As you know, here at Ecowatt we’re passionate about alternative energy sources. Since the invention of the combustion engine and subsequent dawn of the Industrial Age, mankind’s primary source of energy has been via the burning of fossil fuels – generally in the form of coal. The burning of these fuels are by far and away the leading driver of climate change due to the carbon they release in the combustion process.
If we are to prevent the Earth from warming to disastrous transformative temperatures, we need to switch to alternative energy sources immediately! One of those alternatives being increasingly examined is “Geothermal Energy”. You may well have heard the term, but many people are unsure about its exact mechanism and where it even comes from.
Considering Geothermal Energy is one of the keys to fighting off climate change, it’s imperative that we understand exactly what it is and how it works, so in this post we’re going to run through the ins and outs of one of Earth’s most natural and abundant sources of energy.
What Is It?
Geothermal energy is essentially the perpetual generation of heat and energy via a process known as “nuclear fusion”. In a similar way to how the sun burns perpetually, Earth’s core is burning through minerals and elements at extreme temperatures, and causing reactions similar to that of the Sun’s “nuclear fusion”.
While the fusion at Earth’s core and other planets is on a much smaller scale than what is happening on the Sun, the principle is the same. The process is known as “radioactive decay”, and is a continual process that started when Earth was formed more than 4 billion years ago via various frictional and gravitational forces. This radioactive decay is caused by elements such as Potassium-40 decaying, which in turn causes the Potassium’s nucleus to change, emitting massive amounts of energy known as radiation.
This process happening at Earth’s centre creates substantial heat (5,000˚ celsius) and radiates outward through the entire planet. The heat dissipates as it gets closer to the surface, losing approximately 25˚C per kilometre, but in some parts of Earth such as deep tunnels, caves, trenches and cavities, that heat escapes causing unusually warm conditions.
These conditions are mostly created by extremely hot pockets of “magma” deep in Earth’s crust. Magma is liquid rock (too hot to be solid) formed 60 kms below the surface, which escapes into chambers closer to the exterior. At 1500˚C, these magma chambers warm up nearby rocks or underground aquifers (pockets of water), and in turn expel hot water in the form of geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and steam vents – many of which are popular tourist sites around the world.
Some of the more famous sites include the monkey-inhabited Jigokudani hot spring in Japan, the enormous Blue Lagoon in Iceland, and quite possibly the most prominent of all: “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone National Park, California, erupting boiling hot water on average every 92 minutes.
These sites create perfect opportunities for energy engineers to capture and use for the sake of generating electricity. Of course, electricity is generated by heat, and all forms of electrical generation use various fuels to create heat – whether that be burning coal, oil, nuclear devices or even solar power.
If, however, you can access heat directly from Earth’s core, you cut out that middle process of trying to generate your own warmth! And this is exactly what geothermal energy offers.
Electrical architects have developed numerous forms of heat extraction from these various geothermal sites, and simply convert the heat into electricity via the standard process of “electromechanical generation”.
Why Is It So Important?
Geothermal Energy is such a critical player in the fight against climate change because it is, in essence, “free energy”. We, as humans, do not need to burn anything at all in order to generate the heat, we simply need to harvest the heat that is already there.
This heat being emitted from the Earth’s core is a process that has been occurring for over 4 billion years, and is estimated to continue doing so for another 91 billion years! This heat escapes in a myriad of forms all over the globe, and is effectively “unlimited”, the only limit we have is accessing it. Tapping into geothermal energy requires all kinds of digging, mining, construction and engineering, and sometimes governments are disincentivized from pursuing it because it is quite simply cheaper to build a coal power plant than to engineer a geothermal one.
The Race Is On
This however is changing, and as the planet races to find solutions to our carbon crisis, politicians are increasing their allocation of financial resources to geothermal technologies. Rather than continue burning copious tons of coal and converting it to CO2-saturated smoke, it makes more sense than ever to simply tap into the heat already waiting to be accessed in millions of locations around the world under the Earth’s surface.
Ecowatt is actively sourcing geothermal projects, starting with a 75 MW project in Turkey. We hope to increase our geothermal portfolio, and believe this energy source is a critical solution in the global climate change crisis!
As we cast our gaze out towards the year ahead of us, we do so with the concerning awareness that we draw ever closer to “the climate clock” reaching zero. The climate clock is a timer designed by scientists and activists to count down the time that humanity has left to prevent the Earth from warming by more than 1.5 degrees celsius. Its current estimate is July 2029.
