largest broadcasting initiative takes place, to raise awareness about energy consumption and sustainable mobility. The event, called “M’illumino di meno” (“I enlighten myself less”), is at its 12th edition and speaks to all of us: citizens, private associations and public institutions. The campaign is supported nation wide and on a European level by different public authorities, such as the Presidency of the Italian Republic, the Italian Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and the European Parliament. Participating is very easy. Just take some simple actions that affect our daily routine: turn off all the unnecessary lights, ride the bike on your way to work or to the university, minimize the use of electric appliances. Basically, have a zero energy impact for one single day! The people involved in the project have achieved sensational goals through the years; for example: they organized concerts where the spectators cycle to produce electricity; they managed to “switch off” the main monuments in our cities like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome. Even Hans-Gert Pöttering, the President of the European Parliament in 2008, declared that “the event has a symbolic value with a tangible effect”. In fact, even if the event has a short length, it achieved to drastically reduce the energy waste. In 2007 and 2008 the demand of energy, few minutes after the event has started, was respectively 300 MW and 400 MW lower than usual. This is a huge amount of energy saved! Therefore, the possibility to make a difference, even if just for one day, is concrete. As the slogan of the campaign recites: “Sol Omnia regit”, “Everything depends on the sun”, we are all summoned to a conscious use of our resources, starting with changing our habits.
Tidal Energy power plants are definitely some kind of an exotic form for energy production. That’s because most tidal power plants are just pilot projects that are only build for research purposes and do not create a very big amount of energy in their lifetime. Tidal energy is one form of hydropower energy that gets obtained from tides and is then converted in useful electricity. In ancient times and in the middle ages tide mills have been used to mill grain, and nowadays axial or cross flow turbines are used to produce the electrical energy that is needed in modern times. As the gravitational attraction of the moon moves huge amounts of ocean water on certain coastlines or trough lagoons, tidal power plants were build in this strategic positions, there are 4 main types of tidal power generators: Tidal stream generators, tidal barrages, dynamic tidal power and a tidal lagoon.
Unfortunately the issues that come with tidal energy are fairly big, from environmental concerns on marine life (also given the danger of blade strikes and the acoustic output). From a technical and maintenance point of view corrosion in salt water and fouling have a big impact on the plants and make them hardly economically efficient.
Even tough there are some massive problems to face when it comes to significant tidal power generation, there are some steps in the right direction, like a 3,4 MW tidal power generator in the East China Sea.
Check out tidalenergytoday.com for more news on the argument!
Right now I am following a very interesting course with the name of transport and regional economics. And the more I think about transportation, the more I realize how important it is to move people and goods from point A to point B. I wont annoy you with all the theoretical models that we use to describe transportation, instead I would like to tell you something about the Port of Los Angeles in California.
Why exactly this port? Because it will become one of the most environmentally responsible ports worldwide. To give you some numbers: The daily cargo shipped from there has a value of 1 billion dollar, it has 70 km of waterfront and 30 km² of extension. The Port of LA is the 16th largest in the whole world. But what makes this port so special are the ways how the management of the port tries to reduce the impacts of the thousands of ship that visit LA every year. One way to do so is that ships that are inside the port get connected to a electricity power grid such that they don’t have to use their own diesel engines for energy supply, reducing the air pollution doing so. The trucks that drive around the port area are all technologically up-to-date and work with electricity. All this changes made the water clean enough to swim in it (all tough, personally speaking, I wouldn’t).
The main problem that consist till today is the final transport, from the port to the destination point, in fact engineers are planning an electric highway, called “eHigway” powered with catenary wires.
Check out the far more detailed article on gizmodo!
In resource economics we talk quite a lot of renewable resources and their stock size, and to make it more feasible professors introduce to students this topic by the stock of fish in the sea and the trees in forest.
Today I would like to do the same to you and show you this project, that somehow unites the two arguments:
“Farming the Sea: why eating kelp is good for you and for the environment”
This superduper-well made Video about a project that has the potential of a big future shows how kelp farming that is linked with a multi-stage breeding of oysters and fish stock can revolutionize the use of the oceans resources. But the main plant here is kelp, some sort of large seaweeds that grow in so called “underwater forest”. What makes kelp so special is the fact that it is full of nutrients, it soaks up excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the ocean and can be used as vegetable, fertilizer and biofuel.
If you have 5 minutes of time, lean back and enjoy this eyeopening video.
You do may not know about this agency because it is still a very “young” organisation. Founded only in 2009 and headquartered in Abu Dhabi its main task is to sustain renewable energy policies; until today 138 countries take part of the agency (see pic above). Beside the IEA, the International Energy Agency, it is one of the biggest suppliers of data and gatherer of information on renewable energies. In fact, the main reasons for its foundation is that an increasing world population in the next decades and the industrialization process that goes within this estimation have to be based more and more on renewable energy sources, also because of the increasing risk of a shortage on fossil energy sources and rising prices. But it doesn’t end here, also a decrease of greenhouse gases and a more sustainable use of classical energy sources is what the people behind IRENA try to achieve on an international, national and regional level.
I would suggest you to check out their Homepage, there you can find loads of useful information on what is going on in the field, but also how they are organised. And of course you can also apply for an Internship there, right now a position is open =)
This September the International Energy Agency published a Special Report on Energy and Climate Change.
This December a very important meeting, the COP21, will let come together the most important decision takers in the field of Sustainability. In fact this sustainable innovation forum that will be happening partnership with the UNEP, the United Nation Environment Programme will be a remarkable meeting to put the world on a sustainable path.
One of the main topics that will be discussed there besides the new climate goals to reduce greenhouse effect on earth is to take some very necessary decisions in the energy sector.
Some of the most important strategies are published in the World Energy Outlook Report that you can download here. It is a 200 pages publication that offers some detailed insight in the energy production in the whole world and gives also some interesting outlooks on how to accelerate the development of emerging technologies that are essential to transform the global energy system into one that is consistent with the worlds climate goals.
The report offers four main key pillars for the success of COP21 which are to find a peak in emissions, a continuous five-year revison, look in the vision (stop climate change as a collective long-term goal) and track the transition (track achievements in the energy sector).
Another point in the report is to gain in efficiency. Gaining in efficiency is a welcome way to reduce emissions without being restricted in output terms.
If you don’t have time to read trough the whole 200 pages manual, use the link that you can find right below for the executive manual of 12 pages. Stay tuned on the topic, COP21 could be the next Kyoto!
As you may noticed, Pushkar and me we are reporting quite often about pilot projects and plans on how to apply new knowledge on sustainability in the real world.
Today I would like to present you another project; the dream of everyone studying and working in the field of sustainability: Sustainer Homes, a house created by a startup from the Netherlands, that produces all the energy it needs out of local renewable energy sources.
As you can see in picture above, it is a 30 square meters container that originally were just normal transport containers. Isolation on the inside is made completely out of organic and recycled material, the wall color is anti-toxic and on a hemp basis.
The watersystem within the container and the heating system is powered by solar pannels that can generate up to 5 thousand kilowatts in one year, wind powered electricity generators and a rainwater collector that supplies fresh water. The generated electricity power gets stored in such that even in moments without wind and sun there is enough electricity left to supply the container with energy. Dark water gets filtered before it gets released into the environment.
And if I tell you that the price of this “house” you wont believe it: Only 75 thousand euros is what the designers want you to pay for this kind of accommodation. And the best thing, you will never ever have to pay for water, electricity, gas and all the other bills one has to pay.
Big thumbs up to lifegate.it for the original article, and an applause to Sustainer Homes that make such an incredible thing real.