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Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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Archive for the ‘Renewable’ Category

A really neat way to look at things

Posted by Lindy on November 19, 2011


Posted in Appropriate technology, Climate change, Development, Energy sources, Global warming, Recycling, Renewable, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Analysis Promising Biodiesel Crop needs Time To Prove Itself

Posted by Lindy on October 30, 2011

Date: 28-Oct-11; From article by  Nina Chestney

There is new hope for biodeisal from a little known tree, the pongamia pinnata tree. It will not reduce food production as it grows on poor land but much more research is needed before we can be sure it will work.

Pongamia pinnata is native to Australia, India and parts of southeast Asia. Its oil has so far been used in medicines, lubricants and oil lamps. Pongamia is attractive because, after six years of cultivation, its oil yield is estimated to rise to around 23 tonnes per hectare per year — almost double yields of 12 tonnes from jatropha (see below), another tree that is a biodiesel feed crop, and 11 tonnes from palm oil.

But the optimism is cautious as prior experience with jatropha shows that what looks like a promising crop may prove disappointing. A few years ago, jatropha was hailed as a biofuel alternative to fossil fuels that would not further impoverish developing countries by diverting resources away from food production. Its high oil yield and ability to grow on marginal land were attractive, but its commercial promise was overstated. Some farmers found that it needed fertilizer to thrive and that its harvesting and processing proved energy-intensive.

However, the evergreen pongamia can grow on marginal arid or semi-arid land and is a nitrogen-fixing tree, which means that it helps fertilize the soil, is promising.


While several large organisations have already planted trees in unused areas of Australia and India, it also believed that there is a role for small scale production.  India has recognized the potential for small-holders to grow the tree on marginal land and has encouraged them to plant around 25 million trees since 2003 and has bought the seed pods for processing into biodiesel.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Bio-enenrgy, Energy sources, Renewable, Solution to problems, Sustainability, Transport | Leave a Comment »

Renewable energy hits record high in UK

Posted by Lindy on October 18, 2011

Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix in the second quarter of this year, statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed.

The 7.86TWh (terawatt hours) contributed by green energy generators represented a 50% rise on the same time last year. The surge in green energy was led by the wind energy sector, which saw output more than double in 1 year, such as the off-shore turbines in N Lincolnshire ( see left) and hydroelectricity where output rose by ¾  year on year.

Nuclear energy also saw a large rise, increasing by more than 1/3 to 17.44TWh.

It needs to be said that  wind energy output was relatively low during the second quarter of 2010, while the mild spring will have contributed to the fall in overall energy use.

However, supporters of renewable energy will also point to a steady increase in capacity evidenced by the opening of new offshore wind farms and biomass power plants as one of the factors behind the sector’s strong performance.

Posted in Climate change, Economic geography, Energy sources, Renewable, Wind | Leave a Comment »

Another great scheme for Kibera from Practical action

Posted by Lindy on October 6, 2011

An unusual power shower

More than 750,000 people live on Africa’s largest informal settlement Kibera, where it was not usual for more than 200 people to share a pit latrine, which often overflow and are emptied into a river where children play. The alternative was ‘flying toilets; people left with little choice but to use plastic or paper bags as toilets and then throw them out of the home.

Diseases such as typhoid and cholera thrive in these conditions and children are especially vulnerable. According to the United Nations, worldwide, a child dies every 15 seconds from these diseases.

One project which has proved incredibly popular is working with communities to build and run a shower and toilet block. The waste passes into a thick, concrete chamber, producing methane, which is connected to a water heating system for the showers.

The community runs this scheme and even employs a caretaker and cleaner. As well as employing people to keep the toilets clean and tidy, the toilets and showers have had another major effect on the community; the areas has become a hive of social activity. Throughout the day the steps are bustling with people as women and mothers meet while the steps give children somewhere to play.

Over the course of a week, more than 2,700 people visit the toilets (395 per day) and 290 people use the showers (41 per week).

Posted in Bio-enenrgy, Kibera, Renewable, Solution to problems, Urban environments | Leave a Comment »

Researchers Produce Cheap Sugars for Sustainable Biofuel Production

Posted by Lindy on October 2, 2011

ScienceDaily (Sep. 30, 2011)

A liquid looking like treacle is produced by the fast pyrolysis of biomass such as corn stalks or wood chips. Fast pyrolysis involves quickly heating the biomass without oxygen to produce liquid or gas products.

