North Chilean Mines Will Soon be Powered by the Sun

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor:  Brit Liggett

Fecha: 15/02/2011

solar power, desert solar power, chilean mine power, chilean mine life, solar power in the desert, solar power in chile, alternative energy in chile

Mines located in northern Chile are turning to solar power — instead of fossil fuel power plants — for more affordable, cleaner energy. The Atacama Desert in northern Chile, where many mines are located, is one of the driest and sunniest places on the planet — the sun is twice as strong there as it is in Las Vegas. Though mining is an environmentally destructive process, people — and manygreen technologies — thrive on the minerals produced by it. There are hundreds of mines in the Atacama Desert and converting them all to clean energy would be a step in the right direction for the whole industry.

solar power, desert solar power, chilean mine power, chilean mine life, solar power in the desert, solar power in chile, alternative energy in chilePhoto by Carlos yo 

The Atacama Desert gets rain only once every decade or so — weather conditions there are closer than they are to Mars than to most other places on earth — and the force of the sun makes solar energy generation extremely efficient. The desert, “has good sun resources and big, unfulfilled demand for power from mining companies,” said Tim Keating, the marketing chief at Skyline Solar, a company talking to the mines about converting to clean energy.

The proposed projects in the region range from very small to very large. A permit was submitted by Atacama Solar for a $773 million, 250-megawatt solar plant to be completed by 2018. Smaller projects are mine specific, like a 1-megawatt solar plant built on the site of a Codelco — a Chilean mining company with many projects in the Atacama — which is being built by Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica. “We have an energy resource here that’s absolutely unique,” said Silvia Tapia, who oversees renewable energy projects for Codelco. “It’s where our operations are, so it’s obvious we should use it.”

Propuesta tica de pesca sostenible ganó certamen de NatGeo

Fuente: www.nacion.com

Autor: Ferlin Fuentes

Fecha: 15/02/2011

IDEA DEL PROGRAMA RESTAURACIÓN DE TORTUGAS MARINAS (PRETOMA)

  • Iniciativa promueve extracción responsable del pez pargo manchado
  • Plan recibió $5.000 y beneficiará a 100 pescadores artesanales del país

Un proyecto que busca promover la pesca sostenible del pargo manchado en el golfo de Nicoya ganó esta semana $5.000 (¢2,5 millones) en una competencia mundial organizada por National Geographic.

El proyecto premiado tiene el propósito de capacitar a pescadores ticos y mejorar la explotación del pargo manchado.
El certamen, llamado Gestores del cambio, premió el Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas (Pretoma).

Dicha organización utilizará los recursos para patrocinar su iniciativa de identificar técnicas para la extracción responsable de esa especie en el Pacífico.

La iniciativa pretende aprovechar la información generada por científicos nacionales sobre el comportamiento de esta especie de pez para definir rutas y momentos para pescar sin agotar la población.

Para lograr su cometido, Pretoma procura involucrar en el plan a las asociaciones de pescadores artesanales, así como a empresarios turísticos de la zona.

El pargo manchado (Lutjanus guttatus) es una especie de clima tropical y propia de los arrecifes de coral. Puede vivir a 30 metros de profundidad y sus machos pueden llegar a medir hasta 80 centímetros de largo.

Beneficios. La iniciativa ganadora beneficiará a 100 pescadores artesanales de la región sureste del golfo de Nicoya, en el cantón de Nandayure, en el distrito de Bejuco, Guanacaste.

Andy Bystrom, diseñador del proyecto de Pretoma, señaló que los beneficios que este proyecto traerán a la zona son tres: ambientales, sociales y económicos.

“El ambiente se beneficia al realizar la pesca de manera sostenible y permite que las generaciones venideras tengan a su disposición el recurso para consumir”, detalló.

Un manejo responsable del recurso también incluye mejoras en la manera como se comercializa. En sintonía con lo anterior, el proyecto en el golfo de Nicoya busca identificar con claridad cuál es el mercado meta donde se va a colocar el producto para evitar a los intermediarios.

“En muchas ocasiones los intermediarios ganan más dinero por kilo de pescado de lo que gana un pescador”, denunció Bystrom.

Esto podría estimular también a los pescadores para que monten su propia empresa y tengan con ello, mejor calidad de vida.

Bystrom afirmó que se siente agradecido por el premio y que espera que los fondos obtenidos les permitan crear un sistema de certificación de pesca sostenible del pargo y, de esa forma, obtener mejores precios en el mercado nacional e internacional.

“El monto de $5.000 se utilizará en su totalidad en financiar los estudios, las pruebas y el proceso de certificación”, mencionó el diseñador del proyecto.

