Solar greenhouses to save energy

Photo credit: WVC 1995-1999 – Picture5-Gao-Jia-Van-02b.jpg

Belgian TC-Dialogue Foundation’s Greenhouse project in the Lanzhou region (Gansu Province, P.R. China 1995-1999)

Reinventing the Greenhouse

The modern glass greenhouse requires massive inputs of energy to grow crops out of season. That’s because each square metre of glass, even if it’s triple glazed, loses ten times as much heat as a wall.

However, growing fruits and vegetables out of season can also happen in a sustainable way, using the energy from the sun. Contrary to its fully glazed counterpart, a passive solar greenhouse is designed to retain as much warmth as possible.

Research shows that it’s possible to grow warmth-loving crops all year round with solar energy alone, even if it’s freezing outside. The solar greenhouse is especially successful in China, where many thousands of these structures have been built during the last decades.

Read the full article: Low-Tech Magazine

Something to please the hungry Africans: “We will need finance”.

Here is something to make the hungry Africans and their malnourished children extremely happy.  Maybe some companies, selling solar panels, too. We would rather think at needing finance for offering a kitchen garden to all the hungry. (Willem Van Cotthem, Belgium)


Photo credit: UN News Centre

“Saving energy is a triple-win solution. It can save money, reduce emissions, and provide additional energy capacity,” he added, noting that renewable energy technologies are becoming cheaper and more competitive, with many people accessing energy for the first time thanks to solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro power plant.

“But, to replicate this experience for billions more people, we will need finance,” he declared.


COP21: saving energy ‘triple win,’ Ban says, as $5 billion Africa plan launched at climate summit

The United Nations and partners launched today a $5 billion initiative to expand renewable energy capacity in Africa today as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the UN climate change conference (COP21) in Paris that saving energy is a triple-win in the battle against global warming.

“The production and use of energy is responsible for more than half of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. That means energy is also more than half of the solution. We need sustainable energy to reduce global greenhouse emissions and avert the risks of runaway climate change,” Mr. Ban said, stressing that clean energy is equally important for ending extreme poverty.

“Saving energy is a triple-win solution. It can save money, reduce emissions, and provide additional energy capacity,” he added, noting that renewable energy technologies are becoming cheaper and more competitive, with many people accessing energy for the first time thanks to solar panels, wind turbines or small hydro power plant.

“But, to replicate this experience for billions more people, we will need finance,” he declared.

“Let us build on these bold initiatives. A global energy transformation must reduce heat-trapping emissions. It also needs to ensure that we leave no one behind. Those things can only be achieved if we tackle the issues of energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy together as a trinity.”

Read the full story : UN News Centre

Planting trees and energy saving technologies needed in Kenya

Photo credit: Google

United Nations News Centre – Cost of deforestation in Kenya far exceeds gains from forestry and logging,

Kenya: Study – Kenya Loses 5.6 Million Trees Daily


According to the study by Green Africa Foundation, a non-governmental agency, Kenya loses an astonishing 5.6 million trees daily, despite relentless campaigns on environmental conservation.

Forest being extensively cleared in Kenya -
Forest being extensively cleared in Kenya –

The research findings reveal that 64.6 percent of all Kenya’s 8.7 million households (based on the 2009 national population census) depend entirely on firewood as their cooking fuel, where each harvests between 10kgs and 20kgs of firewood daily.

This settler in the Mau Forest, Kenya is clearing land for subsistence agriculture, which was previously thought to be one of the main factors contributing to deforestation. The new study shows that the most important causes of deforestation in the 21st century are probably an expanding urban population and global agricultural trade. © Christian Lambrechts, UNEP -
This settler in the Mau Forest, Kenya is clearing land for subsistence agriculture, which was previously thought to be one of the main factors contributing to deforestation. The new study shows that the most important causes of deforestation in the 21st century are probably an expanding urban population and global agricultural trade. © Christian Lambrechts, UNEP –

The deforestation problem in Kenya captures the situation on the entire African continent.

Studies show that at the end of 1990, Africa had an estimated 528 million hectares, or 30 percent of the world’s tropical forests. In several Sub-Saharan African countries, the rate of deforestation exceeded the global annual average of 0.8 percent.

