Archive - Mai 2008

The Solar Thermal Industry Forum offers solar experts from industry,research and development a platform for the exchange of information

Based on current forecasts by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), the outlook is sunny for solar thermal technology in 2008, with particularly high growth expected in the Mediterranean countries. The one-day Solar Thermal Industry Forum, which will take place as part of Intersolar 2008 in Munich for the first time, will focus on the development of international markets as well as technological innovations in the industry. The Forum is co-organized by the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering (ITW) in cooperation with Solar- und Wärmetechnik Stuttgart (SWT), and is supported by the German Solar Industry Association (BSW Solar).

Sunshine after rain - Germany continues to lead the way
After the tremendous growth of 58 percent in the solar thermal market in 2006, sales and newly installed capacity had recently declined in Germany. Nevertheless, Germany is still the market leader in the European market with a collector area of around nine million square meters, which equates to an installed capacity of approximately 6500 megawatts. Thus, 2007 saw the addition of new solar collectors with a total collector area of almost one million square meters or 700 MW of capacity. In spite of the slight downturn, sales reached around 900 million EUR. Solar thermal technology is also very promising in terms of the labor market – the industry currently employs around 15,000 people in Germany.

The trend across Europe is also positive: more and more new markets are emerging for solar thermal technology. Especially in Spain, France and Italy, solar thermal technology is seeing unprecedented growth due to the high oil price and the desire for independence from fossil fuels, and also as a result of statutory regulations: in each of these young markets alone, at least 210,000 square meters of solar thermal collectors were installed in 2007.

“Solar thermal technology is making giant strides. Manufacturers, suppliers and service providers from the solar thermal industry need a platform for the regular exchange of information. The annual Solar Thermal Industry Forum fits the bill perfectly“, says Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, Managing Director of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW Solar) and supporter of the Forum. Large-scale solar thermal installations and the multiple use of solar heated water are particularly pronounced technological trends in the solar thermal industry: solar combi-systems use solar energy to produce hot water and generate heat for heating purposes. Relatively small combi-systems with a collector area of between 10 and 15 square meters take up hardly any space but still contribute up to a third of the total heating requirements for a detached family house. In houses with average insulation, this leads to a saving of up to 30 percent on normal heating costs.

Top themes at Solar Thermal Industry Forum
The range of themes at the Solar Thermal Industry Forum will cover every aspect of solar thermal power generation. The opening session, featuring an overview of current developments in the global and European solar thermal market, will be followed by various events addressing the main themes of the Forum, including

* Innovative collector technologies such as plastic collectors and collectors for higher application temperature ranges

* Manufacturing innovations such as laser welding in conjunction with aluminum absorbers

* Innovative storage technologies such as new equipment for thermal layered loading and unloading as well as thermochemical heat storage

* Presentation of current projects for a solar local heat supply in conjunction with seasonal storage

* European and global markets, including the solar thermal markets in France, Spain, Italy and China

* Developments in the area of standardization and certification, such as the Solar Keymark and the development of European standards as well as energy labeling

* Current trends in the area of solar thermal power plants

The Solar Thermal Industry Forum is just as relevant to component manufacturers and planners as it is to marketing professionals and experts from the field of science and research.

The European solar thermal industry’s annual get-together
These and other developments in the solar thermal industry will be addressed at the Solar Thermal Industry Forum. After the launch event in 2008, future Forums will take place annually as part of the Intersolar trade fair in Munich. Horst Dufner, Project Manager of organizer Solar Promotion GmbH, sees this as a logical consequence of the industry’s development: “With the internationalization of the industry and the constant growth in international exhibitors and visitors in the field of solar thermal technology at Intersolar, this step seems almost overdue. We look forward to further consolidating the Forum as a top-class event for the solar thermal industry“.

Quelle: Intersolar.de

Solar thermal technology gets its own conference at Intersolar 2008 in Munich

The Solar Thermal Industry Forum offers solar experts from industry,research and development a platform for the exchange of information Based on current forecasts by the...

