Investigations about Renewable Energies
NORDIC FOLKERCENTER INVESTIGATIONS:
In 1973 a energetic crisis arise as in a many other places in Denmark, after realizing that Oil fuel was a scarce resource and that we were running out of it, beside its multiples environmental consequences.
It´s by then, when the Danish government proposes to turn into atomic energy instead. That fact provoke a lot of fear and rejection among the Danish citizen who aimed that an alternative chance should be there for them to take, and as a right they decided to work on it and show to their government that they could manage the situation in a better way and that they have the power and the skill to make up their own future as they want it to be.
That was indeed a sample of courage, willing and people´s power over the institution and also a show of the strength of togetherness.
It´s because of this crisis, that Nordic Folkercenter as many other organizations and project, like the Tvindcraft were shaped and developed. As Janne (one or the precursor of Nordic Folkercenter) said, a crisis can become an eyes-open opportunity to improve and make up the methods, and thus to achieve excellence.
Nordic Folkercenter is a small medium scale society (SME).
There are 4 grades into this category but folkercenter match which the smaller one which is a society which has capacity from 2 to 19 employees. Folkercenter started as a test field for engineers to develop their project regarding renewable energy, especially wind power at that point.
Their goals was to allow to those professional to share their knowledge and improve their method by experimenting and developing new ways of power that could benefit not just the people and their need for energy but at the same time the environment and its protection.
The first windmill produce there at the beginning had a power of 25kw, that one was able to feed the energy needs of two families (10 people) and produced 5000kwh/year.
In 1992 there was a windmill 500kw already construct but Folkercenter together with a German company calls Tacke decided to break the record and pave the path for a bigger windmill 525kw power. This windmill had a height of 40 meter and its blades we 17m long. That project would allow 400 people to benefit from it every year. By 1993 the windmill was successfully ended.
One of the most important point of the Folkercenter and which make it so special is his philosophy of spreading the knowledge and don´t limit it; thus the researches and discovers that are made there should be open to the people and spread all over.
And that is one of the services they have. In this way if you take a look to their page you can see all the work that have been made done and how. (http://www.folkecenter.eu)
The windmill industry have been growing and growing and to give an idea of how much it grew we can say that in 2013 we have already attain to produce a windmill with a strength of 8000Kw (8Mw) which produce 12000kw/h.
Just to have an idea of the average of the energy that can be use for a family in a year I will like to put up the follow data:
Danish Family (5members) – 5000kw/year ELECTRICITY
- 15000kw/year HEAT
- 12000kw/year MOBILITY
That makes an overall of 32000Kw/year. If we think about oil we can make a correlation that 1l of oil is the same than 9Kwh. That gives us and image of the power we gain from the wind energy.
As Jenna told us, by the time Folkercenter was giving its first steps the energy in Denmark was centralized. Since many test, improvement and more powerful windmill were targeted, the energy delivers de-centralized and became many SME associations that delivered energy to different places. Actually, nowadays the 93% of general companies in Denmark are SME, which allows the economy of the localities to rise benefiting the population over the big corporations.
After this historical introduction and the focus on wind power it´s also important to know which other energy has been and still is being tested and study in the folkercenter.
So… when we arrived to the Folkercenter we had the great chance to meet some of the students and engineers who are working there, among them Ian, our guide along the infrastructures. He is the “green” responsible and also a teacher for the folkercenter.
With him we could visit every area and every single system, improvement or project that has been developed there.
We took a look in the windmill workshop and test field, we saw a passive house that was construct in such a way that its infrastructure could keep the temperature inside in a constant level all over the house and inside the room as a whole by a rotating air system, that thank to a windmill could be self-sufficient regarding energy consumption, which would also measure by the movement and the light outside the intensity of the light bulb and the time that is on, so you don´t actually have to switch it on or off.
One important thing about this passive house was that its windows would be orientated to the south so since the sun raise until the sunset the power of the sun would help to warm it up and thus keep the temperature over 20, this method together with the ventilation system was one of the main point of how to make a self- sustainable house.