While deforestation in other parts of the world is mainly caused by commercial logging or cattle ranching the leading causes in Africa are associated with human activity.

Developing countries rely heavily on wood fuel, the major energy source for cooking and heating. In Africa, the statistics are striking: an estimated 90 percent of the entire continent’s population uses wood fuel for cooking, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, firewood and brush supply approximately 52 percent of all energy sources.

Read the full article: allAfrica


Solar energy to fight desertification (Google / Sabahi)

Read at : Google Alerts

Somalis harness solar energy to fight desertification

By Adnan Hussein in Mogadishu

Dozens of families in Mogadishu and Borama are starting to take advantage of solar energy instead of using charcoal, petroleum or natural gas to cook food and heat water.

Muna Abdikadir Muhiyadin, 27, said she brought about 50 solar cookers with her from Stockholm, Sweden, to sell in Mogadishu.

“Using solar energy to heat water or cook food is good for the environment and is great for fighting desertification [caused from] people cutting down trees and burning forests,” she told Sabahi.

The solar cookers are made of several mirrored panels set together to look like a satellite dish. These panels focus sunlight at the centre of the appliance enabling it to heat a cooking pot or an oven.

Muhiyadin said some of her friends have also started businesses buying solar cookers from China and transporting them from Mogadishu to be sold in Borama, capital of Awdal region in north-western Somalia. She said they are thinking of bringing this service to other Somali towns and cities, including Hargeisa, Kismayo, Baidoa, Beledweyne and Bosaso.

The solar cookers can produce heat up to 200 degrees Celsius and can be used to prepare all types of foods, including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, rice and bread, among others, Muhiyadin said.


Making drinking water for irrigation and domestic use with solar energy (Google / WaterWorld)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Qatar: Solar energy to make drinking water

ANSAmed – English
March 30, 2012

(ANSAmed) Qatar is looking for ways to make drinking water for irrigation and domestic use with the use of solar energy. The Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), a department of the Qatar Foundation, is developing a project for the production of water using solar-powered desalination. The problem of water supply is increasingly urgent in the country, which only has reserves for two days.



Solar power and water (Google / Gulf Times)

Read at :Google Alert – desertification

Research on producing water from solar power

By Bonnie James
Deputy News Editor

Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute, a Qatar Foundation centre, aims to work towards producing water and energy by utilising solar power and thereby augment the domestic agricultural output.

“QEERI researchers are working on projects within our ‘Water/Energy/Food Nexus’ Programme which actually directs research towards this linkage purpose,” executive director Dr Rabi Mohtar told Gulf Times.

The focus of research will be on producing water through environment friendly solar desalination and energy by way of harnessing solar power.

“QEERI is also working in close co-operation with the Qatar National Food Security Programme,” he explained.

Dr Mohtar pointed out that in relation to biological resources concerning animals and plants, Qatar has a great biodiversity that has not been fully studied or described. QEERI is planning to do it in collaboration with experts from the Ministry of the Environment, Qatar University, Education City Universities and other Qatari institutions interested in the conservation of the environment.

“After having a clear description of the species and their distribution in the Qatar range, we will be able to explore further the effect of different pollutants on the health status of animal populations or species,” Dr Mohtar said.

QEERI will also try to find key species as indicators of healthy environments for both animals and humans.

Considering that water consumption and water desalinisation are topics of high importance for the country, several agencies including QF through QEERI and others are involved in such programmes.


Using solar energy to prevent desertification (Google / Hanwha SolarOne)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Hanwha is preventing desertification using solar energy in China

Hanwha announced on September 14th that it signed an agreement with China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Lingwu City under the support of UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), through which Hanwha will give comprehensive support to combat China’s desertification problems by providing PV generation systems.

The convention to combat desertification was held in Kai Yue International Hotel in Lingwu City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. President Keum Choon-soo of Hanwha Group China, Yang Youlin from UNCCD Asia HQ, Li Jianjun, Party Secretary of Lingwu City, Chen Shuhui, mayor of Lingwu City, and Department of Forestry Vice President Malin of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region participated for the signing of the agreement.

Under the agreement, Hanwha SolarOne and Hanwha SolarEnergy will provide solar modules and build power plants in the Mu Us region in Lingwu City.

The facilities provided will have an hourly capacity of 80 kilowatts and this will provide power to a tree nursery for reforestation of an 855-hectare area, a project which Lingwu City is promoting.

