Don’t Have a Garden? You Can Still Garden!

Anyone can garden! That may sound like a crazy thing to say when so many of us live in accommodation that doesn’t even have access to a garden, but there are still options available to anyone who wishes to plant a few things, watch them grow and harvest them when the need arises.

It does not depend on having a patch of land attached to your home, no matter what the size of accommodation you live in. You can still garden as long as you have the meteorological conditions in which to do it. And for most of us, if not all, that is the case – even if we live in a third floor apartment.

Have you got a window?

Yes? There you go, that and a garden hose are just about all you need in order to start. You will need to add a window box, but they are far from expensive and you can even make one yourself with some wood, some soil and a few rudimentary tools.

Then you just need some seeds or seedlings, and you’re away. Natural light is not a problem, so all you need to do is water your plants regularly and make sure the soil has all the nutrients it needs. If that is not naturally the case – and good soil is usually available cheaply from any good garden centre – then you can buy plant food to give it that extra boost. No problem.

If you want to take things further, there are many areas of land given over to allotments. An allotment is a small spot of land that can be used to cultivate plants. As long as you are not using them for the growing of anything illegal, you are generally free to use them for any purpose that you see fit.

They are generally quite affordable, and they allow more freedom and space than a window box or something similar. They allow you to learn the principles of gardening without having to move heaven and earth, and they are also a relaxing haven away from the cut and thrust of everyday life. See? Anyone can garden.

The Greenhouse Effect

Part of the problem with gardening in the western world is that our climate is often very changeable and it can be hard to second guess the conditions from week to week. Think of the hardy crops that are often destroyed by inclement weather or a lack of rain in any given year.

Then think of how much less “hardy” a garden variety plant will be. It is not difficult to see why you will face problems if the weather for the months when your preferred plants should be growing turns out not to be what you were expecting. It’s disappointing when it happens, but there is no doubting that it does happen.

One solution that is certain to work is a greenhouse. OK, greenhouses are not cheap. So they are pretty much out of the question if you do not feel that you have the money to spend on getting perfect conditions for your gardening. But they are also not hideously expensive, particularly as there are so many different sizes of greenhouse.

Don’t Forget to Water Your Garden!

One of the biggest things to do that a lot of people often ignore is watering your plants. Get a nice garden hose and water them twice a day, depending on the amount of sunlight.

It’s usually a good idea to have your water faucet nearby to your plants, so that you can save money on your garden hose length. If your garden is 100 meters away from a water faucet, then you’re going to need a lot of hose.

My personal favorite style of garden hose is the expandable hose, which is less expensive than most of the traditional garden hoses. This style of hose is becomming more and more popular these days because they weigh less and cost less. You can easily carry them around, unlike the 50 lb rubber garden hoses.

Are you a gardening fanatic with money to spend?

Go for a big greenhouse and fill it with all sorts of different things? Do you specialise in a few things which are dependent on the correct elements?

A smaller greenhouse will suffice perfectly. It won’t cost the earth, and it makes gardening a heck of a lot less hassle.

The Greenhouse Advantage

The advantage that a greenhouse has is that inside one, you control the elements. If you need it to be a certain temperature, then you set it to that temperature. If you need a certain amount of light, you can hook up artificial lights.

Although they may not be the perfect substitute for direct sunlight, they are a whole lot better than no light at all. If you have a variety of plants which all need different levels of light and heat, then you can partition areas off for each separate section of your gardening repertoire.

The great thing about having a greenhouse is that they give you an element of control that you cannot have over the outdoor climate, unless you are Mother Nature.

And if you are, you don’t need this advice anyway.

Biomass Furnace – The Eco-Friendly Heating System

The biomass furnace or boilers are those that use natural fuels from renewable sources for their operation. The wood pellets from forest residues or surplus industries, olive pits, nut shells, wood etc. are natural energy sources that can be used in any biomass furnace. The bio-fuel which is used to feed the biomass furnace is more economical than conventional fuels (diesel, propane, etc …). Besides, the price of bio fuel also remains more stable over time because of which bio mass furnaces are increasingly used for generating heat as part of any home heating system.

The high calorific value per unit weight (reaching the 4,200 kcal / kg) makes biodiesel a form of renewable energy which is profitable and contributes to the efforts of preserving the environment and the sources of energy on this planet. Moreover, its characterization as a renewable energy source makes the authorities subsidize its use. Compared with fossil fuels, one kilogram of pellets has half the calorific value than a liter of diesel. In other words, we need two kilos of pellet or olive stones to produce the same energy as one liter of diesel.

