ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

Cars fueled by hydrogen will be tested on Aran Islands

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The SEAFUEL project, aimed at developing the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy source, has been launched by NUI Galway. It will see a fleet of cars powered by the fuel take to the roads in the Aran Islands, Madeira in Portugal and the Canary Islands.

The €3.5 million three year project aims to promote and support the shift towards a low-carbon economy by showing how it is feasible to power local transport networks using the hydrogen.

In particular the team wants to demonstrate the viability of producing, distributing and using the gas generated by renewable energy and sea water in Atlantic areas.

The €3.5m project led by NUI Galway will also see construction of a hydrogen plant on the Canary Islands, where up to 25kg of hydrogen gas a day will be produced, sufficient to power up to 10 commercially-available cars with a maximum range of 600km. The hydrogen will be generated using seawater and solar panels, and if successful, similar plants could be installed in offshore and isolated communities, including the Aran Islands.

The project is also being piloted in Madeira in Portugal.

Aran...2nd NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Dun Aengus the prehistoric

The project aims to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions, particle matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), in line with the Clean Air Programme for Europe 2008/50/EC, and provide a pathway for isolated regions to become energetically independent, leading to future installations in other Atlantic regions. An alternative fuels model for islands will be developed to fulfil the requirements that each of the partner regions propose for their ‘Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS3), aimed at low carbon economy and efficient use of marine resources.

Dr Pau Farràs from the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, sais the project is aimed at establishing a business model to help offshore communities reduce energy imports.

“The plan for the project is to study if this model is a viable business model to export to other places within the islands and other regions,” he said.

“The Aran Islands already has electric vehicles, and we are looking at other possibilities including heat, but also for boats and ferries. We are focused on the islands because they are so dependent on imports.

“This is a carbon-free fuel which will be good for the island and will break the dependency.”

Cow

A place to Bere in mind

Bere island lies in Bantry Bay, in the shadow of the famous Hungry Hill though with a high point of 267m at Knockallig is no mere pancake itself.

Bere Island is the second largest Irish island when islands connected by causeways or bridges are discounted. It is outranked only by Inishmore. In terms of population it is also the second ranked according to the same criterion with 216 people (2011 census). In common with other large islands it was once inhabited by over 1,000 people and peaked in 1926 with 1,182.

Bere island school-2

Islanders and best friends, Michael Orpen and Aoife Walsh, Bere Island, West Cork, running to rehearsals in the local heritage centre for their annual Nativity School Play. Michael played the part of Joseph and Aoife played the part of Mary in this year’s schools production on the Island
Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan

And where many islands have dwindling populations with few activities, the phenomenal community spirit of Bere Island binds the island together as well as bringing in many visitors for these events. The list of activities upcoming for 2018 would put many large towns to shame. Some of the events planned include a religious retreat at Easter, an islands’ festival in June, Children’s summer camp in July, A Heritage Week in August and the All-Island football tournament in September. With hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, bars, cafes, restaurants and its Bakehouse Cafe with its sizzling garlic prawns, the over-riding impression of Bere Island is of a thriving
island community.

Scoil Mhicil Naofa is the school on Bere Island, which in the early 1900s, once had a total of three schools. It is the ’last school standing’ in Bantry Bay’s islands with two teachers and 18 pupils.

West Cork’s islands are taking a population battering, with Sherkin Island’s school closing, after 124 years’ service to the community, in 2016. Whiddy and Dursey also had their own schools. The school on Whiddy Island closed in 1947 with seven children on the roll, and the Dursey Island school was forced to close in 1975 when there were just five pupils left.

Principal of Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada explains how, as with all small rural schools, maintaining numbers is a constant issue: ‘This year five pupils will be leaving to start secondary school in Castletownbere and we have only three children due to start school.  We currently don’t have anyone in second class, as there was no intake that year,’ she said.

Principal Ní Dhonnchada and Katrina Ladden both live on the mainland and travel onto the island every day by ferry.  Support teacher Caoimhe Healy joins them two days a week.  Katrina teaches junior infants to second class, and Deirdre teaches third to sixth classes, with school secretary Marion O’Sullivan keeping everything running smoothly.

Bere island school-1

Sonia O’Sullivan with Bere Island national school                       Photo Niall Duffy @WestCorkPhoto

Physical activity is a big part the curriculum. Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada says: ‘We were actually one of the first schools in Beara to start weekly swimming lessons.’

Once a week, the children travel to the Westlodge Hotel in Bantry for their lesson. ‘Being on an island just means it takes a bit of extra planning. Whereas a mainland school needs to organise a bus to Bantry, we need to organise a boat to get us to the bus!’

Deirdre Ní Dhonnchada feels that ultimatley teaching in an island school doesn’t pose any major challenges. ‘It all takes a little bit more planning, but the very nature of an island community means that people always rally round to help out. The school is very much part of the community here, and we know anytime we need any assistance in arranging something, we only have to put the word out, and it happens.’

See earlier blogs https://europeansmallislands.com/2016/12/04/small-island-schools-perform-well/ (Norway) and https://europeansmallislands.com/2016/09/01/primary-schools-study/ (Clare Island and Sweden).

