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Feel Good Friday - Sharing positive Earth news...

  • 3 September 2021
  • 71 replies
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Feel Good Friday - Sharing positive Earth news...
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Our new weekly-updated happy place :grinning:

 

It’s sometimes hard to feel positive when thinking about the climate crisis - things are really heating up and it can feel like there’s a lot to be worried about with little chance to celebrate the progress we’re making or focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

So introducing a small little corner of our OVO online community reserved for some feel-good Friday sharing! A place to gee everyone’s spirits and share some good-news motivation.

 

We’ll get the ball rolling and pop back every week, but as always we welcome your valuable contributions - Seen something you’d like to share?  Chip in!

 

Feel free to meander off-topic here and think locally as well as globally.

 

To kick things off I’m going to share the great news that dancing is about to get even better for the soul with a Glasgow nightclub using the body heat of their ravers to power the music - perfectly timed for COP26.

 

Dancing not your thing? - How about checking out the Comedy wildlife photography awards finalists - if anything’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and remind you why it’s all worth it, it’s a photo of a chuckling seal pup.

 

Happy Friday everyone! :relaxed:


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I’ve been building myself a new oak porch, which has now reached the roofing stage.

 

The observant amongst you will notice that my original Makita combi-drill has now become a breeding colony.

On which note I must now decide how to complete the roof such that it provides a suitable wildlife habitat without threatening the lifetime of the structure. My shortlist currently looks like this:

 

 

bats
solitary (bumble) bees
swallows
moths

owls ?

rats
mice
wasps
wood-boring beetles
fungi

 

 

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Nice to see your ever-growing Makita family and groovy looking porch, @Transparent.

 

I love that you’re factoring in the habitat potential of the roof as well - are you thinking a little bat front door too? :bat:

 

I had a new addition to my household as well this week - Meet Trevor my housemate’s new little bundle of fluff:

 

If he isn’t good news, I don’t know what is!

 

On a more energy-related topic I was amazed to read about this solar-powered campervan created by some students in the Netherlands with enough juice for a cross-continent trip - Wonder how long before you or I get our hands on one of these, @Jeffus.

 

Just wanted to take this opportunity to say how much I personally enjoyed our latest online event with Rebecca - she certainly managed to boost my positivity and I’m really looking forward to making some of her great answers into forum comments for you all to read. Here’s a little insight to how me and @Tim_OVO celebrated after the event (rocking our new OVO jumpers!):

 

 

 

Have a great weekend everyone! :smiley:

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bats
solitary (bumble) bees
swallows
moths

owls ?

rats
mice
wasps
wood-boring beetles
fungi

 

 

 

This is fantastic. I love this approach, I’d agree with your Ins and Outs, and I’m keen to see some more pictures soon!

 

Trevor the puppy looks like an absolute star. Best of luck to you and your housemate whilst he settles into to his new home. :)

 

Love the social snap, and agreed, I really enjoyed hearing from Rebecca, and I’m enjoying listening back as we get on with transcribing some of those Q&A!

 

Some good news for fans of live music in Glasgow:

 

 

The SSE Hydro, one of Scotland's top live entertainment venues, has officially been rebranded the OVO Hydro. It is expected to welcome over 1.2 million visitors next year thanks to a record-breaking schedule of shows. ⁠

OVO Energy said that it is committed to supporting the venue in further reducing the environmental impact of its world-class entertainment programme. OVO’s head of sponsorship & partnerships, Colin Banks said: "At OVO, we want to develop purposeful partnerships which reflect our commitment to make zero carbon living a reality - not just in the home, but in the things we love doing too, like going to see our favourite band or comedian." ⁠

 

Source: The Scotsman

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Those are some fancy jumpers there. I wouldn’t mind having one you know!

Not so sure about the photo though. It seems a little overexposed to me. I might fire up Samurott in a bit, since I think I can fix that. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Energy sector in crisis - just the one tumbler of wine between the two of them!

 

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Those are some fancy jumpers there. I wouldn’t mind having one you know!

 

Hahaha - Great thinking there, @Blastoise186!

 

We may or may not have some community incentives up our (new jumper) sleeves - Watch this space! 

 

Energy sector in crisis - just the one tumbler of wine between the two of them!

 

Happy to say the energy crisis hasn’t hit our cider funds yet (my glass was hidden just out of shot!) :beers:

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If OVO are happy to splash out on some fancy work-wear, might I suggest that a couple of Arc-flash proof overalls and hard-hats would be really useful.

We can then get you two access to some of the more interesting parts of the Distribution Grid.

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Whilst fixing the oak fascia to my new porch this week, a knot fell out of the end, leaving a hole the size of my finger.

It wouldn’t be easily visible because it’s covered by the lead-flashing above. But it would allow wildlife to enter space above the rafters with potential damage to the waterproof breather-membrane.

My solution was to cap the void between the fascia and the wall-plate, thereby turning it into a slate-roofed bug-hotel :beetle:

I’m still working on accommodation for the bats...

