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August 31, 2015

Dutch trains to run on 100% wind energy by 2018

Filed under: Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 3:04 pm

windturbines

As of 2016 Dutch Rail claims that 50% of all electric trains in the country will run on wind energy. In 2017 that figure should be 95% and in 2018 it would go up to 100%. If successful, it will mean a serious decrease Dutch Rail’s CO2 footprint, something it says is important to passengers.

Some 50% of the wind power needed to run the trains will be generated by new wind parks that will gradually be put into operation in the Netherlands, while the other 50% will come from wind parks in Norway, Sweden and Belgium, managed by power company Eneco and VIVENS, an energy procurement cooperative. “Drawing upon sources outside the Netherlands to source the railways means they avoid decreasing availability and also avoid increasing prices of green power for other parties.”

A total of 1.4 TWh of electricity for the rail system, equivalent to the amount of power used by all households in Amsterdam, needs to be generated.

(Links: techxplore.com, www.dekoepel.org)

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August 24, 2015

Den Bosch tests noise barrier made of solar panels

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am

solar_noise_barrier.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.

The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.

“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”

Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.

(Links and photo: www.treehugger.com, www.tue.nl)

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August 22, 2015

Clothing made from recycled ocean plastic

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 8:13 pm

Pharrell-Williams-for-G-Star-RAW-AW-2015_dezeen_468_1

Dutch denim label G-Star Raw together with music artist Pharrell Williams have teamed up to design an entire range of clothing made from recycled ocean plastic. The RAW for the Oceans collection for the Autumn-Winter 2015 line for both men and women features a stylish jellyfish logo that pops up in amusing places on the clothing.

“The garments in the collection are all created using fabrics developed in collaboration with textile company Bionic Yarn [whose creative director is Williams] and environmental group Parley for the Oceans, an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing issue.”

(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)

July 16, 2015

Dutch students win electric car competition in the UK

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:01 am

Engineering students from the Delft University of Technology have done it again, winning this year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student competition for the second time in a row.

The Formula Student competition requires engineering students to design, build and race a single seat racing car in just one year. Cars are assess on their acceleration, endurance, fuel economy, design and business cases.

Thousands of the world’s best young engineers were at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England on 8-12 July. There were 135 teams in total, with 49 from the UK and teams from as far as Australia, Turkey and Ukraine. Team Delft claimed the prize at Silverstone this weekend with a total score of 909.3 out of a total score of 1,000 points. Germany’s UAS Zwickau claimed second place with 792.5 points, University of Stuttgart came third with 750.8 and the University of Bath was the top UK team, coming fourth with 748.4 points.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of the unrelated Forze IV hydrogen-based formula race car by Richard van het Hof)

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June 10, 2015

The art of noise reduction at Schiphol Airport

Filed under: Aviation,Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 2:11 pm

Buitenschot

Visual artist Paul de Kort was asked a few years ago to design the Buitenschot land art park, a huge 33-hectare park with a series of ribbed hedges and ditches surrounded by trees that form a noise-reduction green space right off Schiphol Airport’s biggest runway, the Polderbaan. Sadly, you can’t see the park from the air and that would partially explain why I’ve never noticed it before.

The airplane noise experienced by nearby residents is mostly low frequency ground noise that radiates backwards in an oblique fashion from planes during take-off, and De Kort’s aesthetic yet functional park of furrows was inspired by 17th century German acoustic techniques as well as local farming techniques.

Completed in October 2013 Buitenschot features small parks, bike paths and foot paths. De Kort also incorporated art pieces that drew on the history of the project, like the ‘Listening Ear,’ a parabolic dish on a small pyramid one can stand in that amplifies ambient sound, echoing the park’s noise reduction purpose and a diamond-shaped lake where visitors can create ripple patterns on the water surface while standing on a bridge equipped with a wave generating device.

(Links: www.pauldekort.nl, www.smithsonianmag.com, www.schiphol.com)

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April 30, 2015

Salt water crops farmed on Texel island

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 1:44 pm

A team of farmers on the island of Texel are successfully farming salt water potatoes and other crops, as a sustainable solution for the increasing lack of viable farming land around the world.

Project ‘Salty Potato Farm’ was started some 10 years ago by team leader and farmer Mark van Rijsselberghe. Supported by the University of Amsterdam, the team has apparently planted 30 types of potatoes. Van Rijsselberghe says that, “anything that dies in the saline environment is abandoned, and anything that lives we try to follow up on.”

