Tag Archives: Green

Solar powered Tuk-Tuk arrives in the UK after 6,200 mile trip

16 Sep

Naveen Rabelli, an engineer has travelled in a solar powered tuk-tuk all the way to the UK from India. Rabelli, who was born in India and became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hoped to end his journey at Buckingham Palace. His journey has took seven months in his solar-powered tuk-tuk on an incredible 6,200 mile (9,978km) journey. It has a top speed of 60km/h (37 mph) and is powered by both electricity and solar power. The vehicle he has named Tejas, which suitably means radiance or brilliance.

The big adventure began in Bangalore in India before the tuk-tuk was shipped to Iran. He then drove through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. The tuk-tuk cost Rabelli £1,100 and spent around £8500 customising it. As well as making it run on solar and electric power, he installed a bed, solar cooker and a cupboard, which he stocked with food donated by well-wishers.

Travelling at around 62 miles a day, he set off on his adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport. Rabelli converted the petrol-run vehicle to a solar powered one, which seems like a self-sufficient home. He got the idea of creating a solar-powered tuk-tuk after he and a friend got stuck in traffic a few years back.

The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA

Unfortunately on the last leg of his world tour, Rabelli had to pause his journey one country short of his intended destination after his passport and wallet were stolen from his parked vehicle in Sarcelles, north of Paris, while he was using a bathroom. The 35-year-old had to wait for his new passport so that he could cross the Channel and finish his journey at Buckingham Palace.

Talking of his journey, Rabelli particularly appreciated the support of the local people: “The highlights have been the way people have helped me out along the way and supported me. People love the tuk-tuk, particularly in Iran and many other countries. They come forward and take selfies. And the moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown.”

Mr Rabelli says his goal is to create awareness of the potential for solar-powered passenger vehicles in Asian and European countries, presenting an Indian solution to the world. Well Naveen, the world is certainly watching!

A Birdhouse That Gives Out Free Wi-Fi When The Air Quality Improves

2 Jun

There is something really cosy about a birdhouse isn’t there? Well an Amsterdam based start-up company called TreeWiFi agree and are planning on combining it with a much loved technology around the world…Wi-Fi!

They are planning to build bird houses that can measure the amount of pollution in the air, and make them levels visible through an LED status light. The birdhouse will measure when the air is clean and when it is, will give out free Wi-Fi. The roof of the birdhouse will then light up green to show people that the air is of good quality and that Wi-Fi is available on the street.

The technology works by the treehouse sending air quality data to a server where it is analysed and made public for everyone to see.

The brilliance behind the TreeWiFi is its ability to measure air pollution around the world in a much cheaper way than regular government owned air quality measuring stations. The more birdhouses installed means we can get a much more realistic idea of the air pollution around cities and towns.

Currently in Amsterdam air quality is not measured locally and thus local citizens tend not to get involved in improving air quality. The Wi-Fi element will not only offer researchers a better understanding of the workings of air pollution, but also motivate citizens to get involved in reducing air pollution. TreeWiFi also aims to encourage people who live in a city to use their bikes and public transportation more often, and to organise car-free days in their districts.

The project began with funding from the Awesome Foundation Amsterdam in March 2016, since then the team has grown from founder and designer Joris Lam to five in total. TreeWiFi is now hoping to raise €6.500 to further support the development of the prototype and to be able to build five units that they can place in the city of Amsterdam for testing.

Founder Joris Lam hopes to install at least 500 units in the city of Amsterdam, or other European cities who want to tackle air pollution. Due to the project’s fun and relatable approach to a subject otherwise hard to bring attention to, the reactions have been positive from local citizens.

We think it’s a great idea all round – Who would love to see the TreeWifi installed in your local towns and cities? Would they make you more aware of your carbon footprint and air polluting ways? Or are you just here for the free Wi-Fi? (We had to ask!)

 

Could Wave Power Satisfy our Energy Needs?

