Soil is a very important part of the preservation and continuation of life. Healthy soil is essential for growing healthy crops and plants for human and animal nutrition. Soil is usually uncontaminated, but due to human activities, toxic substances get into the soil, harming plants and animals.
Many people live in urban areas; hence more human activities affect the soil in these urban areas. Soil can get contaminated through illegal waste disposal, wastewater discharge, and acid rain, among others.
Here are some of the common contaminants that are present in contaminated soils in urban areas.
Pesticides are among the top soil contaminants in urban areas. When people try to control pests using chemical pesticides, most of the pesticide ends up in the soil. Contaminated soils can be harmful to animals that live underground. When it rains, the rainwater can be contaminated with the toxic pesticide and reach the groundwater, making it unfit for consumption.
2. Petroleum Products
Petroleum products such as oil and gas are among urban areas’ most common soil contaminants. Oil or gasoline can leak from cars and other moving machines and reach the soil. Contaminated soils usually contain harmful chemicals such as lead, which is present in some oil and gasoline products.
Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that is harmful to human beings. Radon gas can cause lung cancer if you breathe it for an extended period. Most industries opt to build underground ventilation systems to prevent radon from escaping contaminated soils and reaching the surface.
Another contaminated present in urban contaminated soils is Creosote, a chemical derived from Tar and is used for wood preservations. Creosote usually contaminates the soil when poles preserved by creosote are placed into the soil.
Even though Creosote is important in preventing termites and other pests from damaging timber, it can also cause harm to human beings and other animals.
Asbestos is a harmful substance that was used in the insulation of houses before it was phased out in the 1980s due to its potential danger to human life. Asbestos usually finds its way to the soil through poor demolition of houses and illegal dumping.
Call experts immediately if you suspect you are living close to asbestos-contaminated soil.
Protect the Soil from Contamination
Soil plays an important role in providing nutrition to humans and other animals and cleaning water. If the soil gets contaminated, the toxins can kill plants and animals and make groundwater unfit for consumption.
There are many easy ways to save money and electricity every month around your home. And as you will see from the following examples, they don’t all require you to downgrade your lifestyle or make major sacrifices in your everyday life. Some of these energy-saving measures will apply more during hot times of the year or cold times, but most will serve you well all year long.
save energy concept
And keep in mind that many of these energy-saving tips can apply just as well to businesses trying to save money as they do to homeowners.
1. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your major household appliances use up a lot of electricity year-round, so when it comes time to repair or replace one of them, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. Many manufacturers make refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, washing machines and dryers that meet or exceed EnergyStar guidelines and can save you hundreds of dollars per year in lower energy bills.
2. Eliminate Electricity “Leaks”
Most homeowners are aware of water leaks in their homes such as leaky faucets, cracked garden hoses and poorly sealed pipe fittings in the walls. But your home could also be leaking electricity every day.
A lot of electricity gets wasted needlessly due to so-called “energy leaks”. These could include appliances that draw power 24/7, even when not in use. Other energy leaks could be simple things like leaving the lights turned on in empty rooms or falling asleep with the television on.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to reduce energy leaks without putting a drain on your lifestyle, such as using power strips, timers and motion sensors to cut off these devices when nobody is using them.
3. Improve Your Home’s Insulation
Another factor that drives up your monthly electric bill is the hot or cold air outside making its way into your home. There are two main ways to address this:
If your doors or windows are old and have cracks or holes, then go ahead and get those replaced. Double-paned glass windows and sliding doors can add an extra layer of protection to regulate your internal temperature.
If there are any gaps around the perimeter or frame of your doors and windows, then replacing the weatherstripping should seal those off easily. This is actually good DIY project for beginners that will only cost you a few bucks and a few minutes per door/window.
Replacing your insulation can be a big job and will likely require some professional help, not only to get the job done right, but also to ensure compliance with all building codes and regulations. The main question for you to discuss with your chosen contractor will be to decide what type of insulation will work best for your needs and your budget. Common materials include natural fibers, plastics, foam, minerals and fiberglass insulation.
