In Chennai, India, an interesting way to combat rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is underway. Carbon is being captured using a new process in a coal-fired power plant. This process is being undertaken by a chemical manufacturer known as Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals and Fertilizers and they are using this process to produce soda ash.
In May 2016, a pilot project was carried out by Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (a London-based processing company). The project was successful in producing soda ash. Soda ash is better known as sodium carbonate and it is used for a number of purposes including the creation of sweeteners and the manufacturing of glass while it is also used during the fibreglass insulation process.
Another product of sodium carbonate is baking soda.
According to the CEO of Carbon Cleaning Solutions, their latest project is going to be a game changer especially since the project will not have to rely on any funding from the government, so it is a great model for businesses. And so far it is working well in India, one of the first countries to run this specific project.
Carbon Clean Solutions states that they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a rate of just $30 per metric ton. At that rate, they are able to capture carbon dioxide at a much lower price than what is usual. It is now estimated that each year the project will be able to capture around 60 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, contributing to the efforts of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Not a new concept but a more effective one
There were two notable projects that preceded this one:
A USA based start-up company was one of the first companies to build a plant that was designed to convert carbon released by a cement company in Texas. Some of the outputs from the factory included baking soda.
In 2015, a company based in Germany took the process a step further and used the emissions gathered from carbon capture in the processing of ceramics as well as in the production of plastics and rubber.
However, the project currently underway in India, differs in that it will be the first of its kind to produce baking soda as a by-product of carbon capture. At the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California, they have developed a small sponge that will use baking soda to do the carbon capture. With this new method, they believe that the carbon capture process will not only be more efficient but will also be much cheaper. The CO2 that is collected through the capture process will be fed into the plant based in Chennai, India. And the plant itself produces no carbon emissions, making its operations and products 100% clean.
In a developing country like India, this is an excellent small business opportunity for the people making it a project that can be replicated in other poorer nations around the world.
Want to find out more about how you can Go Green? Why not get in touch with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions or browse through their website? Here you will find everything you need to make the process of Going Green simple and efficient.
Just as 2016 was a landmark year for renewable energy, 2017 looks to be even more important for this growing industry. Innovation is going to be the renewable energy trend in 2017 and we are likely to see some very interesting developments that will have the power to change the way that we look at energy. Although change is happening slowly, the world is making a commitment to Going Green more than ever before. We are becoming more educated about the damage that has been inflicted on our planet and we are becoming more aware of the consequences of doing nothing.
One positive that we can take from Going Green is that we are being forced to be creative with our energy and this means that more exciting projects are being developed.
Today, there are plenty of great ideas floating around, waiting to be turned into real-life projects that have the ability to transform all of our lives. There are some ideas that are too risky to consider at the moment, too drastic to implement while there is still time to heal the earth.
But while some ideas are still just concepts and some that are many years away from being developed into a reality, other safer ideas are closer to being realised.
But 2017 is the year that revolutionary ideas that can be put into practice are likely to come to life.
Projects to look out for in 2017
Grey water systems are great for watering gardens and washing cars, but it is of course not safe to drink. Until now, the idea of generating purified water from sewerage sludge has not only been unfeasible but not wholly supported by communities and investors.
When Bill Gates drank the first glass of distilled water using the Omniprocessor, people were sceptical but when looking at the science behind the processor responsible for generating this water, the idea takes on a whole different shape.
Sewer sludge is boiled and the water vapour is removed from the solids. The solids are burned which turns to steam and in turn, helps to generate electricity. This electricity keeps the system functioning without taking power from the grid and any excess power created is sent back into the community. The water vapour is sent into a cleaning system which purifies it into the cleanest water your will ever drink!
This processor is ideal for developing countries that still lack access to clean running water and stable electricity. The small processor can also become an income generating project for developing nations!
Carbon capturing cement
The process of replacing the fossil fuels which are being used in infrastructure is a slow one and this is because fossil fuels have a devastatingly long lifespan.
Carbon capture is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing the amount of carbon that is a big cause of global warming. This process is guaranteed to change the transitions that the planet is making towards reducing emissions.
While we have already found a way to remove carbon from the smoke release during manufacturing, as well as from the air, it is an expensive process and it needs to be done at a lower cost in order for it to be worthwhile. Then there is also the problem of where the carbon is sent once it has been extracted.
