Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 12, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

One on One


  • Our regular Monday segment focuses on issues of interest to those at the state legislature and those following the elections. House GOP spokesman Barrett Marson debates issues with John Loredo, a political consultant with Tequida and Guttierez.
Guests:
  • Mark Henderson - Co-Founder of Global Resolve, Engineering professor, ASU Polytechnic
  • Brad Rogers - -Professor, School of Engineering, ASU


View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon": ASU is using corn to create a clean-burning fuel to improve the health and environment of the people of Ghana; and issues at the State Legislature and upcoming elections are confronted by our political antagonists in "One-On -One". That's next, on "Horizon".

>>Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the "Friends of Eight": members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>Ted Simons:
Good evening, and thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon". I'm Ted Simons. Voters may see another proposition on the ballot this November that would prohibit Same Sex Marriage. The State House approved the resolution today by a vote of 33-25. It now goes to the Senate. Voters rejected a similar proposition in 2006. This resolution is limited to defining marriage as a "union between one man and one woman". Also today, the House passed a bill that would require Legislative approval before State Agencies could create a plan to regulate Greenhouse Gas emissions. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce says the plan is a way to ensure that economic factors be taken into consideration before environmental policies are developed. And presidential candidate John McCain has been touting his policy similarities with President George W. Bush this election, but one significant difference between the two is related to environmental policy. The Arizona Senator said today in Oregon he would return to the negotiating table over the Kyoto Global Warming Protocols. He says Global Warming is undeniable, a position he holds in common with the two Democratic candidates.

>>Ted Simons:
As sustainability issues become more politically important in the coming years, it's worth noting the successes being made. In the African nation of Ghana, too many people are using Coal and Wood to heat food and provide energy. This is causing pollution, which is affecting the health of all, but primarily children. Larry Lemmons shows us what some ASU students developed that gives the Ghanaian people a sustainable alternative.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
It's fantastic. The young engineers with these ideas, trying to help people in Africa, too. I can't wait. It's incredible.

>>Larry Lemmons:
A world away from the ASU East Campus, the Ghanaian people have a standard of living different from the relative comforts to which we in Arizona are accustomed. While we take clean water and energy for granted. They struggle to provide both. In 2006, ASU's Global Resolve, a program on social entrepreneurship, traveled to Ghana and asked representatives of villages what they needed. From those first encounters came an idea that eventually manifested into this clean-burning cooking stove that converts Corn to Ethanol.

>>Paul Harris:
they were using charcoal or raw wood, lots and lots of carcinogens going into the air. I guess there's a high rate of respiratory illness in children. And they wanted to develop some way to combat that, and what they came up with was to make Ethanol fuel.

>>Larry Lemmons:
Nana Frimpong Afoaka arrives at the ASU East Campus to see for the first time the clean-burning stove created for his village in Ghana. "Nana" means "chief". Afoaka has an Engineering degree from MIT. he's shown the stove in detail by many of the 14 students who conceived and built it. The students are part of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Department.

>>Paul Harris:
We get it in there, we heat up corn and the water altogether, add our enzymes to break down the corn, and we take whole kernel corn, or corn on the ear that's been dried, run it through a shucker. It then goes into a mill. We accumulate about 50 pounds of corn for each batch that we make. That 50 pounds of corn is added to a 55-gallon drum, which we then add about 28 gallons of water to. We seal it off and put a fermentation lock on it. What the fermentation lock does is it keeps the bad bacterias out, allows the corn to do its process with the yeast, and escape CO2 gas. After about seven days, the fermentation is done, and for a lack of a better term, you have a corn-based beer. So, we take the fermented corn, we reheat it and boil off the Ethanol that has formed in that. It goes through the distillation plant, where it's heated then cooled, and then once it condenses, it drops into a vessel.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
Very simple. Because we have the corn in Ghana. And the processing is very simple. Average person can do it. You don't need an University degree to use this processing. So it is going to help us a lot, and then is going to boost the economy because the average villager can get a job to do, because they can plant the corn, and we can make it ourselves right there.

>>Man:
you add more and more of the corn jelly, it will get thicker.

>>Man:
The chemistry part was a huge challenge. You know, the gelling issue. There's so many products out there that companies have come up with that are gelling agents. But they're not all going to work the same way, and they're not all going to do the same thing.

>>Paul Harris:
Those were probably our biggest pitfalls that we really got over them when we came up with the last gelling agent that we decided to use. And it gives us a great consistency, great fire, great heat and it lasts a long time.

