Changing World –Energy
30 Nov 2008
Changing World looks at innovation all around the world from Seawater Greenhouses, how South Africa is investing clean technologies.
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Qatar to Use Seawater Greenhouses in Desert Regions
What is a desert seawater greenhouse?
The Seawater Greenhouse Company defines itself as ‘a unique concept which combines natural processes, simple construction techniques and mathematical computer modelling to provide a low-cost solution to one of the world’s greatest needs — fresh water. The Seawater Greenhouse is a new development that offers sustainable solutions to the problem of providing water for agriculture in arid, coastal regions.’
The seawater greenhouses use abundant salt water to humidify the air in the greenhouse, while sunlight distils the fresh water out of the seawater — a unique solution for desert areas where fresh water is scarce. This is ideal for Middle Eastern countries, many of which have access to saltwater and have large areas of desert land.
They are powered by the sun making them greener than the current alternatives for two reasons. Firstly, traditional desalination projects are energy intensive and consume lots of fossil fuels. Secondly, in enabling more desert areas to be used for agriculture, local agriculture is encouraged and fewer food products may be imported from far away (thus reducing a nation’s food carbon footprint).
Charlie Paton, who invented the Seawater Greenhouse technology, says: ‘United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait are other countries in the region, are planning to turn vast areas of arid lands into arable through the unique method.’
Source material from ñ Green Prophet’s Science & Technology
South Africa Invests in Clean Technology
Last September South Africa launched the first clean technology fund in Johannesburg, with around 400 million South African rand ready for the first investments.
Water treatment will be among the first clean technologies the fund is targeting. The Evolution One Fund will not only inject capital into projects like water treatment technologies but will assist waste management and thin-film solar panel development,
Zuko Kubukeli, is an executive director with Inspired Evolution Investment Management — the organisation that is to manage the fund. Altogether five clean technology projects in the Southern Africa Development Community are likely to receive their first cheques before the end of this year. Substantial investment will be available over a five year period.
“We would be happy to see a good mix of clean technology investments and clean power generation,” says Andrea Heinzer, investment manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets.
There is a great deal of international financial support for the scheme and the fund is set to grow. The hope is that the fund will be able to support the needs of individual regions, providing cleaner energy, waste recycling and water solutions for each area.
For more information and to find links to investors in South Africa’s green solutions visit the website:
Small Fungi Could Head a Big Revolution
A small fungus discovered in the Patagonian rainforest could head a big revolution in biofuel research. The unique fungus produces diesel compounds directly from cellulose.
Professor Gary Strobel from Montana State University heralded the discovery of the fungus as: ‘the first organisms that have been found that make many of the ingredients of diesel.” It is hoped that they will offer a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Strobel published his paper, in the November issue of the journal “Microbiology.” It is based on his discovery of the unique properties of the Patagonian fungus, called Gliocladium roseum.
The micro-fungus grows inside the Ulmo tree and as with all great discoveries, was found quite unexpectedly. Strobel calls the fuel produced by the fungus “myco-diesel,” from the Greek-derived root word for the study of fungi — mycology. He said: “This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances.” “The fungus can even make these diesel compounds from cellulose, which would make it a better source of biofuel than anything we use at the moment.”
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US Clean Aviation Challenge Takes Flight
Recognising that there is a need for cleaner options for personal private flying, the CAFE Foundation has developed and submitted to NASA a detailed proposal for the CAFE Aviation Green Prize, a $1M flight competition for safe, practical aircraft that can simultaneously demonstrate 100 miles per gallon at 100 mph.
The prize is aiming to attract university teams. It is hoped that the event will culminate in a 200 statute mile race in July 2010. CAFE are favouring aircraft propelled by electricity and run electric flight symposiums each year.
For more information and news on the developments in the challenge please visit the website:
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