This is a new way to make inexpensive sugars from biomass. That’s a big deal because those sugars can be further processed into biofuels.  It has the potential to be the cheapest way to produce biofuels or biorenewable chemicals.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Bio-enenrgy, Climate change, Fragile environments, Global warming, IGCSE, Renewable, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Toyota car plant gears up for solar power

Posted by Lindy on June 12, 2011

Toyota looks set to install a £10m solar array to power operations at its Derbyshire plant after the local authority granted planning approval for the ambitious project. The company has already started work to fit around 17,000 panels on 90,000 square metres of industrial land – an area slightly smaller than four and a half football pitches – within the plant’s boundaries. It says the array will be capable of supplying enough energy to build around 7,000 cars a year at the plant, which produces Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars, as well as saving the company 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. It should begin supplying power to the plant in July, allowing the installation to get in ahead of the government’s proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs for large solar arrays.
Toyota claims it will be the first UK car manufacturer to install a large-scale solar panel array and said the move is part of the company’s wider strategy of lowering the company’s carbon footprint.
“Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership,” said Tony Walker, deputy managing director at Toyota Manufacturing UK.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Climate change, Global warming, IGCSE, Renewable, solar, Solution to problems, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

REDD between Norway and Guyana:

Posted by Lindy on April 6, 2011

This week a further historic step is taken in the battle to hang on the world’s remaining tropical rainforests. It is unlikely to make too many headlines, but on Friday two countries will take forward the kind of arrangement that many have talked about but few have had the boldness to actually do. Guyana and Norway’s leadership is seen in the second stage of a ground-breaking deal through which one (Norway) makes annual payments to the other (Guyana) to keep its forests. The amount of money to change hands is calculated on the basis of how well Guyana has done in holding back deforestation, and the value of that in terms of avoided carbon dioxide emissions. A complex calculation is made to determine how well the recipient country has done but this year $40m is being transferred.

The money is all being invested in sustainable scheme, e.g funding solar panels on all the houses belonging to the indigenous people. These are the means for children to read books at night and mark the end of the kerosene lamps and candles which cause indoor air pollution and fire hazards.

There is also money to connect remote settlements to the internet, again powered with solar electricity. There is money to pay for the costly job of legally demarking Amerindian lands and there are plans for health, education and business support.

Without this support, Guyana would have undoubtedly lost forests. The country needs jobs, foreign exchange and tax revenues. And there are plenty of takers for the natural resources that await plunder in delivering these benefits. Since Brazil has cracked down on deforestation, the loggers, ranchers and soya farmers there have been looking for other places to expand their industries.

For more see

Posted in Amazon, Appropriate technology, Fragile environments, Global warming, IGCSE, solar, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

UK’s Drax Coal Plant Eyes Biomass For Greener Future

Posted by Lindy on March 7, 2011

Date: 07-Mar-11

Britain’s biggest coal-burning power station, Drax in North Yorkshire, generates 7 percent of the UK’s electricity — a sizeable chunk of that from biomass.

“Twelve percent of the fuel that we can burn today is biomass so that means 12 percent of the electricity comes from biomass which is a renewable fuel,” said Peter Emery, production director at Drax.

Drax has the world’s biggest coal and biomass co-burning facility, able to use 1.4 million tones a year of plant material to drive a steam turbine and generate electricity.

“We tend to burn material that is already produced but is not being put to good use,” said Emery. “That is how you industrialize this process and how you keep it cost effective.”

The power station is burning four main types of biomass, forestry waste, agricultural waste, some wood waste and energy crops. It sources these from the UK and overseas. Around 100 local farmers have entered into contracts with the power station to supply one kind of energy crop, Miscanthus, or Asian elephant grass. Chris Bradley owns Whinney Moor Farm in East Yorkshire, and says Miscanthus grows 3 meters tall and thrives on poor soils.I think putting this on grade one or two land is probably not an option and possibly not even morally right …But certainly on the lower grade soils like I’ve done — it is a good option.”

Energy crops are often blamed for pushing up world food prices. Drax said it would not contract farmers planning to convert from cereals such as wheat and added that Miscanthus was unlikely to be economic on high-grade land, given currently high grain prices. Miscanthus is being promoted alongside willow, sawdust and straw as biomass for producing heat and power when burned, without causing net emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Bio-enenrgy, Climate change, Global warming, IGCSE, nonrenewables, Renewable, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Creating “Future Proof” Solar

Posted by Lindy on January 6, 2011

Starting this year, plants will be built in the desert to extract the valuable silicon from sand to construct solar panels. The energy to do this will be – you guessed it – solar power. Once these solar panels have produced enough silicon to make the the solar panels, then it is suggested that 50% of the world’s power can be obtained by solar energy by 2050.  But the novel technological approach suggested by the Sahara “Breeder” team is not the only one under consideration by solar industry stakeholders as they seek to shape the development of the sector over the next half century.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Fragile environments, Global warming, Renewable, Sahel, solar, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

The world gets ¼ of its energy from renewable resources

Posted by Lindy on October 26, 2010


In spite of the economic crises of 2007-9, renewable energy sources continue to grow. Close to one quester of the energy supply generally and approaching 20% of the electricity comes from renewable resources. And all this is despite low oil prices and the poor performance of the Copenhagen  Summit in Dec 2009.

The prime movers are photovoltaic and wind power. China is in the lead, have added 37GW last year, of which 13,8 GW was wind power.

Germany is top of the PV market having added 3.8GW. Biomass power plants exist in over 50 countries around the world with Austria and Finland forging ahead with this.

One of the reasons for this growth, is that you can start small and cheap, unlike hugely expensive fossil fuel or nuclear power stations.

For more information on renewables:

Posted in Appropriate technology, Bio-enenrgy, Economic geography, Global warming, IGCSE, nonrenewables, Renewable, solar, Solution to problems, Sustainability, Wave, Wind | Leave a Comment »