Types of Biomass Furnace

Pellet – Only substances such as pellets or olive pits, which are absorbed into the boiler by means of suction or screw, can be used in these furnaces. They are most commonly used for medium power generation (domestic use).

Poli-combustible – They require crushed substances for combustion. They are larger in size and are mostly used for industrial purposes.

Wood stoves – They use wood logs for combustion and the wood furnace are usually used at home (domestic use).

Operation of Biomass Furnace

A biomass furnace or biomass boiler functions in a manner similar to a gas boiler. The burner burns fuel pellet that is provided, generating a horizontal flame that enters the boiler, as is common in diesel systems. The heat generated during this combustion (in this case of natural fuel) is transmitted to the attached water circuit in the heat exchanger incorporated in the boiler. The hot water generated is used for heating pools, water for domestic use etc. Heating can be done by any conventional water systems, for example, under floor heating, radiators or fan convectors.

This biomass combustion need a container or silo for storage of biofuel located near the boiler. From the same, a screw feeder or suction, leads to the boiler, where combustion takes place. The pellet type fuel must be stored at an angle of about 45 degree for proper insertion into the boiler.

Burning biomass produces some ash, which is usually collected automatically in an ashtray, which needs to be emptied four times a year. To optimize the operation of the biomass furnace, we can install a battery, storing heat in a manner similar to a solar energy system.

Advantages of Installing a Biomass Furnace

Clean energy:  dies not emit CO2

Cheap energy: the price of biomass does not depend on international markets such as fossil fuels, besides being much lower.

Safe energy: the biomass, unlike the gas can not explode.

RV Solar Panels for Your Mobile Living Space

RV solar panels are part of RV (Recreational Vehicle) systems and refer do different things such cabin systems or small boats. They come in large varieties and can start from small 5 watt mechanisms that can constantly charge your battery during some of your trips or even during the whole winter. Larger scale models can help you function on a daily basis and can reach 900 watts.

This type of RV solar panel based structure comes with an inverter and a rather large battery bank. Almost all solar panels are built the withstand water both salty and normal. Manufacturers usually provide their products with 20 or 25 year warranties. Besides RV solar kits, some people use wind generators. This solution is better suited for those running sailboats and remote homes that stay parked longer than usual.

RV Solar Panels Basics

The vast majority of RVs including their accessories are pushed into motion by 12 volts DC. All the mechanisms incorporated in the RV have no problem running on batteries or solar panels. A good way to reduce the usual power requirements which in turn will lower the number of solar panels and the amount of money spent is to switch to DC fluorescents. Some 12 volt fluorescent illuminating elements will draw less than 33% energy out of the RV solar panels.

How Many Panels to Use?

An accurate estimate is done depending on the needs of every RV. Some may use large amounts of power and others can be quite cheap to run. It you plan on letting electricity flow through a small TV and a few fluorescent lights than all you need is around about 100 watts.

Combine the panels with a properly made heavy duty deep cycle battery and all things will work perfectly. For more intense use that is usually associated with microwaves, coffee makers, AC appliances or vacuum cleaners an inverter will necessitate 400 watts of RV solar panels.

Hybrid RV System

This implies using RV solar panels and a small generator. This type of approach is very popular because it distributes energy depending on the amount of power needed. The solar panels come in when turning on lights that work most of the time. An average 800 watt inverter will keep TV’s and computers on without any problem whatsoever. A generator is not that cheap to run on a regular basis and can be very annoying especially for the neighbors because of the sound it produces.

The hybrid system will necessitate a few hours a week of generator power and can also recharge its batteries by using the inverter. The concept behind hybrid systems refers to other combinations as well such as wind generators and solar panels. This is mainly seen on boats.

RV Solar Battery Charger

Most manufacturers create their convertors in such a way that they will charge the batteries just as two panels would do. Take great care with this process because you can risk burning your batteries because of the constant high voltage.

Facts About Biodiesel Prices

Biodiesel is a biofuel which is obtained from different renewable sources of energy such as animal fats and vegetable oils etc.  It is obtained through a chemical process from different naturally occurring (biological) components. Due to the shortage of conventional sources of energy like petroleum, natural gas and so on, and because of the harmful impact of these sources of energy on the environment of our planet, there has been an increase in the usage of biodiesel and the growth of biodiesel stations in the last few years. Biodiesel is a clean source of energy which is renewable and is easily obtainable compared to the conventional fuels like petroleum and diesel.