El concurso. Esta edición de la competencia se inició en setiembre del 2010 con la inscripción de los proyectos en el sitio web http://www.changemakers.com/coasts. En la última etapa hubo también proyectos de países como islas Vírgenes, Canadá, Nicaragua, Madagascar, México, Guatemala, Ecuador y Belice. Entre ellos, destacó otro proyecto propuesto por parte de la Fundación Corcovado de Costa Rica para crear un fondo de apoyo a la protección y turismo en Osa.

En cuanto a los otros dos proyectos ganadores, uno es un plan de educación ambiental en Nicaragua y otro de estudio y protección de los arrecifes en las islas Fiji.

España: la contaminación causa 16.000 muertes prematuras

Fuente: pepegrillo.com

Autor: Staff

Fecha: 15/02/11

Pollution_in_Madrid

 

El Ministerio de Medio Ambiente español cifra en 16.000 las muertes prematuras que causa la contaminación en España, un número 7 veces mayor a los fallecidos en accidentes de tráfico (1.710 en 2010). Según la Comisión Europea esta cifra alcanza las 370.000 muertes en la UE. Según datos de la OMS (Organización Mundial de la ) mueren 2 millones de personas en el mundo a causa de la contaminación del aire, la mitad de ellas en países desarrollados.

Las mayores fuentes de contaminación en Europa son el transporte y las centrales térmicas y las  industriales. En España contaminan con la misma proporción los gases emitidos por los tubos de escape del tráfico rodado (32,5%) y las  industriales o productoras de energía (32,4%). Las partículas suspendidas (PM) se producen por la combustión de los vehículos que circulan por las ciudades y, en especial, por los motores diesel. Hoy sabemos que la contaminación el aire por partículas respirables produce un efecto agudo que acelera la muerte de personas con un estado frágil de .

Los principales contribuidores de emisiones industriales son las grandes instalaciones de combustión o centrales eléctricas, responsables de más del 90% de las emisiones de óxidos de nitrógeno NOx y óxidos de azufre SO2. Los Nox causan graves problemas como la lluvia ácida, el smog y el ozono troposférico; problemas que repercuten en la  respiratoria de los ciudadanos. La inhalación de NOx afecta al tracto respiratorio y produce irritación e inflamación a nivel local y general a través de un aumento de los mediadores inflamatorios.

Read more: http://pepegrillo.com/2011/02/espana-la-contaminacion-causa-16-000-muertes-prematuras/#ixzz1E3KwEvmO

Vincent Callebaut Unveils Coral-Inspired Carbon Neutral Eco Village for Haiti

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Bridgette Meinhold

Fecha: 15/02/11

As Haiti marches onward towards reconstructionVincent Callebaut continues to pump out amazing concepts for utopian eco villages for Haitians. Inspired by the organic form of coral, Callebaut proposes Coral Reef, a plug-in matrix for 1,000 Haitian families. Built upon seismic piers off the coast of the mainland, the prefabricated, modular units can be fit into a wave-like matrix as space is needed. Each family would have a plot of land to grow their own food, and their passive home would minimize energy usage, while renewable energy sources would make the entire project carbon neutral.

Vincent Callebaut, Coral, Haiti, Floating Village, renewable energy, modular, prefab,

Callebaut’s Coral Reef proposes building an artificial pier on seismic piles in the Caribbean Sea. Modular duplexes built according to Passive House standards would be added into the housing matrix as funds and time allow and eventually extend over the entire pier. The modular units’ configuration allows each family to have a plot of land to grow their own food. A canyon flows between two rows of housing and is filled with a tropical ecosystem for the local fauna and the flora.

Aquaculture farms and grey water recycling plants filter and process the water before sending it into the sea. The entire complex is carbon neutral and powered via a number of different renewable energy sources. Power would be generated from thermal energy conversion under the pier, marine currents, vertical axis wind turbines, and solar photovoltaics.

El MARM y el comité Andaluz de agricultura ecológica colaboran en proyecto de formación, investigación y consumo de la producción ecológica

Fuente: www.green-capital.es

Autor: noticias.info

Fecha: 14/02/11

Desarrollando este Convenio Marco se suscribirán Convenios específicos que promoverán actividades orientadas a la promoción del sector, la mejora de la competitividad de las empresas y la realización de estudios sobre estas producciones.

La Directora General de Industria y Mercados Alimentarios Isabel Bombal Díaz y el Presidente de la Asociación Comité Andaluz de agricultura ecológica, ACAAE, D. Francisco Casero Rodríguez, han firmado hoy un Convenio Marco de colaboración en materia de Agricultura Ecológica con vigencia para los próximos tres años.
El Convenio Marco entre el MARM y ACAAE tiene como objeto determinar las actuaciones que permitan la ejecución de proyectos y acciones conjuntas sobre formación, divulgación, investigación, difusión, fomento, elaboración, comercialización y consumo de la producción ecológica certificada, así como de eventos que procuren la toma de conciencia ciudadana sobre los beneficios de estas producciones en el medio ambiente y el desarrollo rural.

