Gazipur. So far, it has produced 60 lakh CFL bulbs and 1.8 lakh electronic ballasts.

The company has an annual turnover of Tk 50 crore. It sold six lakh CFL bulbs in 2008 and 10 lakh in 2009, saving 440 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions so far.

Energypac Electronics, which controls 20 percent market share, has a capacity to produce 7.5 million CFL bulbs. It will increase capacity to 10 million next year.

Its business is growing at more than 40 percent on average.

Energypac Electronics now supplies one million CFL bulbs to 8-10 major bulb sellers in the country.

A 23 watt CFL bulb costs Tk 250, while the price of a 15 watt bulb is Tk 180-Tk 190. The 23-watt bulbs dominate the market. The company also sells 85-watt bulbs for Tk 1,000 each.

The company has testing labs to ensure that the bulbs have a life of 10,000 hours.

The products carry a guarantee of one year, but officials say the CFL bulbs would easily last three years.

The company employs about 5,000 workers, 50 percent of whom are women.

It now plans to propose the government to ban the sale of the conventional incandescent light bulbs as part of a target to reduce greenhouse gases.

Suman Saha

Bengal Glass Works Ltd, a fully automated glass container and bulb shell manufacturer, plans to scale up its green initiative to help Bangladesh mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.

The company has already undertaken a number of 'green' initiatives -- it installed regenerator furnaces, a wastewater recycling plant and exhaust gas monitoring systems at its factory in Demra, Dhaka.

These initiatives help the country cut 10,286 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, and also reduces land filling as the company uses 26,707 million tonnes of glass waste a year to produce the containers and bulb shells.

“We indirectly help the environment by using recyclable materials such as broken, unused glass and glass bottles as a substitute to major raw materials,” said Md Badrul Hoq, executive director (technical) of the company.

“The factory recycles 464.6 million litres of water in its cooling system a year, thus saving 58,462 litres of lubricating oil.”

“We monitor exhaust gases from various devices to avoid hazardous gases from being released into the atmosphere,” said Hoq.

These initiatives helped the company cut 19 percent of its energy consumption, saving Tk 35.2 million a year.

The company saves 35,100 litres of diesel because of insulation, which helps save Tk 1.8 million.

Bengal Glass contributed to the country's pharmaceuticals sector by ensuring a supply of amber glass bottles.

The company collects recyclable glass bottles from municipal wastes at Tk 8,000 a tonne.

Incorporated in 1967 as a public limited company, it has an annual capacity from two furnaces of 400 million glass bottles of various sizes.

Abdullah Mamun

Grameenphone Ltd is currently running 47 base transceiver stations (BTS) in remote, off-grid regions on solar power instead of diesel generators.

The country's leading mobile phone operator targets to convert 160 generator sites by the end of 2012 that is expected to save up to 1.7 million litres of diesel a year and cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 5,000 tonnes.

Each off-grid site consumes around 11,000 litres of diesel a year, equivalent to 30 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions, officials said.

In December 2007, Grameenphone deployed its first two solar sites in Ajmiriganj, Sylhet on an experimental basis. The trial run saw great success as generator run time in the two off-grid sites decreased to only 20 hours in 2008 compared to a daily generator run time of 9 hours at other off-grid sites powered by diesel.

The operator then deployed 12 new solar sites and one windmill powered site in 2009 in Kishoreganj, Tangail, Mongla, Bagerhat, Shariotpur, Satkhira, Habiganj, Noakhali and Sandip.

With the success of these sites, the company was determined to roll out sites run on solar power on a large scale. But due to the high capital requirements to convert the existing sites, the operator signed four of its solar sites on power purchase mode with suppliers.

Under the new model, the supplier is to invest on building, operating and maintaining the solar facility within Grameenphone's BTS premises. The company will buy electricity on an unit consumption basis for a contract period of 10 years with a buy back option after that.

Tanveer Mohammad, chief technology officer of Grameenphone, said, “This is the first time in the telecom industry that we have signed solar contracts in power purchase mode. This is enabling us to further lower our carbon footprint.”

Grameenphone has set a target to reduce 40 percent of its emissions within 2015.

Star Business Report

Every morning at 7.15am, private broadcaster Radio Today inspires its listeners to create a world of green.

To the tunes of popular old and new music, the radio station has been going live since June 2009 for nearly an hour to foster awareness on climate change to save the environment from pollution.

On December 1, the FM 89.6 band aired issues on the risks of excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides on farmlands.

It affects soil fertility, pollutes air and water and threatens biodiversity -- risks that can be minimised by the use of bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides, said the presenter.

Masterminded by Md Rafiqul Haque, managing director of Radio Broadcasting FM (Bangladesh) Ltd, the aim of the programme titled 'Greed Hour' is to reduce environmental degradation.

The media outlet, which covers around 12 crore people through eight stations, highlights climate change and global warming, deforestation, natural disasters, arsenic pollution and waste management.

Already, climate change from global warming is feared to hit Bangladesh hard in various forms such as increase in salinity, submergence of farmland due to a sea level rise and recurrent floods and cyclones.

"The goal of this programme is to initiate a flow of consciousness to save the environment," says Haque. "By raising awareness, the rate of damage can be minimised."

The Green Hour programme not only focuses on environmental issues and natural disasters but also broadcasts news on different ecological issues under its 'Green News'.

Radio correspondents talk to locals and try to find the root causes behind pollution at both rural and urban areas, in addition to covering regular events and movements on saving the environment.

Hasibur Rahman Bilu, Bogra

The Rural Development Academy (RDA) in Bogra has come up with innovative technologies, especially in water management and environment-friendly seeds, to help uplift the socio economic status of the regional people.

RDA is currently implementing 20 development projects that help create jobs, improve the environment and replicate traditional technologies.

RDA Director General MA Matin said their main objective is to find low-cost rural development models for renewable energy, bio-pesticides, low cost and pure drinking water, sustainable agro technologies and research.

“RDA was awarded the Independence Award 2004 for irrigation and seed technology innovation,” said Matin. It also won several national and international awards, including the International Communication Awards 2004 and Food and Agriculture Organisation Award, he added. He was personally awarded the “Bangabandhu National Agricultural Award” last year.

Previously, one deep tube-well used to cover only 40 acres on average but the RDA-innovated water supply technology has raised coverage to 166 acres of cultivable land. “These innovations saved the government huge sums of money in the last few years.”

“We completed a water supply project in Chittagong Export Processing Zone at a cost of Tk 19 crore. A foreign contractor had submitted a tender for the same job quoting a price of Tk 122 crore,” Matin said.

RDA completed many low cost water supply projects in the country, including Dhaka. The World Bank also accepted the RDA innovated Rural Pipe Water Supply System model.

RDA authorities have introduced an environment friendly biogas plant at a cost of Tk 53 core within the campus. It also supplies biogas through a bottling project to 122 rural places in the country.

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