Tagged with 'renewable energy'

The making of renewable energy plants use less minerals

A global report from Australia’s Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, have warned of skyrocketing demand for metals such as copper, lithium and cobalt used in the making of renewable energy plants, like solar and wind, but the report finds fossil fuel generation still using far more of these mineral resources globally.

 

The report finds that metals so far represent only a small share – less than 3 per cent – of the current mineral footprint of the global renewable electricity sector, but they are nonetheless essential for the production of renewable power equipment and infrastructures. Most of the material footprint of renewable technologies is made up of non-metallic minerals – such as aggregates, gravel, calcite, clays, shale and gypsum – and raw fossil fuels extracted for infrastructure construction.

 

“Although renewable electricity technologies generate much lower CO2 emissions than fossil fuel power plants, their large-scale deployment has raised concerns about higher mineral requirements and related environmental and social impacts,” the report notes.

 

Iron is by far the most-used metal for renewable power, accounting for almost 85 per cent (120 Mt) of the sector’s cumulative metal footprint over 2013-18, of which two-thirds was used for steel in hydro and wind power plants together. Aluminium (5%) and copper (4%) are the second and third most mobilised metals, mainly for PV panel manufacturing.

The remaining fraction of the metal footprint includes metals with relatively lower production levels – some mined as principal substances including nickel, zinc, lead, tin and titanium; others recovered as by- or co-products of the former, like germanium, gallium, indium, hafnium, tellurium, bismuth and others.

This footprint will “increase substantially” as the renewable electricity sector continues to grow over the outlook period, driven primarily by growth in solar PV and wind capacities, and will need to be monitored in terms of sustainability. While the geological availability of mineral resources is not expected to impede deployment of renewable technologies in the near future, the report says, tensions in supply chains and price volatility may occur over the longer term, depending on “substitution opportunities, the evolution of demand for competing applications (e.g. batteries, electronics and electric appliances), geopolitical events, and environmental, social and trade regulations among other factors.”

Power One will invest in smart wind

Wind power is a renewable source of electricity. Traditionally, it has required steady and steady wind to be effective. The old "propeller spins" with horizontal shaft cannot withstand turbulent winds, although it can contain as much energy. The so-called vertical wind turbines have not previously reached the same efficiency as the propeller-driven, but have now been updated with more shafts and thus a whole new ability to take advantage of turbulent winds. They are also effective on a smaller scale and Power One has now decided to use these instead of the traditional ones.

Traditional propeller-type windmills use the “horizontal axis x propeller type” method, but the horizontal axis is difficult to respond to changes in wind direction, and the propeller type has a risk of runaway velocity due to strong winds. A horizontal axis propeller type windmill can generate power with high efficiency when the wind direction and wind speed are bothstable, but it is difficult to cope with sudden changes in wind speed and direction. The wind direction of the tropics is not stable, and under such circumstances, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can achieve stable operation and achieve a higher capacity utilization rate.

The "vertical axis Magnus type" system is compatible with wind in all directions because of the vertical axis, and by using the Magnus type, the rotational speed of the wind turbine can be kept constant according to the wind speed by controlling the rotation of the cylindrical blades. can. By controlling the rotation speed of the windmill, stable power generation is possible without runaway even in sudden strong winds. The wind environment in the tropics is very harsh for windmills that are subject to drastic changes in wind direction and speed and among them, the vertical axis Magnus wind turbine can generate power stably, and it can be expected to dramatically improve the operating rate of the wind turbine. In addition, by using a cylindrical blade instead of a propeller, the manufacturing cost can be greatly reduced, so it is possible to supply inexpensive power using renewable energy. 

Tanganyika is a fantastic lake. It is huge not only to the surface but also to the depth. It is also pure and undisturbed with one of the world's largest biodiversity. Because of its surface, the winds get a smoother flow and do not become as turbulent. Therefore, the shores of the lake are suitable for the traditional propeller-driven wind turbines. However, these are both costly and difficult to maintain. They also have a great aesthetic influence. Since the modern vertical wind turbines do not require proximity to the lake's steady flow, they can be placed a little anywhere, preferably up in the mountains.

Power One will therefore invest in a larger number of these vertical small power plants up in the mountains instead of a large propeller-driven power plant at the lake.

Burundi: part of the solution, not the problem

While every country in the world suffers from the impacts of climate change, some have no part in the creation of the problem. 

A report has shown that Burundi is the smallest contributor of carbon dioxide in the world. In fact, Burundi’s per capita emissions of 0.027 tonnes is so low it’s often rounded to zero.

The report shows that the top ten most food vulnerable countries combined produce just 0.08% of global CO2. Russia’s per capita emissions are 454 times larger than Burundi, America’s is 581 times while the average Saudi generates the equivalent CO2 as 719 Burundians.

"What is quite clear is that climate change is not only a global health crisis, it is a moral crisis," said Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Health.

