Wind-to-Hydrogen: A possible solution to store energy?

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If you follow our blog than you might know that one of the topics we discuss most is how to create energy in a sustainable way and how we can store that energy.

When electricity gets produced it has one big disadvantage: it has to be consumed when it gets produced. It is very difficult to store energy in big quantities. One possibility for the future could be what we discussed in one of our previous blog entries (HERE: Tesla lets you store energy at home) storing energy in a decentralized way.

Pumping water to higher places and use it when most needed is another way. But here i show you something even better: Using wind power to create hydrogen. In this article from derstandard.at, my favorite Austrian newspaper.

In a pilot project in Niederösterreich wind power gets used to create hydrogen trough electrolysis. Hydrogen is a high energy fuel, that can be used in different ways to get stored and then reused for energy production. The station build can produce up to 31 kg of hydrogen a day, consuming 50 liters of water/hour.

Right now the gained hydrogen can also be used to get mixed in the conventional natural gas pipelines, that allow a percentage of up to 5% mixture. But also cars could be powered with hydrogen.

The security aspect is not more difficult to handle than with other comparable substances. Hopefully this project shows that this is a way that has a bright future. Applied on a big scale this could be a realistic way to gain in energetic independence and in energetic sustainability.

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Some ‘Green Startup’ enjoying success!

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In order to more sustainable or at least to help us become more sustainable, we need entrepreneurs who are willing to put their dime in startups which focus sustainability or Eco-friendly. Currently the name give to it is Green Startup. It is a tricky startup since I personally feel that it is very new and untapped. It is risky because you do not have a benchmark to follow which could be easy if you invest your money in a different startup with same selling point more or less.

Here are three Green Startups which are doing great in US or around the world.

1) Choose Energy, which was founded in 2008, operates in four states where energy is deregulated–meaning consumers can choose among different providers–and has plans to expand its services nationwide, Dyess says. The company is also developing technology for energy providers to use in customer acquisition and support. If you will look at the site, you find that it is very easy to use and very very useful. With all the rates of all the energy providers are given, you can make a decent choice and most sustainable. Recently they announced on March 26 that it raised $4 million to expand its online platform, which allows consumers and small businesses to shop for energy plans based on a variety of factors, including how green the providers are.

2) Tado, a German company which has a system that can regulate you heating and cooling conditions according to your choice. It says that you can reduce the costs by 30%.

3) Artic Sand, The industry is striving towards smaller devices with increased efficiencies. Some of the greatest challenges relate to converting power from the available input voltage to the voltages needed to drive LED Displays and Processors. Arctic Sand exists to develop the next leap in power conversion technology, achieving up to 4 times reduction in size and power loss to enable next generation mobile applications. It raised $9.6 million from a syndicate of investors that included Arsenal Venture Partners and Dialog Semiconductor.

4) NuMat, NuMat creates value by fundamentally challenging the need to compress gases. In doing so, they unlock massively valuable design flexibility and cost-advantaged production economics in the healthcare, industrial technology, and energy sectors. They are garnering kudos for a technology it developed for storing natural gases, such as methane. The company developed porous materials that can be used to line natural-gas tanks, for example, in cars. Storage of natural gas is so challenging that many experts believe it’s a major deterrent for the widespread adoption of clean-energy solutions. That’s the problem NuMat set out to solve.

5) Plastic Bottle Crusher, an Australian startup. If you want your container waste recycled, you will need tools and systems to help you separate waste streams and size reduce them so that a recycler can see the value in collecting it.

Precycling is the art of separating and compacting waste streams (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metals) to make them valuable for recycling. If you help with precycling, then your local recyclers or waste traders are going to be interested in those separated waste bundles, especially if they are size reduced and easy to transport.

The Plastic Bottle Crusher group have invented a range of very strong and durable machines to size reduce the volume of waste at your workplace or your home.

Source: Entreprenuer, Green Planner

Mad Max (film) like situation : Water Scarcity!

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Some of you might have seen the classic Mel Gibson’s Max Max or you might have seen the latest Tom Hardy’s Max Max: Fury Road. More or less the plot remains the same – Shortage of Water.

I am not going to review this film. I am not the great Robert Edgar, however, I would love to write something about the shortage of water.

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.

Some facts:
1) 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people.
2) More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.
3) Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.

Recently I read the news about Middle East will face Water Shortage for next 25 years.

Next 25 years? Incredible. In fact 14 of the 33 likely most water stressed countries in 2040 are in the Middle East.

According to ‘WRI’ World Resource Institute :

water_stress_table_large

a very large number of countries will face water shortage due to rapidly growing populations & increased consumption by people, farms and companies. WRI used climate models in order to calculate the rankings. Chile, Estonia, Namibia, and Botswana could face an especially significant increase in water stress by 2040.

Even the world’s biggest economies will face the water shortage. It may not be extreme but worth noticing. Are we really going to be serious about it and take some action. I can be all high and mighty or I could say that let’s do it at the local level by not wasting the water but bigger companies, entire society as a whole need to take drastic measure. I really do not wish to see any country suffering like this. It is very easy to sit back, relaxed and feel that ‘I’m fine as long as it is not happening in my country’ but one day we will be a part of this problem. One reason why water is so scarce is because farming wastes so much. In addition, many rich people across the region have dug their own wells to tap into aquifers, leading to over-pumping and pollution of groundwater in cities like Damascus.