That’s right, we only have 6 and a half years left before the global average temperature increases by more than 1.5 C, when the planet will continue its rampage toward catastrophic climate change.
At the onset of 2023, what are some of the more important technologies that are helping us win the war, and what are the new innovations that will speed up our fight and strengthen our chance of winning? There are a number of trends that media, politicians, corporates and the public alike are starting to discuss and adopt, so let’s dig into what they are, and how they’re helping humanity in the war against carbon emissions…
1. Increased Shift To Renewables
It is no secret that Europe is undergoing a severe energy crisis at the moment. As winter grips the region in icy cold snaps, residents are turning their heating up in greater volumes and placing huge demand on the electricity grid. But driving the crisis is of course the horrifying war in Ukraine.
The war has created a geo-political climate that has placed Russia at odds with the rest of Europe, and because Russia is rich in gas and oil, it exports considerable amounts of energy south of its borders. This energy is now being turned off as Europe tries to impose sanctions on Russia, which in turn is causing European countries to grapple for alternative energy solutions.
These solutions are of course renewables. Solar and wind energy is being rolled out at astonishing rates across the continent, and many countries in the area are targeting 100% energy independence within the next decade, much of that independence driven by these renewables.
But the trend is not limited to Europe and its crisis-driven search. Elsewhere across the globe governments have realised the power available in renewable energy, and thanks to superior technology they are able to roll out such infrastructure at far cheaper costs than previously thought. According to a recent report by REN21, more than 3,146 GigaWatts of renewable energy capacity was installed across the globe in 2022. This is remarkably promising!
2. Deforestation Reduction
As emphasised numerous times on the EcoWatt blog, deforestation is one of the biggest vulnerabilities in humanity’s fight. Each tree removed from natural forests around the globe is another natural CO2 absorber taken out of circulation! With forest trees absorbing significant amounts of carbon and CO2 from the atmosphere on a daily basis, we just cannot afford any increases in deforestation anywhere in the world!
The good news is that the public are starting to find their voice in preventing devastating deforestation. Brazil for instance have just elected a new president, Lula da Silva, and he is more serious than ever about protecting the Amazon rainforests, known rightfully as the Lungs of Planet Earth.
In the USA, too, six key midterm election results held in November 2022 saw climate positive candidates win key races, with each of those promising to add weight to the fight against deforestation globally.
Indonesia too, an area abundant in rainforests, have just completed a year where they removed less forests than they did in 2021 – meeting their targets of reducing deforestation by up to 82% in some areas!
We are seeing a global fightback against deforestation, and with our reforestation and aforestation projects here at EcoWatt gaining momentum, we couldn’t be happier!
3. Nuclear Energy Adoption
The warnings of devastating climate change are finally getting heard, it would seem! Many of the world’s leading scientists will tell you that nuclear energy is the cleanest and cheapest way for humanity to sustain its energy appetite. The fact is, without considerable nuclear energy plugged into the global grid, we won’t achieve our climate goals.
But after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, many nations were spooked off by the technology due to the potential radioactive fallout, and many nuclear projects were scrapped. The good news however is that the climate activists who have long emphasised the need for nuclear energy reliance are now being heard.
Poland for instance are scrambling to build new nuclear energy plants as part of their energy independence initiative, while Japan themselves have made a massive u-turn in their nuclear policies saying that it will form part of their energy plans going forward. Even in the US, policy makers are now exploring “transportable nuclear energy” in the race to move away from fossil fuels.
However you look at it, nuclear is back on the table – and that is extremely promising for Earth’s climate goals!
4. Nuclear Fusion Technology
Speaking of nuclear, a massive trend that currently has everyone talking is that of “nuclear fusion”. The dream of creating an entirely self-sustaining energy source is one step closer to becoming a reality. Unlike nuclear fission technology (the current form of nuclear power), nuclear fusion creates a self-sustaining energy loop, much like our own sun is able to continue burning in perpetuity.
Scientists have been exploring the technology for decades, and in late 2022 researchers at the US National Ignition Facility in California confirmed that their fusion experiments had released more energy than was pumped in by their lab’s high-powered lasers, a milestone achievement known scientifically as “energy gain”. While there are numerous hurdles yet to overcome, and likely years and years of experiments still to conduct, the experiment has the entire world talking, and has “reignited” humanity’s interest in what would be one of the most breakthrough technologies of all time.
