Agrivoltaic setups aren’t new to regular readers of this site as we’ve seen many times that certain crops benefit from the shade solar panels provide; and, the solar panels benefit the farmers by producing clean energy. Now we know that hops, which flavour beer, thrive under solar panels. A German experiment with a special solar setup for hops has proven more successful than expected since the hops fared better against disease.
Which crops thrive under solar panels depends on many factors, and for a crop like hops a default solar field setup is not a good one. Hops like to grow straight up which means that the solar panels need to be elevated high off the ground. The hops then grow up to the solar panels and get lots of benefit from the cooling effects of the panels themselves.
The pilot project — a collaboration between Wimmer and local solar technology company Hallertauer Handelshaus — was set up in the fall of last year. The electricity made at this farm can power around 250 households, and the hops get shade they’ll need more often as climate change turbocharges summer heat.
Solar panels atop crops has been gaining traction in recent years as incentives and demand for clean energy skyrocket. Researchers look into making the best use of agricultural land, and farmers seek ways to shield their crops from blistering heat, keep in moisture and potentially increase yields. The team in Germany says its effort is the first agrivoltaic project that’s solely focused on hops, but projects have sprouted around the world in several countries for a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables.
Hamburg’s transition from being seen as only an industrial port to a thriving cultural hub is well underway and part of that transition is to ensure the city can survive climate change. Since the city is located not far from the coast rising water and more sever storms will impact everyone who lives there, as a result flood mitigation and resilient building are required. These new developments embrace ecological design while also embracing the culture of the city.
Presented by its developers as a “model for the new European city on the waterfront”, HafenCity is built on an artificial sand terrace that places new buildings about 8 meters above the high tide line. The waterfront is also designed to be partially flooded, like the promenade designed byZaha Hadidin 2006 that runs above the dam on the city’s Niederhafen promenade.
Exceptions are some old buildings dating back to 1880. While remaining at their original lower level, they have been hardened to resist occasional flooding, with direct exits to the upper level and reinforced windows and other forms of waterproofing beneath.
Wind turbines produce renewable energy from air with a small footprint on the ground. This means they can get placed in various locations and offshore they can be massive (and therefore more efficient), but when the wind turbines reach the end of service their blades take up a lot space in landfills. Thankfully the blades can be reused to build bridges!
Even when they are no longer useful to produce electricity wind turbines live on in useful ways – another reason to build more turbines.
Originally a metals recycling company, Anmet started exploring ways to repurpose wind blades about seven years ago. Since then, it developed a small commercial businessmaking outdoor furnitureout of discarded wind turbine blades. Bridges, Sobczyk says, are the next area it would like to expand into commercially.
The company’s first blade bridge took about three years to test, permit, and build. After harvesting decommissioned blades from a wind farm in Germany, the blades were subjected to a battery of engineering tests in partnership with Poland’s Rzeszów University of Technology before being cut up to create the primary support structures for a pedestrian footbridge. In October, Amnet installed that bridge over a river in Szprotawa, the small town where the company is headquartered.
We’ve witnessed one of the greatest die offs of insects in history and Germany wants that to change. The country is considering a new law which will protect insects from needlessly dying due to human intervention. The country has already committed to eliminating the use of glyphosate, a weed killer which kills more than weeds. It’s been proven many times over that insects are beneficial for increased crop yields and greater biodiversity, so let’s hope that even more countries follow Germany’s lead on protecting these little critters.
Light traps for insects are to be banned outdoors, while searchlights and sky spotlights would be outlawed from dusk to dawn for ten months of the year.
The draft also demands that any new streetlights and other outdoor lights be installed in such a way as to minimise the effect on plants, insects and other animals.
The use of weed-killers and insecticides would also be banned in national parks and within five to ten metres of major bodies of water, while orchards and dry-stone walls are to be protected as natural habitats for insects.
Germans have reputation of loving to drive so it might seem a little shocking to see the nation explore free public transit. The push for free travel comes from the need to reduce the country’s emissions – and soon. EU countries that don’t meet emissions targets in the next few years can be taken to court to answer for the inability to provide clean air for their citizens. Germany is a large country and if they figure out a way to make public transit free then it’s likely that other nations can follow.
“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” the ministers added.
The proposal will be tested by “the end of this year at the latest” in five cities across western Germany, including former capital Bonn and industrial cities Essen and Mannheim.
On top of ticketless travel, other steps proposed Tuesday include further restrictions on emissions from vehicle fleets like buses and taxis, low-emissions zones or support for car-sharing schemes.