Studying Biodiesel Prices

Biodiesel can be used to run vehicles, produce heat and electricity, and in meeting the household energy needs of people. However, there has been a concern about the biodiesel prices as it is a popular belief that biodiesel is more expensive than the conventional fuels.

This is not entirely true! Even though biodiesel can be more expensive than petrol or diesel, when be purchase it from the manufacturers of bio fuels, it can be easily made at home for a much lower price. People can use different methods and technologies available which will allow them to manufacture this biofuel at home, with the help of used vegetable oils and other bi-products of cooking. Hence, biodiesel prices can be cheaper than other fuels that we use in our daily lives.

Factors Determining Biodiesel Prices

In most cases, the factors that determine the biodiesel fuel prices manufactured by different ‘clean energy’ companies are the cost of transportation and the cost of purchasing raw materials. In some places, the raw materials will be easily available while in other cases they may not be easily available.

Hence, people will need to transport the raw materials from other locations which will end up increasing the final cost. On the other hand, the companies which have easy to access to the raw materials and do not have to spend a lot of money in their transportation will be able to reduce their manufacturing cost. In turn, they will be able to reduce the final prices of the biodiesel they manufacture.

Taxes and Subsidies

In most of the states in the US, the biofuel manufacturers get a lot of subsidies from the federal government. Besides, they also get rebate on different taxes that other companies are needed to pay. For example, these companies get tax rebate on the federal excise tax. These subsidies and discounts in taxes help the companies in offering the bio fuel at a lower price.

One the other hand, people who use biodiesel to power their vehicles or meeting the energy requirements of their homes or offices also get tax discounts and subsidies from the government. Thus, it becomes easier for them to invest on biodiesel rather than investing on any conventional fuels.

Biodiesel prices are not too high most of the times and even if they are, people will be able to save a lot of money in the long run, by using biodiesel.

Rooftop Wind Turbine – Your Home Energy Resource

Fossil fuel is a fading solution when it comes to energy providers. The future will be dominated by renewable energy processing structures and oil or gasoline will be extinct because of the increase in world population and fossil fuel use. Using a rooftop wind turbine is a good way of starting the transformation process. Wind energy is very popular in many countries across the world, especially those with constant strong winds. Operating a rooftop wind turbine comes with incredible advantages that include low costs, efficient maintenance and silent energy processing.

Who Can Use a Rooftop Wind Turbine?

A rooftop wind generator solution is a great opportunity for industrial, commercial and domestic use. It is suitable in both urban and rural environments and can provide a constant and cheap alternative to all other energy sources. It does not pollute the environment regardless its use and it can be run by any person. In the last few years using a rooftop wind turbine as a main energy generator has become quite the trend all over the world. This type of technology has won many prizes and it is slowly catching up on solar and water power.

Think Green and Save Money by Doing So

Using a rooftop wind turbine comes with several strong points and almost no downsides. It does not matter if you live in the city or the country-side. A properly placed and maintained energy processor such as this will drastically lower carbon emissions and pollution levels will go down. Your electric bills will never be lower. Another great thing about this type of solution is the nice visual impact a wind turbine has on passing by individuals.

The Safest and Most Silent Solution on The Market

A normal system like such as Swift Wind Turbine is capable of generating less than 35Db of noise, no matter the wind conditions. To better understand the massive impact this type of approach can have on cities, know that those noise levels are lower than a whisper. Imagine if all cities would be powered by rooftop wind turbines. The world would be much more pleasant. The basic principle behind wind turbines uses a diffuser ring constructed around the propeller. This will deflect wind currents from the tip of the blades, making it as quite as a mouse.

A rooftop wind turbine comes with both electrical and mechanical safety mechanisms. All structures that use wind as their main energy sources have been tested and used under harsh wind conditions. Current technology is approved by all governments across the world and has already started to surpass all safety standards.

The Benefits of Having a Rooftop Wind Turbine

It is a cheap alternative to common energy sources and can save up to 1000 kg of CO2 every year. It is easy to mount and use. It is very silent and can produce somewhere around 2000Kwh if set in the right place. It lasts for more than 20 years and can save and bring you money through many grand opportunities and tax cuts.

Monocrystalline Solar Cells – Efficiency and Inventively

If you take your time and learn a few things about solar panels you will find that most of them are made out of monocrystalline solar cells. These structures are also known as crystalline silicon solar cells or just crystalline silicon and are commonly integrated with photovoltaic technology.