12 Apr

The UK is a great location for wave power and it is often argued that marine energy converters could offer a more consistent source of energy in comparison to alternative clean energy sources. Researchers at the College of Engineering at the Oregon State University have recently established a new analysis that suggests wave power could also prove to be a cheaper alternative to its renewable energy equivalents. The new analysis has suggested that large-scale wave power arrays could balance out supply and demand by not putting a substantial amount of pressure on the grid.

What do we already know about wave energy? An advantage to wave energy is that it will never run out. There will always be waves crashing upon the shores of nations, near the populated coastal regions. The waves flow back from the shore, but they always return. Unlike fossil fuels, creating power from waves creates no harmful by-products such as gas, waste, and pollution. The energy from waves can be taken directly into electricity-producing machinery and used to power generators and power plants nearby. In today’s energy-powered world, we know a source of clean energy is hard to come by.

Waves are hardly interrupted and are almost always in motion. This makes generating electricity from wave energy a reasonable reliable energy source (at least when you compare them to solar and wind). Beneficially, the energy density is typically around 30-40 kW for every meter (2.2 feet) of wave along the shore. As we go further into the ocean 100kW for every meter is not uncommon. A wave farm that is occupying less than a half square mile of an ocean could generate more than 30 MW of power, the equivalent of 20,000 British homes.

Let’s take a look at the other advantages of wave power:

Pro’s

  • Low Operating Costs – Once installed there are few ongoing operating costs or labour costs, unless there is a device breakdown.
  • No material resources are used or changed in the production of wave power, making it a truly renewable power form.
  • Most wave power devices are installed mostly or fully submerged in water. By installing the devices far enough from shore there is minimal “damage of water views” that has been associated with offshore wind turbines.
  • It offers shoreline protection, as capturing the kinetic energy of the tide will lead to less power crashing into the shore, which should help prevent damage to the shoreline.
  • Most wave power devices operate at optimal efficiency levels regardless of the direction of the waves.

Similar to most good things, wave power does come with a number of disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage to getting your energy from the waves is location. Only power plants and towns near the ocean will benefit directly from it. Because of its source, wave energy is not a viable power source for everyone. Landlocked nations and cities far from the sea have to find alternate sources of power, so wave energy is not the clean energy solution for everyone. Other disadvantages include:

Con’s

  • The high cost of device and associated power products could lengthen the payback period and be cost prohibitive based on the characteristics and size of each project.
  • Sea life could be harmed or have habitats disrupted or displaced. The machines disturb the seafloor, changing the habitat of near-shore creatures (like crabs and starfish) and create noise that disturbs the sea life around them.
  • Strong ocean storms and salt water corrosion can damage the devices, which could increase the cost of construction to increase durability and/or cause frequent breakdowns. This especially holds true with the increased complexity of the devices.
  • Aesthetically unpleasing, the overtopping devices could produce a loud, constant noise. This noise is unlikely going to be significantly louder than the waves would make on their own.
  • The performance of wave power drops significantly during rough weather. They must withstand rough weather.

Installers should consider the pros and cons of this energy source and consider who and what they may be disturbing. Who knows what the future holds for wave power!

India Plans To Rent Rooftops In A Bid To Install More Solar Panels

17 Feb

When it comes to solar power, India is in one of the most perfect locations for the technology due to its extraordinary sun coverage and the high levels of unmet demand for electricity. There are very few countries in the world where solar power has a greater potential than India. With a huge landmass and an average of 300 sunny days a year, India theoretically provides five trillion kilowatt-hours of clean and renewable solar power available every year across its length and breadth, enough to electrify the nation dozens of times over. At times throughout the warmest months of the year major cities for example Delhi suffer from regular power outages due to the increasing demand for power.

To capitalise on the opportunity Indian electricity companies are advising potential customers to rent out their rooftops in a bid to host solar panels. Such a push could see a huge expansion for the country’s solar power capabilities.