Frankfurt (pte/16.05.2008/12:00) - Beim Thema Artenschutz gibt es keine Entwarnung: Seit 1970 ist die biologische Vielfalt des Planeten um 27 Prozent zurückgegangen. Das geht aus dem "Living Planet Index 2008" des WWF hervor, den die Umweltschutzorganisation im Vorfeld des UN-Umweltgipfels in Bonn vorlegte. "Seit den 1970er Jahren haben wir einen drastischen Verlust von einem Drittel der Arten verzeichnen müssen.

Seit einigen Jahren haben wir aber eine Abflachung der Kurve feststellen können", sagt Christoph Heinrich, Leiter Naturschutz beim WWF Deutschland im gegenüber pressetext. Dennoch werde der Negativtrend sich weiter fortsetzen. "Zwar scheinen die zahlreichen Maßnahmen für den Artenschutz jetzt stabilisierend zu wirken, aber die Naturzerstörungstrends - Klimawandel, Überfischung und Entwaldung - verschlimmern sich im Gegenzug immer mehr." Auf eine Trendwende sei derzeit also nicht zu hoffen.

Der "Living Planet Index" misst anhand der Daten von 4.000 Populationen in fast 1.500 Arten - darunter Fische, Amphibien, Reptilien, Vögel und Säugetiere - die Entwicklung der globalen Wildtierbestände. "Dabei haben wir repräsentative Arten aus allen Kontinenten und Ökosystemen gewählt", erläutert Heinrich. "Wenn eine solche Art abnimmt, dann gibt dieser Umstand Hinweis darauf, dass auch mit dem gesamten Ökosystem etwas nicht stimmt und womöglich auch andere Arten gefährdet sind." Besonders schlecht sehe es für Arten in Asien und in den tropischen Bereichen aus, auch die Bewohner von Wäldern und Süßwassersystemen seien stärker bedroht. So ist der Index für Land- und Süßwasserarten im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum um 70 Prozent gefallen, auch in Europa habe der Index um 35 Prozent abgenommen. "Auch Tierarten, die auf große freifließende Flüsse als Lebensraum angewiesen sind, sind zum Niedergang verdammt", fügt Heinrich an, da deren Habitat durch menschliche Einflussnahme stetig denaturiert werde.

Dennoch gibt es auch positive Entwicklungen im aktuellen Bericht. Einzelne Arten, wie etwa die Grüne Meeresschildkröte in Costa Rica, Wölfe und Lachse in Europa haben sich erholt. "Für diese Arten wurden ganz gezielt Schutzmaßnahmen ergriffen. Es kann dort Erholung geben, wo gezielt vorgegangen wird und wo auch Staaten und Unternehmen beim Artenschutz mitziehen", meint Heinrich. Auch Seeadler und Kranich seien solch positiven Beispiele. "Hier haben wir grandiose Populationsentwicklungen erlebt, weil konkrete Maßnahmen ergriffen und die Tiere gesetzlich unter Schutz gestellt wurden."

Das internationale Ziel, den Verlust der biologischen Vielfalt bis zum Jahr 2010 stoppen zu können, sieht der WWF jedoch in weiter Ferne. "Wir haben derzeit eine Verschnaufpause, die genutzt werden muss, zum Beispiel auch durch die anstehende UN-Konferenz." Das geplante Schutzprogramm für Wälder begrüßt Heinrich, bezweifelt aber noch, ob die Maßnahmen ausreichen werden. "Das Arbeitsprogramm für Schutzgebiete andererseits ist sehr vielversprechend, da es mit klaren Ziel- und Zeitvorgaben bedacht ist."

