Our Gaz light expert Brain Harper gets he name on the cover of the latest WR magazine
See page 68 for the article "Where there's Muck there's Gas"
Our Gaz light expert Brain Harper gets he name on the cover of the latest WR magazine
See page 68 for the article "Where there's Muck there's Gas"
We have updated our display at the Malvern Tourist Information Centre. We are now back to our roots with a display based on the theme:
Climate Breakdown now is the TIME TO ACT
The poster in the from is a from Clean Slate The journal of Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). CAT is also the home of Zero Carbon Britain.
The wind turbine is kindley loaded by Mike of Green Link
Below are the message we are displaying in the window
Here are the links from the messages
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report SR15
If the global temperature rises by 1.5°C, humans will face unprecedented climate-related risks and weather events. Currently we are on track for a 3 degrees or more of warming if we do not change course.
It’s the final call; the most extensive warning thus far on the risks of rising global temperatures.
This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic in December 2017.
This is an article about what at the moment is a speculative idea that explores how a problem may possibly be turned to a valuable local scheme for energy generation.
You may know the reservoir that is on the East side of the British Camp (Herefordshire Beacon). Many years ago this was built to store water and provide a header tank for Malvern’s water supply. It had its own treatment plant at the base of the dam. Some time ago it ceased being used for this purpose. We guess that this may have been as a safety precaution, we note that the water level has been kept low for some time or because treatment was centralised on a few large plants. Dams have quite rightly very rigorous inspection schemes for public safety reasons. The dam is owned by Severn Trent and if it is not being used for water supply it will be a financial burden with high maintenance costs. This will encourage Severn Trent to consider removing its water holding ability as a dam.
We pondered whether an alternative might be to create a pumped storage hydro-electric scheme. This would enable the dam to be a financial asset rather than a liability. It would work by releasing water from the dam into pipes that are linked to turbines at the bottom of the hill and then to a large pond. The turbines generate electricity at peak times. Then at off peak times, either cheap electricity at night or surplus daytime renewable energy is used to pump the water back up to the dam. To do this there needs to be another large pond at the bottom of the hill to store the water ready to be pumped back up.
For the electricity generating companies to provide us with peak power there are many power stations that operate for a very short time and therefore at very high cost. The payments made for this power are many multiples of the normal wholesale rate paid to generating companies.
As we change the mix of methods of generation from fossil fuels to renewables we need more storage solutions. Pumped storage hydro-electric is one of these. It needs rather special geography to be able to have two reservoirs with a big height difference and tends to be very capital intensive. In Malvern’s case at least we have the high level dam, easy access to the dam, pond, turbine and pump house site (this could also be below ground) and grid connections reasonable close.
It is possible that for safety reasons the existing dam can only be used half full but that is still plenty of water for peak power.
So it is a great idea but there are so many obstacles to overcome if this is to be realised. Initially it would need the full support of the AONB and the Malvern Hills Trust, Severn Trent Water, any other landowners, The Malvern Hills District Council Planners and local people. If there was at least tentative support from these areas then a major Feasibility Study would be needed to check the environmental, engineering and financial details. Raising funds for this wouldn’t be easy as there is always the risk that the scheme will not go ahead and an organisation would need to be created to commission the report and later on see the project through and become the operator.
Assuming all the agreements could be arranged and the environmental, engineering and financial feasibility is sound then it would be a case of raising the money to carry out the scheme. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this could be funded by local residents. As we did with the much smaller and simpler Malvern Community Energy Coop for the Cube PV panels.
In a few years’ time there will be more local grids connected to the national grid and the local generation by renewables will be feeding our buildings at lower cost, might Malvern be one of these local grids. At Malvern Community Energy Coop we will be tentatively exploring the issues raised, no promises but what an exciting possibility.
If you would like to find out more, get involved or be kept up to date contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the main members of Transition Malvern Hills Brian Harper has made the news in the Guardian with his gaslamp that runs on dog poo.
The Article is here
Brain would also like to acknowledge Methanogen (UK) Ltd who provided the Digester. This got edited out by the Guardian.
He was also on the BBC TV . And on Radio 5 Live, BBC Hereford and Worcester and BBC World service.
The story has also appeared in the Malvern Gazette and other newspapers
This workshop has been cancelled due to receiving too few
Get hands-on with a unique wind turbine making experience!
They bring all the tools, materials and expertise. You leave with practical skills, an understanding of how and why wind turbines work, and a huge sense of achievement
The practical tasks are achievable regardless of skill and experience. The number and range of tasks means everyone stays interested and engaged throughout the day!
Different groups take different amounts of time to build the turbine but Tom the instructor says he allows for seven hours to build the turbine, and investigate it outside. Tom will define the start time nearer the date but either 9am or 10am.
Cost per person: £70. This covers the cost of the materials and parts used to build the turbine. Having made mistakes and wasted materials and money making my own turbines through trial and error this workshop tuition is value for money.