As well as slashing emissions the other side of the climate coin is helping the likes of Burundi to build resilience and adapt to climate change while at the same time developing in a sustainable way that allows them to survive and thrive. Many of these poor countries have vast untapped potentials. Not only in natural resources, but mainly in their human resources. Africa have a thriving ingenuity in finding sustainable energy free solutions to be shared and adapted for sustainable production. With the right financial and technological support this can also strengthen their resilience to climate change. The international finance market need to redress and modernise to ensure early and adequate response to climate change.

Burundi is recovering from a civil war that lasted over a decade and claimed the lives of around 300,000 people - and displaced even more. It has largely remained peaceful since the end of the war, and has now transformed into a nation thriving of ingenuity. But agricultural livelihoods have been affected in recent years by an increasingly variable climate. It is some times difficult for farmers who have achieved food security to move beyond this. Farmers need assistance to adapt to a changing climate and extract the greatest possible value from their harvest.

- Burundi is a living testament to the injustice of the climate crisis. Despite producing almost no carbon emissions, Burundi is on the front line of climate change, suffering from higher temperatures, lower crop yields and increasingly unreliable rains, said Dr Doreen Stabinsky, Professor of Global Environmental Politics at the College of the Atlantic in Maine. “

Only last month, a study in Lancet Planetary Health showed that over the next 30 years, climate change combined with increasing carbon dioxide could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. One of the authors of that study, Dr Samuel Myers, Principal Research Scientist at Harvard University’s Department of Environmental Healthsaid: “Our research shows that rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are reducing the nutritional quality of the food we eat and that the most vulnerable people to these impacts are those least responsible for rising global CO2 concentrations.”

The findings highlight the inequality at the heart of the global climate crisis, with the most vulnerable around the world set to pay the price for the actions of those in richer nations.

As well as climate impacts such as prolonged droughts or severe flooding directly is now causing food insecurity in many vulnerable nations. Climate change is also exacerbating other threats to food security. It is a similar story around the world, where in nations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo droughts and crop failures inflame existing conflicts and social tension.

To address the problem in the fairest way the richest countries must lead the way on dramatic emissions cuts, the report argues, while poorer nations must be given more support to 'leapfrog' fossil fuel development and roll out renewable power at scale.

Government funding is essential, but there is a compelling business case for businesses to support climate security initiatives as a means of aiding economic development in emergeing markets, improving supply chain resilience, and averting the reputational and financial risks. But there is hope coming also from the private sector.

Modern blockchain technology is now paving the road for fractionalised investing, but that is only one example. There are many more.

In cooperation with Blockhomes Burundi, the Swedish company Power One AB is now introducing a modern method of financing renewable energy in the Kabonga region in southern Burundi. Through this system the area will be electrified with renewable energy distributed through a smart grid containing high speed internet.

- Combined with a planned education facility for modern sustainable economics, marketing and blockchain technology. we will build a show case for a future decentralised economy built on renewable energy, global communication and less intermediaries, says Séraphine Barigenera, COO Blockhomes Burundi

 

Sustainable investments in Burundi

Blockhomes Burundi has now contracted Raire Invest for the financing of Power One, a 12 MW power plant in Kabonga, Burundi.

Blockhomes Burundi has been assigned by Burundi's Energy Ministry to handle the electrification of Kabonga-a previously non-electrified region in southern Burundi. The area is incredibly beautiful and lies along Tanganyika's beach towards the border with Tanzania.

Thirty-one thousand families are living in Kabonga, who mainly feed on agriculture and fishing. Kabonga community is located by the lake, but most residents live on their farms.

Currently, about 3,000 customers have registered, but the influx continues and is expected to grow to at least 5,000 before the plant is put into operation.

Through the area flows a small river with a steady flow all year round. The fall height is over one hundred meters. From this, hydropower will be extracted with several modern small-scale power plants, which do not harm the river's biological diversity. At the beach of Tanganyika, the wind is suitable for wind power. However, the primary source and central for electricity production is a 10MW solar park located on a high plateau a bit up from the lake.

Since the area of Kabonga has not been electrified previously, Blockhomes Burundi will also install a new electricity network, stable internet connection, and a digital pre-payment system. The customers who have registered today have smartphones and will thus prepay their electricity consumption via an app.

Blockhomes Burundi now offers investors the opportunity to start building Power One at an early stage.

The energy plant in Kabonga is exclusively renewable, also the storage. No CO2 compensation is, therefore, necessary for energy production. On the other hand, the electrification will lead to jobs and economic growth in the area, and thus increased consumption and emissions associated with it.

Therefore, for every $ 100 invested in the energy plant, Blockhomes Burundi will arrange the planting of a tree through the Tree4Life campaign.

 

The clean energy market is developing rapidly in Minnesota

Minnesota’s early start and continued support of clean energy policies creates a competitive advantage.

The clean energy market is developing rapidly, reducing the state’s dependence on imported energy. Biofuels production capacity, energy efficiency savings, and solar and wind installations all had triple-digit percentage growth between 2000 and 2012.

Employment in clean energy sectors reached 15,300 in 2014. Clean energy employment in Minnesota surged 78 percent between January 2000 and the first quarter of 2014, growing steadily through the recession. The state’s total employment grew 11 percent over the last 15 years.

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