5. Shift To Electric Transport
Gas guzzling SUVs and trucks are becoming increasingly unfashionable, and a remarkable amount of people and companies alike shifted to electric vehicles in 2022. Electric vehicle sales grew by an extraordinary 23% globally, and is projected to grow by as much as 30% in 2023. If you don’t know someone who owns an electric vehicle by now, you will in 2023.
But it is more than just consumer vehicle purchases to watch. Governments globally are switching their fleets to electric as fast as they can, with the likes of Cape Town (South Africa), Vermont (USA), Nairobi (Kenya), and Victoria (Australia) all making large scale commitments to new electric buses. 2022 even saw a landmark flight by Airbus who tested their new hydrogen fuel cell in their huge double decker A380, showing that fossil fuels are well and truly on their last legs!
6. Recycling Is Back On The Agenda
It would have seemed as though recycling was a forgotten about trend in recent years, but the reality is that the need to reuse so much of our packaging and old products has never been greater. Unfortunately, one reason that recycling has been gaining a lot of media attention in late 2022 is because a new report by the World Economic Forum revealed that plastic is not being recycled as much as we had hoped.
The report highlighted the fact that a lot of plastic that is labelled “recyclable” is actually not, and the planet is not reaching its plastic recycling targets. While this may seem like a downer, it has a very positive spin: News agencies around the world picked up on the report and governments have already started to make moves to implement stronger policy and invest in plastic recycling initiatives.
Even bigger positives to come out of the report though are those of glass, paper and aluminium. We as a planet are meeting our targets on these materials at outstanding rates! For instance, more than 68% of all paper was recycled in 2022, aluminium cans have increased in consumption by 10% (meaning less people are using plastic containers for their drinks), and glass bottle recycling is up to 34% of all bottles!
These are indeed promising signs, and this is an important agenda to keep an eye on going into 2023.
7. Innovative Funding Sources
The final point in our exploration of climate trends going into 2023 is around funding sources. If humanity is indeed going to hit its climate change targets before July 2029, we will need private and public funding partnerships in much greater numbers. Fortunately, policy makers and governments the world over recognise the importance here, and we are seeing encouraging signs that critical “green capital” is being deployed.
One of the biggest challenges is that of “the global south”: much of the developing world “south of Europe” and “south of the USA”. Many of these developing nations are facing catastrophic natural disasters like flooding or drought, but they cannot adequately fund the rolling out of sustainable energy sources when their budgets are focussed on basics such as education, sanitation, etc.
The International Monetary Fund just recently announced innovative debt swap deals that will allow many developing nations to swap their debt in return for renewable energy infrastructure and climate change mitigation technologies. IE. A country would reduce its debt repayments to the IMF, and use that freed budget to build renewable energy infrastructure – it is a form of investment by the likes of the IMF (and other intergovernmental working groups) into green infrastructure in emerging economies, without physically deploying new capital.
In the private sector, we are seeing numerous investment strategies that are attracting capital from all corners of the globe and deploying much needed finance to innovative green technologies. Of course, one example of such a strategy is that of our very own tokenization of carbon credits via our unique blockchain model. With our impact and green portfolios, we are looking forward to 2023 being a key year for EcoWatt in seeing more adoption of this model, and making it readily available across blockchain platforms around the world!
There is so much to talk about when it comes to climate trends and what to expect in 2023, the reality is: There is so much going on in this industry!
Companies and individuals alike are working harder than ever to fight climate change and reduce our global emissions, and it is clear that this work is paying off. From new nuclear energy sources to innovative green financing, from new recycling targets to reduced deforestation, the stories keep on coming from all across the globe about people making a dent in building a better world.
There is a lot to keep watch of when it comes to mitigating catastrophic climate change, and you can rest assured that EcoWatt will keep you up to date with the very latest in what will be most beneficial for all of humanity!
There are so many terms associated with climate change that it is becoming difficult to keep track! The confusion is so rife that it is even providing fuel for climate change deniers. How can the confusion of climate change terminology be used as ammunition for naysayers? Take this prime example:
These deniers refute the existence of “climate change” by using evidence of out-of-the-ordinary cold snaps and extreme cold weather patterns. Their reason for this refutation? They have heard the term “global warming” used so regularly that they cannot comprehend that the phenomenon would bring extremely cold weather.
