26 November 2013

Project 90x2030 celebrates its successes

Stuart Buchanan

We’re very proud of the work we’ve done with Project 90x2030 thus far, and last week the organisation gathered here to reveal our next collaboration – yet another step towards using renewable energy at the Aquarium.

Project 90x2030 is a non-governmental organisation that encourages South Africans to change their lifestyles by 90% by the year 2030 by lowering their carbon footprint, switching to renewable energy and being mindful of the environment.

Through a number of demonstration sites, Project90 seeks to show average citizens, as well as important policy-makers at government level, how this lifestyle change can happen, what the benefits are, and how simple and cost-effective these changes are.

The Two Oceans Aquarium became a demonstration site for Project90 when we installed solar panels and a wind turbine on our rooftop. You can watch the video about it here.

Since then, Two Oceans Aquarium Technical Manager Mike de Maine has been brainstorming a number of other ideas for renewable energy projects, and his latest one is nothing short of ingenious. Watch the video below to see what it’s all about:

“I am always looking at new opportunities, and knowing that the Dutch are using tidal movement to drive hydro turbines, I wondered how I could use the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit‘s water movement,” says De Maine. “Knowing that the water movement alone would not be enough, I had to be creative and therefore came up with the idea of using the water to drive air through a small opening, which in turn drives a small wind turbine.”

(Wave gliders also use energy from the ocean to power their on-board equipment. Read about the wave glider that was stationed at the Aquarium here.)

“Project90 provided us with R20 000 to make this project happen (we didn’t spend nearly that). The turbine now produces 180V at about 1.6 amps, which we’re stepping up to 200V through a transformer and then regulating the power and converting to 12VDC to drive LED-lit signage that describes the turbine and how it works.

“It is purely a demonstration site that we will be using for education. However, we’re also busy with a lighting project where we are changing all of our power-hungry metal halide lights to LEDs.

“There are always new opportunities on the horizon and I will grab at them as soon as they come to me!”

Project90 also revealed a number of other projects that it has been working on in the last year, and the success of all its demo sites bodes well for the future.

Project90x2030 Managing Director Lorna Fuller said: “The Two Oceans Aquarium are really great partners, and we see that they encourage people along the same lines as us: being aware of the environment, considering our impact on the ocean, discouraging people from using plastic bags. We see a very good synergy there – they look at specifics, while we look at the broader picture, engage with government to talk about energy policies, whether we need nuclear power, and encourage the use of renewables.

“Businesses have a of opportunity to go green. Switching to renewables means they are more decentralised, not as reliant on Eskom, and are reducing costs in the long run. They can apply principles of King III: people, planet, profit – not just profit.”

Read more about the Aquarium’s sustainability efforts here.

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