This apparently innovative engineering scheme goes back all the way to the 50′s. The first ever purpose of monocrystalline cells was to convert and conduct solar energy that will eventually be turned into electricity. The principle behind this whole thing is simple.

The sunlight interacts with a silicon semiconductor that helps absorb energy, permitting electrons to move freely. The monocrystalline cells are created in order to direct free electrons that are part of an electric field, towards circuits that use electricity to power appliances.

Polycrystalline vs. Monocrystalline Solar Cells?

The difference between the two is found within the manufacturing process. The polycrystalline cells are created by melting and pouring a silicon compound into a mold and the monocrystalline solar cells are cut into thin pieces from a larger crystal constructed for this exact purpose.  The single crystal cells have a blue color given by the uniformity of the cut. It is efficient and different from the various shades of blue that compose the polycrystalline modules. The cells are laminated by using tampered glass and plastic. The connection between them is mad with clear adhesive fixed on an aluminum frame.

The Efficiency of Solar Cells

Probably the most interesting and worth improving area regarding this type of technology is cell efficiency. Scientists have reached the conclusion that only ¼ or actual sunlight is processed and transformed into energy. The monocrystalline solar cells have achieved a 24% efficiency rate but only after years of research and experimentation. This massive loss of energy is explained as a consequence of the wide spectrum of sunlight wavelengths.

Looking Towards The Future

Very few know that this stage of monocrystalline solar cells research is the result of 50 years of hard work. The solar cell industry and technology are reaching their full potential after such a long period of time. The big breakthroughs over the last few years lead to massive decreases in prices and great increases in popularity. New mechanisms and systems are flooding the market and design and maintenance are becoming better every day.

What Benefits may Come with Monocrystalline Solar Cells

The use of such technology has its main advantage when it comes to saving money. Monocrystalline solar panels are the way of the future and will replace all other obsolete, rudimentary energy sources. This type of investment will last you a lifetime and spare you incredible amounts of money over the years. Investing in solar panels will make it worth your money and in 10 years you will be the proud owner of a device that paid for itself.  People are now more informed and up to date with news regarding solar cell research and try to make the most out of this incredible possibility.

The Benefits of Plant Material: Cellulosic Biomass

Cellulosic biomass or cellulosic ethanol is actually a type of biofuel which is obtained from lignocellulose, which is mainly found in grasses, woods and other parts of plants (inedible parts). The production of biofuel from plant cells originated in Germany in the later part of the 19th century.  The biomass plants which could be used to generate biofuel from plants made their way to the US during World War II. However, it was only in the last few decades that this process have gained widespread acceptance and the US Government has been trying hard to promote the method of obtaining biofuel from plants. The easy availability of plants and plant based needed for obtaining biofuel through this process has made it very popular.

Why Opt for Cellulosic Biomass?

The lignocellulose is by far the most abundant terrestrial biomass, which is cheaper and easily accessible. From a chemical standpoint, this structural component of plants is a complex material, which consists of three main components: cellulose (a crystalline polymer of glucose), hemicellulose (a heterogeneous polymer of hexoses and pentoses) and lignin (a very interlaced polymer of substituted phenols). Unlike vegetable oils, these biopolymers are fairly inert chemically and have much higher oxygen content (O / C ≈ 1). The lignocellulose is found in abundance in the waste of agriculture and forestry (yard trimmings, sawdust, and straw of cereals …). Therefore, its possible use for fuel generation does not interfere with food production and could help increase the profitability of agriculture in many rural areas.

Is It a Better Alternative?

Implementation of Cellulosic Biomass MethodThe availability of materials that provide lignocellulose used in the production of biofuels have added to the importance of cellulosic biomass production. Due to several reasons, obtaining biofuel from plant material is highly economical and is widely perceived as the best method for obtaining alternate sources of energy.  Scientists and researchers estimate that the forest resources in most countries across the planets are sufficient to yield enough lignocellulose, which can be used to make biofuels. However, the feasibility, usability, purity and other factors affecting the quality of the biofuel obtained in this method has often been questioned by quite a few researchers. Hence, further studies are needed to be conducted to determine the above mentioned factors.

People, around the world, are aware of the fact that in order to save the planet and its available natural energy resources we have to start using alternate sources of energy such as biodiesels and other biofuels. The governments of many countries, including the United Sates Government, have taken the responsibility of encouraging the production and usage of alternate or green sources of energy. In their efforts, they are aggressively propagating the usage of lignocellulose or cellulosic biomass in the production of biofuels. Over the years, millions of dollars has been granted by the US Government to facilitate studies and researches which will make it a viable option. Many companies dealing with renewable sources of energy has been encouraged to adopt this method of creating biofuels and they have been given many subsidies for this purpose as well.