Neben der Beanspruchung von Lebensraum vereinnahme der Mensch aber auch stetig mehr natürliche Ressourcen. Seit Beginn der 1960er Jahre habe dieser Faktor laut WWF-Bericht um 250 Prozent zugenommen. So stehen jedem Erdbewohner 1,8 Hektar Fläche zur Deckung seiner Bedürfnisse zur Verfügung, tatsächlich aber betrug der Bedarf im Jahr 2003 etwa 2,23 Hektor pro Person. Um die Bedürfnisse der Deutschen zu decken sind gar 4,5 Hektar pro Einwohner nötig.

Quelle: Pressetext

Rund ein Drittel aller Tierarten in vergangenen 35 Jahren verschwunden

Frankfurt (pte/16.05.2008/12:00) – Beim Thema Artenschutz gibt es keine Entwarnung: Seit 1970 ist die biologische Vielfalt des Planeten um 27 Prozent...

Reprinted with permission by Peter Montague

Global food prices have risen 83% in the last 3 years. This spring, as prices rose steeply, food riots broke out in Haiti, Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Italy, among other places. Because U.S. energy policy subsidizes farmers to grow corn to make ethanol (alcohol that can supplement gasoline), the U.S. is being accused of feeding its sport utility vehicles (SUVs) instead of feeding people. There is some truth to this charge, but it's more complicated than that.[1]

The global food crisis has been created by a combination of things (MW: also see Foto Galery by Time Magazine from which the foto above is reproduced), among them:

** Climate changes, perhaps related to global warming, such as the recent large tornado in Myanmar, the epic drought going on now in Australia, floods last year in North Korea, and years of low rainfall in the western U.S., among other costly weather changes. Australia used to export enough rice to feed 20 million people, but six years of drought have cut their rice yield by 98%. Australia used to be the world's second-largest exporter of wheat, but the drought has changed that, too. "A big reason for higher wheat prices... is the multi-year drought in Australia, something scientists say may become persistent because of global warming," according to the Washington Post.

** U.S. farmers have been growing less wheat since the mid-1990s in favor of more-reliable soybeans and better-subsidized corn. "Wheat's biggest problem is its susceptibility to disease, which has turned many farmers against it," explains Dan Morgan in the Washington Post.

** Rising oil prices, caused partly by rising demand for oil in China and India (and in U.S. SUVs), and partly by diminished supply caused by the Iraq war. Because of rising oil prices, the cost of transporting food has doubled in the last year alone. Furthermore, the price of fertilizer is tightly linked to the price of oil and has been rising for about five years. Use of fertilizer in the third world increased 56% between 1996 and 2008.

Increasingly it is looking as though the "peak oil" moment has arrived - the moment when half the Earth's available oil has been extracted. After that "peak oil" moment, oil prices are expected to zig-zag upward more or less steadily.

** The demand for meat is growing in the third world as our own meat-heavy diet is increasingly adopted world-wide. It takes about 700 calories of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of red meat, so a shift to a meat-rich diet requires large increases in grains, which in turn requires greater use of expensive fertilizers, which in turn raises the demand for oil.

** As the soaring price of oil has increased the cost of tansporting food, economies as diverse as Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Vietnam and the Ukraine (among others) have been feeling inflationary pressures, and have restricted food exports in an attempt to hold down domestic food prices. This has reduced food available on the global market.

** So-called "free trade" policies have caused some previously self-sufficient nations to become food importers. This occurs in several ways. First, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund require loan recipients to make "structural adjustments" in the way they do business. For example, they must open their grain markets to competition from U.S. farmers, who are subsidized by Uncle Sam to the tune of $300 billion per year). Competition from cheap, subsidized U.S. crops tends to drive small local farmers out of business and off their land. Second, "structural adjustment" often demands a reduction of social safety nets, so when a food crisis hits the remaining infrastructure can't manage. Third, stockpiling food is officially discouraged (a mountain of available food interferes with the "free market"). Thus an important cushion against hunger has been eliminated. A classic case is Haiti, which used to be self-sufficient for its main staple crop -- rice -- but now is a rice importer, increasingly subject to the whims of commodity speculators and agribusiness corporations.

