Pathum Thani, Thailand

Asian Institute of Technology
Pathum Thani, Thailand

The Asian Institute of Technology , founded in 1959, is an international institution for higher education located in Khlong Luang, Thailand. It specializes in engineering, advanced technologies, and management and planning. Its aim is to "promote technological change and sustainable development" in the Asia-Pacific region, through higher education, research and outreach. Wikipedia.

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Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR together have the lion's share of the global cassava export market − more than 90 percent. Viet Nam, the world's second largest exporter of cassava after Thailand, shipped 3.1 million tonnes of cassava products in 2013, worth around US$ 1.1 billion. And the industry could grow as demand for industrial cassava-based products, such as biofuel and livestock feed, increases, especially in China. So when the cassava pink mealybug, which injects a toxin into the cassava plant while feeding on its leaves and stems, causing the plants to wither and die, reappeared in the region several years ago, it was a major concern. Insect pests know no borders; an infestation in one country can spread quickly to a neighbouring one, especially through trade and the movement of cassava planting material. With this in mind, the countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion − where some three million small-scale farmers earn a living by growing cassava − turned to FAO for technical assistance through the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) in controlling the cassava pink mealybug. Drawing on the success that Thailand had in reducing its mealybug population, an FAO TCP project set out to help other countries in the subregion − Cambodia, China, Lao PDR and Viet Nam − do the same. Unleashing parasitic wasps When the invasive cassava pink mealybug first began devastating vast areas of Thailand's cassava crops in 2008, farmers reacted by dousing their fields with toxic insecticides, which posed high environmental and human risks. Yongfan Piao, senior plant protection officer at FAO's regional office in Bangkok, said that the country had lost an estimated six million tonnes of cassava root from the forecast for the 2009/10 harvest. He explained that “the total cost of 6 million tonnes of cassava would be the equivalent of some US$600 million. The estimated losses caused by the mealybug for this period would be over US$14 million.” The Thai government appealed to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Benin for assistance, as countries in Africa had managed to reduce cassava mealybugs decades earlier. This entailed introducing a parasitic wasp known as Anagyrus lopezi into the infected areas. Like the cassava pink mealybug, Anagyrus lopezi is native to South America. The wasp lays its eggs in the mealybug and the growing larvae eat their way out, effectively killing the host. Six million pairs of the parasitic wasp were produced and released in Thailand between July 2010 and August 2011 − a move that, along with the release of local predatory lacewings and training on ecological pest management, helped reduce 166,700 infested hectares in May 2009 to just 10.88 hectares by October 2013. Sharing experiences and knowledge Tapping into Thailand's experience, an FAO project run in collaboration with Thailand’s Departments of Agriculture and Agricultural Extension supported research on the ecology of insect pests and their natural enemies, and provided technical assistance to produce large numbers of biocontrol agents, such as the wasps. Furthermore, the project trained farmers via season-long farmer field schools on integrated pest management strategies that had been developed and successfully applied in Thailand. Knowing what works to control mealybugs and what doesn't is essential. Nguyen Van Tan, a Vietnamese farmer with 38 years of experience growing cassava, saw farmers in his own village spray their infested crops with pesticides "without any effect". What pesticides do, in fact, is kill off cassava mealybug's natural enemies, something Mr. Van Tan and other farmers learned through the training. They also received wasps and instructions on how to release, conserve and monitor them in the fields. At the time, Mr Van Tan's four-month-old cassava crop looked as if it would be a repeat of the previous year's harvest, in which mealybugs destroyed nearly half of his crop. "Some plants looked dead," he said. Shortly after releasing the wasps, however, he noticed fewer mealybugs and new shoots on the plants. This has given him and others in the village renewed confidence and incentive to plant even more cassava the following year. In total, the project trained 853 farmers in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam, 321 of them women, to use living organisms to manage pests biologically and to reduce pesticide use. It also strengthened the network of extension workers to provide farmer outreach. The ripple effect The success of the project has also created a ripple effect, attracting the attention of regional research and development organizations such as the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand, as well as the public and private sectors. The Government of Viet Nam, for example, is now scaling up successful biological control efforts in all of its provinces affected by mealybug infestations, while Thailand's private sector has invested substantially in the mass rearing of biological control agents. The Government of China has issued various quarantine regulations aimed at preventing the spread of this invasive species. And recently, FAO and CIAT helped authorities in Indonesia, a country not covered by the project, import wasps from Thailand to deal with cassava mealybug incursions on the island of Java. Preparedness is key Cassava is a versatile crop. In addition to being an important food source, it can be made into pellets for animal feed or converted into industrial products, from adhesives and textiles to paper and pharmaceuticals. Because smallholder farmers are the main growers of cassava, its rising demand means that the industry has excellent potential to create jobs and boost incomes in rural communities in the Greater Mekong Subregion. That is why vigilance against pests is so important. In addition to encouraging countries to take precautionary measures, such as strengthening quarantine procedures and setting up surveillance systems, FAO helped raise awareness − especially in China where no incursions have yet been reported − of the risk of mealybug outbreaks. FAO's Technical Cooperation Projects (TCP) are targeted, short-term catalytic projects that leverage FAO's technical expertise to address specific problems in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural livelihoods among FAO Member countries, producing tangible and immediate results in a cost-effective manner.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: ENV.2013.6.5-4 | Award Amount: 1.13M | Year: 2013

