While many countries still back the wrong horse by supporting its growth with fossil fuels, some emerging countries bet on solar energy to build a sustainable economy just as well as a solution to energy deserts, especially in MENA and across the African continent.
Experts of alternative energy are calling Nigeria ‘the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy’. “Nigeria is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy sources and, if properly utilized, Nigeria can realize its place in the world as a great power,” says economist and activist Jeremy Rifkin.
The rising African country has set a target of meeting 40 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020.
And in this effort, the country is relying on renewable solar power. With an average of 320 to 350 sunny days a year and vast tracks of deserts and farm land, Nigeria could easily generate 5,000 trillion KWh of solar energy, says Dr. Patrick Owelle, a Solar Energy Scholar and Research Fellow.
Expert predict that the country could install around 1,000 GW of solar generation — equivalent to 40 times the current peak power demand (about 25 GW) — using just 0.5 percent of its land.
Nigeria is not a single case in a world that is looking to reduce carbon footprint and foster alternative and renewable sources of power. And in the race, solar seems to be way ahead compared to other renewables.
However, in parts of the world where there is a rising demand for alternative power, as in Nigeria, there is also a debate about which solar technology would best suit a country or region.
While it is undeniable that solar energy is far more dependable than other forms of renewable energy, there is a rising debate whether to use concentrated solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic (PV) cells.
Dino Green, a Mechanical Engineer and a qualified accredited expert in certification of energy performance of buildings identifies the criteria that is generally debated while choosing the solar power technology to be used.
“Energy markets consider three main factors in deciding on power sources – cost of energy, ancillary services and power dispatch-ability on demand,” Greene says.
Experts say that a time is coming where there probably would be no competition between the two technologies and they may work together to increase solar energy penetration into the power industry.
The primary advantage of CSP technology is its ability to store solar energy. Silvio Marcacci Silvio, Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA, even defines CSP technology as “the technology that will save humanity”. “CSP could meet up to 7% of the world’s projected electricity needs in 2030, and 25% by 2050”, says Silvio.
Given all the strong arguments in favor CSP, the technology is criticized for taking up a large area to install it traditionally uses static parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar energy and then passing that down the line through a system of heated water. This heated water runs a turbine that produces electricity.
However with the advent of the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector or CLFR technology, CSP can shed off the criticism of taking up space. French firm Sun CNIM is the pioneer in LFR technology for solar power generation and has successfully set up and operated a pilot project in France. The company says that the technology has moved beyond the pilot stage and Sun CNIM is now ready to commercialize the technology for large solar power projects.
Moreover, “Sun CNIM’s Fresnel technology and direct steam generation avoid the use of hazardous fluid such as thermal oils, making them the ‘cleanest’ technologies currently available,” says Sun CNIM in a statement.
Linear Fresnel is a line-focusing technology consisting of reflectors that track the sun in one axis and focus the beam radiation onto fluid-carrying receiver tubes.
IRENA’s 2012 CSP report (*) draws out the advantages of LFR technology over trough technology. The report states that main advantages of Fresnel CSP systems compared to troughs are that Linear Fresnel Collectors (LFCs) can use cheaper flat glass mirrors, which are a standard mass-produced commodity, and that they require less steel and concrete – as the metal support structure is lighter – which simplifies the assembly process and leads to cost reductions.
“According to the status of development in 2012, the parabolic trough seems to be at the end of its evolution because of the temperature limitations, complicated manufacturing and toxicity of the HTF. Therefore, I would prefer the Fresnel technology and the solar tower technology. Both use nearly flat mirrors which enable a higher share of local production”, says Dr.-Eng. Hani El Nokraschy, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Desertec Foundation.
According to the French firm Sun CNIM, LFR is easily integrated into the grid and can be operated on isolated sites. “The technology is flexible where the component modules can be installed in accordance with capacity requirements and can be act as a hybrid to other alternative power sources like biomass, fossil fuel or methanization plants, etc,” says Sun CNIM communiqué.
Fresnel may give an additional advantage because of shadowing the ground. This enables planting under the mirror roof protecting the plants from the burning sunrays and thus saving irrigation water”, Dr. Nokraschy says.
Another advantage of the LFR technology is the reduced optical losses and less mirror-glass breakage since the wind loads on LFCs are smaller according to the French innovation technology firm Sun CNIM.
Moreover, the mirror surface per receiver is higher in the LFC than in parabolic trough collector, which is important given that the receiver is the most expensive component in both technologies.
“Until recently, linear Fresnel plants were mainly pilot projects. But with remarkable advancements, the technology is quickly gaining operational parity with the parabolic trough, and the world’s largest Fresnel power plant has already started operation in Spain,” says Heba Hashem, a technology expert based in UAE.
With the debate over choice of technology for solar energy nearly over, researchers and businesses are now concentrating on ways and means to develop technologies that can better the storage of solar power. This is considered to be the next big step in solar power attaining maturity.
Saving the Planet? It Is a Local Issue
When we get caught up in common environmental issues, we start to think that it’s a bigger problem, that is down to centralised areas and big cities. And while urban areas are expanding, the route to sustainability as a solution comes from an approach beyond urbanism. Because urban areas bear the brunt because they have more CO2 emissions and larger carbon footprints, the thing to note in this respect that saving the planet is not necessarily a large-scale issue. In fact, it is a local issue.
The largest cities require urban developments, and this is a part of modern life. But when we go back to the 1990s, when sustainable city initiatives began emerging, we can see where the argument for the compact city began. This can have a positive impact on sustainability in a variety of ways but also improves greenhouse gas emissions. But this is where smaller communities can become invaluable.