A lunch break will definitely occur but lunch will not be included in the booking fee. As the Cube cafe will not be open bring your own lunch, tea and Coffee will be provided.
The Cube has a visitors car park However, it is possible to walk to the cube from either of Malvern’s two railway stations.
We will build the turbine inside and weather permitting we will investigate the finished turbine in the garden.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask Tom at V3Power.
If you’d like to book a place for the workshop, please email: email@example.com and tell Tom how many people you are and would like to book a place. Tom will then tell you his details so you can pay V3Power via either BACS transfer, or Paypal.
V3Power.co.uk have spent a decade teaching people how to build their own wind turbine using the reliable Hugh Piggott design and common workshop tools. Hugh’s turbines have powered homes worldwide from India, South America and Scotland.
V3Power have developed a new low cost demonstration wind turbine to teach the science and engineering of wind turbines. This turbine can be built in one day by just ten people.
Together, your group and the instructor build a wind turbine to generate electricity using simple materials and a range of hand tools. All participants carve a wooden turbine blade, wind a copper coil, and manipulate powerful magnets.
Please note; although you are welcome to keep and reuse the blades that you make on the day, due to the cost of the other provided components the instructor needs to reclaim the rest of the turbine at the end of the day for other future workshops. However, during the day you will learn about building and erecting wind turbines, so you will be left with a set of working turbine blades, and all the theory to get you kick started on making your own wind turbine.
This is a photo of the stator we're making for our 1.8 metre diameter Hugh Piggott wind turbine. I thought you might like to see it.
For those of you who don't know what this object is and does
Two weeks ago we laid the coils of wire we'd made in the plywood mould (also made by us) and poured in polyester resin to make the rigid stator casting. On Tuesday we opened our stator mould, removed the casting and got our first look at what we'd made.
The stator contains six coils of wire, now sealed in a disc shaped casting of now set and solid polyester resin. The stator is bolted to the turbine frame. A rotor disc mounted on ball bearings holds eight magnets and spins over the six coils. The movement of the magnetic field from the magnets past the coils generates electricity.
Long flexible wire "tails" lead out of the casting and connect the coils together to generate three-phase electricity.
The magnet rotor is bolted to, and thus turned by, the wind turbine blades.
Members of Transition Worcester are planning to build a wind turbine. They will be using a tried and tested design produced by Mr Hugh Piggott who has designed homemade wind turbines for people in many countries.
They would welcome anyone who would like to join them in making this turbine.
We will be holding our Annual Network Meeting on 19th June 7:45pm at the Cube, Select here for a map.
The main talk will be by Jon Halle, who is the co-founder of Sharenergy Co-operative, which has helped over 100 community energy groups across the UK to get up and running - from solar in Somerset to wind on Shetland. The talk is Sustaining the Energy, How to keep building community renewable energy in turbulent times.
There will also be a talk on the latest Zero Carbon Britain report by Robin Coates.
For the formal part of the Annual Network Meeting here are:
This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic.
There can be no doubt that 2016 will be remembered as a year of seismic political shifts. We now live in a world where the President of the United States has espoused climate change denial and has installed a climate sceptic to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, whilst the former CEO of ExxonMobil is the Secretary of State! Meanwhile here in the UK, most established environmental policies are up for grabs in the Brexit negotiations and Government action on renewable energy is sadly lacking, although the cost of onshore wind is now the cheapest form of energy. It would be hard not to feel despair in the face of our new reality.
We can’t deny having those feelings but there is also a great deal of hope. For the first time, we (and the majority of nations) have ratified the international Paris agreement that begins to address the key issues of climate change. Investment and operating costs of renewables are outperforming fossil fuels across the world, and global businesses and finances are coming on board and disinvesting from fossil fuels - the momentum appears irreversible. Alongside this (whilst it might not always feel like it), public opinion supports tackling climate change and renewable energy, that makes us really hopeful.
Another hope indicator was the Marrakesh Climate Change meeting in December. Where despite Trumps pronouncement’s about not ratifying the Paris agreement, there was overwhelming support to redouble efforts to tackle it. China, now by far the biggest investor in renewables, is leading the way and India now realises, it is a cheaper option than coal and allows them to help their massive rural population without having the expensive and long lead times of building a grid. There are also a number of States in the USA who have told Trump they will take him to court if he renegades on the Paris agreement.
The other big shift is all the new thinking and investment on energy storage. We are now seeing the possibilities of household batteries, use of parked electric cars batteries at peak times and major battery installations, like those of Google all happening. Other large scale storage solutions are either being installed or seriously being considered like compressed air, electricity conversion to hydrogen and chemicals. All this together with local grids with smart systems that can shed load and charge differential prices for peak time electricity and manage supply and demand in new ways. These approaches can make the intermittence of renewables a benefit rather than a problem.