The main targets are large industrial and commercial energy consumers. Not only do these companies that host the panels end up with a significant discount on their power bill, but the developers also save money on the most expensive aspect of solar development, which is the cost of purchasing large amounts of land to host their renewable energy projects.

Government buildings such as hospitals, schools and office buildings are potential targets for hosting the technology. Other potential landmarks include industrial complexes, commercial buildings and malls are the target for these operators who would set up solar rooftops for free and sell you power at rates that are cheaper than the local utilities.

“Around 240 sq mt of rooftop space is good enough for setting up a rooftop solar power plant that can viably sell power to the building and earn some decent profits,” said Sunil Jain, chief executive of Hero Future Energies. “In fact, some five-six companies including Hero Future Energy have already entered the fray and are on the lookout for large rooftop space in industrial complexes, commercial buildings, malls and gated communities,” he said.

Although a positive plan, a major disadvantage of the idea is that the cost of generating power differs in different places due to difference of the sunlight’s intensity. For example, the sun is the strongest in Rajasthan and the intensity reduces as it moves towards east. Another issue is with the rental model itself as there is no set of standard model agreements, and therefore the power companies don’t yet have a way to make the contracts legally binding. It means that while customers may rent out their roofs for lengthy periods of time, up to 25 years, they might be able to unexpectedly back out of an agreement questioning its reliability.

 

 

 

The Benefits of Solar Panels

29 Jan

It has been argued that solar power will help in reducing the effects of global warming. Many theorists argue that global warming will prove a huge threat to the earth’s ecological system in years to come. Global warming threatens the survival of human society and countless species. Luckily, decades (or even centuries) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis.

Solar power is a form of renewable energy, so its use reduces the strain on exhaustible materials like coal and oil – materials which are fast running out. More significantly, solar power doesn’t pollute the earth’s atmosphere with harmful emissions in the same way that coal and oil do. Once fitted, solar panels emit no pollution whatsoever, and only the construction and installation process contribute to the Earth’s carbon footprint. Solar panels are, in fact, the most environmentally friendly of all available renewable technologies.

The Benefits

Solar power provides energy security. First and foremost no one can go and buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly. Combined with the simplicity of solar panels, this also provides the notable solar power advantage of energy security.

Carbon footprint advantages. Research shows over the life of a solar installation it produces on average of 20x less CO2 than coal power – at least! Solar panels are carbon negative after three years. As during this time they produce as much energy as was consumed during their manufacturing and installation.

Solar power creates jobs. As a source of energy, solar power is a job-creating powerhouse. Money invested in solar power creates two to three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas. (see table below for example from 2014).

Earn money for the electricity you generate. The Feed-in tariffs in the United Kingdom were announced in October 2008 and took effect from April 2010. It applies to small-scale generation of electricity, paying a fixed sum for eligible technologies. Feed-in tariffs normally cover all of the energy generated, not just what is fed into the grid. You can also sell the electricity you generate but do not use back to the grid.

Solar power is reliable. The rising and setting of the sun is extremely consistent. All across the world, we know exactly when it will rise and set every day of the year. While clouds may be a bit less predictable, we do also have fairly good seasonal and daily projections for the amount of sunlight that will be received in different locations. All in all, this makes solar power an extremely reliable source of energy.

And finally, one of the biggest advantages to the homeowner…
Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.

 

Indian Railway Tests Solar Powered Trains To Help Cut Fuel Bills And Pollution

16 Jun

India has one of the largest railway networks in the world carrying an estimated 23 million passengers daily on approximately 12,000 trains. In a huge move Indian Railways could soon be running its trains via solar power which would be a momentous move for the countries environmental conservation. The railway also transports around 3 million tonnes of freight daily which requires an enormous amount of energy.