Smaller communities have more power in many respects. From the perspective of local councils, it can be easier to incorporate an initiative that benefits the community, rather than having to go all the way to Westminster. Now, it can be easier to sign up for a local initiative, such as a solar community, rather than having to get permission from a higher power. And from the perspective of a community, it is far more controllable.
Saving the planet in an urban sense is about changing the infrastructure, which can take years, if not decades. However, smaller communities are able to utilise the location for the benefit of their immediate surroundings. This is something very important to note. Whenever you want to make a significant impact, be it in charity, or in the environment, it starts at home. As saving the planet is a local issue in this respect, it’s far easier to communicate the message. Smaller communities are in close contact. This means the message is easily spread. Throw into the mix community meetings, and how businesses look to develop on local issues, rather than spearheading initiatives overseas or in big cities, and it provides a tactical methodology to help on a small scale.
When you combine this with the fact that smaller organisations such as schools, naturally have a lower carbon footprint, this is the perfect opportunity to teach the younger generations how they can positively impact the world. Saving the planet is a local issue. We have to remember that if we are to make any impact, we have to look after our own. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t rely on large organisations or big cities to do the job, but if you want to do something right, do it yourself.
Saving the planet is something that we can control from our own home. From the practices that we preach to the examples we set, saving the planet is about keeping it close to home before you start to spread yourself far and wide. If every small town started to look after its own carbon emissions, this would pay for the country, and the world, several times over.
Integrating Waste Management To Improve Business Productivity
Recently, governments have increased their incentives on business to employ environmentally friendly methods in their production lines. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that businesses are working round the clock to ensure that they adhere to the regulations.
Business waste management requires a collective effort from all the stakeholders. The employees and customers need to be sensitized on the importance of environmentally friendly practices to boost their eco-performance.
Production in business usually has many wastes ranging from energy wastage, residues, or solid wastes. You need to assess your production plan from purchasing, production, documentation, and packaging. Once you have assessed, identify the key areas that you can work on to minimize usage and wastage.
It would be best if you considered using biodegradable packaging materials that will reduce paper wastage. There are packaging materials that you can use that will help you cut on paper and plastic wastage. You can also choose to bulk purchase of materials needed to reduce the amount of packaging paper you will have.
In the past, electrical wires were manufactured using cloth wires to enhance insulation, longevity, and safety in the workplace. You easily damage the wires during daily production activities, and its disposal could create large volumes of unnecessary plastics.
Though you can recycle these wastes, the costs incurred compared to the systems’ service is a loss to the business. However, this industrial practice has been discontinued and restructured to alternative uses due to technological advancements.
Using Renewable Energy Sources also plays a significant role in reducing energy wastage. There will be fewer emissions into the environment, and you will also reduce the energy costs you use. The employees need to be sensitized on efficient energy management practices like switching off machines and lights that are not in use, proper usage of specific equipment, and immediate repair and service of machines once they break down.
Building and Construction
Contractors involved in building and construction have included energy and environmental management in their practice. Several businesses have taken the liberty to redesign the buildings to use efficient energy sources and recycled materials. This development is a step in the right direction of environmental management.
The wastes in the business need to be properly disposed of to observe hygiene and cleanliness. Poor garbage disposal techniques will endanger the health of the employees and the immediate community.
It would help if you employed recycling techniques like water treatment plants in the industry to reduce the toxicity of the waste. The types of strainers, baskets, and traps used in the water treatment plant play a significant role in the quality of the process equipment.
To ascertain the water treatment plant’s quality, you need to take a keen interest in the types of weaving employed in its manufacture. Be sure to investigate if the weaving matches your purpose of the plant and your content of waste.
Waste management is a gradual process that has its profitable returns. It helps you to cut down on some costs and increases productivity.
How To Save Water At Work
When you’re at home, you know how to save water and do better for your house. Living in a green way is easy at home, but what about at work? When you are not the owner of a business premises, it’s not always easy to be green. However, there are things that you can do as a business that will ensure that you are analyzing your water efficiency and you can then reduce the water use in your workplace.
Below, we’ve put together some of the best ways that you can conserve water in your workplace. You can continue your green efforts in the workplace this way!
Get Your Management Team On Your Side
If you are planning to start water conservation efforts at work, you need the rest of your management team on your side. They need to be happy to work with you and ensure that your water conservation efforts are successful. If you’re working as one team, you’re far more likely to save the planet a little aggravation and you can successfully prevent flooding, too.
You need to know the best ways to conserve water, and we’re willing to bet that you haven’t looked at whether you can get permission from your landlord about installing water tanks from watertankfactory.com.au/water-tanks-dalby/. You need to research what you can and cannot do in terms of saving water in any way possible.
Put Together A List
You need to know why you are saving water and what it will be for. Filtering rainwater for free, drinkable water in the office is a genius way to keep employees cool. You can also use it for the external garden of your business, as a way to flush the toilets and you can also use it to clean the floors.
Know How You Already Use Your Water
How does your business consume water? Where is it mostly used through the working week? If you can ensure that you are using your water properly, you will be able to encourage your staff to do the same thing. Conservation only works when everyone is on board!
Bring In The Experts
Do you have leaky faucets? Are you dealing with pipes that are broken or cracked in any way? Any of these things can cause your water payments to shoot right up. Bringing in the experts to assess your current water systems and evaluate your pipework is the best way to ensure that you are saving water. You can stop the waste when you have someone in to assess what you are dealing with.
By buying rainwater tanks and saving the rainfall, you can use less of the water from the faucets and the pipes in the building. You can add a good filtration system and this will help you to get rid of the nasties in the water and reduce the contaminants that you could be facing.
Water conservation is not just for your house. And now you know how to get it right!
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