Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yes it’s a plane…a solar energy plane to be precise. If you haven’t seen the plane in action, it sort of looks like a gigantic mosquito, to me at least!
Just a few days ago, the impressive Solar Impulse completed an intercontinental flight. This is particularly notable because it is the first time this kind of flight has ever been made, entirely powered by the sun. Of course the technology is very much in its infancy but if this is possible, who knows what the future holds? Could there really be some kind of viable renewable energy air travel on the distant horizon?
The flight, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, from Madrid in Spain to Rabat in Morocco, took 19 hours to complete. The project founder of the Impulse, Andre Borschberg, spoke to interested reporters and said, “The aircraft can now fly day and night. It’s quite a show … It’s a technology we can trust.”
The pilot Mr Piccard spoke about the flight, saying, “The flight was absolutely wonderful but I almost did not enjoy it because I told myself that Andre and I have the responsibility to bring this aircraft to Morocco.”
The first intercontinental flight is the result of 9 years hard work and 90 million Euros of investment.
Although this was the first flight to cross from one continent to another (it flew across a narrow portion of the Gibraltar Strait), it actually had it debut flight back in 2010 and following that, completed a 26 hour flight, which remains a record for a solar powered aircraft.
To make everything happen, the plane is fitted with 12,000 solar panels. Those involved in the project are hoping to take the Impulse on a World Tour in 2013.
Under floor heating may at first glance appear to be an expensive way of generating heat for your home because in general, installations are not particularly cheap. However, there are plenty of benefits to under floor heating once the installation has been made which may well, in the long term, see you saving money and energy.
So, let’s just take a brief look (in no particular order) at some of the many benefits provided by under floor heating:
1. Comfortable and energy efficient – The distribution of heat is much more even than other methods of heating. This avoids having hot and cold spots in certain areas of a room. Feet are much warmer and if the feet are warmer, it is believed that actual room temperature can be reduced. This can definitely help to reduce fuel bills in the long term.
2. Aesthetically Pleasing – Once installed, other than keeping you warm, you would hardly know it’s there! No big, ugly radiators to paint around giving you much more floor space and a free reign to go DIY crazy on those areas that might otherwise be occupied by cumbersome radiators.
3. Green Friendly – This kind of heating system can work perfectly with any other “green” energy sources you have invested in, solar energy for example.
4. Easy to Install – There are several different kinds of under floor heating that Allbrite work with, ribbon mat, cable mat and carbon film. If you are considering converting to under floor heating, please visit our main website for much more information.
With an increase of all renewable energy aspects continuing and with the trend likely to go on well into the future, it has been reported that a company based in Germany called, Kronos Solar are hoping to build a solar park in Pembrokeshire, south west Wales, which will cost in the region of £20 million and will include an incredible 60,000 solar panels.
The plans have apparently been submitted to the local council and if successful the location will be a 25 acre site at a place called West Farm in Cosheston.
A company director, Dr Alexander Arcache, told the BBC that the site was a good choice and “not very visible”. Of course, visibility of large scale projects such as this always raises concern with local people and is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for the future of these kinds of enterprises.
The company believe that the land, which is agricultural, could still be used for grazing when the installation is complete. It is believed that the Pembrokeshire authorities have been asked for comment.
Dr Arcache went on to say that public support is important and that it was crucial to get, “people behind renewables by taking away their fears”. If the project goes ahead, it is likely to be covered by the Renewables Obligation Certificate System. The system obligates UK electricity suppliers to seek out more renewable energy sources of energy for it electricity output.
The draft energy bill is creating plenty of debate amongst the powers that be with some of the finer points and inner workings of the bill still to be revealed. The draft bill is set to become an “actual” bill sometime during the autumn of 2012.
Most consumers will be wondering if there is any good news in the bill that might bring the cost of fuel down. As with many of these things, there seems to be no definitive answer, but critics of the bill are suggesting that the likelihood is that energy prices will go up, not down!
Speaking to the BBC, Ed Davey, Energy Secretary had to concede that prices may indeed rise on the back of the bill being implemented but countered that if the measures of the bill were not pursued that prices would rise further still.
The focus of the bill appears to be the long term contracts that will be offered as an incentive for energy companies to invest into the future of renewable energy sources.
Mr Davey told the BBC, “With nuclear capacity and coal capacity coming offline, we need a market structure to keep the lights on. To get investment, we need to give investors certainty that will lower the cost of capital. There will be no blank cheque for nuclear – unless they are price competitive, nuclear projects will not go ahead.”
So, it seems the jury is still out…not only on the bill itself but also on what the future holds for the humble energy consumer.
A North Wales businessman who built a 21st century house to obliterate his utility bills has moved a step closer with the erection of three wind turbines in a field near his Flintshire home.
The 8 metre high structures don’t require planning permission and make no noise.
Russell White has nearly completed his home on a former six acre farm near Northop. When complete he says it will be totally self sufficient, generating all the energy and water he needs.
The property has achieved the maximum level 6 of sustainability according to the Code for Sustainable Homes.
He said: “I am passionate about saving energy, so much so, that when the dream of building my own home became a reality, I built a zero-carbon home.”
Mr White said his green venture will earn him thousands from utility companies.
Once the wind turbines are up and running and the well connected for running water, he expects to make up to five thousand pounds a year.
“Like everyone else, I was aware that my fuel bills were increasing. I was also aware that renewable energy was available but it was not clear how to get the best from it. Following extensive research into the different sources of renewable energy available I have developed a portfolio of products. These products are also an integral part of my zero-carbon eco friendly home,” said Russell.
Mr White, the managing director of eco renewable company Allbrite added: “We do log burners and biomass which link to the solar and we can heat the house and also top up the hot water in the winter so you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket.”
Domestic wind turbines are a superb way of generating electricity from wind and they are eligible for the government renewable energy feed in tariff scheme. Homeowners can expect a fast return on investment. They are also very environmentally friendly, and a low cost source of sustainable energy.
You can expect a return on your investment from your domestic wind turbine within 10 years, over its lifetime it will pay for itself many times over.
Russell feels it’s important he has the products in his house which he sells at Allbrite to prove their green credentials.
The house cost 30 per cent less to build than a standard house its size and Russell believes this is a house for the future.
He said: “The future isn’t gas and oil it’s about renewables and it’s never one product it’s an integration of different products to fit your lifestyle. I passionately believe I’ve got it right.”