2014-04-18 18:08:00

We say - "green energy", but mean - "life"

If you try to objectively answer the question of what is the main cause of all the global problems of modern humanity — from the lack of drinking water to global warming — the answer can be quite unexpected: the desire to improve the quality of life. Indeed, people are extracting so much oil and burn coal simply for the car to deliver food to the most remote village, whose inhabitants stoke their homes with coal, as they also do not want to freeze in winter. But if it was only one village, nature would somehow forgive us. However, she doesn’t want to understand and forgive, that because of our negligence we lose up to 70% of the same heat in heating networks and that Europe alone emits more than 90 million tons of food that could have saved thousands people in Africa from starvation.

In other words, it is a wise and rational approach to management, a healthy compromise between satiety and comfort on the one hand, and the preservation of the natural environment on the other. Famous Belgian scientist Gunter Pauli, in his book «The Blue Economy: 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 million jobs» tells about, seemingly, ideal ecological enterprise that he has founded to produce biocosmetics from palm oil. The plant had a completely closed production cycle, zero harmful emissions into the environment, and director paid his workers 50 eurocents per kilometer, which they overcame to work on the bicycle! The scale of production of this enterprise competed with such industry giant as «Procter & Gamble».

«However, despite all these environmental innovations, the main problem remained unsolved — we were destroying palm forests!», — sums up Gunter Pauli. He comes to the conclusion that to achieve a fundamental improvement of the environmental situation in the world we need to radically change the mode of production and consumption. However, these changes can not occur within a year or even ten years. The main thing is that we need to change the way of thinking of an ordinary citizen, who will accustom himself to sort household waste, as well as director of a large steel plant who will set effective cleaning installation on the pipes of his plant.

But before going for new developments and technology, mankind must first deal with the sins of the past. Everyone knows that oil regularly pollutes the oceans. The recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on the oil platform Deepwater Horizon, owned by the company «British Petroleum», has shown how people can, with their own hands, for a few weeks, destroy the nature by means of the same nature. Obviously, it is impossible to completely avoid oil spills in the near future, so scientists around the world are working on technologies that could maximize the localization of detrimental effects of such emergencies. Recently, the Swiss invented a new oil-absorbing and water-repellent material called Oilskill. It can be used for effective cleaning of the shoreline from oil and for protection against oil pollution. The nonwoven fabric Oilskill consists of unbound fibers based on polyester and its properties are similar to heat insulating materials used in sports clothing for outdoor activities. Thanks to an innovative method of chemical treatment of the Swiss company HeiQ, engineers managed to create a unique structure of the fabric, the ability which allows to instantly absorb the oil droplets, like a sponge, and at the same time to repel water as the hydrophobic membrane.

Swiss company believes its invention will be demanded wherever there is a need to eliminate oil contamination. Indeed, so far in this area, except for the practice of filling sand with shovels and special equipment, almost nothing better has been invented. Therefore a decision of management of «British Petroleum» to include Swiss technology Oilskill in the program on liquidation of consequences of the said accident is totally warranted.

But sooner or later the oil deposits in the world will be exhausted and humanity will have to solve the problem of alternative fossil fuels. There already is good news! Recently, in the UK the world’s first «gasoline from the air» has been produced. New promising technology of the company Air Fuel Synthesis in the near future, as the developers promise, will lead to the emergence of large-scale production of environmentally friendly fuel.

Technology provides for the extraction of carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen from water and combining them through a special reaction to methanol. In perspective methanol is converted to gasoline. The company said that in the future solar energy can be used for the production so that this manufacturing system was 100% environmentally neutral.

So far, the company has managed to produce only five liters of synthetic gasoline in three months. However, Air Fuel Synthesis hopes that in two years the company will be able to build a more powerful system that can produce up to 1 ton of fuel per day.

Who does not remember the children’s slogans, «Sun, air and water — our best friends!» In modern conditions it acquired a whole new meaning, and has become more than relevant. Gunter Pauli at his lectures in Kiev stressed that Ukraine uses very little potential from its rivers (Ukraine has 73 thousand of large and small rivers!) and does not use the energy that water can provide for free and 24/7. «Imagine: a small country of Bhutan produces 10 gigawatts of electricity. It seems impossible that the Bhutanese achieved these impressive results without dams, because their religion does not allow them to „mock“ on water» — said Pauli.

The initiatives of the UK wind power development are also worthy of respect. The first commercial wind farm in the UK coastline was built in Delabole, Cornwall back in 1991. Onshore wind is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the UK. It currently produces more than 4 GW of wind power, the government plans to raise rates up to 13 GW by 2020.

Onshore wind farms do not only significantly reduce CO2 emissions, but also have a positive impact on the surrounding community. Department of Energy and Climate Change of the UK informed that «for each megawatt installed (MW) about £ 100,000 remain in the community throughout the life of the project».

Presentation of the above mentioned book of Gunter Pauli in Ukraine became possible thanks to the support of the International Risk Reduction Foundation, which puts one of its main objectives as the promotion and implementation of innovative technologies that would reduce the burden on the environment and improve the quality of life. The President of the Foundation Vladimir Kosterin is a longtime supporter of green ideology and was one of the project partners of MS «PlanetSolar» — the world’s first solar-powered boat which made around the world sailing. All this way — and this is 60 thousand kilometers — were travelled using only solar energy.

It’s hard to believe, but the initiator of the project, as well as one of the six crew members of «PlanetSolar» was the Swiss Rafael Domyan, former ambulance driver and instructor of mountaineering. He managed to collect enough sponsors to build a fantastic ship on which enthusiasts traveled around the world. «My goal is to show the world that the possibilities of solar energy aren’t used today in full measure, and that the potential of solar energy is huge! Earth deserves us to use its resources wisely and apply great energy power given us by nature in a reasonable way!» — Said Rafael Domyan.

On November 29, 2012 in the town of Yverdon-les-Bains (Switzerland), the premiere of the documentary film «Chasing the Sun» («A la poursuite du soleil») about the exciting world tour of the yacht «PlanetSolar», which lasted almost two years — from September 27, 2010 till May 5, 2012, was shown. The film shows how the yacht crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, passed through the Panama and Suez canals, stopped in Miami, Mexico, Australia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile encouraging information came from the US — NASA is going to get solar power from space. The concept involves placing satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the equator, each of which will be equipped with solar panels. The total area will reach several square kilometers. The generated electricity will be transferred to the Earth by means of electromagnetic waves or laser. One of the main advantages of orbital stations over terrestrial solar cells is that they can catch solar energy during all day.

Experts predict that in the next twenty years, the rate of development of green energy will leave all other sectors of industrial production far behind, the more so, the case is not only about perspective business, but about the survival of all mankind.