“How can global warming exist when this has been the coldest Winter on record?” they quip.
It’s a sad reality that many people just do not understand the basics of weather patterns and systems, and how Earth’s climate biome operates. But it’s also important to consider that with so many moving parts involved in Earth’s climate, accurate communication is imperative. So, as a company passionate about helping planet Earth fight the onslaught of warming temperatures, we want to help bring some clarity to this specific instance. To do so, we need to examine the effect known as “The Greenhouse Effect”.
What is it?
The Greenhouse Effect is exactly why we as a species are faced with the overwhelming challenge of “global warming”, but more specifically, why our global climate is changing (hence: climate change – the more accurate term in our international fight).
Example: Your Car On A Hot Day
Have you ever got back to your car after an hour or two shopping at the local grocery store on a sunny day, and found it just too hot to climb into? Especially when you’ve left all of the windows closed!
In many instances, the steering wheel is too hot to even touch, and god help you if you have black leather seats! The best thing to do is to open all the windows to allow the hot air to be released before even entering. This is in essence the simplest way to understand the “Greenhouse Effect”.
The overwhelming heat energy of the sun enters the car’s windows, heating up the car’s interior, but the closed windows don’t allow that heat energy to escape. The sun’s energy is a form of radiation, and can enter the car’s windows easily, but the heat that this energy creates cannot return out of those windows.
This is known as the greenhouse effect because of the famed gardening tool known as a “greenhouse”. (They’re called greenhouses because they produce beautifully green plants and flowers). A greenhouse is used when farmers or gardeners need more heat and humidity than is naturally available in the area where they live. The house absorbs the sun’s radiation, heating up the interior, but the sealed off house of panels or transparent canvas prevents that heat from escaping – creating the perfect environment for plants that need warmer temperatures. Greenhouses work especially well in colder regions of the world, even in Winter. As long as there is sun, greenhouses can be incredibly effective for gardeners.
Hopefully by now you’re starting to understand this phenomenon in relation to Earth’s entire climate?
Applied To Earth
The Earth’s atmosphere is about 100 km thick, which in the grand scale of the planet is thinner than the skin of an apple! This atmosphere is made up of a number of layers, and the lowest one, the Troposphere (at 16 kms from Earth’s surface), is the layer where most of Earth’s heat gets recycled and can’t escape.
Now, of course, Earth has had an atmosphere for millions of years trapping heat inside it and creating the perfect climate for life. But it is only in the modern age that this atmosphere has started to change, causing the climate to shift in catastrophic ways.
Standard gases in the atmosphere like water vapour and certain amounts of carbon create a layer that prevents Earth’s heat from escaping. But since the industrial age, humans have been releasing overwhelming amounts of additional carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) into this atmosphere, causing much less heat to escape than normal.
Mankind has released almost double the amount of carbon into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial age, increasing it from 280 ppm (particles per million) to 421 ppm at the last reading. This carbon, trapped within the Troposphere, makes for an even “thicker” layer of glass (remember the car example) that lets far less heat out than ever before.
In addition to this, the carbon itself warms up from the Sun’s radiation, and the more carbon there is, the warmer the Earth’s temperature will get.
This is, in its simplest form, the Greenhouse Effect. And while there are some nuances to the science, this is where we get the term “global warming”. This effect has been increasing the Earth’s surface temperature for the last 150 years. But this “warming” effect causes extreme heat and cold. This is because increased heat increases the evaporation of the Earth’s oceans, and thus causes stronger cloud systems, which in turn create stronger cold fronts, snow storms, hurricanes etc. (Of course, in other parts of the world, where there is less water vapour in the region, the land gets parched, and we get drought and heat waves.)
What We Can Do About It: Green Energy Sources
It is for this very reason that we at Ecowatt are so adamant about turning back the climate clock! Mankind not only needs to drastically reduce the amount of carbon it is emitting into the atmosphere, it also needs to absorb the already emitted carbon.
The first step is to indeed cut back on carbon emissions. We simply cannot allow there to be much more carbon released into the atmosphere! The easiest way to do that is to transition to green energy, a subject we at Ecowatt are passionate about.
We have decades of experience in manufacturing and engineering renewable energy plants, from solar to wind, even to waste product bio-energy. We are actively working in the likes of Hungary, Turkey, Romania among others to produce some of the most effective green energy solutions available. These plants currently produce over 350 Megawatts of electricity, all generated entirely by energy naturally available on planet earth, without any combustion or burning required.
