A few cool “green” stories

Our trip to to Abu Dhabi last week was focused on the topic of renewable energy so on the plane I watched the excellent  film “Going for Green – Britain’s 2012 Dream” which tells the story of how the Olympic Park is being built in an environmentally sustainable way. The film highlights creativity and excellence in construction, as well as the cutting edge ‘green’ technology used for building the Olympic Park in a former industrial area of London . Furthermore, it shows that elimination of waste, reuse of soil, use of less materials in construction as well as reduction in transportation impact by deploying trains and barges instead of trucks are all practices that can be adopted by the industry.

At the World Future Energy Summit we saw Bertrand Piccard of Solar Impulse whose goal was to design a plane that can fly night and day without fuel only powered by solar energy. After seven years of studies, simulation, construction and tests he managed to achieve the first solar day-and-night flight in history on July 8th 2010: 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds. The plane has the wingspan of an Airbus A340: 63.40 m, the weight of a family car: 1600 kg and the power of a scooter: four 10 HP engines.

Finally, Solar Sailor an Australian manufacturer of solar panels for maritime vessels is hoping to move up in size from hybrid ferries in Hong Kong to a bulk carrier. The estimated fuel savings for the giant sail would be in the 20 to 40 percent range, or over $3 million per year if traveling at an average of 16 knots. The solar system for a commercial ship like the bulker would be approximately $6 million and therefore the return of investment would be a couple of years at the current oil price, see story.