When hiring a contractor, be sure they include air-sealing services in the estimate, since leaks, gaps and cracks in the walls, ceilings and floors should be done prior to putting in the insulation. Some insulation types, such as fiberglass insulation, are installed using techniques that literally blow the materials into place and do an excellent job of sealing off leaks.
4. Properly Use and Maintain Your HVAC System
Your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system can also make or break your power bill every month, especially during the winter or summer seasons. These heating and cooling systems are comprised of many motors and moving parts which are subject to wear and tear and will require ongoing maintenance.
While your HVAC system is designed to last for several years, some individual components can become worn out and create inefficiencies which overload the entire system, wasting energy and causing additional damage. So you do need to be diligent in maintaining or repairing these systems as needed. Many HVAC repair companies in your area offer free inspections of heaters, air conditioners and centralized ventilation systems, so take advantage of those when they are available.
5. Use Green Building Materials
When constructing a new home or adding on to your existing property, using green building materials can also help you save money on construction costs. Here are some examples of commonly-used green building materials:
Recycled steel and wood
Reclaimed doors, windows and lumber
Plant-based polyurethane foam
While you might not see much difference on your own personal utility bill, using building supplies made from recycled or reclaimed materials can save money on construction costs. And you can also save a lot of energy and resources on a larger scale – at the community level and eventually global level. Plus, many reclaimed material just a nice aesthetic to your home.
Saving energy at home can be easy, and with a little creativity and investment you don’t necessarily have to make any radical changes to your lifestyle either. Pick one or two of these energy-saving tips for homeowners and put them to use today.
Although we absolutely love our homes, there will be a day where we have to pack our belongings and find a new place to hang our hats. Homeowners who have older homes may experience a bit more of a challenge getting that “sold” sign because buyers aren’t too keen on buying a house that looks like it’s from the 70s and can become a money pit sooner than later.
One of the biggest tips from top agents we’ve come across is to update your appliances! Buyers do not want outdated appliances and that includes any appliances that aren’t stainless steel. Buyers love the look of the sleek metal and it just gives the kitchen a modern appeal.
2. Loud paint and/or wallpaper
Paint colors and wallpaper is a personal choice, but if you’re going to sell, you will appeal to a much broader base if you’re giving them a neutral base. Neutral colors will allow the buyers to envision their belongings in the home, rather than being put off because their traditional dining set would look odd in a deep purple dining room.
Whoever thought popcorn ceilings were a cool feature to have in a house must have been really into texture. Smooth ceilings are much more preferable simply because they look cleaner. If you have popcorn ceilings, you can remove it fairly easily, except it will be a big mess. Fortunately, you can hire a contractor to do the work and cleanup!
6. Tile or laminate countertops
When you bought your home, you probably didn’t mind tile or laminate countertops, but buyers aren’t going to be so charmed. Instead, buyers prefer granite, marble, concrete or custom epoxy countertops.
7. Wood paneling
Wood paneling was popular in the 70s and it makes your home look dark, old, and severely dated. You can remove the paneling, install drywall, and slap on a fresh coat of paint and you’d be amazed by how much more welcoming your home will feel!
8. Carpet in the bathroom
Water and carpeting are mortal enemies and carpeting has absolutely no place in the bathroom. Buyers know this and will avoid houses with this feature, unless they were already planning on renovating the bathroom. If you don’t want to keep your fingers crossed you’ll have a buyer who’s going to renovate, you can roll up your sleeves (or hire a contractor) to rip up the carpet and lay down new flooring, such as tile, vinyl flooring, or wood.
It can be hard to go through your house and see the areas where buyers may not appreciate. You may have loved the countertops you installed 10 years ago, or your ivory washer and dryer have never let you down… But buyers want homes that are updated, modern, and have as little fixing up to do as possible. If you do even a few of these changes and you may see the start to offers roll in.
If you are looking to sell your home or are just thinking about doing some upgrades to make it more attractive when you do finally sell it, studies show that making your property more eco-friendly will make it more attractive to potential buyers. If you want to get specific, there are some eco-friendly upgrades that not only help the environment by reducing the home’s energy consumption, but at the same time provide a return on the investment of more than 100%. This is not just an empty promise as every year sees an increase in home construction that includes the latest in environmentally friendly technology.