What We Can Do About It: Carbon Credits
In addition to dramatically decreasing the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, quite possibly even more crucial is the technology of absorbing carbon already there. As mentioned numerous times here on the Ecowatt blog, this is known as “carbon capture”, and there are a number of ways of doing so.
The easiest way to do it, and one that we are actively pursuing in many regions globally, is to simply plant more trees! As widely understood, trees absorb remarkable amounts of CO2, and are critical in our fight against climate change.
Part of the reason we have lost the climate change battle in recent years is because of our horrifying deforestation work around the globe. To keep up with paper and mineral needs, forests have been cut down at alarming rates, and these were literally the “lungs” of our planet. These forests must be replaced in order to get back to a healthy equilibrium on Earth.
Reforestation and afforestation are two forms of carbon capture work that we are pursuing. Reforestation is the replanting of large tree forests which had been cut down and not replaced. Afforestation is the identification of new land and planting new forests where none had existed before.
If ever there was a time to invest in the future of our home, it was now.
Winter is here, there’s a nip in the air, and you need to head to the store. You pull on your favourite cotton sweater, and slide into your favourite name brand sneakers. As you pull them on, like always, you’re confronted with the embedded label in the shoe’s soles: “Fair pay for our manufacturers.” It makes you feel good to know the consumables you purchase come from companies who prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of their workers.
You head out the front door, and carry on your way.
While your conscience may be (rightly) satisfied in knowing you’re supporting a well-meaning company who places a strong emphasis on staff welfare, are you aware of what your favourite brand contributes to climate change?
As, arguably, the most important factor to the future of humanity, addressing and prioritising climate action should be a key focus for all companies, and recent data shows that fashion companies have been ignoring it for years.
While aviation may appear to be the biggest culprit for emitting CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere, new research is revealing that the fashion industry is a bigger perpetrator. The United Nations has released a report that the fashion industry contributes somewhere between 8 and 10% of global CO2 emissions! That is, quite frankly, frightening.
How is it that the aviation industry, emitting 2.4% of global CO2, has drawn the ire of the world’s activists and yet the fashion industry has largely escaped scrutiny? It’s certainly time for a change.
Most of the fashion industry’s offences are related to its use of raw materials, with cotton using approximately 2.5% of the world’s farmland. The polyester in almost all clothing sold today requires oil in its manufacturing process, and in total the industry uses 342 million barrels of oil every year to produce it. The dying of various fabrics and clothing items requires 43 million tonnes of chemicals each year. And with the World Bank expecting clothing sales to increase by 65% by 2030, something needs to be done urgently.
At Ecowatt, we are fervently dedicated to seeing global carbon emissions be reduced in our quest to help the planet reach net zero by 2050, so we would like to challenge the industry to these points that must be considered in order to reduce its horrifying carbon footprint:
1. Change The Mindset Of The Consumer
The fashion industry is one that thrives off the trendiest and latest. It is an endless cycle of convincing the consumer that there is always a better dress, a hipper shirt, a more stylish pair of boots, etc. In addition to the marketing that drives the latest trends, many clothes are not designed to last, and in fact “designed to become obsolete”.
By simply reducing the cycle of new fashion purchases and producing more durable items of clothing, the industry could halve its carbon emissions within a decade. Just by doing this step alone!
2. Reduce Energy Consumption Along The Supply Chain Large fashion brands have gargantuan operations, from warehouses, chain stores and offices. If each of these three pillars in their supply chain were able to seriously address their energy consumption, we would immediately begin to see the sector’s CO2 emissions reduced.
British online fashion and cosmetic retailer ASOS recently focussed on this very objective, and began by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs in one of their key warehouses. This warehouse cut its energy use by 76%!
Hugo Boss did a similar analysis on their transport operation, and switched a large chunk of their logistics from air freight to rail freight, and are on target to cut emissions by 95%!
3. Actively Offset Emissions
If all brands did such analyses such as Hugo Boss or ASOS, we at Ecowatt have no doubt the entire industry could reduce CO2 emissions considerably, and help in the goal to global net zero achievement. Ecowatt is actively engaging with several fashion brands in addressing their carbon footprint, and drawing up strategic plans to offset their current emissions.