>>Man:
12 hours later, and here.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
The gel. There should be a better way of mixing it. Is that right?

>>Man:
Yea. Oh, when it comes out of the spill, we have a mixing chamber. So you actually get a lot more. Yea, a lot more.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
OK, because manually is not going to help.

>>Man:
No.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
OK. What is the alcohol content right now?

>>Paul Harris:
Right now, we've been getting about 90\%.

>>Nana Frimpong Afoakwa:
OK. Very strong. OK.

>>Mark Henderson:
Next step with the Chief is to find out what his needs are, and how we can help him start his business. He's very savvy. He has a degree in Engineering from the US. Be had his own business in the Bronx in New York for 30 years. So he already knows a lot. We're here to help him develop a Supply Chain, to do market research, help him do the things he doesn't have the resources to do in his village in Ghana, and together, we hope we can build a business that's not only successful but sustainable.

>>Ted Simons:
Joining me now to tell us more about this project and others, the Co-Founder of Global Resolve, and Engineering professor at ASU Polytechnic, Mark Henderson, and ASU Engineering professor Brad Rogers. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizon".

>>Mark Henderson, Brad Rogers: Thank you.

>>Ted Simons:
Mark, ASU global resolve, what is it trying to do?

>>Mark Henderson:
Global Resolve is a program that attempts to start sustainable village ventures in villages that need help. Sustainable village ventures would be opportunities for a village not only to solve its problems -- for example to get rid of smoky fuel -- but also to create a business around that. We hope that they will create a business to sell the gel fuel, and even possibly, to make gel fuel generators that they can sell to surrounding villages and regions.

>>Ted Simons:
Compare and contrast what Global Resolve is doing with other agencies, organizations that are trying to help parts of Africa, in particular, and the world in general.

>>Mark Henderson:
Sure. There are several organization actually here at ASU and other universities, such as Engineers Without Borders, and Engineers For A Sustainable World, and D-Lab at MIT. They do solve problems in villages, but they stop short of creating sustainable ventures. They institute a solution, they deliver the solution to the village, but then, they stop. In our case, we go on and we help them start a sustainable venture, and we help them monitor it to hopefully make it successful over a long period of time.

>>Ted Simons:
Sounds like teaching a man how to fish, as opposed to giving them a fish.

>>Mark Henderson:
Exactly. But we try to make them lifetime fisherman.

>>Ted Simons:
Interesting. Brad, the idea of this stove, this is fascinating. How did this get started?

>>Brad Rogers:
Well, we traveled to the village in Ghana - Domiabra - last May, and we interviewed villagers, and we interviewed the Chief, and we asked them what their problems were, and what they needed. And one of the things that we identified was the problem of indoor air pollution. The leading cause of death among children in the world under five years old is actually respiratory illness, much of it caused by indoor air pollution and cooking with charcoal and wood. So, we talked to the Chief about this and asked them if that was a problem in Domiabra. He said it was a problem all over the entire region, and that he'd be very interested if we could come up with some solutions for his village and for his people.

>>Ted Simons:
And is that how the students got involved? Get us into the story.

>>Brad Rogers:
Well, we came back from Ghana, and we began to look at potential solutions for this problem. And we identified gelled Ethanol fuel as a potential resource that would be very valuable in Domiabra, because we could produce the fuel using indigenous resources. There's extra land in Domiabra, for example, that Chief says the villagers can use to grow corn. And they can - we can then use this corn to convert into Ethanol. So, our first system ,we used corn as our fuel. We could use sugar cane, we could use any other crop that could be fermented. So, we came back to ASU and we talked to some seniors in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Department who have to do a Capstone project, and we offered this as a potential project for them, and they began it last August. It was a bit out of their comfort zone, but 14 students began working on this, and they worked through the year, and they finished the project in April, in time for the Chief's visit and demonstrated it for him - for the chief.

>>Ted Simons:
Mark, talk about comfort zones here, and partnerships not only here, but with villages and chiefs and people that may not have much exposure to Americans at all.

>>Mark Henderson:
Well, let me start here. Because we partner with other departments in ASU. Engineers are not the only expertise we need. We need also expertise in global studies and business and you name it, even nutrition and things like that. We're looking for students and faculty to help us in those areas. But if we go across the ocean and we partner with people there, we don't live in the culture in Ghana. We don't know what the problems are. So it's presumptuous for us to go try to solve problems we don't understand. So we have partnered with KNUST - Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. And we also partnered with KYPE, which is an environmental group in Ghana and some other organizations to have our hands and feet, eyes and ears on the ground in Ghana. That gives us an inroad into understanding the culture, and also it helps us monitor the village as time goes on. We don't have to keep going back and forth across the ocean, which is very expensive.

