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Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands’

Insight: How the Dutch got their cycling infrastructure

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 28th, 2011

From “How the Dutch got their cycle paths” by Sarah Goodyear for Project for Public Spaces:

Given the reputation of the Netherlands as a cyclist’s paradise, you might think that its extensive cycling infrastructure came down from heaven itself, or was perhaps created by the wave of a magic wand. Not so. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making.

The video [click through below] offers vital historical perspective on the way the Netherlands ended up turning away from the autocentric development that arose with postwar prosperity, and chose to go down the cycle path. It lists several key factors, including public outrage over the amount of space given to automobiles; huge protests over traffic deaths, especially those of children, which were referred to by protesters as “child murder”; and governmental response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, which prompted efforts to reduce oil dependence without diminishing quality of life.

The Netherlands is often perceived as an exceptional nation in terms of its transportation policies and infrastructure. And yet there is nothing inherently exceptional about the country’s situation. As the narrator says at the end of the film, “The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique. Their solutions shouldn’t be that either.”

Watch the video. It’s inspiring (“…it seems so simple”) and frustrating (“aaargh…it seems so simple!”) at the same time.

Connecting Britain To A European Supergrid

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on April 19th, 2011


Image: The Guardian

From “BritNed power cable boosts hopes for European supergrid” by Damian Carrington:

It stretches 260km under the North Sea, contains 23,000 tonnes of copper and lead, and may represent the first step towards a renewable energy revolution based on a European electricity “supergrid”. The £500m BritNed cable, which has just entered operation, is the first direct current electricity link from the UK to another country in 25 years. The high voltage cable, a joint venture between the UK National Grid and the Dutch grid operator TenneT, has a capacity of 1,000MW, the equivalent of a nuclear power station. It runs from the Isle of Grain in Kent to Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

High voltage DC (HVDC) cables allow electricity to be transmitted over much greater distances than existing alternating current lines, which start losing power after 80km. A network of HVDC cables across Europe is seen as the key to “weather-proofing” the large scale use of renewable energy, some forms of which are intermittent and have to be balanced in real time with generation elsewhere. “Our investment in this interconnector means that we are joining a much wider European electricity market,” said Nick Winser, executive director of National Grid. “This ability we now have to move power across national borders means we can use the full potential of renewable energy from wind – making it easier to import when wind is not available and export when there is a surplus.”

In the short term, linking the UK and European grids boosts the UK’s energy security and helps stabilise wholesale energy prices. Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: “Renewables win as it means surplus wind power can be easily shared [and] consumers win as a single European market puts pressure on prices.”

“This is a major step,” said Louise Hutchins, head of UK energy campaigns at Greenpeace. “It sends a signal to renewable manufacturers that we’re a step closer to unlocking the potential of one the world’s main renewable power houses – the North Sea.”

Read the full article by Damian Carrington on the Guardian.

Refining Technology: Bio-Digester for an Ice Cream Factory

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on January 28th, 2011

Source: FoodMag

Image courtesy of Paques

From Unilever to build bio-digester at Dutch ice cream factory:

Unilever and biotechnology company Paques have started the construction of a bio-digester at the food giant’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands.  Paques’ BIOPAQ AFR bio-digester, which will convert waste products from the production of ice cream into clean energy, will cover 40 per cent of the ice cream factory’s green energy requirements.

According to Paques, this bio-digester has been built specifically for applications where the purification of fat-containing wastewater is required. Unlike conventional systems, the bio-digester treats wastewater containing fat and oil in a single compact reactor, together with degradable particles.  The installation of the bio-digester is a part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, which aims at reducing the production of waste and the consumption of water and energy.  The bio-digester is expected to become operational mid year.

Source: FoodMag