An easy first step into carbon footprint reduction for major fashion brands is simply to ensure they are offsetting their emissions. The solutions that we at Ecowatt have tailored, specifically for industries just like the fashion industry, allow for immediate transformation. These solutions are the very simple investment into carbon credits and tokenised green assets designed by the Ecowatt engineering team.
We are developing technology that will enable fractionalised and therefore mass investment into renewable power stations and social impact projects. These types of solutions are simply for industries like that of fashion to begin their journey to net zero and make swift headway into undoing the damage so much of their supply chain has already done.
We’re passionate about the sustainable use of clothing and cosmetics. We understand that everyone loves to look their best and feel as comfortable as possible. But these luxuries do not need to come at the expense of the climate, and in turn the whole of humanity itself.
In a world where the climate is one of the most talked about topics today, clothing and textiles should be produced in a far more sustainable fashion. As a global company working with numerous blue chip brands, we’re proud to be working with this industry to make a difference and be part of fashion’s transformation to a net zero industry!
Ecowatt, the green investment platform building renewable energy plants and funding social impact projects, have announced that they will be partnering with the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team as a proud Gold Sponsor. The team are set to become the first UAE flagged boat to row completely unassisted and unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean and are doing so in a bid to raise critical awareness about clean energy sources and oceanic plastic pollution.
Ecowatt’s engagement will ensure crucial financial support but will also underscore their commitment as a sustainable green investment enterprise.
“We’re delighted to join forces with the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team,” said Thomas Puskas, Founder and CEO of Ecowatt. “As a company with a focus on the United Arab Emirates, we were struck by the work the team is doing in the region. To partner in their landmark sporting achievement, especially in a sustainable way, is a real honour.”
The three-man team will depart on 12 December as part of the “Atlantic Campaigns Challenge”, and will consume water drawn only from the ocean (by means of desalination, powered by electricity generated only from on-board solar power.
“One of our goals in this challenge is to highlight just what is possible in a sustainable environment,” said team founder Toby Gregory. “Operating all our critical and lifesaving systems communications and navigation by solar power alone, drinking desalinated sea water, propelling ourselves by the strength of our own bodies.”
Gregory said that to have an innovative green energy company like Ecowatt partner with them in their mission was the perfect fit: “Ecowatt share our passion for the environment and are committed to a range of initiatives, including ending marine plastic pollution. Their support of our efforts has been relentless, and we can’t thank them enough for their support and to have them join us as partners speaks volumes about their company mission.”
This is Ecowatt’s second successive sporting partnership after the company made headlines as the new training kit sponsors for FA Premier League club Southampton FC. Ecowatt’s partnership with the team is structured in a way to help them reach the top of the “sustainability league”, a league tabling the most environmentally positive clubs in the Premier League.
Part of that opportunity is to calculate the AORT’s carbon emissions for the duration of their gargantuan crossing and provide them with carbon credits to offset those emissions, especially when the team is required to mobilise the boat to the start point in the Canary Islands, and back from the race’s end point in Antigua. This carbon offsetting process is a key service of Ecowatt, and is helping them fast become the leading sustainability partner for major brands and athletes active in the fight against climate change.
The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team is made up of Toby Gregory, an Ultra Endurance Athlete; Raimundo Tamagnini, a Portuguese Ironman competitor; and James Raley, a British Army Veteran. The team will spend between 40 and 60 days in an 8 metre vessel and will work in 2 hour shifts to row the 5,000-kilometre voyage.
Habitat loss and deforestation are one of the most critical threats currently facing Earth’s biome. It is no secret that forests provide indispensable biodiversity to keep the planet’s ecosystems in balance, but more than that, they are crucial components in Earth’s equilibrium of chemical elements and gasses.
We’ve covered comprehensively here on the EcoWatt blog that one tree absorbs ~21kg of carbon each year. The benefits of this absorption cannot be understated. With the amount of CO2 that mankind is dumping into Earth’s atmosphere, these carbon absorption machines are our ticket to survival. Leveraging this ticket as best as we possibly can, organisations around the world are working to ensure that there are enough mature trees to stabilise the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.
