Category: Energy Systems

World Wind Power Poised to Bounce Back after Slowing in 2013

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute At the end of 2013, the wind farms installed in more than 85 countries had a combined generating capacity of 318,000 megawatts, which would be enough to meet the residential electricity needs of the European Union’s 506 million people. New data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that wind developers built 35,000 megawatts of new generating capacity worldwide in 2013. This was […]

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Ram Pumps

People are always fascinated by ram pumps. I think partly because they achieve the seemingly impossible task of pumping water to a higher height than the water supplying the pump, and they do it for no added energy input. This is often misunderstood as needing no energy, but even a casual understanding of the laws of thermodynamics tells us this is impossible. You will notice I said no added energy […]

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Lessons From the Rust Belt with Geoff Lawton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnI2RK7k_F8 Trailer only – watch the full video here! Does history repeat itself? Geoff Lawton looks at the rust belt collapse of an entire industry in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and the lost opportunity that could have been prevented if people thought differently and redesigned their way using some proven Permaculture techniques. The future might have been vastly different.

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Home-Scale Conversion of Plastics to Oil

by Lesley White A highly-promising development out of Japan: a corporation called Blest has developed a home-scale plastic to oil converter. Through the process 1kg of plastic yields 1 litre of oil.

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Cooking Steaks with Sunlight in South Africa (video)

Using coal and kerosene to fuel a stove is both costly and hazardous. Social entrepreneur Crosby Menzies hopes it will become a thing of the past in Africa. He rolled out his solar cooker, a satellite-dish shaped oven that uses sunlight to cook meals, in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. By employing locals like Mthobisa Cebekhulu, he believes he can bring it to other impoverished parts of the continent.

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Solar Water Bottle Bulbs

Alfredo Moser with his solar water bottle bulbs Introduction Thomas Alva Edison lit up the world with his electric bulb in the nineteenth century. In this century it is the solar bottle bulbs of Alfredo Moser which are illuminating thousands of houses of under-privileged people in many countries. This simple invention of the Brazilian mechanic is going viral and is been implemented in remote villages throughout the world. This article […]

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Creating the Alternative: Inside Look into the SolTrekker

by Mo Lohre and Will Redwine Sorry for the hiatus, but would you believe we came across a few bumps in the road? Just like with any worthwhile quest, unexpected challenges emerged. Now that we’ve had some time to address them, we are excited to share our struggles as well as our findings. When we began the Creating the Alternative Tour we were determined to design a regenerative lifestyle while […]

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Seeds of Permaculture – Tropical Permaculture (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cr10nOm0xU An interactive film about permaculture in the tropics, with education and inspiration as the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half-documentary.

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Generation Gap: Wind Opens Big Lead over Nuclear in China

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away — outdoing nuclear by 22 percent. The 135 terawatt-hours of Chinese wind-generated electricity in 2013 would be nearly enough to power New York State.

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A Bicycle-Powered Water Pump (Malawi, Africa)

Sitting quietly at Butterfly, on the shores of Lake Malawi, it always struck me as odd when I would hear of people in the U.K. and the ‘leisure time’ they allotted themselves to keep fit. I found it stranger when people would want to do it while here on holiday, but each to their own. Living in a place like Malawi for over ten years you see the amount of […]

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Rough, Ready, But Very Real – a November 2013 Update on the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’ Site)

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Project from above, featuring a garbage-accumulating fence edge Well, you would be hard pressed to find a tougher block of land — a 400m below sea level, West facing slope, in an extremely hot, arid climate, with extremely poor, shallow highly alkaline top ‘soil’, covered in rocks, with a limited water supply and in a mostly Palestinian refugee-populated village. When we first started working on the site local farmers thought […]

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2013 To Be Record Year for Offshore Wind

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute Offshore wind power installations are on track to hit a seventh consecutive annual record in 2013. Developers added 1,080 megawatts of generating capacity in the first half of the year, expanding the world total by 20 percent in just six months. Fifteen countries host some 6,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. Before the year is out, the world total should exceed 7,100 megawatts. […]

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