Right now, that place is within the ground. The carbon that is being placed underground is being done to stimulate oil production, which in a way defeats the purpose of removing the carbon in the first place.
But there is now a better idea on the way. CarbonCure is a company that is injecting carbon into cement where it will be isolated and become less harmful to the environment. The cement industry is responsible for around 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. While this does reduce the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of production, it does not completely eliminate all of it.
This process is currently being experimented with in an effort to make it profitable and more effective.
What does meat free beef have to do with renewable energy you ask? Did you know that the beef industry is to blame for huge amounts of carbon emissions? While it might not be everyone’s favourite thing to eat, meat-free beef is a fantastic vegetarian replacement that is supposed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. While the initial tests have proven this meat is popular in certain circles, it has not yet been introduced to the masses and so there is no proof that it will be competitive in the market.
Taste and price will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not this renewable food option stays relevant in the long run.
Pay as you go solar power
Again, 2017 will be the year in which solar power will take the centre stage in the ongoing struggle to ensure that renewable energy is effective. The people will always come first when it comes to renewable energy and it is more important that people and the environment benefit before there is a profit.
Azuri Technologies is a company that has worked out how to affordably provide solar power to homes that are off the grid in Africa, and they have come up with a way that is beneficial. Charging a small amount, a family can have a basic solar power unit that will be enough to power two lights and to charge a mobile device. To keep the unit functioning, the family will need to purchase credits although the price that they will pay will be far lower than they would normally spend on kerosene for lighting. The family will save on energy costs and 18 months after paying for their units, they will own their system.
And, this system has already been proven to work in 11 sub-Saharan Africa and has also won awards. This pay as you go system is bridging the gap between the grid and those who have no access to it, which means that people no longer have to wait for power to come to them. These households are skipping ahead, avoiding the conventional use of electricity and immediately benefitting from having solar energy.
The past few years have been hugely successful for solar power. Homes and businesses alike have benefited from having solar systems installed, and the environment has benefited from the use of this clean energy. The industry itself has seen a massive drop in the price of solar panels, even though the community has not been completely supportive.
But what many people don’t know, is that in 2016 solar panels became cheaper to use than fossil fuels.
As with any renewable technology, there were bound to be a few setbacks when solar power first became a reality, but even with the few setbacks, solar power has soared ahead to remain one of the most popular sources of Green energy.
In more than 30 countries, solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2017. And as prices for solar power continue to plummet, it is estimated that in 2017 more than two-thirds of nations on the planet will have “grid-parity” which means there will be a drop in the completely relying on fossil fuels.
“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”
But while the support for solar power will continue to grow in 2017, investment from the rest of the globe is still not what it should be. This means that there are not enough investments coming in to avoid the looming global energy crisis. Only 25% of the investment amount decided upon at the Paris Climate Change Accord has been paid and because many of the barriers preventing the payments from being made are politically motivated, overcoming this barrier will take time and policy changes. Other factors preventing the money from being paid over include economic setbacks such as contracts not being standardised and the lack of a steady track record, drawn up by financial institutions, which needs to in place to reassure the investors.
Although this may be seen as a setback in 2017, the lowering of prices for solar power will triumph in the end, especially as solar power looks set to outperform all forms of fossil fuel energy within the next decade.
Solar power developments in 2017
The development of solar panels and their accompanying systems are set to go into overdrive in 2017, as we see the development of solar panels embrace technology in ways that it has not previously been seen. Solar panels are also set to become more energy efficient.
At Cambridge University, experimental physicist Sam Stranks has been trying to develop ways to make solar power less expensive to harvest and more efficient once it has been collected. His idea is to place a mineral layer of perovskite onto the solar cell which will be used to boost the efficiency of the cell.
According to Stranks, “We could take a silicon solar panel with a lab record efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity of 25 percent, add a perovskite layer, and boost the power generation by a fifth,” says the 31-year-old. “For a solar cell, the maximum efficiency is around 30 per cent – but with one of these perovskite ‘tandem’ layers it could go up to around 50 per cent.”
This is a wonderfully positive development and if it becomes successful and enjoys widespread popularity, it could become one of the important developments in solar power in 2017.
In 2017, the solar industry also hopes to see more commercial businesses transitioning towards renewable energy. There are many businesses who are serious about only using renewable energy. Take for instance Google. Just last year Google announced that they would be relying 100% on Green Energy and Green Energy initiatives in 2017. They are not the only corporate giant who is making this commitment to the planet.