At the forefront of the operation, Indian Railways plans to tackle the railways current fuel bill which currently constitutes as the second largest part of its expenditure, the first being its employee salaries. In 2012, Indian Railways consumed nearly 3 million kilolitres of diesel oil and about 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Diesel alone is costing Rs30,000 crore (£3.02 billion) and overtime has been chomping away at the bank balance for Indian Railways.

The potential for solar energy in India is massive. Harnessing it will not only control diesel consumption (by up to 90,000 litres per year) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions (by over 200 tonnes), but also prove extremely cost-effective.

A prototype of a solar powered non air conditioned coach is currently undertaking trials, and soon the entire train will be fitted with solar panels, officials have said. At present, nearly 17 units of electricity are being generated from the solar powered coach. The cost of installing the panels on each coach, according to the Economic Times, is about Rs3.9 lakh (£3,905), and these are expected to result in savings of Rs1.24 lakh (£1,241) per year.

By 2020, Indian Railways plans for renewable energy to create at least 10% of its total energy consumption. The primary action is to implement solar-powered lighting via panels mounted on the roofs of trains.

As per the plan, the train would be pulled by conventional diesel-run engines while solar panels will provide all the internal electricity needs for lights and fans on both air conditioned and no air conditioned coaches.

The solar panelled coach will be tested in an assortment of conditions in the upcoming weeks by the Indian Institute of Science and the coach makers themselves, Integral Coach Factory.

Indian Railways also propose to harness solar energy in their train stations by implementing solar panels to the buildings roofs. The rail network plans 1,000 megawatts of solar-power projects in the next five years, Minister Suresh Prabhu said in parliament. Developers can use the railway land and buildings to set up solar panels.  The solar power will be used to light up stations and office buildings.

Our top 7 reasons why LED lighting is a winner!

2 Apr

When it comes to lighting one of the fastest developments has been the light emitting diode (LED). It’s a special kind of diode that glows when electricity passes through it. Most LEDs are made from a semi-conducting material called gallium arsenide phosphide. They are known for their energy efficient properties and at one time were considered to be very expensive. Since 2008, the cost of LED bulbs has fallen more than 85%.

Here are our seven reasons why you should invest in LED lighting:

  1. Did you know that mosquitoes and other bugs don’t ‘buzz’ around LEDs? We all remember those summer months in the wilderness with a light, a swarm of creatures, screams and wafting. Well, it might excite you to know LED’s do not attract the insect population because the bulbs do not emit wavelengths in the UV spectrum. Have you ever seen the old bug ‘zappers’ with the blue lights? Wallah.
  1. LED’s have been around for much longer than you think. The first LEDs were infrared and were developed in 1955. White light LEDs were not developed till around 1995. The regular light bulb was invented in the 19th century.
  1. For all you food lovers – did you know LED’s help keep food fresher for longer? LED lights do not emit ultraviolet rays and that is why they are a better option for supermarkets, restaurants, and kitchen lighting. With traditional incandescent light bulbs 90% of the energy used was given off as heat which would spoil food. Not only a waste of food, but also a waste of money. LED lights do not give off heat, keeping food fresher for longer. Perfect.
  1. LED’s mimic natural light as they operate in the colour temperature range we call “Pure White” (5800 to 6200 Kelvin) providing full spectrum light – the closest thing to natural sunlight without the harmful UV rays. Just imagine how many selfies you could take with the perfect lighting!
  1. An amazing advantage of LED lights is their ability to help babies’ combat jaundice. Light is well known for its therapeutic and healing capabilities. For the first time doctors and healthcare workers are now able to offer babies LED light therapy without concern of the associated infrared radiation or drastic increases in temperature. NASA has also been studying the effects of LEDs for healing wounds incurred in space.
  1. LED lamps are very reliable and require virtually no maintenance. The average expected life expectancy of an LED lamp is over 40,000 operating hours. This benefit is highly desirable for any consumer whether residential or commercial because this means less time changing faulty lights.
  1. Finally LED lighting is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to save money on energy costs. LEDs use between 50% – 80% less electricity which means more money in your pocket!

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