We could also learn different methods of water cleaning from rudimentary ones to more complex ones. There was a method to clean grey water which didn´t require so much investment and which actually could be easy and affordable for everyone.
That method consists in a water fall of plastic containers which contain (each of them) a purifying plant which will keep the water clean, every container was link to the next through a pipe so the first one would get the dirtiest water and one by one would receive cleaner water.
After seven containers the water was sent to a small handmade pool were oxygen was coming from the bottom to make it cleaner and where some gold fish would eat the “plankton” on the surface. That swimming pool have to be clean from plankton every second day.
Another method was a straw swimming pool with a drain system on the floor to drain the water and send it clean to a tank. This system was basically made out of different sizes of stones which would keep the dirty particles on the surface. Then afterward, the water contain in the tank would be oxygenated and send to a new tank.
Then we were also looking at the Bio Dome, which is a especial greenhouse huge one, where there were to big pool with gold fish and LG in the surface that would protect the water from high temperature and maintained clean so they could use it to water the plans.
That house was designed to reproduce a Mediterranean climate in the first and the second floor and a tropical one in the third. It was program to collect water from the pool all the way to the ceiling and emulate heavy rain for two minutes at 9 in the morning and soft rain for the next 7 minutes.
The temperature inside was from 25º in the first floor to 45º in the third one.
Then we discover bio-mass which is basically to get energy from the decomposition and combustion of organic and non organic material, from that process we obtain CO2 gas or methane if it come from decomposition and this would be drive to a turbine through a pipe, and that could be turn into electricity in a generator connected to the turbine. In the same way if we set a water tank over the oven we could heat water and use it for heating system in the h
This bio-gas is a renewable energy since the resources we use can be many kind of waste and the waste it produce (ashes) can be place in the landfill as fertilizer.
About solar energy we didn´t see so much since they are relying pretty much in the wind and investigating other ways of energy; nevertheless they were very enthusiastic about solar power since is a very complete resource, it can be turn into electricity, it can be for heating, etc.
They also use this resource and measure the energy it produces which seem to be quite good given the circumstances here in Denmark.
Despite that they also have project in Mali and Uganda where they have install and implement more that 3000 solar cell in schools and communities in order to help their development and independence.
Another resource they are producing by natural process is fuel for the cars out of vegetal use oil, which is saving us lot of money and at the same time saving fossil fuel extraction to the environment since they don´t contribute with it.
The last thing I want to present is hydrogen energy. Since batteries cannot store so much and can be very pollute, there is a way to produce energy through water. It´s basically to give enough power from other source (wind, bio-gas or solar energy) to the water to split its atoms in H2 and O. So the H2 is an energy carrier and can go through a turbine and be transform in many different kinds of energy.
There are researchers that shows as well there are ways to store the H2 so it´s work as a natural battery which produce no damage to the environment. Nordic Folkercenter is working and experimenting with this kind of energy in order to implement it in a near future and share the knowledge with others.
The next day we were talking with Janne in the Morning she was telling us about the history of the folkercenter and all this amazing story of the energy crisis and the different demonstrations all over Denmark, it was very encouraging and exciting to hear such a shown of popular power.
It was also very productive since we could make a first contact with her in order to cooperate in different ways for a nearly future.
One of the ways could be making of Lindersvold a tested-field, so we could benefit by taking advantage of the product they experiment with and they would also have some more place for different projects.
Another way could be also financing some of their workshop or training programs together with them so DI´s could benefit from it too.
To push up promotion for both of us could be also an idea to link this clean energies projects and improvement to the climate activist program so we could link and promote both association at the same time linking those practices and performances in the way to combat climate change and global warming.
As a brief conclusion I think that this investigation have been very fruitful since could set up a good path for our climate center project and pave a channel together with other organizations to improve our knowledge and our actions to achieve a truly self- sustainable center out of greed.