Three Powerful Projects for the Planet

A solar powered ship, a green airport and a people powered outdoor gym: MS Tûranor entered Monaco’s Hercule Harbor on 4 May to become the first ship to travel around the world using only solar power. Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok plans to become the greenest airport in the world and is committed to reduce its carbon intensity by 25%. The UK city of Hull is playing host to the first outdoor gym converting people power into useable power. Read More

Hong Kong Standard (9 May 2012):

Chek Lap Kok will become the greenest airport in the world.

That was the bold pledge of the Airport Authority and its 40 business partners yesterday.

It came as the authority said it has achieved a 10 percent reduction in carbon intensity.

The authority rolled out a three-year environmental plan last year to make Hong Kong International Airport a leader in environmental performance by reducing carbon intensity by 25 percent in 2015 from the 2008 emission level.

The 10 percent reduction was achieved through more than 300 green initiatives, including installing LEDs, more environmentally friendly chiller systems, and the introduction of more energy-efficient vehicles.

“Today’s pledge to become the world’s greenest airport marks a big step forward, putting HKIA at the forefront worldwide, by providing a delightful airport experience and delivering exemplary environmental performance,” said authority chairman Marvin Cheung Kin-tung.

It will replace 100,000 lighting applications with LEDs by the end of 2014.

All new transfer saloon cars in the airport restricted area will be electric by the middle of next year, and the whole fleet by 2017.

The authority will invest HK$40 million to install more charging stations in several phases.

The use of auxiliary power units when aircraft are parked will be banned in 2014.



World’s First Circumnavigation By Solar Powered Ship A Success

By Keith Barry in Autopia (4 May 2012):

The MS Tûranor entered Monaco’s Hercule Harbor on 4 May 2012, becoming the first ship to travel around the world using only solar power.

It’s the same harbor where the Tûranor set out from more than 19 months and 37,286 miles ago. Since then, the ship has made port in six continents, fended off pirates and broke four Guinness world records, including longest journey by solar powered boat and first circumnavigation by solar powered boat.

For the team behind the Tûranor, the work has just started. They’ve spent more than a year and a half preaching the solar gospel at stops around the world, and their passion for the power of the sun hasn’t dimmed one bit.

“The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is much more than a ship,” said Immo Stroeher, the German entrepreneur whose investment made the trip possible. “It has become an ambassador of solar energy. The arrival in Monaco is only the start! We now have to take advantage of the fame of PlanetSolar in order to promote the use of solar energy.”

It’s a pretty remarkable achievement. The 115 foot long, Swiss-flagged catamaran was only a dream and some plans as of three years ago, and although it took quite awhile to complete its voyage, it did so without any major problems. The crew occasionally found themselves awaiting the sun when the ship’s batteries ran out of energy, but no major components ever failed.

If you happen to be in Monaco this weekend, you’ll be able to enjoy the celebrations surrounding the ship’s return. There’s a concert and laser light show powered entirely by the Tûranor‘s batteries, and Prince Albert II will be on board on Saturday. On Monday, it’s sailing to Marseille for a European solar power conference.

After that, the ship’s long-term future is a bit cloudy. The team behind the Tûranor is either going to sell or lease the vessel, but for an as-yet unknown purpose.

“We are considering renting out the boat for scientific or commercial uses or even selling it,” Stroeher said. “We are open for ideas and in talks with interested parties – from the use as a ‘green’ luxury yacht to scientific usages and the utilization as the world’s largest mobile solar power battery, everything is possible.”



First outdoor gym converting workouts into electricity opens in Hull, with potential for 500 more across UK

By Will Nichols in Business Green (2 May 2012):

“Exercise is bunk,” Henry Ford famously opined. “If you are healthy you don’t need it. If you are sick you shouldn’t take it.”

Well, for those who hate spending hours in the gym, there’s now a compelling environmental reason for working on those love handles – generating electricity.

The city of Hull is playing host to the first outdoor gym converting people power into useable power, installed by The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO).

Electricity generated on the cross trainer and exercise bikes at the new Green Heart gym currently powers LED lighting for the site. But Georgie Delaney, creative director of TGO, told BusinessGreen the company is working with the National Housing Federation to identify a site where a gym could be hooked up to local buildings or feed electricity into the grid.

Each piece of equipment can produce between 50W and 400W of electricity, although the figure is likely to be closer to 100W for those users who are not Olympic rowers.

Delaney said the company was aiming to build up the number of electricity-generating gyms to meet a target of installing 100 new sites annually for the next five years. Considering each one serves a community of around 5,000 people, Delaney estimates there is potential to tap the renewable energy of around 2.5 million people, while helping them get fit.

“We would like to have [electricity] generating components in all our gyms, but it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to that point,” she said. “Hopefully, we can start next year.”

TGO is also looking for corporate sponsors and “has had some interest from an energy company”, Delaney added.

However, for the moment the company is concentrating on making a success of the Hull gym.

“The response has been really good,” Delaney said. “We deliberately put it into a site that is not in any way protected, and people have really understood what we’re trying to do.”


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