Have you ever wondered why governments are so reluctant in reducing or abolishing electric power supply from coal and nuclear plants? One of the problem is baseload supply. We need electricity 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and not only on sunny or windy days.
There are technologies for storage of wind or solar energy such as pressurized steam, molten salt, flywheels or compressed air in underground structures. However the price for these storages is very high.
The Norwegian power company Statkraft has launched an innovative osmotic power plant which collects energy released by the difference of pressure when fresh water flows into salt water, with the help of membranes. This form of energy gathering may well work anywhere in coastal areas and estuaries. The advantage is that the natural cycle of water takes place everywhere in the world throughout the whole year and does not depend on the weather: an ideal opportunity for baseload supply using renewable energies. Experts have calculated that osmotic power plants could collect three times the amount of energy of what nowadays is exploited by solar and wind plants together.
For more information on The Blue Economy, please visit www.blueeconomy.de
"Marion Institute backs South American reforesting program"
MARION — While the Arbor Day Foundation continues its mission of reforesting America, a South American organization with a similar mission has launched a carbon footprint reduction imitative by way of trees.
Marion Institute Executive Director Desa Van Laarhoven encourages people to join her in losing a ton – of carbon that is – this month. Along with her teammates, she is “walking the talk” by cutting her carbon footprint by going on a “carbon diet.”
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment – from the car you drive to the vegetables you buy at a store – everything has a measurable carbon footprint. When you hear about your carbon footprint it is in reference to the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2 and other gases) that we individually produce, Van Laarhoven explained. The burning of fossil fuels by use of electricity, heating of your home, transportation, etc., all play a part in the rise of CO2 gases in our atmosphere, one of the main contributors to climate change.
A program of the Marion Institute, Las Gaviotas is an eco-village and research center in Colombia, South America, which focuses on reforestation to offset our carbon emissions. It is the only project in the world with a 23-year track record of the sustainable regeneration of tropical rainforest. To date, Las Gaviotas has replanted more than 20,000 acres of rainforest. Trees and plants act as a type of filter, as they “breathe” in the CO2, cleaning the air and converting it into stored carbon. The Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative it has 144,000 tons of carbon offsets to offer on an annual basis. This tonnage of annual carbon sequestration is calculated using formulas developed in response to the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming known as the Kyoto Protocol. The 8,000 hectares of existing maturing tropical rain forest is the source for this annual tonnage of carbon offsets.
“With Americans accounting for approximately 25 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions every year, we need to act before it’s too late,” Van Laarhoven said. “We need to first think of ways that we can reduce our CO2 emissions in an everyday fashion, such as using public transportation, eating locally, and switching to energy-efficient lighting, for starters.
“Unfortunately, there is no way that we can currently reduce our emissions of green house gases to zero, with nearly every aspect of our life still dependent on fossil fuels for manufacturing, transportation and energy.
To view the article online please visit www.wickedlocal.com/marion
Starting 2011, one of the most interesting international video competitions will launch – The Blue Economy Video Competition 2011.
Inspired by the slogan Blue Moves, Blue Economy will present a total of four competitions over the next 12 months, inviting spare time as well as professional video producers to illustrate one of the ecological innovations which form part of the following categories:
• Water & Waste
• Construction & Home
• Nutrition & Health
Blue Economy will start the first competition on January 20th, featuring the category Water & Waste. Participants may choose one of the sustainable innovations listed below within this category, submitting their video production by March 10, 2011:
• The Power of the Vortex
• Metals without Mining
• Clean water without sewages
• Dry and separation toilets
• Rethinking Food and Drinks Packaging
• Water from Air
All videos submitted will be presented at the community portal of Blue Economy. Here you will be able to watch the videos and vote for them. The winning video will be determined by the online voting results, in which also the judging panel will participate.
THE JUDGING PANEL
The Judging Panel for the first innovation category Water & Waste will be formed, among others, by Prof. Gunter Pauli, founder and author of The Blue Economy, Prof. Dr. Ralf Otterpohl (Technische Universität Hamburg Harburg), Prof. Dr. Peter Wilderer (Technische Universität München), Matthias Zuber (journalist and film producer) and Helge Kubath (SAE Institute GmbH, Director Digital Film Department).
Apart from the Blue Moves Award, the producer of the winning video will receive a monetary reward of US $ 2,000. Interested? For more information about the video competition please click here.