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The Carbon Cycle Explained

To most scientists it is considered one of the most important things to be acquainted with during these chaotic times.

This interesting factor is the biochemical cycle in which carbon is exchanged among the hydrosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere of our planet Earth.

The Carbon Cycle is primarily thought of as four major reservoirs, in which carbon interconnects by varies pathways of numerous exchanges.

The four major reservoirs are:

  • The atmosphere.
  • The global biosphere. Which is defined to include the fresh water systems and non-living organic material, such as soil carbon.
  • Our Oceans, as well as dissolved inorganic carbon and living and inert marine biota.
  • Finally, the sediments, which is also including fossil fuels.
    For example, take the atmosphere. Carbon exists in the Earth’s atmosphere mainly as the gas ‘carbon dioxide’; although it’s only a small percentage of the atmosphere. Yet, it plays an important role in supporting life.

By now we should all know what “Global Warming” is, in today’s society? The overall atmospheric concentration of these greenhouse gases has been increasing in recent decades, which is known as one of the key contributors to global warming.

Unfortunately, the way that we choose to live everyday ultimately contributes to the carbon cycle as well as global warming. We have yet to decide to change our everyday routines, even though everything we do; ends up affecting our beloved mother Earth.

Go Green and Prevent Deforestation!

Deforestation is something that “we” humans are responsible for, it is the logging of trees in forested areas. Each day, trees are sold as a product are used, cleared used for grazing land by humans. Deforestation is largely unknown and there are no consequences amongst the people damaging the planet in this matter.

It has been known that forests disappear naturally by extensive climate change, fires, hurricanes or any other disturbances that are not caused by people. However, even when these horrible events occur, we never prevent them, nor do we help change what has been done. This topic has been the key focus for scientist to debate; it is a rising issue, which needs to be looked at more.

Amongst the many vastly growing forests, some like a jungle in Southern Mexico were burned for agriculture. Because we are doing this, and we are the ones responsible for this issue, we don’t stop. Every day we contribute to Global Warming, we are changing our water cycle among the planet, the removal of trees does not always increase the erosion rates of soil, and deforestation also results in declines in biodiversity. Forests support biodiversity, providing habitats for wildlife. However, these majestic jungles, forest, and land filled with so much biodiversity are being killed.

This unintelligent thing we have been doing for years has become a domino effect. We are the one’s doing this to our own land, therefore it ultimately has been contributing to Global Warming, our water, soil, and animal life. Soon scientist may say it’s too late to prevent something that has already been done.

New Solar Cargo Shipping

Green cars are not the only focus of pro-environmental transport projects in the world; the shipping industry is now part of the green movement and the latest achievement comes from none else than the techno-savvy Japanese. Last week, Japan’s freighter Auriga Leader was launched into the sea as the world’s first green ship, partly propelled by solar energy. The news is an eye-catcher in the world of environmental-friendly transport.

Developed by the most renowned Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen, Auriga Leader is a colossal cargo ship, 200 meters long and weighing 60 213 tons, with a carriage capacity of about 6400 cars. The propulsion system of the ship is powered by 328 solar panels that can produce 40 kilowatts of power – about 0.2 percent of the propulsion energy consumed by the ship.

However, the manufacturers mean to raise this share of solar power in future. For the time being, Auriga Leader has appeared on the scene of environmental-friendly shipping as the first large ship in which the use of solar power is not limited to lighting or minor functions in the crew’s quarters.

The project leading to Auriga Leader was conceived by Nippon Yusen before the global financial recession that has lately resulted in a drastically decreased production of the auto industry.

The solar cargo ship will start with transporting vehicles, produced by the leading Japanese automaker Toyota, to other countries. The primary goal of launching a solar cargo ship is to cut fuel expenses as well as check carbon-based emissions – two important environment-friendly qualities that top the list of requirements for green transport.

At the moment, transport via sea ships contributes an estimated 1.4% to 4.5% of the total greenhouse gases emitted by different sources. Most alarming of these are the carbon-based gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which are responsible for most of the global greenhouse effect (global warming).

For this reason, the shipping industry is also under increased pressure from eco-conscious organizations and environmental bodies to curb its share of greenhouse gas emissions. By introducing Auriga Leader, Nippon Yusen has made a landmark achievement in establishing green maritime shipping while also contributing to Japan’s potential independence from foreign oil – a success that peaks for itself.