It is no secret that technology is helping every industry develop at supersonic speeds. With the continued threat that rapid urban development brings to the environment. it only makes sense to use new technology to create better construction methods that are less harmful to the environment and more affordable to the homeowner. Jump on the go green opportunities available today and commit to making a better tomorrow.
Be Both Ambitious and Realistic
As you might expect, some eco-friendly upgrades are going to cost more than others. Want to add solar panels on top of the roof? First you have to check with your HOA, if you have one. Then you need to check the financials of the project. The upfront cost will vary from one installer to the next, and the rebates and incentives that encourage you to change in the first place will also vary depending on your home state.
If installing solar panels on your roof is not in your budget, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Everything from changing your insulation to never buying bottled water can have an impact. Changing the number of days you water your lawn or the amount of time for each sprinkler. Try reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just a few minutes each day.
Using your home as a tax write-off is so obvious it’s a huge reason many people buy homes in the first place. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t the only one who has a vested interest in making your home eco-friendly. The IRS has entered the discussion and extends tax credits based on different upgrades made to the home for environmentally friendly purposes. And since employing a special tax attorney may not be in your budget, there are other feasible ways to examine your financial situation as it impacts your taxes, and whether or not there are any discrepancies that need to be taken care of.
Once you have your overall financial situation looking a little clearer, don’t just be content with the usual write-offs consisting of interest payments and the like; consider all of your options and make a home upgrade that pays for itself. The point is, being proactive and taking the initiative to make your home more eco-friendly is not only affordable, it is also rewarding.
Electric mobility is the newest trend in today’s highly competitive market. Electric vehicles have already been defined as the future of transportation, and are on the increase. They are predicted to inevitably take over the car industry by the next decade.
Through technical innovation, e-Mobility is prepared to address today’s concerns linked with climate change, fossil fuel dependency, and environmental protection. Today, a slew of big auto manufacturers have not only begun building their own electric vehicles — alongside the industry’s pioneer, Tesla — but have also planned to discontinue the production of gas-powered vehicles in the next decades.
Vacuum technology has been – and still is – essential in this process.
Vacuum technology and mobility: a lifelong interest
Vacuum technology is not new in the mobility sector: it has been around for more than 60 years to support the creation and production of vehicle batteries.
It began as an industry-wide innovation and has been in use for decades. Despite this, it will continue to be utilized for many years to come, as it is still playing a huge role in the most recent e-mobility innovation.
Agilent, a supplier of vacuum and leak detection equipment and services, is dedicated to providing concrete solutions in the approach to sustainable mobility. It assists manufacturers all over the world in both the core, fundamental procedures of developing renewable battery technology and the secondary processes that are equally significant. Vacuum and leak detection technologies, for example, are important components in new industrial processes for vehicle electrification.
What is the role of vacuum technology in the development of electric vehicles?
Vacuum is already used in various functional stages and processes associated with electric mobility. From the electrolyte-filling stage of a lithium-ion battery (to ensure that the cell is evenly saturated with the electrolyte) to assisting in the shaping of the electric motor with constantly innovative generator technologies, to make them modular, lighter, more affordable, quieter, and more efficient. Agilent is involved in the development and production of a vast majority of electric vehicle components.
In addition to lithium-ion batteries, the most known and utilized rechargeable batteries, Agilent concentrates as well on the advancements in hydrogen fuel cells, one of the future trends for innovative technologies in electric vehicles.
What are lithium batteries?
Modern lithium-ion batteries are the favoured technology for electric vehicles right now. Unlike other batteries, lithium-ion batteries are among the most often used rechargeable batteries because they have a much higher energy density and a slow discharge rate, allowing them to maintain a charge for significantly longer.
They are innovative battery technologies that utilize lithium ions as a key component in the battery’s operation and electrochemistry.
Lithium-ion batteries, in addition to appearing in electric cars, can also be found in small portable electronics such as laptops and smartphones, and are frequently utilized in military and aerospace applications.
Vacuum Technology is driving electric mobility!
