Our Brian makes the news with his gaslamp that runs on dog poo.

One of the main members of Transition Malvern Hills Brain 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

Build a wind turbine in one day! – Cancelled

This workshop has been cancelled due to receiving too few
paid bookings.

Get hands-on with a unique wind turbine making experience!

This one day workshop will be held on Saturday 9th December 2017 at The Cube, Albert Road North, Malvern, WR14 2YF.  Select here for a map. This is being run by V3Power.

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: info@v3power.co.uk 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.

What Happens?

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.

  • Blades; each person carves a wooden wind turbine blade with an aerofoil shape based on an introduction to fluid dynamics and blade design.
  • Mounting; each person cuts, shapes & drills a metal component to assemble the turbine mounting, and the group assembles roller taper bearings.
  • Electrical generator; after an introduction to electromagnetism each person winds a copper coil, prepares its output wires with solder and the group works together to connect them into a three-phase stator. Each person secures powerful magnets into a rotor to make up the other part of the generator.
  • Electrical system; the group learns about the different components that make up a safe wind turbine electrical system whilst wiring them together to make a battery charging circuit.
  • Assembly; the group bolt together the components to complete the turbine and learns about the importance of mechanical overspeed protection, blade balancing & maintenance.
  • Testing; the group connects the turbine to their electrical system, watch it spin and charge some devices!

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.

Build a Wind Turbine

An update from Duncan:

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.

Select here to download the poster.

If you would like to be involved or to know more about renewable energy please
contact us or the Transition Worcester energy group transitionworcester@gmail.com.

Sustaining the Energy

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.

Select here to download the PDF of the poster.

For the formal part of the Annual Network Meeting here are:

New Year from Despair to Hope?

 

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 Time for LED is now

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:

CFL
CFL

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.

LED
LED

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.

brightness

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Halogen 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.

GU10
GU10

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.

Notes on LED bulbs:

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

Malvern Energy Generation Co-op

In a previous article we set out the case for Local Community Energy Co-operatives as a valuable way forward in reducing our reliance on damaging fossil fuel energy sources. Now Malvern Community Energy Co-operative (MCEC, set up by Transition Malvern Hills) is offering you the opportunity to invest in this attractive, ethical investment in community renewable energy generation.

There are now examples in the UK and a very large number of community schemes in the rest of Europe. To see some of the UK schemes visit www.sharenergy.coop, local examples are Leominster Solar PV panels on the leisure centre, Woolhope Woodheat Biomass boilers and wood supply and Neen Sollars Community Hydro.

MCEC has a team of 10 volunteers determined to make this work locally. We are now completing the Share Offer document so that local people can decide whether they want to join us as members of the Co-op by subscribing/investing in our first project to put Solar PhotoVoltaic panels on the Malvern Cube.

We have chosen the Cube as our first building because of the additional social value we can create by reducing the Cube’s electricity bills, as well as being capable of delivering a modest return to MCEC’s members/community subscribers. Could you be one of them?  The minimum shareholding is £250. We are still finalising the sums but we expect the average annual rate of return to be in excess of 3% for non tax payers and more than twice that for tax payers. 

There will be a Launch meeting for the Share Offer at the Cube at 8pm on the 10th March. We are collecting details of people interested in investing so we can keep them up to date.

If you are interested or even excited about this new and very important venture, contact at www.malverncommunityenergy.org

MCE Poster for circulation and display (pdf).

UPDATE: link to share offer information

Resource Efficient Worcestershire

A message just in from County Hall

I work in the sustainability and economic sections of Worcestershire County Council and thought that this information may be of interest to Transition Malvern and to help raise awareness of the Resource Efficient Worcestershire programme. Below is a little more about the programme:

Worcestershire County Council and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce’s programme of support called Resource Efficient Worcestershire is for small and medium size businesses (in Worcestershire), to help become more efficient and reduce the costs and usage of energy, water, waste and raw materials (and improve environmentally too!). The Resource Efficient Worcestershire programme offers free assessments (worth two days of support) which could lead to grants to small medium sized enterprises. Firstly we offer a free assessment and following this a business can apply for a grant of up to £6,750 (45% of project costs) towards any of the recommended improvements. The grants can be used for activities such as more efficient lighting, heating, processes and equipment to reduce waste, water management, more in depth feasibility studies, plus more…

It’s aimed at SME’s who are business to business, particularly manufacturing. Unfortunately retail or agricultural businesses do not qualify, due to the criteria set out be our funders at the European Regional Development Fund. So far we have 25 businesses registered on the programme at various stages of completion and there has been a diverse range of advice, some examples have included looking at why 30% of one manufacturing company’s energy costs (and over 9K) are being consumed during weekends and evenings, when there was no operational activity taking place – Improved controls of furnace temperatures will drastically reduce this. Another business is being helped to find an outlet for recycling its vast amount of plastic waste and the assessments have also identified that a water leak has been costing a business an additional 2k over several months, which can be repaired very easily. Another business is exploring using waste heat from an industrial oven to heat it’s warehouse. We have just awarded our first grant to a business seeking to improve its lighting.

I hope this information is useful to you and more details can be found at www.business-central.co.uk or by calling (01905 822833).