** Commodity speculators. Food has become "the new gold." "Investors fleeing Wall Street's mortgage-related strife plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into grain futures, driving prices up even more," the Washington Post reported April 27. Rising food prices have attracted hedge fund speculators, who have helped create a "bubble" in food prices. "As financial markets have tumbled, food prices have soared," acknowledges Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank.

** The U.S. Department of Agriculture's land conservation program pays farmers to not grow crops on some of their land. About 8% of U.S. cropland -- some 37 million acres, larger than the state of New York - lies fallow as a result of this program. This is good for ducks and pheasant and it reduces soil srosion, but it also reduces available crops, holding crop prices higher than they might otherwise be (which is one purpose of the program).

** And lastly, in the U.S. at least, we spend huge amounts of money feeding our pets. I know I am touching the third rail here, but someone has got to mention this 900-pound gorilla in the room.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association expects Americans to spend about $43.4 billion on their pets in 2008, up from $41.2 billion in 2007. About $16.9 billion of that will be spent on pet food.

Meanwhile President Bush has proposed that Congress should dedicate $770 million for food aid to a hungry world. "The American people are generous people, and they're compassionate people," Mr. Bush said, announcing his new food aid plan. "We believe in a timeless truth: to whom much is given, much is expected."

The President's gift of $770 million to the world's 100 million hungriest people represents 4.6% of what we spend each year feeding Fido and Kitty. (And, by the way, we are spending $770 million every 42 hours in Iraq.)

But maybe our pet food priorities are not as skewed as they may first appear. Take a look at this ad, which I noticed recently in a local Supermarket.

Ad for Purina beef stew dog food -- for dogs or humans?



If it weren't for the little dog in the picture, and if it weren't a Purina ad, you might think this was an ad for human food. Just look at that lucious heaping plate -- a white dinner plate -- of red meat and vegetables. Who would turn that down?

Personally, I feel certain that this Purina ad is aiming to sell dog food not only to Fido's master, but also to those impoverished U.S. citizens who must seek food aid each year to alleviate their hunger - 25 million people in 2006 and rising. So maybe we're not spending $16.9 billion merely to feed our pets. Maybe we're actually spending part of $16.9 billion providing dog food to some of the tens of millions of U.S. citizens who otherwise could not afford a meal. Perhaps this is a thinly-veiled free-market answer to hunger in America.

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[1] The U.S. is currently putting 20 to 25% of its corn acreage into ethanol production, producing roughly 8 billion gallons of ethanol in 2007, but the entire U.S. ethanol industry is still small, valued at only $40 billion total -- equivalent to one years's net profits of a large oil company like Exxon, which reported netting $40.6
billion in 2007. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that ethanol from corn (in the U.S. and Europe) is responsible for 10 to 15% of the rise in global commodity prices. The International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. says 25% to 33% of the rise in global food prices can be explained by ethanol production from corn.

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Rachel's Democracy & Health News (formerly Rachel's Environment & Health News) highlights the connections between issues that are often considered separately or not at all.

The natural world is deteriorating and human health is declining because those who make the important decisions aren't the ones who bear the brunt. Our purpose is to connect the dots between human health, the destruction of nature, the decline of community, the rise of economic insecurity and inequalities, growing stress among workers and families, and the crippling legacies of patriarchy, intolerance, and racial injustice that allow us to be divided and therefore ruled by the few.

In a democracy, there are no more fundamental questions than, "Who gets to decide?" And, "How do the few control the many, and what might be done about it?"

As you come across stories that might help people connect the dots, please Email them to us at dhn@rachel.org.

Rachel's Democracy & Health News is published as often as necessary to provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

Editors:
Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

The Global Food Crisis

Reprinted with permission by Peter Montague Global food prices have risen 83% in the last 3 years. This spring, as prices rose steeply, food riots broke out in Haiti...