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Great to see the roof is developing into quite the safe-haven for little critters, @Transparent - Can’t wait to see the bat bunk-beds (or would they prefer hammocks?) as well! :bat:

 

Some more ‘close to home’ Feel good news from Earthwatch’s Tiny Forest project (which the OVO Foundation helps support). They’ve just wrapped up the 2021 planting season with 17 tiny forests planted around the UK this year, including several Wee Forests in Glasgow just in time for COP26 and this one a stone’s throw from our Bristol HQ:


 

 

 

Not only does each of these forests do some great carbon-capturing (roughly 450 - 600 kgs per year once matured), they also provide a great outdoor classroom and a biodiverse pocket in urban areas - The city equivalent of your Bug-Hotel, @Transparent  :deciduous_tree:

 

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It’s my favourite time of the week - Positivity time!

 

As we’ve started publishing some of the answers that Rebecca Heaton gave during our recent AMA I thought this would prime time to drop a link to my very own question, which she answered superbly and reignited my hope just in time for COP!:

 

 

On a personal note I’ve also taken some action of my own this week - finally got round to ordering my very first veg box! All sustainably and locally sourced there’s been some cracking veg in there this week (hello roasted cauliflower recipe - which I’ll be having a bash at this weekend)!

 

Any one else taking mini climate action steps this week? How is the bat hostel coming on, @Transparent?

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Bat hostel had little progress this wet week, @Jess_OVO

But I do have some good news of progress on another front:

Here’s a photo of the power supply module for the DIY Energy Monitor unit I’m building.

 

From this angle I’m feeling pretty positive about the battery…

but I guess that depends on your point of view.  :wink:

 

This 3D printed unit is effectively a mini- Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) which should enable data to be gathered during grid-faults.

All sorts of interesting things happen on the mains as it recovers from an outage, and I’d really like to record these. Here’s one I captured on my smartphone in March’21

It’s great to have the power back on, but we seem to be missing a few volts!

 

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But I do have some good news of progress on another front:

Here’s a photo of the power supply module for the DIY Energy Monitor unit I’m building.

 

From this angle I’m feeling pretty positive about the battery…

but I guess that depends on your point of view.  :wink:

 

Guessing this is a bit of an electricity/magnet pun - love it! 

 

And some great progress on the energy monitoring front. Will the bat hostel include some 3D printed elements too? 

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Not sure if it’s got quite the same narrative style as @Transparent’s tale there, but I spotted a great re-use potential for wind turbine blades this week.

 

Once they’re finished with the important work of generating clean energy, a Denmark design-agency has re-purposed the blades into some groovy looking bicycle hangers, further encouraging greener living by keeping those important bike saddles dry! :bike: A great example of Reduce Reuse Recycle in action! :recycle:

 

How would our other cycling members feel about having one of these in in their local area? - @Cwriggers@Jeffus@hecate@knight@david8 

I’d love to see those dotted around Sheffield :grinning: Nice example of “up cycling” (several puns intended).

Sheffield, despite the hills, is very much a cycling city with the Peak District on the doorstep and many great cycling shops. The central railway station also has a great shop with lots of enclosed cycle storage for commuters.

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Great to see some ‘Good news’ appreciation, @knight - I agree, can’t go wrong with a bit of ‘upcycling’ (particularly if it’s on an electric bike!) :bike:

 

Keep your eyes out for any other recycling or green initiatives that are worth sharing here tomorrow - We always love to end the week feeling positive! :blush:

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The participants on the OVO Zero Carbon Heating Trial are reporting lots of cycling with their Heat pumps.

Unfortunately that’s not a positive attribution because it lowers the COP (well below 26).

I realise this topic is meant to all positive, but it isn’t yet Friday and I didn’t want @knight to throw in so many puns without exercising my right of reply :sunglasses:

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My lemon bush is feeling particularly positive about life in general:

 

It’s the first week of November, and just look at the blooming thing! :sunglasses:

 

So - just a reminder that the marmalade season is upon us once more

 

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Do you remember when the Royal Institute Christmas Lecture broke the world record by building a lemon-battery producing over 1000v?  :nerd:

 

Could this be implemented as a perpetual battery if the lemons were still growing on the tree rather than first being harvested?

It would bring a whole new perspective to OVO’s  Plant a Tree campaign. :slight_smile:

What about:

Save the Planet - Plant a dozen lemon trees - Take part in our next Storage Trial

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That’s so great, @Transparent!

 

At the risk of admitting another gap in my energy knowledge - Where exactly is the energy in the lemons coming from? The fructose?

 

Great to see an organic battery taking shape here too:

 

 

 

 

This puts my cherry-less coffee plant to shame!

 

I’m going to top off what’s be a great week for me personally with a bit of youth climate action hope. My 5 year old nephew asked me why I didn’t eat meat this week which really got me thinking about the challenges we face explaining the climate crisis to the next generation and the importance of doing so in a way that inspires rather than scares. If you’re in need of any top-tips on getting the balance right, our content team has written this great guide and I also found this Women’s hour clip really helpful.