2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.
This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!
In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.
“In anincreasingly largernumber of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.
While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records. These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.
This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices. Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.
Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy. In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.
“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”
Change is coming
While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017. Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.
But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.
Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.
2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.
You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.
It just takes a few simple lifestyle changes to turn your world Green. While installing solar panels or energy efficient air conditioning in your home or business, you can make a remarkable difference in how much you spend each month, but there are also a few other things you can do.
7 Easy Ways to help the environment
Walk or cycle
If you are lucky enough to live and/or work close to shops, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of driving you do and instead opt to walk or cycle. In South Africa, we are not exactly living in cities that are planned in such a way that walking or cycling is always a viable option but if you can use your feet instead of your tyres, this simple method to Go Green is not only going to help the environment but it is also going to benefit your health!
Use your reusable bags
When South African shops stopped providing plastic bags for free when purchasing products, many of us invested in reusable bags. But how many of us still remember to take them when we shop. Normally, we end up buying plastic bags, something that we could completely avoid. Instead of paying for a plastic bag every time you shop, make a habit of actually using your reusable bags. Not buying plastic bags is the environmentally friendly option.
Drink water wisely
Buying bottled water is a trend that has truly exploded these last few years and with it has come millions of plastic bottles. If you want to help the planet and reduce your own carbon footprint, you might want to rethink buying that bottle of water. By not buying bottled water you will be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that can be found in landfills throughout the world. If you are still concerned about the purity of the water you are consuming, you can always install a water filtration system in your home and store purified water in glass bottles or environmentally safe reusable plastic water bottles.
Stainless steel straws
Do you or your family use straws on a daily basis? The amount of plastic that is thrown away in the form of used straws is quite phenomenal but when you choose to use stainless steel straws you can reduce your carbon footprint. These straws can be carried around with you and they can be used for all of your favourite drinks. Stainless steel straws are safe to use and easy to keep clean.
Plant a garden
Adding some greenery to your home is one of the best ways to create a calming atmosphere while contributing to a healthier environment. Unfortunately, not all homes have the space to have the kind of garden you’d like, but even a few plants on a window sill can make a difference in your home. You can buy low maintenance pot plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen. You will definitely notice the difference in your home with a few pot plants.
Cut back on your shower time
If you are already showering instead of running a bath, you are saving water. But the size of the difference you make depends greatly on the amount of time that you spend in your shower. The average shower can use as much as 10 litres of water for every minute that you shower. So it makes sense that if you want to live a Greener life, you should spend a minimal amount of time in the shower. 5 minutes is the perfect amount of time, and by playing a 5-minute long song, you can start or end your day on a high!
Commit to recycling
Making the decision to recycle is easy, committing to doing it is something else. Many of us want to help the planet by recycling, but few of us are able to fully commit to recycling everything that can be put through the various recycling processes. This year you can add one or two extra bins in your home or business, label them glass or plastic (or whatever you’d like to recycle) and then place your rubbish in the relevant bins.
You can Go Green in 2017 by using these really simple ideas. If you are building in 2017 or renovating, and you want to make a serious, long-term commitment to the environment, then you can always work with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We supply the best quality solar systems, LED lighting, energy efficient air conditioning and grey water systems in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
2017 looks to be a big year for Going Green. Recently the internet’s biggest search engine announced that it had plans to go 100% Green in 2017. Using only Green energy, such as solar power provided through various solar solutions and wind power through the use of wind farms, Google is setting an example that others can follow.
Google already has a fantastic reputation for being one of the few tech giants committed to being a fully Green company. They are ahead of all of the other tech companies when it comes to relying on Green energy.
“Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google’s data centres, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.” – Urs Hölzle Senior Vice President Technical Infrastructure
Google has become the biggest company to sign contracts with some of the world’s best known renewable energy companies, which will allow them to buy their renewable energy directly. For years, Google has been relying on renewable energy to provide power to their operations; in fact, they are already the biggest corporation buying renewable energy. In 2010, they signed a contract with a wind farming company in Iowa to buy all of the renewable energy produced. This was just the beginning of their Green goals.
Reaching new goals
The latest renewable energy goal set by Google is the final push towards Going Green in terms of their electricity. And Google, in turn, is supporting the companies that supply the energy by signing long-term contracts.
