Category Archives: Water

Plastic bottle boat reaches Australia after stormy seas

July 23, 2010

(CNN) — After spending 125 days traveling over 8,000 nautical miles, the Plastiki is preparing to reach Sydney, its final destination, on Sunday.

The Plastiki’s arrival in Sydney will not, however, be the 60-foot catamaran’s first time to reach Australian soil. Winter storms producing near-hurricane strength winds forced the vessel and its crew to take refuge in Mooloolaba, Queensland on Monday.

Originally, the crew had hoped to land in Coffs Harbour, south from Mooloolaba, before heading to Sydney. After waiting out the bad weather, the Plastiki took off from its unexpected first port-of-call in Australia early Friday morning with hopes to reach Sydney in the next two days.

Brutal winter storms in the Tasman Sea made the leg from New Caledonia the most challenging. One night winds gusting over 60-knots surprised the crew, leaving them battling to prevent the mast buckling and losing the sail for eight hours.

“I’ve always been apprehensive of the Tasman Sea and this was my own worst nightmare come to fruition,” said Plastiki’s expedition leader, David de Rothschild.

Co-skipper of the boat, Dave Thomson called the waves some of “the biggest you’re likely to see.”

Once in Sydney, the Plastiki will be harbored at the Australian National Maritime Museum. It will remain on display for a month as crew members hold special events aimed at raising awareness of plastic waste in the ocean. The general public will also have the opportunity to visit the vessel during an open day.

Made of approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and engineered using the most sustainable methods possible, the Plastiki is meant to be used as a platform upon which solutions to the myriad of environmental problems can be found.

Particularly, the Plastiki is hoping to raise awareness about single-use consumer products that are filling landfills and the sea.

The Plastiki has faced several challenges since departing from San Francisco in March. Engineering problems unique to a craft made of plastic water bottles forced the catamaran to make unscheduled stops, as has unpredictable weather.


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H2Oil: exposing Canada’s oil industry

by apasolini on April 12, 2010

Source: H2Oil
Let’s start Monday with a trailer of a documentary about the plight of the people who live in the Canadian province of Alberta, where Big Oil is destroying the environment and depleting water supplies. It’s yet another reminder of why fossil fuel is a disaster for the planet and the all the living beings who inhabit it.

(From the film’s website):

Ever wonder where America gets most of its oil? If you thought it was Saudi Arabia or Iraq you are wrong. America’s biggest oil supplier has quickly become Canada’s oil sands. Located under Alberta’s pristine boreal forests, the process of oil sands extraction uses up to 4 barrels of fresh water to produce only one barrel of crude oil.

It goes without saying that water — its depletion, exploitation, privatization and contamination — has become the most important issue to face humanity in this century. At the same time, the war for oil is well underway across the globe. A struggle is increasingly being fought between water and oil, not only over them.

Alberta’s oil sands are at the centre of this tension. As the province rushes towards a large-scale extraction, the social, ecological and human impacts are hitting a crisis point. In only a few short years the continent will be a crisscross of pipelines, reaching from the arctic all the way to the southern US, leaving toxic water basins the size of Lake Ontario, and surface-mines as large as Florida.

H2Oil follows a voyage of discovery, heartbreak and politicization in the stories of those attempting to defend water in Alberta against tar sands expansion. Unlikely alliances are built and lives are changed as they come up against the largest industrial project in human history.

Ultimately we ask what is more important, oil or water? And what will be our response?

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America’s Premier Wave Power Farm Sets Sail

March 14, 1020

Wave energy is among the impressive list of renewable energy resources that is being developed in the United States. New Jersey-based developer, Ocean Power Technologies has launched a project that features the nation’s first commercial wave power farm off the coast of Reedsport, Oregon. Once the project is completed, wave energy will generate power for several hundred homes in Oregon. The wave power farm operates on the wave energy that is created when a float on a buoy flows with the natural up and down movement of the waves.
This action subsequently causes an attached plunger to follow the same kind of ebb and flow movement. The plunger is attached to a hydraulic pump that changes the vertical movement to a circular motion, which drives an electric generator to produce electricity that is sent to shore through submerged cables.

When the initial project is finished, the first $4 million dollar buoy will measure 150 feet tall by 40 feet wide, weighing 200 tons. Nine more of these crafts will be set in motion by the year 2012 for a total cost of $60 million dollars. About four hundred homes will receive electricity from Oregon’s wave power farm by the completion of the project.

The wave energy project has promising potential, but has encountered some degree of skepticism and is faced with several areas of concern. One factor is that wave power is still in the early stages of development and is rather costly, running about five or six times more than wind power. Secondly, many people question how the buoys can be stabilized in the water to gather the energy from wave power. Another concerning factor is that waves are so unpredictable, and the size of the waves could result in either equipment damage of lack of cost effectiveness.

The wave power farm is a developing renewable energy source that could potentially compete with wind and solar energy, although it has had a bit of a shaky start. The first commercial wave power farm was developed in Portugal in 2008, but the project was suspended indefinitely last year for financial reasons. In addition, a wave-powered technology that was developed by a Canadian company sank off the Oregon coast two years ago.

The Oregon wave power farm is being funded by several sources, including Oregon tax credits, Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The wave power farm concept has a great deal of promise and there are other projects around the world that are being developed in Spain, Scotland, Western Australia and off the coast of Cornwall, England. In the United States, Oregon Power Technologies is developing a wave power technology program in Hawaii in conjunction with the U.S. Navy.

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Pontos Gray Water Systems Save Energy

The Pontos product utilizes used (grey) bath and shower water and recycles this biologically to produce clean water for application in toilet flushing, irrigation, laundry and other applications. The product range is targeted at both the family residential home and the larger residential and commercial development complexes, including hotels and game lodges, particularly in instances where water availability, water costs and water restrictions are key issues.

The addition of a Pontos recycling plant adds financial value to the home or establishment in several ways:

Read rest of article here.

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New Generation Gray-water System

With constant looming water bans and rising water bill costs, consumers are looking for ways to save money without limiting their usual activities. Pontos gray water system developed by Hansgrohe is a new generation gray water system. Gray water systems are designed to help reduce water consumption, by reusing some of the used house hold water. Unlike the traditional systems designed to reuse gray water, Pontos systems are actual recycling systems.
See rest of article here.

By Chris Gaston, DeVry University

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