Al amparo y en desarrollo del Convenio Marco, se suscribirán Convenios Específicos, donde se desarrollarán las actividades que se determinen en cada caso, relativas a:

– La promoción y el fomento del sector ecológico para el desarrollo de sus mercados.

– La realización de estudios sobre la producción ecológica.

– La formación y el desarrollo profesional de los operadores ecológicos.

– La preparación y ejecución de campañas de sensibilización a consumidores y otros colectivos sobre la producción ecológica.

– La realización de actividades de difusión del conocimiento y de desarrollo de los sistemas de producción ecológica y otras actividades relacionadas, a nivel estatal o internacional, mediante la realización de congresos, conferencias, seminarios y actos públicos en general.

– El desarrollo de actuaciones que contribuyan a la mejora de la competitividad de las empresas ecológicas mediante la innovación y el desarrollo tecnológico.

Para el impulso, desarrollo y seguimiento del Convenio Marco se crea una Comisión de Seguimiento para la preparación y coordinación de las actuaciones que de él se deriven.

noticias.info

Clean Energy to Define Obama Legacy

Fuente: www.renewablesbiz.com

Autor: Ken Silverstein

Fecha: 14/02/11

Winning Concessions Key

Two years into his tenure, President Obama’s legacy is shaping up. At stake is how his agenda has eased the recession and specifically those policies tied to the creation of a New Energy Economy.

During his State of the Union address, the president said that this country is on the cusp of change – an evolution that will not just transform its economy but one that will dramatically affect its energy portfolio. Obama is calling on this nation to generate 80 percent of its electricity from clean power sources by 2035.

What are clean fuels? Solar, wind, nuclear and «clean coal» will pave the way, the president says. He has previously called for $150 billion to be allocated over 10 years into these ventures so that millions of new jobs can form.

The speech came just when the annual deficit hit a record high of $1.5 trillion. The president’s thinking is that is that his stimulus plan — $1 trillion total – was needed to flood the economy with money at a time when individuals and businesses had cowered.

Utilities and their partners have been core to the president’s plan to retool the economy: They have received $83 billion in tax incentives, loan guarantees and government assistance for energy efficient technologies and renewable energy programs. Meanwhile, they are also getting $4.5 billion to rollout smart grids that create energy efficiencies and allow more room for wind and solar energy on the wires.

Obama credits the stimulus plan for either creating or saving – immediately — 200,000 jobs tied to construction and clean energy. He points to examples in North Carolina where a company is making advanced car batteries that will generate 1,200 jobs as well as one in California that he says is putting 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

Ohio, long considered a symbol of the old economy, is part of the new dynamic. Officials there say that the state’s manufacturing base is already in place and that it can adapt to the new age. All of the essentials exist, they say, noting that 10 percent of all solar panels are now made in Ohio.

Among the companies doing business there: First Solar, with $100 million in orders for the next five years, and SunPower, with 39 patents. Those dollars are transforming the state by giving workers opportunities that they would not otherwise have.

«But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives,» Obama says. «And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America . Because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.»

President Obama’s aspirations will have to be trimmed now that the Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives. Still, some of his over-arching objectives will be implemented either by the regulatory agencies that have already been given the authority to do so or through bipartisan agreements. More than likely, any «sweeping» changes will happen at the state level.

The president’s new conciliatory strategy, though, is intended to push forward some of his programs. That thinking is best encapsulated by his recent appointment of General Electric’s Chief Executive Jeff Immelt to head the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Immelt is a symbolic olive branch to corporate interests. But the GE exec is also a strong advocate for clean energy.

As part of the American Energy Innovation Council that advocates investment in clean technologies, Immelt says that the U.S. must spend more money on research and development. The country needs $16 billion a year. But last year it spent $5 billion.

«No business will invest when there is no certainty about what a market will look like two, five or 10 years into the future,»Immelt said in the council’s report. «If we’re serious about transforming our energy markets, we must send the right signals and create demand for the technologies that solve these problems.»

Disagreement abounds over whether government support for such enterprises is worth the costs. Those who say it is point out studies that show 5 million new jobs are potentially on the line. But those who disagree say that the high costs of those subsidies mean that many new jobs will be produced at the expense of older ones, all during a period of record red ink.

The president responds by saying that the deficit would be cut by freezing discretionary spending and by eliminating the tax breaks given to big business. As for energy companies, oil will be made to pay. But this group argues that if government penalizes explorers, it would lead to a greater dependency on oil exports from unfriendly countries.

