Feb 16

15-02-2013. After 19800 kilometer I reached the Cape of Good Hope!

A big thanks to all the people that supported me along this magical journey. This includes you ;-) .

It has been a journey of learning, sharing, and of great enjoyment. At this moment I don’t realize yet that I am done, that Cape to Cape 2012 is over. But it is. I am happy. And I am excited about the next stage in my life!

Feb 12

Newsletter: I ate my emergency noodles!

When I entered Africa I prepared for long stretches where food would be hard to find. To make sure I would not starve in the middle of the desert I always had some “emergency noodles” packed away at the bottom of my pannier. Now, six months of Africa later I took a chance: I ate my emergency noodles! All due to good news: I survived Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique & Zimbabwe and am now only 250 kilometer away from my final destination: Cape of Good Hope.

Read the rest of the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/uG9wL

Feb 07

Stage 19: Pretoria – Port Elizabeth (1237km) completed!

Feb 07

Small scale hydropower in Sweden – durable and sustainable

By now it is 8 months ago since I met Jan-åke, yet visiting him left me with a vivid memory. Given the fact that I only “find time” now to write about this visit shows that it has been a hectic and extremely interesting tour. Before I reflect (while enjoying some holidays in South Africa) I still wanted to write about my visit to Jan-Åke’s small hydro power plant.

Two things stood out most during my visit. The first one being the age of the hydro power plant. After the grain mills were replaced in 1923 the hydro power turbine had been installed. When I stood there in the “machine room”, the same Swedish 250kW turbine had been running for almost 90 years straight. Impressive.

What also fascinated me was the interaction between man, machine and nature. Having lived in the same spot next to the hydro-power plant Jan-Åke would know exactly which conditions would give a certain flow of water in the river. He would just have to take a look at the greenness of the grass to figure out how much water plants in the drainage basin of the river are consuming.

Every morning Jan-Åke carries up the eels which are collected at the bottom of the hydropower plant. He releases them at the top of the hydropower plant so they can swim further upriver.

Jan-Åke, being on the supervisory board of the Swedish Hydropower Association, propagates the development of more small hydropower in Sweden. In contradiction to large hydropower, the flow of the river is not altered using small scale hydropower. It is a sustainable way of producing electricity. Having lived with the river for over 30 years Jan-Åke has noticed the climate changing, luckily the flow in “his river” has only been increasing. After almost a century the turbine will soon be replaced when his sun will take over the operations of the hydropower plant.

Jan 24

Getting their own life back on track while creating sustainable gadgets

Just south of Harare I visited a NGO which helps people affected by HIV/AIDS with medicine and accommodation. When they grow strong again they are prepared for their re-entry into society. This is where the SETA Foundation steps in, the Society for Engineering and Technology in Africa.

Gideon, the operations executive of the organisation, explained me how he dislikes the fact that most of their technological gadgets are imported from Japan. “People from Zimbabwe should be able to produce the same products and we are working hard to reach that goal”.

Gideon, Alfred, Emanuel and Ian showing their self-made gadgets

The SETA Foundation teaches people like Alfred the skills to produce and repair Renewable Energy Gadgets. Easy solutions which can bring light and water to their home communities. I was shown some cool LED-lights rechargeable by solar panels and special buckets which could be used to have a hot shower!

Dec 23

Stage 18: Harare – Pretoria (1148km) completed!

Dec 23

Stage 17: Dodoma – Harare (2164km) completed!

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A solar panel is the start of a new business

Makaiko bought a 85W-peak solar panel for his shop in Malawi one year ago. He charges 40 Kwacha (0,10 EUR) to charge the mobile phones of the people in his village. Like that he earns a steady income and is soon able to pay off the solar panel. His next move is to buy a better battery to connect to the 90.000 Kwacha solar panel.

Nov 20

Geothermal energy and a lion in the same picture?!

During Cape to Cape 2012  there is only little time for sight seeing. Therefore It was a nice surprise that the only way to reach Isaac was through Hell’s Gate National Park. Risking my own life in this park full of zebra’s, lion’s and all kind of other dangerous animals I reached the first Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya: Olkaria.

There, Isaac, a drilling engineer, gave me a fantastic tour of the geothermal power plant. The potential for geothermal energy in the rift valley is enormous – fueling Kenya’s growth. Since his graduation Isaac had been aiming to get a job in the renewable energy industry as he wants to help Kenya reduce it’s reliance on fossil fuels. Coincidentally, it is a technology from the oil industry which Isaac masters very well, directional drilling. By drilling at a slight angle it is possible to go through more fault lines and produce electricity more efficiently.

Because of the expansion currently going on at Olkaria there is much construction going on. I did not manage to capture a lion and a geothermal power plant in the same picture – nonetheless the sight of these steam-wells in the middle of the park looked very nice. Click here for some more pictures.

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Stage 16: Nairobi – Dodoma (877km) completed!

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