As we shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle, our next sources of energy might come from some surprising places. In 2011, Worcester Council found itself at the focus of local ire when it unveiled plans to warm a local swimming pool using excess heat from a crematorium. Redditch Crematorium can reach temperatures as high as 800C, all of which was being lost to the atmosphere. The council said using some of this heat to keep the water warm at Abbey Leisure Centre would save them Â£15,000 per year in fuel bills, but a local funeral director branded the plans as “eerie” and “strange”. A union weighed in, saying the council’s proposals we re “sick and an insult to local residents”. But the project went ahead, making Worcester Council the first local authority in the country to use heat from a crematorium as a form of green energy in a scheme that subsequently won a Green Apple award for environmental innovation. This council isn’t the only organisation looking at alternative renewables. In London, there are 500 homes that make use of the heat generated by trains running on the London Underground network. Stockholm’s railway station has gone a step further. The station’s ventilation system recycles body heat from Stockholm’s 250,000 daily commuters as well as from its shops and restaurants. While there are other sites that have successfully utilised body heat to warm their own buildings, Stockholm’s real achievement was in using this energy to power a completely separate building, the 13-storey Kungbrohuset office block, which is 90m down the road. Far from being a gimmick, the system saves the office block around 20 per cent of its heating costs each year and easily covers the cost of installation and maintenance. You’ve probably heard of biodiesel, but probably not Bio Bean. The latter is a company created by an architecture student, Arthur Kay, to harness the power of coffee waste. With most coffee shops discarding 10kg of coffee each day, the company’s founder Arthur Kay says harnessing the potential energy in coffee makes ecological and commercial sense. Coffee is highly calorific, meaning it burns at a high temperature. Kay’s firm produces a range of products, including Coffee Logs, described as “high-performance, sustainable briquettes” that are ideally used as alternative fuels in domestic fireplaces. They’re now on sale at Whole Foods and Blue Diamond and online at Abel & Cole. Coffee can also be used to create biodiesel, as can chocolate and the fats that are being dug out of our sewer systems. But while biodiesel still produces CO2, albeit from renewable sources, the production of chocolate also results in a waste substance that can be fed to E.Coli bacteria, which in turn produces hydrogen, a CO2-free source of power.
Independent 24th Aug 2017 read more »
A team of US scientists have set out an ambitious roadmap they say will lead to 139 countries around the world switching to 100 per cent renewable power, a result that would limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees and create more than 24 million new long-term jobs. The energy roadmaps, published online in the science journal Joule yesterday, were compiled by a team of researchers led by Professor Mark Jacobson, director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program.
Business Green 24th Aug 2017 read more »