One of the motivators for Going Green has to do with the fact that in the past few years, the prices of renewable energy has dropped by up to 80% depending on the type of energy being bought. Since Google uses immense amounts of electricity to keep their services going, finding a cheaper source is the best way to go. But Google also has an obligation to the environment; with so much energy used they know the importance of only using clean energy.
One of the slogans Google is known for is “Do no evil”, and they are truly living up to their motto.
Fully committed to the environment
While it is great news that Google is aiming for 100% Green Energy, Google is also running 20 renewable energy-focused projects all around the world. By purchasing energy from these renewable projects, they are helping renewable energy companies around the world to grow and to bring new innovations to life.
Google is all about new ideas, so it makes plenty of sense for them to also support companies that are similarly minded when it comes to being innovative.
Climate change is a very real threat to our planet. Companies that can afford to set the example, and that can afford to support Green Energy initiatives are helping to reduce the prices associated with renewable energy. Green Energy was once expensive, but thanks to more and more companies Going Green with their energy, the prices are dropping.
The efforts by Google will go a long way towards helping the progress of the Green revolution. South Africans can also choose to use renewable energy when they install solar solutions, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems in their homes or businesses.
Are you inspired to Go Green? At Green Leaf Alternative Energy we can assist you to transform the way that you harness power while helping to reduce the effects that burning fossil fuels is having on the planet. Even the smallest efforts can go a long way in the fight against Global Warming. With energy efficient systems such as solar geysers, solar batteries, solar panels and other solar systems available, talk to us about the best way that you can use renewable energy.
This year has been a record one in terms of climate change. Many of the records broken have been a terrible example of how the climate is changing. However, there have been many positive developments in the fight against climate change. In 2016, we have seen some of the highest investments made towards using clean energy.
Climate change is a very real and scary reality, and more and more people are being affected by it as the temperature changes across the globe.
We cannot escape climate change but we can change the way that we handle it and perhaps even reverse some of the damage already done and slow the process.
The shift to using clean, renewable energy has been phenomenal, even if it doesn’t make the headlines as often as it should. In this year alone, over half a million solar panels have been installed every day, while China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has focused on building wind farms as an alternative way to generate power. Around the world, more countries have been building solar farms and wind farms to provide people with clean renewable energy.
Although the change has been slow, with previous years not showing as much progress as seen in 2016, the change is happening. The world can and will truly benefit, by following the example of those who have come before them. The effort has been put into creating a Greener, cleaner environment for every person.
We are not just changing the methods that we have depended on for the longest time to create and use electricity, we are attempting to change the very air itself. Around the world, there have been a number of interesting initiatives to bring renewable energy to the people, at affordable prices. These are just a few of the ideas that have the ability to be replicated and used to benefit numerous communities.
Leading by example, these are the ideas that can be replicated
Ban all fossil fuels
It might seem like an almost impossible task, but many European countries have been considering an outright ban on the use of fossil fuels. This is a harsh decision to make, seeing that there are numerous communities in countries throughout the world that rely heavily on the mining of fossil fuels as a source of income.
Coal was once an important and unavoidable necessity in the production of electricity and petrol. Coal was the force behind the industrial revolution. Today, however, there are numerous alternatives and these alternatives are designed to assist in correcting the damaged caused by climate change. Other countries have taken to reducing fossil fuels by changing the way that fuel is made. While this might be considered to be a small step towards banning all fossil fuels, it is a step that every country can make.
Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have all voted to ban the use of fossil fuels in petrol within the next ten years.
The UK, the Netherlands, Canada and places in the USA have taken the ban on fossil fuels much further by creating plans that will see the coal industry take a drastic knock.
More focus on efficiency
Often we rely on fossil fuels instead of making sure that we have created and built efficient buildings. Insulation is a big factor in the colder nations around the world. When the harsh and icy winter months arrive, more energy is used to keep places warm. However, with better insulation and more efficient technology to keep spaces warm, energy can be saved. Reinforcing and retrofitting buildings and homes can make a dramatic impact on the amount of energy used. In 2014, the EU introduced measures to reinforce insulation and managed to save enough power, equivalent to keeping the whole of Finland powered.
Introducing a carbon tax
Carbon tax is one of the ways that climate change can be tackled, and every country can use this method. Carbon tax is a tax that is levied on the amount of carbon found in fuels. Many countries are looking to introduce this tax as a way to combat climate change while many have already introduced such taxes.
Carbon is found in every type of fuel including petrol and coal, and once burned it pollutes the environment and contributes to the ongoing climate change.