Vacuum is already used in various functional stages and processes associated with electric mobility. Let’s go deep together in the stages where vacuum is the dominant player.
1. Battery production: vacuum technology in more than half of the battery manufacture processes!
Agilent’s vacuum specialists assist lithium-ion battery manufacturers with their procedures and technological challenges in production processes, quality control, and safety measurements. As a result, they have been significantly involved in the development of electric mobility, with their vacuum tech currently accounting for more than half of the processes in battery creation.
Battery performance, longevity, and overall quality are all highly influenced by the quality of the manufacturing process. Agilent solutions and experience optimize resource usage and reduce process time while ensuring product quality goals are fulfilled.
2. Battery Cooling
As batteries get more efficient and powerful, car companies are being pressed to develop new heat management systems. Cooling systems must keep battery temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius. Liquid coolers have been shown to be the most efficient approach for keeping the battery pack at the proper temperature range.
The biggest disadvantage of liquid coolers is the potential of a leak or spillage. Undetected leaks significantly reduce the battery’s service life and/or allow highly reactive electrolytes to escape. Water leakage in battery coolers is a severe problem that affects battery durability and battery pack safety. To ensure long battery life, the cell must be completely leak-proof.
To confirm leak-proofness, a leak test is performed using a vacuum leak detection instrument, which can detect even the slightest leak using helium as tracer gas and detecting it by means of an embedded mass spectrometer. Highly sensitive helium leak detection systems play an important role in the production of lithium batteries and bear a significant amount of responsibility in terms of safety.
3. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems
There isn’t a heat-producing engine in an electric vehicle. Differently to low efficiency thermal engines, high-performance electric motors generate very little heat. The vehicle cabin temperature must be raised by other means. So, how do electric vehicles generate heat?
Well, it needs to produce interior heat using — you got it — electricity. Often via one or more resistive heating elements. Early electrical automobiles in fact employed basic resistive heaters, while contemporary vehicles have heat pump systems that transport thermal energy from the outside into the interior.
These technological HVAC systems necessitate extensive vacuum and leak detection solutions in order to create strong and dependable components capable of successfully capturing and directing heat. Look at how the leak-proofness is tested here.
4. Electric motor
Electric vehicle manufacturers research innovative motor/generator technology to make them more modular and efficient, lighter, quieter and even cheaper than typical electric motors. Water is the principal enemy of electric and electronic parts, hence leak detection and humidity tightness are an absolute priority in all of them. Agilent helium leak detectors enable faster and more exact leak location and monitoring for completely sealed electric vehicle motors.
5. Electric and electronic components
The operating range of an electric vehicle is not just determined by battery capacity. New materials and procedures are being applied to manage higher voltage, temperatures, and insulation difficulties in order to improve the efficiency of a car’s internal electrical distribution.
In propulsion-grade power electronics, inverters, connections, filters, busbars, and safety devices all play important roles.
Insulating or environmental coatings are required for all of these components. Agilent is proud to supply diffusion and turbomolecular pumps for innovative coating equipment. Browse the Agilent website to find the best turbopumps and turbomolecular pumps.
Fuel cells are another zero-emission alternative to combustion engines and even to lithium batteries. This intriguing technology works with hydrogen gas: hydrogen is employed in fuel cells to generate power through a chemical process instead of combustion, with just water and heat as byproducts. Hydrogen reacts electrochemically in fuel cells to produce electricity and power the car. Brake energy is also absorbed and stored in a battery to offer extra power during short acceleration occurrences.
To prevent leaks that could impair performance and safety, fuel cell generators, gas tanks, and distribution lines must be hermetically sealed and leak-checked by means of specific leak detectors. Vacuum technology and processes also play a key role here.
Future Trends for Green Technology in Vehicles
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2040, more than half of all built and sold passenger cars will be electric. As public concern about climate change grows, governments throughout the world are stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Agilent is committed to supporting this change by providing the finest, more innovative and performing vacuum technology equipment and machinery.
Environmental concerns are more widespread than they ever have been, thanks to high-profile documentaries, a raft of alarming science, and some determined activism from green pressure groups. And these concerns are helping to shape the modern home, too.