This coordinating action will focus on climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials issues and will aim to enhance collaboration between researchers in the EU and the ASEAN region . Addressing these issues in a coherent way is vital for sustainable development that leads to economic prosperity, social cohesion and environmental integrity. Both regions have developed innovative ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to climate change, improve resource efficiency and manage raw materials. SUSTAIN EU-ASEAN will draw primarily on EU funded projects focusing on these issues from various programmes, such as the FP7, SWITCH-Asia, International cooperation and others and will also feed in experiences from the ASEAN region and bilateral projects into the mutual learning process. The approach taken by project is driven primarily by the assumption that a wealth of knowledge has been generated by EU-funded projects and other initiatives relevant for the ASEAN region. However, the exploitation and uptake of these research results and potential joint innovations can still be improved and so can the collaboration between researchers from the EU and the ASEAN region. To facilitate this, but also to advance research initiated by Europe, SUSTAIN EU-ASEAN will: - Identify and cluster EU-funded projects on climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials issues relevant for the ASEAN region, analyse thematic gaps and funding and cooperation opportunities (WP1); - Provide a number of services, such as project twinning, access to mobility funds, showcasing and training to interested projects and institutions which aim to enhanced cooperation with ASEAN counterparts, initiate pilot Actions to enhance uptake and implementation as show cases for EU-ASEAN cooperation (WP2); - Facilitate vision building and the development of concrete proposals for more sustainable collaboration (WP3).

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2012-1.4 | Award Amount: 4.55M | Year: 2012

SEA-EU-NET 2 will build upon and leverage strong EU-SEA S&T relationships developed through past support and coordination actions, to deepen engagement and build momentum in S&T cooperation. It broadens the scope of EU-SEA cooperation through stimulating sustainable innovation collaborations. SEA-EU-NET 2 will focus on three societal challenges: Health, Food security and safety, and Water management, where the greatest opportunities can be leveraged from joint EU-SEA research. SEA-EU-NET 2 will serve as a platform for all stakeholders across governments, funders, practitioners, and the private sector, to ensure a complete and integrated approach to developing sustainable STI collaboration to jointly tackle societal challenges. It will focus on: Dialogue: To strengthen bi-regional and bilateral EU-ASEAN dialogues in S&T cooperation Decision-Making: To report to policy makers in both Europe and Southeast Asia in order to pave the way to implement new ambitious bi-regional activities in STI Jointly Tackling Societal Challenges: To focus on joint efforts on a selected set of thematic areas, namely Health, Food security and safety, and Water management. In focussing on these topics, the project will evaluate EU-SEA S&T cooperation, run workshops to bring scientists together, support young scientists develop new funding schemes to broaden and deepen the collaboration Networking: To network different stakeholders to build bi-regional networks and to strengthen research capacity Sustainability: To ensure that all activities deliver impact beyond the lifespan of the project in order to develop sustainable partnerships The project will have lasting impact on (1) a structured and substantiated policy dialogue between ASEAN and EU, (2) the promotion of the ERA in SEA, (3) the role of EU as major partner in research cooperation and innovation by jointly tackling societal challenges, (4) the development of new funding schemes in research and academic mobility

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.4-3 | Award Amount: 6.53M | Year: 2014

Coastal floods are one of the most dangerous and harmful natural hazards affecting urban areas adjacent to shorelines. Rapid urbanisation combined with climate change and poor governance means a significant increase in the risk of local surface flooding coinciding with high water levels in rivers and high tide or storm surges from the sea, posing a greater risk of devastation to coastal communities. The threats posed need to be addressed not just in terms of flood prediction and control, but taking into account governance and socio-economic issues. PEARL brings together world leading expertise in both the domain of hydro-engineering and risk reduction and management services to pool knowledge and practical experience in order to develop more sustainable risk management solutions for coastal communities focusing on present and projected extreme hydro-meteorological events. The project will examine 7 case studies from across the EU to develop a holistic risk reduction framework that can identify multi-stressor risk assessment, risk cascading processes and strengthen risk governance by enabling an active role for key actors. The research programme links risk and root cause assessment through enhanced FORIN methodology, event prediction, forecast and warning, development of adaptive structural and non-structural strategies and active stakeholder participation. The project aims to develop novel technologies and methods that can improve the early warning process and its components; it builds a pan-European knowledge base gathering real case studies and demonstrations of best practice across the EU to support capacity development for the delivery of cost-effective risk-reduction plans. Additionally, the project provides an interface to relevant ongoing tsunami work: it plugs into global databases, early warning systems and processes at WMO, and contributes to community building, development of guidelines and communication avenues at the global level through IWA.