«Financial support for cleaner and greener energy resources needs to come from somewhere,» says Christine Tezak, regulatory analyst with Baird. «In this case, Obama identified a source – `oil companies.'»

Therein lay the president’s difficulties. He has linked economic progress to environmental changes. Those are moves that will require or incent businesses to invest in clean energy technologies. But they are also steps that the opposition sees an impediment to job growth and productivity increases.

President Obama’s legacy will, no doubt, be linked to winning concessions and building consensus around his agenda.

The editorial staff at RenewablesBiz.com is passionate about exchanging ideas and dedicated to promoting ongoing conversation about renewables and sustainable energy issues. We invite you to join and contribute to our online community. If you have an idea for an article or editorial contribution, please contact me via email,bopalka@energycentral.com, or phone, 860.633.0090.

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La búsqueda de petróleo pone en peligro el medio ambiente en Ibiza

Fuente: www.green-capital.es

Autor: diariodeibiza.es

Fecha: Unavailable

petroleo-pozo

El presidente de la Mesa del Turismo, Abel Matutes Juan, advirtió ayer del peligro que representa para el medio ambiente y la economía de las islas la concesión a una multinacional de permiso para buscar yacimientos de petróleo en el golfo de Valencia, en aguas próximas a las costas de Ibiza y Formentera. El exministro y empresario se reunió ayer en el Palau de la Generalitat con el presidente valenciano, Francisco Camps, para, entre otras cuestiones, analizar esta concesión, publicada en el BOE del 22 de enero pasado (ver Diario de Ibiza del 25 del mismo mes).
Tras este encuentro, explicó: «Los expertos advierten de que estas prospecciones petrolíferas causarían un fuerte daño medioambiental a los ecosistemas y parques naturales valencianos, de las islas Columbretes, de Cabrera y, por supuesto, de las Pitiusas, entre ellos el Parque Natural de ses Salines de Ibiza y Formentera, declarado Patrimonio de la Humanidad», señaló en relación al reconocimiento de la Unesco a las praderas de posidonia que se incluyen en este espacio protegido de las islas. 

Matutes afirma que esas exploraciones petrolíferas constituyen «un tema que preocupa mucho al sector y también a la Generalitat» valenciana y que, a su juicio, son «cosa del pasado y en todo caso, muy preocupantes» para quienes habitan en ese entorno.

Inicio de los trabajos «en breve»
La multinacional que se ha adjudicado el proyecto, Cairn Energy –a través de sus filiales Medoil y Capricorn–, ha anunciado que iniciará «en breve» los trabajos en la zona marítima más próxima a la costa valenciana. No obstante, el proyecto incluye en total cinco grandes áreas de actuación: Albufera, Benifaió y Gandía, además de Altamar I y Altamar II, situadas entre la Península y la costa noroeste de Ibiza.

El exministro y empresario ibicenco alerta de que estos trabajos, de iniciarse, pondrían en peligro el medio ambiente y la economía no solo de la Comunitat valenciana sino también de las islas: «La agricultura, el turismo, el transporte… todo estaría amenazado por estos trabajos. El Mediterráneo es un mar muy sensible, con una capacidad de regeneración muy limitada, y de producirse una fuga como la que sufrió México el pasado año, el impacto para las islas sería muy duro, tremendo. No entiendo la pasividad de los ecologistas ante esta terrible amenaza que además está en vigor desde la aprobación del Real Decreto [de enero pasado], espero que en breve se pronuncien», indicó.

El empresario alertó del peligro que representa la extracción de lodos durante el proceso de prospección: «El 90 por ciento de la turbidez de las aguas del golfo de México –puso como ejemplo– está provocada por los trabajos de exploración en busca de petróleo, no están limpias precisamente por culpa de los lodos que se extrajeron durante la búsqueda de yacimientos».

El organismo que preside Matutes tiene previsto reunirse con representantes del Gobierno central para explicarles la preocupación de las empresas turísticas a las que representa.

Por su parte, el Consell de Ibiza, preguntado sobre su opinión al respecto de este proyecto, declinó pronunciarse hasta que no lo haya estudiado en profundidad.

Los hoteleros: «Hay que aprender del ´Don Pedro´»
Los hoteleros pitiusos tienen fresco el recuerdo de los daños provocados por el hundimiento, el 11 de julio de 2007, del buque mercante de la naviera Iscomar ´Don Pedro´ en la bocana del puerto de Ibiza. El presidente de la Federación Empresarial Hotelera de Ibiza y Formentera (Fehif), Juanjo Riera, coincide con los responsables de la Mesa del Turismo en alertar sobre los peligros que, consideran ambas agrupaciones empresariales, implica la búsqueda de petróleo en el mar.