There are myriad environmentally-friendly ways in which the environmental impact of your home can be lessened. Some of these involve major investment and upheaval; others, however, offer a considerable return on just a little bit of effort.
Swapping out older halogen-style light bulbs for newer LED-based ones can save enormous amounts of energy in the long-term. They’re more resilient, and they’ll pay for themselves within a few weeks. Of course, there’s also an environmental cost associated with manufacturing a new bulb – and thus it may be worth waiting for your old bulbs to fail before investing in a replacement.
If you’re burning gas in order to replace the heat that’s escaping through your windows, doors and walls, then you’re imposing a burden on the environment. Anything you can do to improve the insulation situation will therefore confer an environmental benefit. Often, the best results can be had by improving the situation in the loft.
3. Install a compost bin
Your kitchen will produce food waste, which can be put to use in the garden. Install a compost bin, and use the results to grow yourself some quality vegetables. You’ll be slashing your food miles in the process, too.
3. Heat Pumps
A ground-source heat pump is a device which draws energy up from deep in the ground, and uses it to help heat your house. Despite the name, the heat-pump can actually help to cool your property, too. Plus, you won’t have the visual upheaval that comes with solar panels. With that said, they’re tricky to install into existing builds, and their efficiency can vary according to the type of soil heat is being extracted from.
4. Photovoltaic Solar Panels
If you can claim a little bit of the energy that strikes your roof, then you’ll reduce the amount of fossil fuels that you’re indirectly causing to be burned. Over the course of decades, again, the investment in solar panels will pay for itself – and you’ll get the benefit of solar grants to sweeten the deal still further.
Do you want to install outdoor lighting on your grounds but not want to overspend on it? Want a nice brightly lit yard in front of your establishment at minimal costs? Well here’s an article to help you pick the perfect outdoor lighting for your establishment.
When it comes to commercial outdoor lighting there are many companies that may sell fixtures that look promising, however, not every fixture can meet your budget. Some of them may not even hold up to the standard which the company claims, so here are a few points to pick the right outdoor lighting:
1. The right type
The question of what kind of lighting works best in your scenario is solved best with an explanation of where and how each type is used.
Wall lights: These are most commonly used wherever there is a vertical surface. Commonly used on buildings and walls. Commonly used for porches, patios, and entryways.
Hanging lights: A very pretty light, hanging lights work excellently under any roofed area. They are more resistant to damp climates provided they are not directly exposed to the rain. Commonly used for covered patios
Post or Pier mounted lights: These are fixtures mounted on posts and are especially useful as they can be placed directly in the open. Their wet rating ensures that they have good resistance to the weather. Pier mounted lights work similarly to posts lights except they must be mounted on a column or wall. Commonly used for outdoor walkways and driveways
Landscape Lights: Landscape lights are generally low voltage lighting that is separate from the wall and ceiling lights listed. By efficient use of path lights, spotlights, and floodlights, you can give your property a wonderful look even in the darkest of nights. Commonly used for gardens and landscapes
Security Fixtures: These are motion lights that glow when triggered by movement.
2. The right size
When it comes to size, they depend on where you plan to install your outdoor lights. Each lighting setup looks better in different sizes. These will be mentioned below:
Porch Wall lights: These look best when they are about one-third the height of the door when only a single fixture is used. However, when two fixtures are used, you could go with lights around a fourth of the height of your door.
Ceiling lights: These should be of a suitable size and dimensions depending on the size, also remember to make sure that your room has enough height to keep fit the room.
Post and Pier Mounted lights: Fixtures may be of different sizes which mostly depend on the number of bulbs used. If you’re using a pole mounted design, 7 foot tall is considered the right size.
3. Outdoor conditions and needs
The kind of lighting you use will significantly vary depending on what kind of need you have for it. This can be a significant factor in your choice.
Water rating: Depending on where you want to use your lamp, it is categorized into wet and damp. Wet rated lamps are used in settings where the lamp is directly exposed to weather. Damp rated lamps are used in places not directly exposed to the elements.
Time of usage: This covers whether you plan to keep your lights constantly running or use lights such as motion sensor lights or automatic lights.