Udomsirichakorn J.,Asian Institute of Technology | Salam P.A.,Asian Institute of Technology
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

Global warming, climate change and energy security issues are the forces driving the fossil fuel based energy system towards renewable and sustainable energy. Hydrogen as a clean energy carrier is believed to be the most promising source to replace fossil fuel. Biomass gasification with the presence of steam offers a feasible, sustainable, and environment-friendly option as well as a favorable alternative for higher hydrogen yields and for large-scale hydrogen production which can satisfy the need of hydrogen in the future. However, the process suffers from the problem of undesirable CO2 and tar formation. Calcium oxide (CaO) has been acknowledged as a catalyst to produce hydrogen-rich gas and has currently gained broad attention due to its cheapness and abundance. Nevertheless, the deactivation of CaO after carbonation reaction is challenging for continuous hydrogen production and economical perspective. To conquer such challenge, the concept of CaO-based chemical looping gasification (CaO-based CLG) has emerged recently. Additionally, due to its energy-efficient and environment-friendly aspects, the CaO-based CLG using biomass as feedstock is gaining more attention in recent years. This study first presents a review on conventional steam gasification of biomass without catalysts for producing hydrogen-rich product gas. The effects of key variables, such as biomass characteristics, gasifier temperature, steam-to-biomass ratio (S/B) and equivalence ratio (ER), on hydrogen-enriched gas production are discussed based on recent researches and developments. Then the use of CaO in biomass steam gasification for hydrogen production with in situ CO2 capture and tar reduction is described. The prospect of CaO-based CLG using biomass fuel is also discussed as a promising process for renewable, sustainable and environment-friendly hydrogen production. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The present invention relates to an Anodized Aluminum Oxide nanoporous membrane integrated with micro channel and method of formation thereof. The invention further relates to formation of AAO pillars that are integrated in the membrane to create micro-channels to enhance mechanical stability and substantially reduce membrane thickness to nanometer range. This intrinsic configuration results in obviating the use of any external added material or support. The integrated membrane comprises of a substrate, plurality of alumina micro pillars that form respective micro-channels wherein the said pillars are attached with the substrate, nanoporous structure integrated with the pillars wherein the micro channel is formed between two consecutive pillars bound by the nanoporous structure surface and the substrate surface.

The present invention relates to an anodized aluminum oxide tubular nano-porous membrane array module and method of manufacture thereof. Further the invention relates to a system of such modules. The tubular membrane modules of the present invention can be cascaded to up-scale the surface area of the overall system rather than scaling the surface area of a single tubular membrane. Thus the volume density that is the available surface area for filtration per unit volume of the system is substantially enhanced without compromising on mechanical stability to withstand the pressure differential defines by the end use application.

The present invention relates to a method of producing multilayer anodized aluminium oxide nano-porous membrane and the membrane produced thereof. Further the invention relates to the nano-porous multi-layer membrane for filtration application. The three layered membrane of the present invention avoids sticking of solute components on the surface obviating the problem of coagulation. This membrane imparts anti coagulation capability wherein in-spite of sticking of the solute component on the surface of the membrane appropriate passage is still available for liquid/small solutes to pass beneath the said stuck solute component to enhance effective surface area for filtration obviating the problem associated with coagulation.

Asian Institute of Technology | Date: 2013-01-23

A system and method for preparation of nano-porous membrane using anodized aluminium oxide and the membrane/film/thin lamina produced thereof. The system comprises a template forming device that comprises of two rolls provided with one or plurality of projections wherein the Al sheet is passed through the said rolls that are rotatable in opposite direction with respect to each other wherein in operation as the Al sheet is passed through the said rolls, the said projections of the rolls punch depressions to the predetermined depth in the said sheet wherein the depth of the depression is governed by the height of the projections. A method for preparation of anodized aluminum oxide nano-porous membrane comprising electro polishing of Al substrate; first step anodization; chemical etching of alumina; second stage anodization; etching Al for separation of alumina and barrier layer removal or voltage pulse detachment for barrier layer removal and detachment of membrane from Al substrate.

Asian Institute of Technology | Date: 2013-05-07

The present invention relates to an anodized aluminum oxide template that is used to grow periodic nanostructure and method of fabrication of the said template. The invention further relates to the fabrication of the respective periodic nanostructures from diverse materials using hydrothermal and/or CVD method for growing the said nanostructure. The AAO template enabled nanostructure comprises of a substrate disposed on the top of the AAO template; seed/s disposed in the nano-channels/nanopores of the AAO; nanostructures that are grown from respective nano-channels to form substantially uniform distribution/near periodic structure.

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