En este sentido, Riera recuerda el accidente del mercante y el vertido de combustible y aceites que este hecho ocasionó, y que causó daños a las empresas turísticas pitiusas. «Después de nuestra experiencia –añade– con el vertido de fuel por el hundimiento del ´Don Pedro´, nos adherimos, sumamos y apoyamos la oposición de la Mesa del Turismo a las prospecciones petrolíferas en el golfo de Valencia por su posible impacto medioambiental y económico».

Riera, además, carga contra el Gobierno por otorgar la concesión para las exploraciones en el mar: «Nos indigna que un gobierno que presume de ecologista y de [aplicar] una economía sostenible apruebe en Consejo de Ministros (…) prospecciones petrolíferas en un radio que abarca los parques naturales de Montgó, la albufera y las islas Columbretes, pero que es extensible además a todo el Mediterráneo español, como las Balears con el Parque Natural de ses Salines».

Estas «perforaciones exploratorias», agrega Riera, «utilizan fluidos que se vierten al mar y existe el riesgo de fuga de crudo». Al igual que el exministro Matutes, el portavoz de los empresarios recuerda la catástrofe medioambiental ocurrida en el golfo de México para alertar sobre los peligros que, dice, implican las prospecciones.

Bamboo bikes: green and growing

Fuente: www.bicycletimesmag.com

Autor: Marie Autrey

Fecha: 10/02/2011

photos by Jesse Brown

Mattress King. Lemon Ice King. The King of Queens. For an American city, New York has an awful lot of kings. You can’t go more than a couple of blocks without passing a passel of these upstart monarchs. But there are some guys in Brooklyn who might just live up to the title, although they’re too modest to claim it: they’re leading people in a new way. They’re expanding their influence across national borders. And they might just make history. Meet Sean, Justin, and Marty, Brooklyn’s Bamboo Bike kings.

«Here, look at this.» Sean Murray turns the computer monitor toward me. The screen shows a page from a Victorian bicycle catalog, the frame’s tubes on it marked by a series of circumferential bumps. «Bamboo goes way back.» He flips to another site, then another. Bamboo bicycles abound, all surrounded by the florid adjectives of 1890s ad copy. «We’re not inventing anything new here.»

Sean is just being modest. Frames, forks, and even handlebars were made from the woody grass as early as 1892, reliant on the material’s springiness to pad that era’s dusty wagon tracks. But those were essentially steel frames with the long tubes missing, and bamboo poles socketed into the lugs. The bamboo tended not to fit closely, and shrank as it dried. Few of those frames have survived, and the ones that have, nobody dares ride. Bamboo Bicycle Studio, where Sean and the other two kings hold court, has taken the old idea and brought it into the 21st century. Furthermore, they’re preparing to spread beyond the continent, to make two-wheeled travel not onl – y sustainable and renewable, but also local.

«People are capable of building their own bikes.» When Sean makes a statement like that, it’s hard not to believe him. He’s got a quietly earnest manner, and the kind of curly, not-worried-about hair you’d see on a J. Crew model. He used to teach school, and if he says you can learn calculus, or debate politics, or even build bicycles, you’re willing to give it a try. As if to prove his point, there’s a young Asian man at a workstand behind us, carefully wrapping the bottom bracket joint on a frame.

The studio is hosting a build for high school students at a downtown museum, and this guy probably didn’t skip vocational ed to be here. He’s dressed in a white oxford shirt under the rubber apron and gloves, but he’s winding carbon fiber ribbon around the tube junction, squeezing voids and bubbles from the resin with a gooey finger. At that moment, there were 117 bamboo bikes on the road, each one built by its owner. The youngest builder was 15, the oldest, 68.

Motivated velo-nuts have been building their own frames for many years, through classes at United Bicycle Institute, among others. But these are highly technical experiences, where the participant has to learn metalwork in addition to framebuilding, with classes taking 4-10 days. Bamboo’s students walk in Saturday morning and ride out on Sunday. And while a steel bike class makes a mess out of two thousand dollars, the bamboo bike – that’s bike, with wheels and components and your ass on the saddle – leaves change from a grand. (Frame-only classes are currently $632.) Clearly, these guys have found a new way of doing things. A kit and a book are in beta testing, if you’d rather not leave home. For left-coasters, a San Francisco office opened at the beginning of 2011.

But why bamboo? Why not hickory, like an axe handle, or ash wood, like an archery bow? «Bamboo comes naturally in a tube, and the density of the fibers is higher to the outside of the tube,» explains Justin Aguinaldo, the second king. Justin’s shorter and slighter than his two compatriots, and moves with a studied intensity. It comes as no surprise to learn that he also works as a bike messenger. He picks up a bamboo sample from the workbench. It’s the diameter of a shot glass, as long as a pencil, and light enough that it almost doesn’t exist. The surface is the color of bread crust, hard and slick. Bamboo is composed of cellulose fibers, which run the length of the stalk, and a spongy matrix of lignin to hold the cellulose in position. It’s a little like fiberglass or reinforced concrete, combining high-tensile fibers in a hardened goo that maintains their shape.