Eine Studie zeigt, dass Australien möglicherweise eine uneingeschränkte Energiequelle besitzt: Geothermie.

3 km unterhalb der Oberfläches des australischen Kontinentes, westlich der Linie zwischen Cairns und der Mündung des Flusses Murray, liegen Gesteine, die ca 1.5 Milliarden Jahre alt sind. Dieses Gestein ist sehr stark mit Uran, Kalium, und Thorium angereichert. Der Zerfall dieser Elemente erzeugt – wie in einer Atomfabrik – sehr hohe Temperaturen.

Nun muß Australien “nur” noch die Technologie entwickeln, diese Wärme zu nutzen, und dann könnte Australien als erstes Land der Welt seine Energie zu 100% von Geothermie erzeugen.

Deutschland ist bisher für diese Energiequelle nicht gut geeignet, da nur wenige Standorte es ermöglichen, die Wärmequellen im Erdmantel zu erreichen. Aber verbesserte Technik könnt auch in Deutschland die bedeutung der Geothermie als Energie-Lieferant erhöhen.

Der eindeutige Vorteil der geothermie ist, daß sie unabhängig vom Wetter ist, und dadurch konstant Energie liefert – eine Eigenschaft, die keine andere Erneuerbare Energiequelle besitzt.
Maiken Winter

Mehr Hintergrund über Geothermie sind beim Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie und bei Eberhard Waffenschmidt.

Quelle: Science Daily

Australien als Geothermie-Land?

Eine Studie zeigt, dass Australien möglicherweise eine uneingeschränkte Energiequelle besitzt: Geothermie. 3 km unterhalb der Oberfläches des australischen Kontinentes...

Wie schon in früheren Beiträgen erwähnt, beschreiben die Klimamodellen zukünftige Klimaentwicklungen unter vorgegebenen Bedingungen. Unvorhergesehene Änderungen im Klimasystem können dabei kaum berücksichtig werden. Eine solche unvorhergesehen Änderung wurde kürzlich in einem Artikel unter Judith Perlwitz an der University of Colorado, Boulder, USA beschrieben.

Das Ozonloch – eine Verdünung der Ozonschicht v.a. über der Antarktis (nebenstehendes Bild vom 13.9.2007 von NASA) - hat Windströmungen derart beeinflußt, daß bisher die globale Temperaturerhöhung den inneren Kontinent der Antarktis verschont hatte. Ja, es kam sogar zu einem Abkühlen im Inneren des Kontinents. Wenn sich jedoch die Ozonschicht wieder erholt – was durch das Verbot von FCKWs innerhalb dieses Jahrhunderts zutreffen sollte – dann könnte die dadurch veränderten Windströmungen das Eindringen warmer Luft in das Innere der Antarktis ermöglichen, und dadurch das Abschmelzen der Antarktis beschleunigen. Das heißt natürlich nicht, daß wir das Ozonloch durch weitere FCKWs fördern sollten, denn die Verdünnung der Ozonschicht bewirkt, daß lebensgefährliche Sonnenstrahlungen unseren Planeten erreichen. Stattdessen zeigt diese neue Erkenntnis wiederum, daß noch viele Teile des Klimasystems nicht verstanden sind, und Simulationen uns daher nur einen Teil zukünftiger Klimaentwicklungen simulieren können.

Besorglich ist, daß bisher nur positive Rückkopplungsprozesse entdeckt werden – Prozesse, worduch die globale Erwärmung verstärkt wird. Meines Wissens nach ist bisher kein einziger negativer Rückkopplungsprozess bekannt – außer dem menschlichen Verhalten.

Maiken Winter

Quelle: NatureNews

Rückgang des Ozonlochs erhöht Schmelze der Antarktis?

Wie schon in früheren Beiträgen erwähnt, beschreiben die Klimamodellen zukünftige Klimaentwicklungen unter vorgegebenen Bedingungen. Unvorhergesehene Änderungen im...

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