Tag Archive: renewable energy

The aim of the CROWDFUNDING campaign

“Leaf-Boa Go Green Lisboa”

is to raise awareness among travellers as to the choice of lodgings with green credentials and help tourist accommodation owners to improve their ecological and environmental performance


lisbon-portugal TNTMAGAZINE

Our focus in this campaign will be on reaching 6,100 lodgings in Lisbon



to provide hotel and lodging owners with a practical guide on the main areas of interest for a hotel that is environmentally friendly


air conditioning

electrical equipment

water consumption

air quality inside the building

products and services relating to personal hygiene

waste management

training of staff 


interaction with stakeholders and

ecological supplies and acquisition

At an average of 30 contacts per team member/per day with 4 people making 2,400 contacts over 3 months, this gives us

7,200 contacts

This figure is more than enough for one contact per hotel or other lodging, and means that there is flexibility in the workload taken on by members of the team.

Once we reach 6,100€ through crowd funding (the equivalent of 1€ = 1 lodging) we can start on the initiative.

That’s all you have to do:


1€ = 1 lodging



thank you


visit our site at www.fiveleafsystem.com




The Sea Serpent

Pelamis[1] is the name given to the technology which absorbs the energy generated by ocean waves and converts it into clean, green electricity.

Approximately 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by the oceans and it is natural that man should think of it as a permanent source of power when confronted with the perpetual movement of its waves.

Such were the thoughts of Dr Richard Yemm who in 1998 conceived a sea serpent which could adapt to sea moods, either softly gliding over them as a patient surfer waiting for his wave or shake, jump or throw itself furiously to its belly, as a bodyboarder not wanting to be untimely brought back to shore.

E.ON P2 Pelamis operating in Orkney July 2011Source: http://www.pelamiswave.com

As such, the serpent had to be designed to withstand all weather conditions and the secret was to discover how to best anchor it to the seabed. Satellite data was employed to study the topography and wave type on the sites where it was to be installed and buoys measured its length.

State-of-the-art computer simulations were run to model the serpent in the worst sea environment conditions and projections made within a 100-year period as well as tests in wave tanks to come up with the best design and suitable moorings with a high safety factor.

And so a Pelamis was conceived which generated electricity inside itself, so there is minimal need for onshore infrastructure and consequently environmental impact on the shoreline. Only a small building is necessary to house the electrical cables connection to the switchgear and transformers for the grid connection.

Since there is no need for man to access the serpent itself, maintenance operations can be run from a small quay or marina pontoon with some small storage amount available. Power is fed back from the ocean to the shore by underwater electrical cable and several Pelamis can be linked so as to share only one cable back to dry land.

PelamisSource: http://www.pelamiswave.com

Brightly coloured Pelamis are anchored to the seabed by a slack chain attached to its front facing the direction of the waves and let to meander as a weather-vane around the mooring.

They are manufactured in Scotland and the first commercial wave farm in the world was installed in the north of Portugal capable of generating electricity up to 2,000 homes.


By Silvia Pelham

[1] Pelamis plature, a species of sea snake - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelamis

If you are going to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week event, you must not miss a visit to Masdar City, less than 20km from downtown, famous as one of the lowest possible ecological footprint communities in the modern world.

It mirrors a city of the past, with high density, a pedestrian-friendly urban environment, awareness of local climate demands and in tune with its surroundings. The difference lies in its technology, backed up by research and development, pioneering best practices in sustainable urban planning and design.


Source: “Inhabitat – design will save the world” – Lord Norman Foster’s zero emission masterplan for Masdar City

To design in hot climates, and especially in desert conditions, one has to expect temperatures at around the 60°Cmark but in Abu Dhabi´s main thoroughfare the air temperature can rise up to 70°C.

This isdue to the distance at which the main buildings are set apart from each other, the amount of external walling exposed to direct sunlight and the non-reflectance quality of building materials, all topped off by the radiant heat bounced back from tarmac roads.

What the architects[1] of Masdar City strived for was to bring together conditions which would provide comfort and quality of life for its inhabitants. In order to achieve this, they looked back at the way Arabian cities[2] were put together, and studied the way in which they could apply those good practices to their project.

The most important design criterion was the site itself and the climatic response needed to bring about this comfort, followed by form and massing and external enclosure.[3] These three elements accounted for 30% of the design decisions.

Internal configuration and what environmental systems to choose from took another 45% of the design considerations and the remaining 25% went on choosing how energy, water and materials were to be exploited.