Experimental crops of carrots, strawberries, onions and lettuce are also being planted. Neither genetically modified organisms (GMOs), nor laboratories have been used for growing their crops in salt water environments. However, the price of the potatoes is still too high, with one kilo selling for five euro, compared to less than a euro for the same amount of regular potatoes, but one thing at a time.

(Link phys.org, Photo of Texel island by Searocket, some rights reserved)

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March 27, 2015

Dutch spies thwarted by German windmills

Filed under: Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:58 pm

don-quixote-gustave-dore-pdGerman windmills are disrupting the proper spying on Dutch citizens by the Dutch military secret service MIVD, or so the latter complains.

The Ministry of Defence has complained to the municipality of Vreden (Germany) about the fact that it allows the placement of wind turbines so near to its spying antennas (14 kilometres), Ravage reports. Vreden has already limited the height of its turbines and is currently amending its rules for the placement of new turbines.

According to Webwereld, 25 Dutch citizens lost their jobs in 2009 and 2010 when the Ministry of Defence destroyed their employer’s business model of providing medium distance, high speed wireless internet (wimax). After the ministry had told Worldmax that it was forbidden to roll out its services in the entire north of the Netherlands, the wimax provider had to close its doors, losing dozens of millions of euro in the process.

Vreden is planning a farm of 24 wind turbines in or near the Crosewicker Feld nature reserve and is getting some resistance from its citizens, according to Münsterland Zeitung. The locals don’t share the concerns of the Dutch military, but are unwilling to have to look at the turbines all day. They want the distance from the turbines to their house increased from the proposed 400 metres to at least 500 metres. (This has led to an interesting legal paradox where the council members who live too close to the proposed wind farm are not allowed to vote on what constitutes ‘too close’. The Germans call this conflict of interest Befangenheit.)

Illustration: renowned windmill fighter Don Quixote by Gustave Doré, 1863.

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January 5, 2015

Design graduate creates long-lasting bioluminescent lamp

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm

bioluminescent

In the video below, recent graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, Teresa van Dongen presents her graduation project called ‘Ambio’, an ambient lamp using a glass tube filled with bioluminescent bacteria, usually found on octopuses, in a saltwater solution. Once pushed the Ambio will swing for 20 minutes and emit light as long as it moves. The bacteria can survive for about two days, but Van Dongen has managed to push that to three weeks so far. The goal is to develop a way for the bacteria to survive for longer and find actual practical applications for such ambient lighting.

Before turning to design Van Dongen studied biology, which explains her interest in using bioluminescent substances. She’ll also explain why waves such as the one in the picture above emits light the way it does.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo of Bioluminescent wave by slworking2, some rights reserved)

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December 28, 2014

Much-hailed solar bike path is cracking

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Solaroad

We’ve been posting about this solar cell bike path since 2011 and now the truth is, when this year’s first frost hit the ground, the solar panels cracked.

In November, De Orkaan website had said that the solar cell bike path was possibly a bad idea (Dutch), quoting an article from Renewables International that had dissed the project altogether.

A 70 metre bike path in Krommenie, North Holland was fitted with solar cells, protected by a glass surface ‘strong enough to drive a truck over it’, but apparently not strong enough to deal with a bit of frost. Granted, it was a pilot project, but it is important to show people what failure looks like before the Dutch government spends tons of tax payers’ money on something that doesn’t work.

(Link and photo: deorkaan.nl)

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December 23, 2014

Dutch weed burger made from local seaweed

Filed under: Food & Drink,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 1:17 pm

Weed burger

Founded in 2012 the Dutch Weed Burger company makes seaweed burgers, demonstrating an innovative and sustainable use of food without using animal products.

The company explains that the patty is made from kombu seaweed and chunks of roasted soy shreds. Their buns contain the microalgae chlorella, which is packed with proteins and other essential nutrients. The weed sauce is a vegan cream sauce enriched with Dutch sea lettuce from Zeeland.

The Japanese and other cultures have been eating seaweed for ages, so why not the Dutch? If we ever have one of these burgers, we will report back. I’m already thinking the burger will have enough salt in it for my taste.

For anyone thinking of yet another boring pot joke: a ‘weed’ burger would be the worst thing you could eat to calm the munchies.

(Link: www.fastcoexist.com, via www.dutchnews.nl)

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