>>Ted Simons:
I was going to ask, where does it go from here, and how viable are these things? Do you go there, get the thing going, and then leave? How much monitoring is necessary, and how much monitoring do you do?

>>Mark Henderson:
Sure. Well, the first time we visit, we ask what the problems are. I held a village meeting in Fumanye, which is a small village of 500 people in Ghana, and we called a village meeting, and we met under the trees, sitting on logs, just the way you would imagine an African village meeting is. The chief was in the chair, and I said "what do you need?", and they said "we need two things: we need water and electricity". So I had no idea what they needed. They told me what they needed. We come back here, and we try to create a solution. It could be high tech, it could be low tech, it could be no tech solution.

>>Ted Simons:
Interesting. Brad, as far as this cooking stove is concerned, what's the next step? What's next?

>>Brad Rogers:
Actually, what we have produced right now is a gel fuel production unit ,which we're going to move to Ghana this summer. And we're going to set it up in the village of Domiabra, and begin to produce the gelled Ethanol fuel. Over the next year, we're going to develop a highly-efficient gel fuel stove at ASU, and we want our competition or the competition is largely charcoal and wood. So we have to make sure that as much as possible the heating value of the Ethanol gets into the food. And the current stove technology doesn't do that. So, we're taking on a project next year that we received funding for from the Women in Philanthropy group at ASU to produce a highly efficient gel ethanol stoves, which are going to be designed so that they can be manufactured in the village of Domiabra.

>>Ted Simons:
Are there other projects in other parts of the world that are in the pipeline?

>>Brad Rogers:
Yes. We're interested in projects in several aspects. I think one of them that we're quite interested in now is looking at Jatropha Oil. Jatropha is a toxic plant that grows all over the world in the Tropics. It produces an oily seed, has a very high oil output. It doesn't really compete with food crops, because it's toxic. And farmers plant it around their fields to keep livestock out of their fields. We're interested in looking at Jatropha as an energy resource. Now, there's a lot of organizations around the world that are currently looking at Jatropha as a potential source of Bio-Diesel. We're taking a little bit of a broader look, and looking at Jatropha oil as a source of things like lighting, heating, cooking and things like very, very small power generation units that might be valuable - five to seven horsepower engines that might be valuable at a village level. So, we're looking at more on a small village scale.

>>Ted Simons:
Mark, last question here, because I want to make sure we get this in here as well. Students involved in these activities, could these projects have been done 15, 20 years ago, or is this a different time?

>>Mark Henderson:
Well, there are two answers to that. Number 1 is, ASU was not as open to global engagement as it is these days. When Michael Crow came in 2002, one of his design imperatives was global engagement. That's really helped out a lot. Number 2 is the students are another altruistic, I believe, these days. We've taken surveys of incoming freshmen in the classes, and they really want to give back and they really want to serve. I'm not saying the students before didn't, but the students today seem to really have a desire to do that.

>>Ted Simons:
Well, this is a fascinating project, and congratulations on the success so far, and continued success as you do good work around the world. Thank you for joining us on "Horizon".

>>Mark Henderson, Brad Rogers: Thank you.

>>Ted Simons:
Now for our regular Monday feature focusing on issues of concern to those watching the State Legislature and upcoming elections. Two political types go "One-On-One". Tonight, Barrett Marson, the State House Republican spokesman, goes head-to-head with John Loredo, a political consultant with Tequida & Gutierrez.

>>John Loredo:
Good evening, Barrett.

>>Barrett Marson:
Good evening, John. How are you today?

>>John Loredo:
Doing good. Here we are in May. We're reaching the middle of May, and everybody is kind of wondering what's happening with the Budget. No public hearings on this issue, no sub-committee hearings. People are kind of wondering where we're at in all this stuff.

>>Barrett Marson:
Well, we've had plenty of sub-committee meetings, open hearings. The Legislature has had many of that, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have had that. And now, what they're doing is the Republicans are working out an offer to make to the Governor. They're working out their own proposal. Remember, the Governor has her offer on the table. Now it's time for Republicans to get their offer. So really, this is just part of the process. You're right. It is approaching mid-May, but things are working out and people are down and working hard. And that's the important thing. To make sure we have a balanced proposal.

>>John Loredo:
We haven't had any hearings at all on the '09 Budget.