Aside from its apparent perfection, there’s a lot to say for availability. The process starts in suburban yards in New Jersey and Staten Island. Gardeners plant bamboo as decoration but it can get out of control fast. Not confined to tropical zones, at least 18 species prosper in metro New York. Gardeners (or their neighbors) find it has spread beyond its bed, and the bike studio is happy to harvest. Stalks are selected for diameter, density, and integrity.
The green bamboo travels from the Zen garden to the workshop where it’s dried and prepped for use. No one will reveal the details of the preservation process, but it involves drying in a solar kiln, and a coat of tung oil. Many procedures at Bamboo Bike Studio change from batch to batch, tweaking ease of use, sustainability, or just to see what will work. Occasional bikes get built with deliberate flaws. Justin is clearly warming up to his topic. «You have to figure out which concerns are assumptions, and which ones are valid. So we’ll build a bike with something that we assume will break, and we’ll test it to find out.»

Oddly enough, they tend not to. Test bikes have been built with extra-light bamboo, or cracked stalks. «Or bug holes,» interjects Justin. «You can ride a bike with splits in it for a long time. You have to have, like, four splits (for it to fail). These bikes don’t fail catastrophically.»

The bottom bracket sits in a piece of high-density foam, with little nubs that slip into the tube ends. A thick overlay of carbon fiber ribbon wraps the joint to form a weight-bearing skin. The head tube is another block of foam, pierced and steel-sleeved to accommodate a standard headset. The riding stresses are supported by the epoxy-impregnated fiber, so the foam needs less strength, and the overlay of fiber is heavy enough to make the frame look as though it grew in one piece. Justin made one bike with leftover Styrofoam cadged from a construction site. «These bicycles, you can get as complicated and technical as you want, but you can also get as simple.» All the cuts are straight across, no mitering required.

BikeCAD (a bicycle frame design application) provides the measurements, and each bike’s owner performs the labor. There are never more than four students for the three teachers. «So much of our procedure relies on execution,» says Justin. «So that’s why we want to give people direct assistance, without any chance of miscommunication.» During my visit, the students are wrapping the joints with marine-grade carbon fiber tape. They can choose to build the Local, a bike with an upright rider position, or the racier Express. Both are single-cog, so that chain slap won’t chew up the chainstay, and have 700c wheels.

So, how does it ride? Sean rolls his personal bike into the foyer. «It’s like, the worst frame I ever built. Took maybe six hours.» Like any bike geek, I heft it: lighter than my Columbus Aelle-tubed fixie, but not radically so. After an embarrassing period of re-teaching my SPD feet about toe clips, I’m rolling. I’d expected it to sound like a sailboat in a storm, all creaks and groans, but it’s silent and solid. The sensation is of flying low to the ground: the pavement blurs by, but without the expected jar and clatter. A couple of hard sprints, with a lot of handlebar yanking, fail to upset it. Some lightly built frames let the head tube torque side to side, giving a disconcerting yaw under hard acceleration. Maybe a stronger rider could twist this one up, but maybe not. Even on some 19th century cobblestone, it remains unharried. All Bamboo Bike Studio frames (except the betas) use the same amount of joint wrap, the same lugs, the same types of bamboo. Maybe those Victorian inventors were on to something.

But making handcrafted bikes, as personal as your own thumbprint, isn’t the point. Like a great many monarchs, the bamboo kings are invading another country. This time, it’s Ghana. Why Ghana? Justin says, «It kind of got picked for us.» The United Nations and Columbia University’s Millennium Cities initiative were looking to alleviate poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and bamboo bikes seemed like a good fit. «They had bamboo there, they used bikes there, and the bikes were terrible.» Ghanaian craftsmen will build and sell bikes that other Ghanaians can afford, using locally sourced materials. Hence the emphasis on sustainability, natural ingredients, and simplicity. If a Brooklynite snaps his bamboo frame, he rides the subway til he can fix it. But if it happens in Ghana, the rider can’t get crops to market or water to his home.

The Ghana bike resembles neither of the Brooklyn models. It’s based on mountain bike wheels, with an extended rear triangle and a substantial bamboo rack built in. A low, sloping top tube allows easy mounting, and makes it as accessible to women as to men. It’s got a coaster brake for simplicity. «Externally geared bikes were just out of the question, not just the front end, but on down the road,» Justin explained. They expect to produce these bikes for about fifty dollars each, half the cost of the used-up Chinese cycles currently dominating the Ghanaian market. An investor has already leased a factory space in Kumasi and secured local commitments for harvesting labor. They expect to be in full production by the time you read this.