Carbon tax has social as well as economic benefits and works well when a government is trying to enforce a climate policy. In South Africa, we already pay an additional tax whenever we buy a new car.
Each of these three ideas is easy to do in countries around the world and each has already shown to have a remarkable impact on the amount of carbon let into the atmosphere.
Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green energy company providing solar panels, solar geysers and other alternative energy options to those who are determined to Go Green. Based in Johannesburg, our solar systems, energy efficient air conditioning and water management systems can help in the struggle against climate change.
Climate change is one of the biggest debates of our time, and as with all important debates, the opinions are split into two camps. One camp believes that climate change is a fallacy, something made up to induce fear, while the other camp is looking at the science behind the opinion and seeing the reality. Climate change is very real, and the evidence is undeniable. Renewable energy, used on a grand scale, is the only way to go, but we are not at the point just yet to move away from fossil fuels. And the longer we wait, the more damage we do.
What is climate change?
Climate change is the change in climate patterns on a regional or global scale and it is largely due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
While the climate has been undergoing constant change throughout the existence of the planet, it is in the 20th century that the change has become more noticeable and more devastating than ever before. And because of the ongoing increase in the amount of fossil fuels being burned, the onslaught of climate change has attributed to the unceasing increase in global temperatures.
Global climate change has always been a part of the world’s global cycle, but why is it so dramatic now?
Unlike the other eras in which global climate change has occurred, this is the first time in human existence that climate change has been manmade. And so the rate at which the change is taking place is unlike anything we have seen before. This time, climate change is making a damaging impact. While we previously thought that the change would not happen in our lifetime, we are likely to be alive when the serious changes start becoming noticeable all around the world.
But scaremongering is not useful, education is. Scientists are telling us that there are already major signs of climate change and NASA has uncovered simple yet vital signs to prove that the change in climate is already having some scary effects.
The evidence of climate change that we cannot ignore
The rise in sea levels
A century is more than a lifetime for the majority of us, so the impact brought on by the rise in sea levels might not hit as hard, but in the last century alone the sea levels around the world have risen by more than 17 centimeters. This rise happened before the world started experiencing the sudden rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not to mention that 17 centimeters are double the height that the sea rose in the previous century.
What does this mean for us? Consider how many countries have a coastline or are surrounded by the ocean. A rise in sea levels has already become noticeable in the USA where cities along the Florida coastline have had unexpected flooding whenever the tide comes in. These cities have had to install pump systems and lift roads to keep people safe. The Major of Miami, a city that has had this issue for a while, has had to raise the tax revenue in the city to implement a system which he says will only keep the water at bay for around 50 years.
It is the island nations that are forgotten and in the majority of cases, the island nations are those that have contributed the least to global warming.
A rise in global temperatures
As the name says, global warming is an increase in the temperatures around the world. Since 1880, although some politicians would argue otherwise, the earth has warmed. The warming began in the 1970’s, while the warmest years were in the 1980’s. But it is the last 12 years that we have seen the biggest impact in terms of global warming.
Surface temperatures continue to rise as more carbon dioxide is released into the air and more deforestation takes place.
The oceans are heating up
A lot of the heat that has impacted the globe has been absorbed by the oceans. As the oceans are responsible in many ways for the weather we have as well as being responsible for control of temperature. A rise in sea temperatures has an effect on the surface temperature. At least the top 700 meters of the oceans have already heat up, and this is just the beginning if we continue down this path.
The oceans have also become more acidic
A massive part of the human population relies on fish as a means to survive. But with the acidity of the oceans rising not only are the fish populations diminishing but so are the reefs that were once home to massive fish populations. The fish populations can’t recover fast enough and since one billion people depend on fish for their meals, what will happen when there is no longer enough? The oceans absorb a third of the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere, and this is killing the reefs and the fish, while other forms of pollution are also to blame. The oceans can no longer absorb enough of the carbon dioxide to keep things in balance.
Recently, The Great Barrier Reef became another victim of global warming as it was reported that huge swathes of the reef had died. With the oceans around the world absorbing 2 billion tons of carbon each year, can you imagine the habitat in the coming years? Will there even be a habitat for ocean life?
The Arctic ice is disappearing
By 2040, you will be able to sail across the Arctic Circle in the summer months. The Arctic is an important global temperature regulator, and because the ice itself is bright, and is responsible for reflecting up to 80% of the sunlight that hits it.