The road to Utopia
By Mallika Sarabhai
In Greek, Utopia means ‘no place’. But in 1970, in Colombia, South America, one man dreamed of creating a real Utopia. The man was Paolo Lugari and the village he created, a village to reinvent the world, is named Gaviotas.
At age 16, Paolo was confronted with the question of how to define development. By the kilometres of construction of roads per capita? By the number of hospitals? Schools? GDP? Surely, development should make people happy. And that could not be measured with any of these parameters. “Before you build roads and factories, be sure you know what people want,” Paolo heard a Dominican priest say. And the words stuck.
After graduating, Paolo spent years abroad on assignments that led him to public health projects, sewage plants and plants generating energy out of sugarcane waste. When he returned to Colombia, he was hired to plan the future of the Choco, a tropical wilderness that stretched over half the country’s coast. A plan was afoot to slice through the area to create a canal to compete with the Suez. But Paolo wondered what would happen to the indigenous people, the wildlife and the biodiversity of the region.
A chance flight with his uncle, the minister of public works, to a large barren wilderness called Llanos led him to his future. The period of narcotics violence in Colombia had begun and the indigenous tribes were beset with attacks. His uncle was searching for land to resettle people made homeless by the violence. “Nothing here,” his uncle said after surveying the region. But Paolo was hooked by an idea, one that was to lead to one of the most adventurous and exciting experiments.
Paolo knew that the booming population would demand that the worst tracts of land become liveable. He knew that any such plan would require completely new thinking on materials and manufacturing, planting and harvesting. He felt that Llanos was the perfect setting to design an ideal civilisation for the planet’s fastest growing region, the tropics. “They always put social experiments in the easiest places,” he used to say. “We want the hardest. If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere. The only deserts are the deserts of the imagination.”
Paolo set about to get the most restless minds and hands for his life’s project. But for years, nothing grew. They had no money, but they built homes and hammocks to live. They tried and failed—to build water systems, windmills that would operate in the gentle savannah winds, grinding machines and pumps. And then slowly, out of the waste of the cities, out of rubber piping and chicken gauze, and out of the restless brilliance of many young minds—scientists and engineers, doctors and botanists—grew a miracle of ideas that translated into usable models. A children’s see-saw that doubled up as a water pump; an inexpensive pump that can tap aquifers six times the depth of conventional ones, at a fraction of the energy used; a sunflower-shaped windmill that is light enough to stand alone, yet strong enough to withstand sudden storms; architectural designs that tap nature’s vicissitudes to fight the damp and heat; solar technology that circumvents the need for expensive batteries, and more. They planted over a million and a half pines, the resin from which gave a constant income.
After a few years, the United Nations Development Programme took interest and funded them. They sent the Gaviotas pioneers to counsel and guide other countries facing similar crises of poverty, lack of resources and growing populations. Till the mid-90s, it appeared that Gaviotas, truly, was a village to reinvent the world. But over the past decade, the cocaine wars have made it impossible to get to the village. Visitor numbers have fallen drastically, and this gem lies isolated.
But Paolo has not lost hopes. “In Gaviotas, the only ideology is change,” he says. “The problem with other people is that they don’t want to change. If we don’t change, we don’t have the capacity to survive. Gaviotas is like rubber. It is elastic, and it will not break.” Perhaps, India, too, desperately needs its brightest and most adventurous people to create a Gaviotas for a sustainable and people-centric future.
This article can be found on The Week
There are about 7 billion people in the world, but 1,2 billion of them do not have any access to drinking water. The continuously growing world population needs urgently new sources and methods to provide drinking water for all.
A new solution is the extraction of water from the air: Clouds, fog and especially tropical air contains a few thousand cubic kilometers of water which could be prepared for consumption via condensation technologies. This is already a practice in India, but the cooling devices required for the condensation process need a lot of electricity, which in remote regions is often as scarce as drinking water.
Curt Hallberg, the Swedish founder of WATRECO, has adapted his vortex technology for this end. Instead of extracting air from water (as is done in the water purification process), he now extracts water from air which is forced into a vortex movement. The whole installation does not need more electricity than a normal vacuum cleaner. This is a vivid example for the versatility of a single blue innovation.
For more information on The Blue Economy, please visit www.blueeconomy.de
Watch Maestro Benjamin Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, testifying before the FDA that his health was restored by having his amalgams removed at the Paracelsus Clinic.
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