Archive for the ‘Renewable energy’ Category


Sun and Salt in Gujurat

If flying a quarter of the way around the planet doesn’t leave you a little dazed then what you find when you explore northern India certainly will. We went to Gujarat on a fact-finding mission, and returned with our notebooks (and senses) overflowing.


First, there were the physical symptoms: jet lag and sleeplessness operated with a push-me-pull-you disregard for my wristwatch, until I couldn’t work out if it was bedtime, afternoon or Christmas. Fortunately, our guides Mustakim and Deepak gently corralled us into the back of a 4×4 for the journey from Jamnagar to the Kush Highway. The 4×4 turned out to be essential kit when we came off the road and bumped through a village, with heaps of new brown bricks in buttressed stacks drying in the sunshine. When we rejoined the road, I even managed to close my eyes for a nap, and when we reached our destination, I felt refreshed, ready to stretch my legs, with my body clock confidently assuring me it was now early afternoon on a fine spring day at some point in the early 1980s.

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Scoping CeMAT

Not an hour’s drive inland from Almerìa through the mud coloured mountains is CeMAT, the home of solar energy research in Spain. A few hours west are the sun loungers and chippies of the Costa Del Sol, but in Almerìa, the smiles are broader and the English more broken (though not as damaged as my Spanish). This may be where Club 18-30 fears to tread, but the climate is ideal for the CeMAT scientists to catch some rays.


Agriculture in Spain is about control of water and sunlight. On the jouney from Malaga, we drove past acres of covered crops, tents filling the valleys between the mountains like giant summer music festivals for plants. Stopping for directions en route to CeMAT, one side of the road was home to old vines and new saplings; the other side was a stony desert. So we arrived with the aims of Mitravitae in mind: taking energy from the sun and rejuvenating the soil. The evidence of the necessity of water for life was, if not all around us, then certainly on the southern side of this particular road.

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