>>Barrett Marson:
That is untrue.

>>John Loredo:
We've done the '08.

>>Barrett Marson:
But that's untrue. We had hearings on the '09. There were plenty of hearings early on about the '09 budget. We've had a lot of Appropriation Committee works -

>>John Loredo:
But there's a difference in the way that the Budget is being crafted to the way that it used to be crafted. I mean, there used to be -

>>Barrett Marson:
Does the Governor hold any public hearings on her budget?

>>John Loredo:
She's not required to, the Legislature is. But I'll tell you what, there used to be subcommittee hearings that both the House and Senate would go through. They would invite the Governor's Budget Office to come make their presentations, and they would work on these Budgets in public, with public input. And it was a long process, but it was a type of process where you ensure public transparency with what's happening -

>>Barrett Marson:
And -

>>John Loredo:
- And the way the Republicans are doing it now, they're doing it in the basement with no public input, and they're just going to throw a final draft out there.

>>Barrett Marson:
I'm sorry, John. You must have missed all those public meetings we had with the Governor's budget people -

>>John Loredo:
For '08. For '08.

>>Barrett Marson:
For '09 as well. Plenty of hearings were held for '09. I'm sorry you missed that and weren't around to look at those.

>>John Loredo:
The issue is, Barrett, right now, everything is being done behind closed doors -

>>Barrett Marson:
But that's not true.

>>John Loredo: -
It's being done in secret. And nobody's gonna know what's happening here until the final draft is put out there.

>>Barrett Marson:
All they're doing right now is coming up with something to give - to show to the Governor, OK? Because the Governor has her own proposal that she crafted behind her own closed doors. And so now -

>>John Loredo:
But the issue is how long is that going to take just to get to the point where it's basically not worth the paper it's printed on, because you've got to start all over, and negotiate something realistic. I mean, it's going to be so draconian that there's no chance of getting the House version even through the Senate.

>>Barrett Marson:
But that's the great thing, is it won't be draconian. Because you have members of the entire Republican caucus - not the entire, but a wide variety of members in the entire Caucus. Senator O'Halleron and Senator Allen, who represent the Moderate side of the Caucus, Senator Gould and Senator Gorman, who would represent the right side of the caucus. They're all working together to come up with one proposal so that you can get the votes. You can show that it was a well thought-out idea. You can show it has wide-ranging support. So, this is not a "House Budget." I know you like to play House vs. Senate. You like to show - you like to say that the House -

>>John Loredo:
But that's how it traditionally happens.

>>Barrett Marson:
Ah, traditionally. We we are not resting on tradition now, John, thankfully.

>>John Loredo:
We'll see what happens. We'll see whether or not the Republican caucus can get 31 votes on their bill to get it out of the house.

>>Barrett Marson:
Well, one place where the Republicans did get not only get 31 votes, but also got some Democrat votes, was today, on the tail-pipe emissions bill that would stop State Agencies and unelected officials from making tail-pipe exhaust regulations, as was done last week. And so now, you have a bill that will go up to the Governor. It's already been approved by the Senate, and again, it had Democrat support as well. That would show that, you know what, this is up to the Legislature to have these public hearings, to meet in public to talk about what is happening, and what should happen from an environmental standpoint. And for all -

>>John Loredo:
Well, how long are we going to talk about this, Barrett? -

>>Barrett Marson:
But you know what? That does -

>>John Loredo:
The reality is that something needs to be done about Climate Change. And I mean, reducing Greenhouse Gasses is not a bad thing. I mean, I think it's a good thing, there was enough time for the automobile industry to get their product online. The reality is that people who are opposed to this are the automobile agencies.

>>Barrett Marson:
You know what the reality, is though? According to a poll done by the Arizona chamber of commerce, Arizonans don't want to pay an extra $3,000 per car to do that.

>>John Loredo:
Well, there's a dependable poll.

>>Barrett Marson:
Are you saying the Chamber of Commerce -

>>John Loredo:
I'm saying they represent the people who are selling the cars, and the people who are price-gouging our eyes out.


>>Barrett Marson:
In Arizona? I think the Chamber of Commerce represents Arizonans. I mean, small business and large business. So what you have here is a bill that says, you know what, this is up to the Legislature. Legislature makes the rules and the laws for this State, not some unelected, appointed board by the Governor.

>>John Loredo:
The Governor is elected!

>>Barrett Marson:
The Governor is elected, but the people that she appoints -

>>John Loredo:
And it is completely within her authority to do this.