This project promoted by Hanwha and Lingwu City is meaningful since this is the first such case of using solar energy to prevent desertification.


The most ambitious solar power renewable energy project (Google / Huffington Post)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Here Comes the Sun: Tunisia to Energize Europe

Phd, Based in Paris-Globalization Studies

In the desert of Southern Tunisia, a group of renewable energy entrepreneurs, NUR Energie Ltd, and their Tunisian joint venture partner, Top Oilfield Services, are creating what may just be the most ambitious solar power renewable energy project to date. Along with the endorsement of the Desertec Foundation, NUR Energie has launched the TuNur project to export solar energy from North Africa to Europe, linking Tunisia to Italy via a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Cable and into the Italian electricity grid in order to supply a constant 2,000 MW of electricity. When completed, TuNur is set to be the world’s largest solar energy project. And with the menacing reality of climate change, limited traditional energy reserves and memories of recent nuclear and oil disasters, renewable energy is no longer the choice of idealists, but a simple necessity. We as a human race cannot afford to not go full speed ahead with projects such as this.

What is so unique about this project is that it is a true South-North collaboration which is taking a profound look at not only the socioeconomic benefits the collaboration can bring (the TuNur projects that the project will create an estimated 20,000 much needed jobs in Tunisia), but also taking into consideration environmental impacts which have affected the technology chosen (CSP solar) and the overall design of the project. In order to not add to the desertification process, TuNur will make use of very little water and will recycle in a closed system the steam produced by the process of the array of mirrors reflecting sunlight to a tower storage unit thereby turning the Sahara into a resource which can drive both the local economies as well as satisfy growing demand for low carbon electricity.


Free Hot Water From Cyprus Rooftops (Green Prophet)

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Solar Water Heaters Give Free Hot Water From Cyprus Rooftops

Maurice Picow

Free hot water from the sun. Cyprus now leads the way.

Although China leads the world in the number of solar water heaters in use, and Israel was the pioneer and chief country-wide user of solar water heaters for 25 years, today the Republic of Cyprus has the distinction of being the world leader of solar water heater users per capita. Heating water by black solar collector plates on roof tops was originally invented in Israel during the early 1950s, and that country was the first to instigate a national policy in regards to their use by the general public. Neighboring Egypt is also widening the use of solar water heaters, and even poorer sectors of the country are using their ingenuity to build home made versions of solar water heaters.

Israel boasts that its population uses solar energy to heat water at a rate of 0.56 square maters of solar water heating collectors per person. But Cyprus has an even greater percentage with 0.79 square meters per person via Sustainable


African Sun Prepares to Power Europe (IPS)

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By Julio Godoy

Solar thermal power plants are indispensable to meet Europe’s energy demands and to reduce greenhouse gases emissions substantially, according to a new study by a European scientific commission.

The report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) says solar thermal power plants can play a central role in moving the European power grid to renewable energy sources by 2040.

Such solar units “are able to provide energy at any time, to compensate for fluctuations in the supply of renewable energies…and help stabilise the power grid,” Robert Pitz-Paal, director of the study published earlier this month, and co-director of the German Institute for Solar Research told IPS.

These virtues make “the value of the electricity generated go beyond just the kilowatt-hours they feed into the system,” Pitz-Paal said.

Solar units use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and convert it into thermal energy. This process achieves temperatures of 400 to 1200 degrees Celsius, which can be used to generate power in the same way as a conventional steam-operated power station.

The technique has been in use since the 1980s, but experts say it only reached maturity during the last decade. Solar units are in operation on a significant scale in western U.S. and in Spain.


New insights into natural photosynthesis (Science Daily)

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Scientists Lay out Plans for Efficient Harvesting of Solar Energy

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2011) — Solar power could be harvested more efficiently and transported over long distances using tiny molecular circuits, according to research inspired by new insights into natural photosynthesis.

Incorporating the latest research into how plants, algae and some bacteria use quantum mechanics to optimise energy production via photosynthesis, scientists have set out how to design molecular “circuitry” that is 10 times smaller than the thinnest electrical wire in computer processors. Published in Nature Chemistry, the report discusses how tiny molecular energy grids could capture, direct, regulate and amplify raw solar energy.



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