 

Safe to say there's already some incredible youth climate activists, understanding and communicating the issues in ways many adults struggle to - Yemi Yohannes’s spoken word at today's COP fringe event left me awe-inspired.

 

So if one thing positive can come out of COP26 I’m hopeful that the kids have got this! :earth_asia:

 

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PS - A quick call out here to the Global Day of Action For Climate Justice - happening tomorrow. Banners at the ready!

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@Jess_OVO  wrote:

Where exactly is the energy in the lemons coming from?

It’s using the citric acid within the fruit as the electrolyte. The voltage obtained depends on the metal of the electrodes you select.

The most common experiments use zinc (a galvanised nail) for the anode and copper for the cathode. This yields 0.9v due to the relative positions of zinc and copper in the electro-chemical series.

electro-chemical series for common electrode materials

Substituting magnesium for zinc at the anode will produce around 1.6v - still not quite enough to illuminate an LED.

From the table above can you see why Lithium batteries are so attractive?

Note to self: Why is it so much easier to understand this now, instead of when I was 14 years old and facing a test next week?

 

Great to see an organic battery taking shape here too:

Well that’s a very interesting idea.

With major advances in bio-engineering, have you considered the possibility of a future storage battery being grown using genetically-synthesised organisms?

It would bring a whole new meaning to the concept of putting the cells in series. :wink:

Nobel Prize anyone? :nerd:

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It’s Friday

Why not …

There are many forms of privilege, and living with a sea view is not the least of them - especially on a day like today: a clear view over the horizon, a few of the not-yet-generating turbines of the East Anglia ONE North offshore wind farm silhouetted against the rising sun …

As a rule, “Don’t look directly at the sun, and especially not through binoculars!” is very good advice (*).

But, provided you time it right and pay careful attention to how @Transparent the atmosphere is, the view when you break that rule can be stunning. FWIW on this occasion, the air was rather clear and that very thin line that first appeared was rather bright, and I quickly swapped my eyes for the smartphone camera.

(With apologies to Transparent for the irresistible pun on their @)

East Anglia ONE North is interesting. Those turbines (one blade of one turbine is clearly visible in the lower left photo and also in the two smaller photos - the blades were rotating, slowly) are not much less than 300 m tall, and between 40 km and 60 km away from here. Their construction has been going on for a couple of years (more?) but the planning process, permission for the essential onshore stuff to get all that power into the grid, well that’s very much still in progress. And if you follow the link above, you’ll find that Scottish Power describe the project as if it’s still hardly more than a twinkle in their eye.

But it’s not. There have been dozens and dozens of turbines visible from here, on a clear day, for well over a year now. Good stuff.

 

(*) In case you’re interested, mine are 20x80, relatively cheap Russian ones.

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...

East Anglia ONE North is interesting. Those turbines (one blade of one turbine is clearly visible in the lower left photo and also in the two smaller photos - the blades were rotating, slowly) are not much less than 300 m tall

From the report available online: these windmills are quite something.

For the sake of comparison, wikipedia lists the “architectural” heights of the Eiffel tower as 300m, and of London’s Shard as 309.6 m.

I have tried, from time to time, to find out exactly how large are the turbines I can see. 300 m is what SP have declared in their plans, so  they’re not more that that, but information about what’s actually installed is not so freely available online. At least, I haven’t found it. But I’m reasonably sure that they’re more than 250 m, and perhaps closer to 300 m than 260 m. It’s hard to estimate them any more precisely than that, just going by what I can see.

(A puzzle for anyone that has too much time on their hands - if that blade is 40 km away, based on the appearance of that blade, how long might it be?)

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Well it makes sense that they’re going to be turning slowly.

There is a direct relationship between the wind speed and the angular velocity of the blade tip. If the tip-velocity/wind-speed ratio is too high then you lose efficiency because less of the blade is contributing to the rate of turn.

The greater the diameter of the rotor, the slower it must turn.

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Yes, but not yet, I suspect ... I think they're idling, because they haven't been connected to the grid yet. Feathering their blades?

I find it helps to just think of blade velocity (at different points along its length) rather than angular velocity as such.

Another factor (which I think eventually limits their maximum size) is the variation of wind speed with elevation. there's much more power to be tapped higher up, but that blade is sweeping alternately through faster air and slower air every turn. The stresses on the blade are really quite large, and stiffness is essential...

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Beautiful photos of a beautiful sun rise. The sun rising on the last day of COP26 - let’s hope when it sets for the day there’s some good news to share...

 

The photo on the bottom right, I can see what looks like the turbine’s mast… and that’s from 40-60km away. Wow they must be huge. 

 

I came across an interesting graphic which showed where in the world it was best to have off shore wind (I can’t find it now, or I’d share it). The north of the UK in what I assume is the northwest corner of the North Sea scored very well. The UK overall was well placed for off shore wind. Nothing new to you all I’m sure, but something to be grateful for as we all look at routes to net zero. That’s my Friday feel good thoughts for the day...

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