These organisations are working to prevent extensive deforestation as well as repopulate previous forests that once were thriving biological ecosystems. But one of the challenges with forest repopulation is determining the right balance of biodiversity. An easy method is to plant new trees of the same species just as their mature counterparts are removed for various consumption purposes, this is known as “reforestation”. But something a little more nuanced is the work of planting new forests where there were none before, this is known as “afforestation”. So let’s take a look at the difference…
The Difference Between Reforestation And Afforestation
Reforestation is a very common form of sustainable forestation. Many timber, fuel, and paper companies use this method to consume trees within a specific space and re-plant new trees in a sustainable way. Once an area and environment has been assessed and evaluated, the right species of tree is identified, and often planted at intervals that are adequate for a plantation to replenish its population within good time.
Afforestation on the other hand is primarily driven by the need of capturing carbon in the atmosphere. With such frighteningly high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, scientists and eco friendly organisations are frantically identifying vast open spaces of land in order to plant as many trees as is humanly possible. IE. Afforestation is the planting of new trees and new forests where before there was only smaller forms of plant life.
Afforestation can come with a fair set of challenges, because in many areas identified, there are already complex ecosystems in place. These ecosystems rely on smaller, thinner grasses for instance, or open patches of land for sunlight or grazing. Planting entire forests in these areas can have a negative impact on these ecosystems, which is why thorough research is needed before new forests can be planted.
There is no doubt that large trees planted en masse are crucial tools in the fight against man-made climate change, but it is seriously irresponsible to do so at the detriment of other equally important biospheres.
Ecowatt’s Forestation Work
At Ecowatt, our forestation projects are carefully researched and surveyed before going ahead, and make use of the best scientific data to ensure as little negative impact is made on local ecosystems as possible. We currently have multiple reforestation projects on the go as this blog is being written:
With the explosion of coffee culture globally, Uganda has seen horrific deforestation in key regions in order to plant coffee beans. The same can be said for banana crops as well.
Part of Ecowatt’s work in this region has been to educate families who have planted coffee or banana crops in unsustainable fashion, and now sit with very little because these crops have been severely hampered by mudslides in the rainy season. These mudslides occur because the now removed forests acted as natural binding agents for the soil.
Ecowatt is helping these families re-plant deep rooted, multi-purpose trees intercropped with the banana and coffee plantations in order to stabilise soil during the rains and also improve soil fertility, thereby increasing yields, food security and income.
We have partnered with the “Trees for the Future” organisation on a “Forest Garden Program” to train 500 families in the area to plant enriching trees and teach sustainable farming practices. The program has a goal to plant a total of one million trees, and with government support we are planning to scale this project and plant a further 100 million trees by 2025.
We are delighted at the development of our first “Ecowatt Nature Park” in Hungary! It will be the first of its kind, with a 6000 hectare plot of land in the Eastern European Country being transformed into a thriving and diverse forest environment.
Part of the project includes the rewilding of numerous keystone animal and plant species, because many of them have disappeared due to unsustainable construction projects in the middle of the twentieth century. Human development of dams, bridges and roads has wrought havoc on certain regions, and this first Ecowatt Nature Park will remove specific human artefacts and reintroduce flagship species along with the planting of over 100,000 biologically diverse trees to ensure a sustainable biome.
Reforestation is not the only carbon capture process available in our fight against climate change. Afforestation, when done sustainably, can be a critical element as well.
Both forms of environmental fightback require different types of research and engineering, and must be approached and leveraged with wisdom and discretion. As a company committed to the longtime survival of all species on Earth, the sustainability of our work is paramount, which is why we are so dedicated to using the right methods for the right place and time.
The need for sustainable economies has never been more apparent. With just over 6 and a half years left on the “Climate Clock”, where humans must stop the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, technologies and innovations are afoot to prevent catastrophe. And on a planet that is overwhelmingly complex economically, many of those innovations are indeed financially sustainable.
One of the more recent innovations that have become a huge asset to both financial institutions and even the planet itself are “green bonds”. These are financial instruments that finance significant environmental regeneration projects, all the while providing their owners (investors) a fixed income annuity. This annuity currently averages 9% per annum, which is a remarkable return considering the dire state of the global economy at the moment. Never has it been more beneficial to invest in environmentally regenerative projects.
What Are Green Bonds?
A green bond is in essence a loan packaged by a large financial institution and then allocated to a promising environmental company or project which is set to generate sustainable revenue once it is up and running. This company or project would not be able to get started without the loan, and the financial institution receives the loan paid back with good interest.
How financial institutions do this is by packaging the loan into smaller percentage allocations that are provided by their customers (this is where the capital comes from), and then the capital repayments and interest are paid back to those customers. The added bonus to these bonds is that there are substantial tax incentives for investors due to the regulatory structure of green energy financing.