Once you have this under wraps, you can pat yourself on the back as you’ve done more than half the job, but now comes the tough part, finding a fixture that is both useful for your particular need as well as affordable.
So how do you find this perfect outdoor lamp?
Well, here are the points which you need to search for in an outdoor lighting fixture to ensure that it fits in well with your budget:
South Africa is experiencing a mammoth energy crisis with its debt-laden national power utility, Eskom, being unable to meet the electricity needs of the nation. After extensive periods of load shedding in 2018 and again earlier this year, it is becoming increasingly important to find an alternative source of energy. According to Marko Nokkala, senior sales manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, South Africa is in the perfect position to utilize biomass as an alternative source of energy.
Things to Consider
Should South Africa choose to delve deeper into biomass energy production, there are a few things that need to be considered. At present, a lot of biomass (such as fruit and vegetables) is utilized as food. It will, therefore, be necessary to identify alternative biomass sources that are not typically used as food, so that a food shortage is never created in the process.
One alternative would be to use municipal solid waste from landfills and dumpsites as well as the wood waste from the very large and lucrative forestry industry in the country. It is also essential to keep in mind that an enormous amount of biomass will be needed to replace even a portion of the 90 million tons of coal that Eskom utilizes every year at its various power stations.
Potential Biomass Conversion Routes
There are a number of processing technologies that South Africans can utilize to turn their biomass into a sustainable energy source. Biochemical conversion involving technology such as anaerobic digestion and fermentation makes use of enzymes, microorganisms, and bacteria to breakdown the biomass into a variety of liquid or vaporous fuels.
Fermentation is especially suitable when the biomass waste boasts a high sugar or water content, as is the case with a variety of agricultural wastes. By placing some focus on microbial fermentation process development, a system can effectively be created that will allow for large-scale biofuel production. Other technologies to consider include thermal methods like co-firing, pyrolysis, and gasification.
Future of biomass energy in South Africa
Despite the various obstacles that may slow down the introduction of large-scale biomass energy production in the country, it still promises to be a viable solution to the pressing energy concern. Biomass energy production does not require any of the major infrastructures that Eskom is currently relying on.
Although the initial setup will require a substantial amount of electricity, running a biomass conversion plant will cost significantly less than a coal-powered power plant in the long run. With the unemployment rate hovering around 27.1% in South Africa at present, any jobs created through the implementation of biomass energy conversion will be of great benefit to the nation.
Without speedy intervention, South Africa may very soon be left in the dark. Although there are already a number of wind farms in operation in the country, the addition of biomass conversion facilities will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Africa’s southernmost country.
Ecotherapy is an emerging therapeutic treatment method aimed toward treating both physical health and psychological issues by detoxifying the body. The essential idea behind ecotherapy is that the human being is connected to the natural environment and is impacted by the changes happening in the external environment on account of environmental toxins. Detoxification of the body through outdoor activities is the fundamental basis of environmental therapy.
Why Do We Need Ecotherapy?
In the past few decades, environmental degradation has not only destroyed natural ecosystems but has also led to significant increase in diseases related to environmental toxins, allergens and microorganisms. The outcome of this environmental crisis has been widespread prevalence of different types of cancers, chronic allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression and other ailments.
Ecotherapy, also known as environmental therapy, endeavours to unravel environment-related health issues by strengthening the linkage between the Nature and human being. The self-balancing mechanism of Nature can help in improving both physical and mental health by creating harmony between the natural elements and mankind.
Studies have shown that Nature can provide the healing touch and enhance physical health, psychological state and life satisfaction. For instance, the presence of houseplants in the workplace can positively affect creativity and productivity among employees.
The Different Types of Ecotherapy
Ecotherapy consists of an array of nature-based healing approaches which can be carried out individually or in groups under the guidance of trained therapists. Therapist notes, usually taken during a session, can provide a good understanding about the nature of ecotherapy services required for a particular health problem.
To obtain the best results, ecotherapy is usually conducted in natural settings to get the simplest results. The popular types of ecotherapy techniques include nature meditation, horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy and conservation-related activities.