Or we can simply fight against each other for water like in those post apocalyptic movies.

Source: The Guardian & WRI.

Mobility revolution: Dublin

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Dublin the Capital of Ireland is soon to be one of the cities with the widest pedestrian zones all over the world. But it doesn’t finish here, they invested also more than 150 billion euros in  the city center to improve public transportation with tram and a well functioning wide range net of bicycle roads.

The public decision takers are willing to spend such a huge amount of money because of the known increasing in inner-city movements trough the next decade. In fact they want to incentive people to use their bike and not their car, the share of bikers in the city should rise from 5% up to 15% within 2020.

To prevent that bikes get stolen (the number of stolen bikes increased steadily over the last years) Dublin build so called bike-hangars and underground garages for bike users like they can be found in Japan.

The decision to use the tram over the bus is known to bring some further improvements for the cities living
quality. The quality of the transportation service is higher with a tram, they are less noise and air polluting, have road lanes just for them and in the long run they are even less expensive than an investment in traditional buses.

One of the most important changes in the City is that also most of the streets will just be in a one direction sense, to increase the fluidity of the traffic. Only bicycles are allowed to drive in both directions.

What is fossil fuel divestment?

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Divestment serves to de-legitimise the business models of companies that are using investors’ money to search for yet more coal, oil and gas that can’t safely be burned. It is a small but crucial step in the economic transition away from a global economy run on fossil fuels.

It is one way of reducing the usage of fossil fuels. Divestment is the opposite of an investment – it simply means getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous.

When you invest your money, you might buy stocks, bonds, or other investments that generate income for you. Universities (and colleges in the US), religious organizations, retirement funds, and other institutions put billions in these same kinds of investments to generate income to help them run. Fossil fuel investments are a risk for both investors and the planet, so we’re calling on institutions to divest from these companies.

This campaign started in 2012 and since then it’s been growing.Since McKibben’s climate movement 350.org launched its fossil fuel divestment campaign in 2012, more than 220 institutions – including universities, faith organisations, local authorities, pension funds and foundations – have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. Syracuse University is the largest so far. It committed in April 2015 to divest its $1.18bn (£800m) endowment and to seek new investments in clean energy technologies. The decision came a year after Stanford University committed to move out of coal investments.

What is Fossil free?

If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We believe that educational and religious institutions, governments, and other organizations that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels.

We are an international network of campaigns and campaigners working toward fossil fuel divestment in our communities. While each campaign is independently run and may bring different emphases and asks depending on their local context, the majority of campaigns are asking institutions to:

1) Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies;
2) Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years

Source: The Guardian, Fossil Free, 350.org

‘The 11th hour’ Documentary review!

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I once wrote a post about the top 10 documentaries on Sustainability. I am going to write a review on one of those documentaries today.

The 11th hour The 11th Hour is a 2007 documentary film, created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, on the state of the natural environment. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans’ habitats were discussed in this documentary. I would recommend this to everyone.

My colleague Max wrote a post on Jared Diamond, in fact he was mentioned in this documentary too.

Diverse group of parties discuss about the current state of ecosystem including superstar physicist Stephen Hawking, environmentalist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, former Soviet leader and founding president of Green Cross International Mikhail Gorbachev and even former CIA Director James Woolsey.

This documentary is serious and it starts with strong graphics of destruction or nature. They discuss the collapse of ecosystem at length and discuss about the possible solutions to avoid this destruction through technology, social responsibility and conservation. The documentary gives us the straight message from the beginning. We are in DEEP trouble in terms of our environment. Only negative thing which I found was too many interviews and too many footage like I mentioned before and less exploration in the field was a downer for me.

I would still recommend you to watch this. In March 2008, The 11th Hour, was awarded the Earthwatch Environmental Film Award

Food Waste Petition – Do you part now!

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In continuance of a post about Dumpster diving last week, I would like mention about France’s supermarket waste law. I’m sure you all are aware that France has banned supermarket to throw away the unsold food. Instead they now need to give it away to food charities or to the homeless people. If they do this, they can get a tax write off by showing receipts that they gave the unsold food to the charities. What a BRILLIANT move!

Young right-wing politician, Arash Derambarsh, who says he was outraged by the sight of homeless people last winter scrambling in supermarket bins. So he started an online petition which made this into a law in France. Now he is planning to move this law into other countries of Europe.

Although some point out that of the 7.1m tonnes of food wasted in France each year, according to the Ministry of Ecology, 67% is wasted by consumers themselves, and another 15% by restaurants, while shops and distributors waste 11% of the total.

Imagine how much is being wasted in entire Europe?

You can either take out the unsold stuff yourself from the dumpster but they wont let you do that. They take it illegal but how can someone allow to get so much food wasted?

He needs 1 million signatures. You find the link here. I have done my part. It may not be fruitful in the end but at least the government will have to consider it. They can chose to take no action but at least there is an initiative from someone.