In terms of the climatic response to the site, two points were crucial: orientation – positioning the buildings on a north easterly direction and close together for shading; and wind direction – how to capture the wind, how to get it to flow through the city and how to cool it. For this, computational fluid dynamic diagrams were drawn, based on wind catchers[4] such as those in Hyderabad.

fluid dynamics

Source: Computational Fluid Dynamics by Foster + Partners research

For cooling the air, natural ways were used whenever open spaces were crossed, taking in lessons from the past, illustrating that reduction could be achieved by shading arched walkways adjacent to buildings, tree-planting courtyards and seating areas close to decorative garden fountains, thus bringing street level temperatures in Masdar down from 55°C to 27°C.

The modern, man-made, way took in several features: running chilled water over louvers high up in towers, capturing hot air from the desert, concentrating beamed sunrays over oil containers, raising its temperature to 600°C, using oil drilling techniques to turn heat exchangers to cooling effect by getting turbines to come alive.

And all this was only possible because the whole city is a study ground for R&D at the cutting edge. The first University for Renewable Energy[5] in the world has been set up here and provided the first building on site inaugurated in October 2010.

And its characteristics are phenomenal: 100% on-site power generation; 60% back to grid; power usage 51% of UAE[6] norms; water usage 54% of UAE norms; all sewage and dry waste processed on site and recycled; treated water for irrigation and sanitation and geothermal pilot project progressing……

The site is a hub for future developments of environmental technologies and aims to lead the sector in this field. There are 12 pilot schemes being studied at the moment: the beam-down solar tower; a 10MW PV[7] farm; Fresnel CSP[8]; a parabolic trough; a geothermal test well; smart appliances and energy monitoring; a wind tower; a solar driven solar plant; a liquid deslocant dehumidification plant; an active sun tracking day-lighting system; a membrane bio-reactor and the PRT / FRT.[9]

The transport system below the pedestrian routes follows the main distribution arteries and follows a magnetic track – had the circulation been exterior and open to the elements, a GPS satellite system could have been employed.

Designed for the pedestrian, this transport network will be available throughout its 700 hectares. It is never more than a few minutes’ walk away for the user and will be complemented by light railway and an underground system, allowing its 40,000 residents to make full use of the space and the projected 50,000 daily commuters to easily get to and from the city.

a typical street

Source: Cross-section of a typical street by Foster + Partners

Article by Silvia Pelham

[1] Foster + Partners
[2] See Aleppo in Syria and Shibam in Yemen.
[3] The team worked with Jean-Marc Castera on arabesque decorative lattice features for exterior shading.
[4] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/windcatcher.
[5] Masdar City is run on 100% renewable energy: 42% photovoltaic; 35% concentrated solar power; 15% ETC (evacuated thermal tube collector) and 8% on waste to energy.
[6]  UAE - United Arab Emirates.
[7]  10 Megawatt photovoltaic plant.
[8]  Concentrating solar power (CSP) using linear Fresnel reflector systems.
[9] Personal rapid transit (also called podcar) / freight.


From Sun-Glow to Tomatoes

Experience a Technical Connection with Nature

The Community Farm of Ann Arbor (CFAA) has been turning sun-glow into tomatoes for the past three years.

How? By stripping the back of a classic Allis-Chalmers “G” tractor[1] of its petrol tank and engine and replacing it by an electric one powered by batteries recharged by photovoltaic panels.

CFAA-SolarTractorThe CFAA’s solar-powered tractor project was funded by a Michigan “Energy Office’s Community Energy Project Grant” and could be applied to other tractors such as the GII, a more up-to-date model of the same make (under the Simplicity brand name[2]) or even to the famous John Blue[3] – or Blue tractor, as it is known to farmers.

And why are these tractors better than others when it comes to running on solar power?

It is simply because they are rear-engined tractors and much easier to access and work with.

So, if you are the lucky owner of a rusty, long-lost grandfather tractor….follow the instructions below[4] and help minimise reliance on non-renewable energy sources, stop releasing fuel fumes into the atmosphere and keep your countryside unpolluted!


Source: www.communityfarmofaa.org


Article by Silvia Pelham

[1] Last manufactured 55 years ago
[2] See http://www.simpletractors.com/simplicity/gii/gii.htm
[3] See http://www.farmcollector.com/company-history/the-little-known-blue-tractor.aspx
[4] See http://www.communityfarmofaa.org