Green Bond History
Technically, green bonds were first rolled out in 2001 in San Francisco in order to finance hefty solar installations. The project was so successful that the European Union took notice and quickly moved to issue similarly structured bonds in 2007. First issued by the European Investment Bank as a “Climate Awareness Bond”, the bond was linked to equity in wind, hydropower, geothermal power, and energy loss reduction projects. However, it wasn’t until 2008 when the term “green bond” truly took root, with the World Bank issuing a product named as such for solar installations in Sweden to the value of 2.3 billion Swedish Krona (US $210 billion).
Ecowatt And Green Bonds
Green bonds are exactly the type of investment product that Ecowatt plans to leverage in our own climate action. Our model involves key partnerships with leading institutions, and through these collaborations we can then procure considerable capital deployment in the form of Green Bonds to fund promising renewable energy projects around the globe. Green bonds offer investors a solid, reliable, low risk return model alongside a valuable ESG portfolio component.
Through these procurements, we have already begun the process of building renewable energy power plants including a solar power station in Hungary that will generate 36 MW. Our pipeline of projects sits with a future total capacity of +700 MW. This capacity will be generated through highly efficient solar, wind, hydrogen, and even geothermal, and the intention is to expand this output ten fold within the next 3 years.
Without economically sound and well regulated financial structures like green bonds, this kind of capacity would be difficult to fund, especially at the speed with which we are operating. Ecowatt has an extraordinary team of business analysts and finance executives who have extensive experience in green energy, and with their expertise at our disposal, we are able to execute on lucrative and sustainable green energy projects in an innovative way.
The ultimate green investment platform Ecowatt has partnered with Xylo Carbon to ensure the feasibility and sustainability of strategic capital allocation.
DUBAI, 7 November 2022.
The ultimate green investment platform Ecowatt has partnered with Xylo Carbon to ensure the feasibility and sustainability of strategic capital allocation.
Ecowatt accelerates climate action by directing significant funding into two main portfolios which generate carbon credits. The ‘Green Asset portfolio’ contains existing and forthcoming wholly-owned renewable power stations and wind farms. The ‘Impact portfolio’ contains a host of climate and social impact projects across Africa and Europe, including both nature-based and technological solutions.
Ecowatt CEO Thomas Puskas said: “One of the most important aspects of finding and funding projects that generate carbon credits is to ensure they are both legitimate and sustainable. A rigorous due diligence is required to ensure that they are investment ready and do indeed perform as they allege. This is why our partnership with Xylo Carbon is so beneficial to our operation.”
Xylo Carbon is a sustainability consultancy based in London who assist in bridging the gap between private capital and high-quality, large-scale, nature-based and technological solutions. Thanks to Xylo Carbon’s in-depth industry knowledge and expertise, this notable partnership will ensure each project incorporated into Ecowatt’s Impact Portfolio is legitimate and sustainable for all stakeholders, including the communities directly affected.
As a green investment platform aiming to accelerate climate action through democratised sustainability investments, Ecowatt’s partnership with Xylo Carbon looks set to be a perfect fit.
“We are delighted to join forces with Ecowatt,” said Xylo Carbon MD Suhul Haile. “We have already begun to leverage our extensive industry network to develop, conduct due diligence and monitor the global pipeline of carbon and social projects that have the highest potential and integrity.”
The considerable partnership comes off the back of the Future Innovation Summit 2022 held in Dubai, where Ecowatt was bestowed the Climate Impact Accelerator Award.
Ecowatt’s Global Marketing Director, Lauren Haworth said, “2022 has been an extraordinary year for us. We have been recognised by numerous role players in the industry, and after the success of the Future Innovation Summit in Dubai, we are now ready for our next chapter. We have an explicit focus on authenticity, transparency and sustainability of everything that we do, starting with the collaboration with Xylo Carbon.”
In his scientific exploration “Enlightenment Now”, Harvard University’s DR Steven Pinker outlines how humanity is making sensational progress, citing real data that will surprise you. The data is real, verifiable and encouraging. But one challenge is highlighted as a critical need to be addressed: Climate change.
The year is 1848, Sacramento Valley is sprinkled with white powder from the heavens in a cold January. The USA is in the midst of a tense negotiation with possessors of the land, Mexico, who days later would cede their territory to the Yanks.