The Arctic is also responsible for influencing the ocean currents, and that is the all-important influence which will be felt worldwide. This influence helps in the creation of fresh water (when ocean water enters the arctic it freezes and the salt is expelled) and it is also responsible for cooling down warmer water, which in turn affects the temperature. This temperature regulation also plays a big role in reducing the severe weather systems that the world is experiencing. Have you seen the news in recent years, about super storms and such? Now imagine the world without the Artic, without a significant buffer against extreme weather?
Extreme Weather patterns
Global warming ties in closely with the recent spate of extreme weather that has hit the planet. Severe droughts, overwhelming flooding, super hurricanes, and other extreme weather events have not only recently devastated the USA, but have been experienced in just about every nation on the planet.
At the end of it, climate change is something that has and will continue to affect us all until our governments and politicians take the change seriously enough to take action. To cut back on the use of fossil fuels and taking the renewable energy route will be tough, but it is not impossible.
Science and technology can help us to save our planet before we reach the very real point of no return. And it is important that countries like the USA, China, and India, nations with big populations, and big energy needs, take the lead. The change will happen slowly, but only when we all start taking climate change seriously.
There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to make great strides. We still have people among us who do not believe that climate change is real but they science is undeniable. And it is the ignorance and the misinformation that we can fight, that is one of the ways that you can help with climate change. Another way that you can help is by Going Green.
We only have one planet, and it is up to us to make sure that we leave behind a healthy planet that our children can explore and enjoy. A planet filled with interesting animals and astonishingly beautiful landscapes. But right now, that is a world that we will have to fight for.
From the world’s biggest cities to the smallest villages, a wave of Green thinking is taking place. Not only is climate change real but it is also changing the way that we approach energy. By accessing your electricity through solar panels or by undertaking water harvesting, you will not only be helping the planet and your community, but you will also be helping yourself.
We often think that climate change is someone else’s battle, but the reality is that not one of us can escape climate change. It makes sense to be involved; to be a part of the efforts to turn around the effects of climate change while also ensuring that you are dependent on nothing other than your Green investments.
Small towns can set up their renewable energy systems far more efficiently than bigger cities, as there are fewer people to cater for. And smaller towns are taking advantage of their sizes to implement working energy strategies.
These are the ways that small towns have turned to renewable energy as the main way to generate energy.
The town that rebuilt itself (Greensburg, Kansas, United States)
The USA is known for some devastating weather patterns. In central America, tornados are always a danger during the late summer months. In 2007, a tornado tore through Greensburg and leveled the buildings forcing residents to either give up their demolished homes and move to a new town or rebuild. True to the American spirit the town’s residents chose to rebuild their town.
And they did so by using 100% renewable electricity.
They became the second American town to go 100% Green with their electricity and they have been able to successfully start over. They have included LED street lights and wind technology as a means to keep energy costs low and renewable.
The solar powered oasis town in Egypt
Solar panels have a bad reputation in Egypt, not because there is any doubt about the efficiency of the technology, but rather because many people consider the solar panels to be a bit of an eyesore. That being said, an oasis on the outskirts of Cairo, where agriculture is prominent, has gone solar to power their seasonal farming.
The buildings here have been constructed with solar panels and solar systems, so those living in the Tayebat Workers Village are Egypt’s first community relying fully on green energy.
Egypt is one of the ideal places to harvest sun energy, with an abundance of sun shining on the desert landscape each day.
Ashton Hayes, Great Britain
Solar power and the UK might not have the strongest relationship, but there are some towns in the United Kingdom that are actually light years ahead when it comes to going Green. Ashton Hayes is the perfect example of how people can change their whole lifestyle, becoming Greener even when they are not relying fully on solar power.
This community undertook the task of reducing the amount of carbon they release into the atmosphere. So they improved the insulation in their homes so that they relied less on heating, they took fewer flights and they reduced the amount of energy they used in their homes. Through a combination of their efforts, they managed to reduce their carbon footprint by up to 40%.
Their efforts have inspired up to 200 other towns around the world to replicate the simple ways in which they have managed to reduce their carbon.
The Island of Tristan da Cunha
Only 8 times a year can you undertake the week long sea crossing from Cape Town to get to this tiny, eco-efficient island. The island imports almost nothing, its residents depend on themselves to get things done and they are quickly working towards relying fully on the environment to provide them with the energy needed to live comfortably. Their goal is to have 30% – 40% of their energy supplied by nature within the next 5 years.