And what about Marty Odlin, the third king? When the studio was building frames with high school kids at a Manhattan museum, he was there, quietly encouraging the participants, then offering to run out for lunch. At the studio in Brooklyn, he hung back and let Sean be voluble and charming. With his deferential manner and basketball-star good looks, you might think he was the summer intern. But of the three kings, only Marty’s resume shows an engineering degree. The photos I saw from Ghana show Marty in the factory, out harvesting bamboo, and instructing the locals. Previously, he worked at K2 Sports in product design and development, and his engineering studies focused on sustainability.

Maybe that’s the way with kings: real power can be silent, its influence felt but not heard. It’s not mouthy salesmen and marketing blitzes that change the world; it’s the people who pick up tools and suitcases and bring people a way to help themselves. And three guys down by the piers in New York are doing just that. Justin puts it more modestly: «We’re just trying to get more people on bikes.»

For more information, visit www.bamboobikestudio.com and www.bamboobike.org.

Brooklyn’s Bamboo Bikes Hitting the Big Time in Ghana

Fuente: www.treehugger.com

Autor: A.K. Streeter

Fecha: 21/01/2011

Prototype Bamboo Bike photo
Photo courtesy Marty Odlin from a trip to Ghana in 2009.

There’s no question that TreeHugger loves bamboo bikes. We’ve shown readers bamboo bikes of every stripe – high performance bamboo bikeshigh statement bamboo bikes, and even DIY bamboo bikes.

And though we explained why bamboo bikes are earth friendlier, and even gave you a slideshow of the many different choices in bamboo bikes, we didn’t see bamboo bicycles as going mainstream. Until now.

Bamboo Bike Frame photo
Photo of bike frame building in Brooklyn – the Bamboo Bike Studio has built over 300 bamboo bikes and will now transfer its tech knowhow to Ghanese bike builders. Courtesy BBS. 

It’s not that you’ll suddenly see bamboo bikes common on the streets of America. They will probably still be specialty bikes available from specialty retailers. But the hope of a group of enthusiasts is that bamboo bikes will hit it big in Africa.

However, Bamboo Bike Project (BBP) has been working for more than three years to make bamboo bicycles widely available in Africa. The Bamboo Bike Project has tested the effectiveness of its bamboo bike – sturdy, cargo-carrying, and good looking – at Earth Institute’s Millenium Cities. Now, BBP, with the help of Brooklyn’s DIY-focusedBamboo Bikes Studio and its local Ghanese partner Bamboo Bikes Limited, is taking a huge leap forward by starting a production run of 750 bamboo bikes in the city of Kumasi, Ghana.

«This is the moment we have been working toward for many months,» said John Mutter, Director of the Bamboo Bike Project at Columbia. «Finally, everything is in place to get production of bamboo bikes going the way we had always dreamed of – in Africa, by Africans, for Africans.»

While the continent of Africa definitely needs more sustainable transport options (doesn’t everyplace?) bikes currently aren’t that much of a staple. African bike manufacturers are few, and once people can afford a motorized option, that’s generally what they buy.

Yet many believe that bikes could be an affordable option for the needs of rural workers, especially farmers that desire access to larger markets, and health care providers that need an affordable way to get to their patients. The bikes, when complete, will cost approximately $65, less than the price of an imported cycle.

«It is below the price of a new imported Chinese steel bike, which range from $95 to $110,» said Marty Odlin of the Bamboo Bike Studio. «The price reduction is the important number. It makes bicycles and efficient transportation much more affordable and accessible.»

Odlin estimated that currenty the bamboo bike is about 50% local – bamboo for frames is gathered within a 40-kilometer radius, while most of the other components are imported, and assembly is local.

Bamboo Bike Studio has built 300 bamboo bikes in New York, and now that expertise will be transferred to eleven bike technicians in Ghana. Bamboo Bikes Limited, the Ghanese entity, plans to use the trained technicians to make an order of 750 bikes, which will be distributed to different NGOs through Africa.

That first run will lead to establishment of a bamboo bike factory in Kumasi and, it is hoped, large scale production. Odlin said the production target is 30,000 bikes annually.

«We will reach 10 bikes per day by the end of February,» Odlin said, «and at least 20 bikes per day by the end of March. Increasing the production rate from that point will be contingent on orders. We’ll be capable of going far beyond that if needed.»