We citizens need to keep talking to others about all this to realise that a consensus is building and take every opportunity to put pressure on the Government to get back into renewables, rather than the Fracking dead end and the unbankable nuclear option. The UK needs to return to leading on these issues, most of the good work that has been done to date was as a result of the pre 2008 government, the frameworks they put in place that allowed on and off shore wind as well as PV have now been dismantled.
Phasing out fossil fuels gives us a chance to reverse a number of serious problems. The obvious ones are environmental climate change, devastating pollution in many poorer countries around the mines and oil fields, acid rain from the power stations. There are also political problems, oil rich states are very often totalitarian as they can “bribe” the people to keep the status quo, in democratic oil rich states the lobbying has distorted democracy (see USA). The plight of indigenous peoples has often been extreme as their lands have been plundered and destroyed.
It is to be hoped that this move from fossil fuels will allow more people to wake up to the need for humanity to deepen its awareness and change its relationship with the whole of creation. This consciousness shift has been growing (it is what our Inner Transition Group is all about). More people are aware of the devastating impact of believing humankind are separate from the natural world and can use it as we please as if it is inexhaustible thereby creating waste, destruction, pollution and actual progressively harming ourselves by losing the clean air, water, fertile soil, heathy animals, wilderness and climate that supports us and all life.
It would take a long article to outline the many influences that have lead us into this dead end of separateness from most of creation. It is important to see it as a progressive blindness that has come over the developed world.
Although this process started before the Enlightenment, its influence and subsequent educational emphasise placed an over reliance on so called “rational thinking” and the idea that the material world is the whole world. This has led to us subordinating or discounting our imagination, intuition, embodied experiences (feelings, emotions and things we know but can’t yet put into words), sense of mystery, wonder and the sacred.
So, the hope for 2017 is that the technical solutions to our/the earth’s problems happen in parallel to humankind’s consciousness shift to understanding and being part of all creation, if we care for all creation we will be caring for ourselves.
The original low energy light bulbs are compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). These are four times as efficient as the incandescent light bulbs they replaced. They have several problems:
They can take time to switch on and minutes to get to full power.
Over time they get less bright, especially when just turned on. This together with, I think, over optimistic labelling of the wattage of the incandescent they replaced has made us think they are not a good as incandescent light bulbs.
They contain Mercury.
New low energy light bulb are now available, LED bulbs. LED stands for light-emitting diode. These are now available as standard bayonet (B22) lamps for about £7 in local shops and on line. LED bulbs have the following advantages over CFL lamps.
They are even more efficient the CFL, using at least 30% less power for the same brightness.
They are instant on. They do not need time to warm up.
The do not contain Mercury.
They should last 3 times longer than CFL lamps and 25 times that of a standard incandescent bulb. Like CFL LED may get less bright over time but at least 3 times slower than CFL.
How is the brightness of a lamp measured? In the old days when we only had incandescent light bulbs they we measured by the power(electricity) they consumed in Watts(W). This was OK when there were only one type of bulb, and for incandescent it was a good enough measure. When CFL came along they were described by the wattage of the incandescent equivalent. In my view some what optimistically. Now LEDs and other bulbs have come along and we are stopping using incandescent equivalent as this has got ridiculous, so now bulbs are described by how bright they are, this is measured in Lumen. They still also state the power in Watts they use. So the efficiency of a bulb can be measured by lumens/watts.
The standard B22 LED bulbs that are common now come in two brightnesses 450+ and 800+ lumens. These are equivalent of the old incandescent 40w and 60w, I think now pessimistically rated. I tried an 810 lumen LED light in my landing and it was too bright.
I am not sure there is an argument for replacing existing CFL with LEDs ahead of when you would replace the CFL. But due to the longer life and less electricity consumed by LED bulbs, for both economic and environmental reasons we should stop buying any more CFL bulbs and buy LED bulbs. And LEDs are better bulbs.
Above I was talking about standard bayonet bulbs, but the most inefficient in our houses these days are normally halogen bulbs. These are another form of incandescent light bulbs they are found in GU10 spot lights, normally in kitchens and bathrooms.
LED GU10 have been available for a few years and given that LED are more directional than halogen they only need about 1/8 the electricity to produce the same effective light. Some of the early LED GU10 were a bit dim. But any current LED GU10 over 400 lumen (5W) should be a good replacement for 50W incandescent. Given that LEDs last at last 10 times longer than halogen the conclusion is again only buy LED bulbs, but with halogen there may be an economic and environmental argument to replace existing bulbs with LED.
Another reason to replace all halogen with LEDs is that a lot of them are on when the electricity demand is at it's highest, 6pm on a winter's evening, and the reduction in peak grid demand would save building at least one new power station.
Halogen bulbs are also found in outside flood lights and these can be replaced by LEDs.
Not all LED can be used with dimmers but ones that can are available sometimes at a slight extra cost.
LED bulbs can come in different colours warm white or bright white. And if you pay more any colour you like and some even changeable by remote control.
This article first appeared in our March to June 2015 Newsletter and on iccaldwell.com