Nature replenishes our souls and has the power to boost our spirits. Meditating in nature activates our senses which assists in mindfulness training and propels the meditator to contemplate how a specific aspect of nature relates him to and what he can learn from it. Nature-based mediation is usually done in groups in a natural setting, like a park or forest. For instance, an old person can regain self-respect after realizing how old trees provide shelter for birds and shade for younger plants and passers-by.
The therapeutic benefits of gardening have been known for centuries. Horticulture-based therapy involves involvement in gardening and plant-based activities to realize specific therapeutic goals. Soil digging, planting trees, maintaining garden beds, trimming leaves and mowing grass are some of the common horticultural activities. Social isolation, depression, post-traumatic stress and drug abuse are the main mental disorders where horticultural therapy can act as a therapeutic modality. The major benefits of horticultural therapy include improvement in memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation and socialization.
Animal-assisted therapy is the use of animals in the mental healing process. Grounded in the human-animal bond, the main goal of this therapy is to assist people deal with physical and mental ailments through pets. Traditionally, dogs have been used as therapy animals but cats are being used more and more, usually dogs and cats. For example, a therapy cat can be a loyal companion for a senior who is feeling lonely in an old age home. Similarly, pet therapy may help a kid who has recently his mother to overcome emotional trauma.
Physical activities, like walking, jogging, cycling or doing yoga, can rejuvenate the human-nature bond and can reduce stress, anxiety and anger. Likewise, conservation-based activities can inculcate a sense of belonging and connectedness with the natural elements .
Ecotherapy is an effective therapeutic technique to treat physical and mental illnesses. It is also an effective way to strengthen the human-nature and human-animal bonds, thus helping in the conservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife.
Biomass resources can be transformed into clean energy and/or fuels by thermal and biochemical technologies. Besides recovery of substantial energy, these technologies can lead to a substantial reduction in the overall waste quantities requiring final disposal.
However, biomass energy projects worldwide are often hampered by a variety of techno-commercial issues. The issues enumerated below are not geography-specific and are usually a matter of concern for project developers, entrepreneurs and technology companies:
Large Project Costs
In India, a 1 MW gasification plant usually costs about USD 1-1.5 million. A combustion-based 1 MW plant would need a little more expenditure, to the tune of USD 1-2 million. An anaerobic digestion-based plant of the same capacity, on the other hand, could range anywhere upwards USD 3 million. Such high capital costs prove to be a big hurdle for any entrepreneur or renewable energy enthusiast to come forward and invest into these technologies.
Low Conversion Efficiencies
In general, efficiencies of combustion-based systems are in the range of 20-25% and gasification-based systems are considered even poorer, with their efficiencies being in the range of a measly 10-15%. The biomass resources themselves are low in energy density, and such poor system efficiencies could add a double blow to the entire project.
Dearth of Mature Technologies
Poor efficiencies call for a larger quantum of resources needed to generate a unit amount of energy. Owing to this reason, investors and project developers find it hard to go for such plants on a larger scale. Moreover, the availability of only a few reliable technology and operation & maintenance service providers makes these technologies further undesirable.
Gasification technology is still limited to scales lesser than 1 MW in most parts of the world. Combustion-based systems have although gone upwards of 1 MW, a lot many are now facing hurdles because of factors like unreliable resource chain, grid availability, and many others.
Lack of Funding Options
Financing agencies usually give a tough time to biomass project developers as compared to what it takes to invest in other renewable energy technologies.
Non-Transparent Trade Markets
Usually, the biomass energy resources are obtained through forests, farms, industries, animal farms etc. There is no standard pricing mechanism for such resources and these usually vary from vendor to vendor, even with the same resource in consideration.
High Risks / Low Pay-Backs
Biomass energy projects are not much sought-after owing to high project risks which could entail from failed crops, natural disasters, local disturbances, etc.
Resource Price Escalation
Unrealistic fuel price escalation too is a major cause of worry for the plant owners. Usually, an escalation of 3-5% is considered while carrying out the project’s financial modelling. However, it has been observed that in some cases, the rise has been as staggering as 15-20% per annum, forcing the plants to shut down.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.