Seawater Greenhouse, El Oasis Humano que Transformará el Desierto

Fuente: www.redxm2.com

Autor: http://www.ecogaia.com

Fecha: 15/02/2011

sahara forest project transforma desierto agua

Un ambicioso proyecto para llevar el agua salada del Mar Rojo a la árida ciudad costera de Aqaba, en Jordania, podrían convertir la región en un oasis. Una instalación de prueba del Seawater Greenhouse de 20 hectáreas, que combina invernaderos de agua de mar y energía solar concentrada, permitirá cultivar, producir electricidad limpia y desalar el agua marina. Ya tiene la aprobación del gobierno de Jordania, podría entrar en funcionamiento en 2012 y comercializarse a gran escala en 2015.

La idea la ha desarrollado Sahara Forest Project, un grupo dedicado a la tecnología ambiental con sede en Noruega. Presentaron su idea en 2009 en la cumbre sobre el clima de Copenhague. A continuación convencieron al Rey Abdullah II de Jordania sobre la viabilidad del proyecto en su país, y acordaron poner a prueba un “desierto bosque” en la Zona Económica Especial de Aqaba.
La estructura, llamada invernadero de agua de mar, aprovechará la abundancia de sol en Jordania para evaporar el agua salada y recuperarla como agua dulce. En este proceso se genera un entorno natural fresco y húmedo, perfecto para los cultivos.

sahara forest project tansformaca desierto oasis

La electricidad necesaria para el funcionamiento de la instalación provendrá de una planta de energía solar concentrada, donde se utilizan espejos para enfocar la luz solar sobre las tuberías de agua. El vapor procedente del calentamiento se captura para alimentar un generador de turbina que produce electricidad. Aunque las zonas áridas de la costa son ideales, el proyecto también podría implementarse en el interior. De hecho, varias zonas del desierto del Sahara están por debajo del nivel del mar, por lo que es relativamente barato llevar el agua a la instalación sin necesidad de costosos gastos de bombeo. La depresión de Qattara en Egipto, por ejemplo, está a unos 130 metros bajo el nivel del mar y la caída podría explotarse para generar energía hidroeléctrica.

La tecnología también podría ser utilizada en los invernaderos ya existentes dedicados al cultivo a gran escala, para hacerlos más eficientes. En el caso del sur de España, las regiones de Murcia y Almería albergan conjuntamente cerca de 40.000 hectáreas de invernaderos, que consumen cinco veces más agua que la que reciben de la lluvia. El agua del río Ebro se ha desviado a la zona desde el norte para compensar la falta de precipitaciones, mientras 20 plantas desalinizadoras a base combustibles fósiles contribuyen a la demanda de agua para riego. Frente a estas prácticas insostenibles, el proyecto Seawater Greenhouse se presenta como alternativa que además de aportar alimentos contribuirá energéticamente sin dañar el entorno.

EasyJet Coats Airplanes With Ultra Thin Paint To Reduce Fuel Consumption

Fuente: inhabitat.com

Autor: Jessica Dailey

Fecha: 15/02/2011

uk airline easyjet, easyjet airline, easyjet aircraft coating, tripleo aircraft coating, nano-technology aircraft coating

A high-tech coating used on military aircraft could make commercial planes more aerodynamic and allow them to fly more efficiently through the air. Budget airline EasyJet has applied the coating,invented by TripleO, to eight of its aircraft and will compare their fuel consumption to the rest of the fleet over the course of the year. If successful, all 194 of EasyJet’s aircraft will be coated. Experts say the coating could cut fuel costs by 2 percent, which would save EasyJet £20 million each year.

uk airline easyjet, easyjet airline, easyjet aircraft coating, tripleo aircraft coating, nano-technology aircraft coating

The nano-technology has been used on U.S. military aircraft, but this is the first time a U.K. airline has applied it to commercial planes. The coating, which is 100 times thinner than a human hair, smooths out microscopic bumps and nicks on a plane’s surface, letting it glide more easily when in flight, ultimately cutting fuel consumption and cost. It adds only 4 oz. of weight to the aircraft, and reduces the buildup of debris on the aircraft’s surface, thus reducing drag.

To work, the coating must be applied in two stages. First an aircraft is washed in a special solution to purge the plane’s pores and give it a positive electric charge. Then the main coating is applied with a negative charge. The oppositely charged molecules are pulled into any spaces and magnetically held there. The coating contains durable acrylic elements that create a perfectly smooth surface by filling the pores with a special resin. The coating also prevents the penetration of any contaminants or debris.

The fuel savings will result in a lower carbon footprint and lower costs, which will be passed on to airline passengers through ticket prices. Last year, EasyJet’s fuel cost was nearly £750 million, and with rising fuel prices, that could jump to £1 billion this year.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Airplanes use massive amounts of fuel, so any reduction in fuel consumption will result in less CO2 emissions, thus helping to curb global warming. If EasyJet’s trial with TripleO’s nano-technology coating is successful, more commercial airlines could start using it, meaning more airlines would reduce CO2 emissions.