>>Barrett Marson:
Are you saying she's queen, she can do whatever she wants, without the Legislature?

>>Jon Loredo:
I thought the Speaker was the queen.

>>Barrett Marson:
oh, no!

>>John Loredo:
Here's the reality. This was done above board. I mean, they did what was in their -

>>Barrett Marson:
There was no board! No board!

>>John Loredo:
The Regulatory Review Council that did this, it was within their authority to do it. And the reality is that they make these moves because of the fact that the Republican-controlled Legislature is never going to take one step on this issue. They're going to ignore it, like they always have.

>>Barrett Marson:
And that, again, ignores reality when you see the Republicans create area "A" and area "B" and area "C" for Pinal County. The Republicans have done so much -

>>John Loredo:
They've done that years ago!

>>Barrett Marson:
Area "C" was done last year. And then, you had Carolyn Allen with her Clean Air Bill. That all was done under Republicans.

>>John Loredo:
If this was - I mean, Carolyn Allen depends on a whole lot of Democratic support to get her things done, not just Republicans.

>>Barrett Marson:
But then again, they were done under Republican Legislatures. So you can't say that we're not environmentally friendly.

>>John Loredo:
If this bill stays, we'll see how long it takes the Republicans to actually do something about tailpipe emissions.

>>Barrett Marson:
One thing that we don't know what has been going on is the Governor's secret deal that was discovered last week with the home builders of Central Arizona. Here under the secret deal she says, you know what, we will take the home builders out of - we will no longer charge impact fees on new homes to help pay for the new road proposal that she has. Instead, you give us $100,000 to help jump-start this initiative, and we'll leave you out. And you know, I'm sorry. That's the epitome of a backroom deal that really borders on slimy.

>>John Loredo:
Well, the backroom deals are what the republicans are doing with the budget right now. That's back room secret deal.

>>Barrett Marson:
I'm not getting any money out of it, though.

>>John Loredo:
If this was secret, it wouldn't have been put in the form of a letter that everybody can get their hands on.

>>Barrett Marson:
But nobody knows. It wasn't secret. It was backroom negotiations. There was no announcement by the Governor.

>>John Loredo:
Isn't that the way every initiative happens? A group of supporters get together and say we're going to do this because we can't get it throughout Republican-controlled Legislature, therefore, we're gonna do it ourselves? That's the way every initiative happens.

>>Barrett Marson:
That's is not the way. That is absolutely - A, that's untrue -

>>John Loredo:
Well, sure it is.

>>Barrett Marson:
I think what the problem is, yes, you always have people negotiating things in. It's the exchange of cash, the slush fund, the hush money.

>>John Loredo:
There's no exchange of cash -

>>Barrett Marson:
Right here, $100,000 that the home builders will give for the Time Coalition.

>>John Loredo:
Private industry always lends money to initiatives and referendums for that matter.

>>Barrett Marson: But here, it's an exchange for something. I'm going to give you cash, and you're going to do something for me.

>>John Loredo:
Oh please Barrett! that is the mantra of the Republican caucus in both chambers. That's the way business is always done. Let me tell you what this is. This is an indictment of the Republican-controlled Legislature that won't make one move when it comes to transportation funding.

>>Barrett Marson:
So, you're saying we solicited those bribes?

>>John Loredo:
No. It's not a bribe. You know.

>>Barrett Marson:
$100,000 looks, to me, like a six-figure bribe.

>>John Loredo:
That's not a bribe, Barrett. Come on.

>>Barrett Marson:
OK.

>>John Loredo:
But the reality is that last year, Republicans had a Transportation Committee that they were going to get together and they were going to study the issues, so that the Governor and these private industries wouldn't have to go through it with this initiative. They were supposed to release their reports -

>>Barrett Marson:
The old way. Through a bribe.

>>John Loredo:
They said, okay, never mind, Governor, we're gonna take the lead, we're gonna put together this report and this study, and we're gonna release it in December. Here we are in May. They never released it. I guess we should have read the fine print that said 2012.

>>Barrett Marson:
Thanks a lot, John. It was good seeing you.

>>John Loredo:
Thank you.

>>Ted Simons:
Tomorrow on "Horizon", we'll have news from the State Capitol and a look at politics around Arizona on Horizon's Weekly Legislative Update, plus a new State-Of-The-Art Visitor Information Center is unveiled in Downtown Phoenix. That's tomorrow on horizon. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

>>Announcer:
If you have comments about "Horizon", please contact us at the addresses listed on the screen. You name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon".

>>Announcer:
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