Category: Solutions

Photo of the week: first all-electric ferry

The times of smoke spewing ferries could finally come to an end. Earlier this year, the first all-electric ferry was taken into service in Norway. Equipped with a battery pack worth 1600 car batteries, the ferry makes a journey of about twenty minutes crossing the Sognefjord in Norway. It can carry up to 120 cars and 300 passengers. At each pier, a battery pack is installed to recharge the ferry when docked. It takes only ten minutes to charge up for the trip back, which is done during unloading and loading of the ship. The batteries are charged with hydro power, making the operation of the ferry 100% renewable and emission free. Its operation will annually cut down the use of one million litres of diesel and reduce 570 tons of carbon dioxide and 15 tons of NOx emissions in comparison to conventional ferries operating on the same route. The new vessel is a pilot project to test the viability of operating fully electrically-powered ferries in about 50 ferry routes within Norway and beyond.

The Zerocast 120 is a battery powered ferry which crosses the Sognefjord in Norway since the beginning of 2015

The Zerocast 120 is a battery powered ferry which crosses the Sognefjord in Norway since the beginning of 2015

 

Sources

Ship-technology.com
CleanTechnica

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Photo of the week: Impossible is nothing, dixit Adidas

The famous Boyan Slat has bold ideas about collecting all the plastic in the oceans, but he never revealed what he plans to do with this pile of garbage. Adidas and Parley for the Oceans, an organization that aims to end pollution of the world’s oceans, have came up with something that just might be (part of) the solution. On their General Assembly in New York, Adidas presented a shoe made out of plastics and gillnets recovered from the sea. Those were collected by Sea Sheperd Conservation Society during a campaign against illegal poaching at the African West-Coast.

Adidas will not sell the shoes, but rather wanted to show what is possible with recycled materials from the oceans “when we all put our heads together”, as a spokesman told the Huffington post. Which doesn’t mean it stops here. Next year, shoes partially made out of recycled materials can be found in stores. A good step forward, literally.

 

Adidas presented a shoe made of recovered plastic and gillnets from the oceans (photo: Adidas)

Adidas presented a shoe made of recovered plastic and gillnets from the oceans (photo: Adidas)

Sources

TheHuffintonPost

Photo by epSos.de

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Photo of the Week: from soda bottle to road pavement

In Australia they’re thinking about using printer toner residues into more sustainable asphalt (see this earlier post), in the Netherlands they want to take it even further. Much further. On the 15th of July, the city council of Rotterdam announced a pilot project together with VolkerWessels to investigate the feasaility of recycled plastic roads. That plastic soda botlle you just threw away is indeed suited for recycling purposes other than a winter fleece.

Recycled plastic roads would offer modular road construction and roads could be laid out much quicker. In addition, plastics are corrosion prone and the roads are estimated to last at least three times longer than asphalt which deteriorates over time due to cold temperatures and salt in winter and high temperatures in summer. The right mix of plastics on the other hand can easily handle temperatures between -30°C and 80°C. The roads would be suited to build in other elements, such as sensors and photovoltaic cells. Altough it’s still a concept on paper, the city of Rotterdam is eager to work together with VolkerWessels to see whether this idea could become reality.

Recycled soda bottles could soon become a lightweight and durable road pavement (photo: VolkerWessel)

Recycled soda bottles could soon become a lightweight and durable road pavement (photo: VolkerWessel)

Sources

VolkerWessels
ScienceAlert

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Photo of the week: Google’s engines go green

Data centres are the engines of the internet. They are the places where the network of servers and fibre-optic cables are housed to provide the vast online services of Google. But they fret energy and until now this energy is mainly provided by nuclear and coal power. Around 35% of their data centres are powered by renewable sources, but Google aims for a 100% renewable operation in the future. Although the company didn’t give an end-date for this transition, they clearly want to compete with Apple, whose data centres are already 100% running on renewables since 2012 and is the company is now looking to improve the footprint of their production processes.

Google made a big move recently by buying an old coal-fired power plant in Alabama that will be turned it into a 100% renewably powered data centre. Patrick Gammons, a senior manager of Google’s Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, explained the decision on his blog. “Decades of investment shouldn’t go to waste just because a site has closed; we can repurpose existing electric and other infrastructure to make sure our data centers are reliably serving our users around the world.”

Google will turn this coal mine in a fully renewable powered data centre (photo: Google)

Google will turn this coal mine in a fully renewable powered data centre (photo: Google)

Sources

ClimateProgress
Apple
The Guardian

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Photo of the Week: the sun gives us wings

 

Last week, Pilot Andre Borschberg settled an impressive world record for longest distance bridged with a manned solar-powered plane when he landed in Hawaii after a flight of 120 hours from Nagoya, a stunning 8200 km. The SolarImpulse is a single-seater plane covered with 17000 photovoltaic cells which drive the elecric motors and charge the lithium-ion batteries.

“Now you can fly longer with no fuel than you can with fuel. So, what Andre has done is not only a historic first for aviation, it’s a historic first for renewable energies. And this is why we are doing this project.” Mr Piccard (the co-founder of the project) told reporters after the touch down in Kalaeloa airport, Hawaii.

Having started in Abu Dhabi in the beginning of March, the team aims to complete a round-the world tour this summer. The aim of the tour is to prove the world what clean technology, in particular solar technology, can do already today. There is no direct large scale application possible of solar driven commercial airplanes.

The SolarImpulse settled a stunning record of 8200km non-stop flight from Nagoya to Kalealoa (photo: SolarImpulse)

The SolarImpulse settled a stunning record of 8200km non-stop flight from Nagoya to Kalealoa (photo: SolarImpulse)

Sources

BBC news
SolarImpulse

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Photo of the Week: the Wind Tree

If you are following the Photo of the Week series, you probably remember the Vortex bladeless wind turbine. This radical new way to harvest wind energy is bringing a new ehm… wind in the industry. The asparagus-like structure is an improvement for those who don’t like the large rotating fans in the countryside. But the Wind Tree  (originally called the Arbre à Vent by its inventor Jérôme Michaud-Larivière) is raising wind energy to a whole new level of aesthetics.

Further developed by French engineers, this tree has rotating leaves that generate electricity regardless the direction of the wind. Other advantages are its silent operation, the possibility to start generating at wind speeds of 2 m/s instead of 5 m/s as for most traditional systems and the ability to be installed in an urban environment. One tree costs around 35 000 euros and has a capacity of 3kW. That is enough to power a small household. The real innovation is to be found in the leaves, designed to rotate in both laminar and the turbulent air flow near buildings.

The Wind Tree harvests wind energy from slower and turbulent wind flows than traditional systems, making it a perfect solution for an urban environment (photo: Fred Tanneau)

The Wind Tree harvests wind energy from slower and turbulent wind flows than traditional systems, making it a perfect solution for an urban environment (photo: Fred Tanneau)

Sources

NewWind

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