They plan to become more sustainable by relying on community farming projects, wind farming, and initiatives to turn waste into energy.
As more towns see the benefits of sustainable energy, we are sure to see more towns and cities becoming fully reliant on nature. Who knows what developments the future holds?
Looking to Go Green in your home or business? Contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. Here at Green Leaf, advice is always free. Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have about your journey to sustainability!
When taking a walk around your neighbourhood it is probably not unusual for you to see a few solar panels on your neighbours roof. Solar power is growing in popularity; it is affordable to install and provides sustainable, free energy that benefits the environment!
There are so many additional possibilities for solar power than just providing electricity for a home. Innovations from around the world are using solar power in unexpected ways, and the success of these projects are going a long way towards creating a world that depends on energy from the sun.
These unusual, unexpected ways to use solar power will inspire you to think differently about how you can transform how you use energy.
Solar powered bicycle path
The Dutch always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to alternative energy, and they have done it again through an interesting collaboration between the Dutch provincial government and a group of Dutch companies. Bicycling as a means to get around is exceptionally popular in the Netherlands and bicycle paths have been created to accommodate these road users.
The project recently undertaken has created a solar powered bicycle path of around 70 meters, called SolaRoad. The path is one long solar panel sandwiched between prefabricated concrete and a layer of tempered glass.
The path has been made smooth enough so that dirt doesn’t stick to it and block out the sun, while at the same time it is not too slippery, enabling cyclists to easily navigate it.
What is the point of the SolaRoad? The strip of solar panel will generate around 700 kilowatts of energy for homes in the area. It took 5 years to build the path and 3.5 million Euros, but this interesting approach to using solar energy will surely inspire similar paths to be built around the world.
Solar public rubbish bins
Any surface exposed to the sun can generate solar power with the right equipment. In New York, city rubbish bins have been given a solar makeover with a number of them being equipped with a solar panel, solar battery, and a compactor. Bigbelly Solar Inc. has been producing these trash bins and distributing around 30 000 bins in Amsterdam, Chicago, New York and Berlin.
These trash cans are not being used to power homes or buildings but the energy they create is used to alert the company as to when the bin needs to be emptied, this limits the amount of energy used to continually check whether the rubbish bins need to be emptied. The energy that is created can be stored for up to 72 hours.
South Africa receives well over 2500 hours of sunlight each year, imagine the possibilities of equipping our public bins with solar harnessing capabilities.
Solar powered ship
12 million Euros were spent to build the world’s first 35 meters long solar powered ship. Solar panels line the entire surface and when fully charged the ship is able to run for 72 hours in complete darkness.
The first ship of its kind was built by a German entrepreneur and did a full tour of the world in 2010, proving its immense capabilities and replication possibilities. The ship was named Turanor, which means “power of the sun”, in the language Tolkien created for his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
Taking camping to the next level and minimising the need to lug around gas bottles or generators, a solar powered tent is bound to peak the interests of every camper.
These tents were originally created by the United States Army. Each tent is fit with flexible solar panels, which can harness enough sun energy to power computers, batteries, and other military gear. This minimises the need for their army to carry extra weight.
The tents are not yet available but they are being tested in Africa and the Middle East. This project has also led to further experiments to create solar harnessing tape and fabrics, essentially creating solar powered clothing.
Solar parking lots
Many parking areas provide covered shading for vehicles to park under, sheltering them during the heat of the day. Now these shades are being fit with solar panels. Such installations are obviously beneficial for many reasons especially as shaded parking is popular in every city.
The energy created by these parking lots can be used to reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity used within a building complex, thereby reducing the monthly accounts of the tenants or business owners.
Solar powered airports
South Africa is really taking advantage of all those sunny daylight hours. As of 2016, South Africa is now home to 3 Green airports. These airports receive all of their energy via nearby solar plants and the most recent addition was built by the National Department of Transport, Airports South Africa.
The three solar-powered airports in South Africa are found in Upington, Kimberly, and George, and they are sure to influence the building of similar projects throughout the country and perhaps in nations around the globe.
Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the Green Company paving the way forward for homes and businesses to Go Green using solar geysers, solar panels, LED lights, solar lights, and grey water systems. We’ve worked with numerous clients in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Contact us for your innovative, Green technology.