Many thanks to the Southern Star and the Irish Examiner:

http://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2018/02/10/4151623-bere-island-school-is-last-one-standing-on-bantry-bays-islands/

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/lifestyle/the-islands-of-ireland-a-place-to-bere-in-mind-825219.html

Islands from above

Looking up at the sky to enjoy the diversity and beauty of clouds is a pastime as ancient as humanity itself. Yet only during the past century—thanks to the Wright brothers and other pioneering aviators—have we had the ability to look down on clouds from above.

A top-down view of clouds has led to important advances in meteorology and atmospheric science. These images shows pictures of the Canary Islands taken from satellites. The first image shows forest fires in 2007, the second image is from 2013.

Forest fires on Canary Islands NASA Aqua 2007Canary Islands NASA Terra satellite 2013

Sometimes satellite pictures show nature’s simple beauty. On May 20, 2015, the MODIS camera on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the third image of several cloud vortices swirling downwind of the Canary Islands and Madeira.

Canary Islands May 2015 B

Theodore von Kármán, a Hungarian-American physicist, was the first to describe the physical processes that create long chains of spiral eddies like the ones shown above. Known as von Kármán vorticesthe patterns can form nearly anywhere that fluid flow is disturbed by an object. In this case, the unique flow occurs as winds rush past the tall peaks on the volcanic islands. As winds are diverted around these high areas, the disturbance in the flow propagates downstream in the form of vortices that alternate their direction of rotation.

You can find NASA images and animations of our planet at https://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_cat.php?scheme=COLLECTION

Islands are beautiful not only to live upon but also to observe from far up.

Under stjärnorna

 

Islands Initiative Secretariat

Winter Island Stockholm

Thanks to the remarkable and unfailing work of Kostas Komninos and Alkisti Florou at DAFNI, the consortium in which ESIN is one of 26 partners and which is headed by CPMR, has submitted our application for the Islands Initiative Secretariat (re Call for Tenders ENER/B#2017-462). Small islands are part of a major European initiative.

Wow.
 Tender

A strange and mystic water visit

Excuse my language, but I spent the 30th of May last year on such a strange and mythic visit I cannot find any other words for:

https://www.kth.se/blogs/water/2018/01/descent-into-pussy-fountain/

 

Congratulations Estonia

Ice-road-3

100 years ago the peace talks between Soviet Russia and the German Empire collapsed and the Germans accupied mainland Estonia (but not the islands). The Estonian National Council Maapäev issued an Estonian Declaration of Independence on 23 February, 1918. It was read to the people from the balcony of the Endla Theatre in Pärnu at eight o’clock in the evening but not until next morning, Estonia was publicly proclaimed as an independent and democratic republic. It was the 24 February 2018.

There was not yet a happy ending, however. Next day, German troops entered Tallinn. The German authorities recognised neither the provisional government, nor its claim for Estonia’s independence, counting them as a self-styled group usurping sovereign rights of the German-Baltic nobility.

Imperial germany was crushed in the First World War and Estonian was free from 1920. With  the outbreak of the Second World War, Estonia was invaded first by Soviet and then by Germany and then by Soviet again, who made it a Soviet Union until 1991.

Estonia is a strange country: they sing a lot, they don’t go to church, there much more women than men (100/84) and they have 800 islands more than hitherto believed. The official number of Estonian islands now stands at 2,355 if you count islands in lakes.

This is one third more than previously believed and due to improved survey methods showing that Estonia has a total of 2,355 islands and islets, instead of the previously held 1,521.

However, only 318 of these are larger than 1 hectare, or 10,000 square meters.

Agnes Jürjens from the Land Board says improved technology allowed researchers to succesfully map small, previously unaccounted for islets and holms. “In addition, the ground has risen in northern and western Estonia, and the changing water level, as well as storms, can also alter the coastline,” she explained.

The news might come as further blow to neighboring Latvia, which has a famously low number of islands, officially at 1, and that too is man-made. Latvia did issue claims to Runö = Ruhnu at the beginning of last century, but the island, which lies closer to Latvia than Estonia, was added to Estonia in 1919.

One way to reach Estionian islands is on the ice roads used in winter. It is an unusual “fixed link” and a beautiful experience.

Ice-road-1OpenIce-road-2Closed

Europe’s friendliest island?

tilos-hugs

Tilos won the EU Sustainable Energy Award 2017 with its renewable energy-based battery station and smart microgrid, sending a very strong message that alternative, community-level schemes that foster energy storage are becoming a viable reality and a way to address energy security for islands.

But the 800-strong community might also be Europe’s friendliest island, having made 50 refugees feel at home. New arrivals are being given accommodation and residency, as long as they work and integrate.

Most migrants in Greece live in camps, while Tilos has housed 50 migrants.

Kaousay al Damad

Kaousay al Damad came to Tilos from a camp on Lesbos. He works in the bakery: – “I lost seven months in Lesbos. I need work. I’m not coming here for eating, for sleeping, for ‘please give me money’ or ‘please give me home.’ When I arrived to Tilos, all my life changed. This is not Tilos. This name is not Tilos, it is dreamland.”

The Syrians of Tilos have been here less than a year. Many locals hope they will stay.

Maria Kamma is the Mayor of Tilos: ”If this small island managed to do this then it is a bright example that with a little bit of effort there will be no refugee crisis, no humanitarian crisis, there will be no refugee problem, not only in Greece but in all of Europe, too.”

Maria Kamma is the chairman of the Greek island organisation Hellenic Small Islands Network (HSIN), proud member of ESIN, which will hold its 2018 annual general meeting on Tilos in May, 2018.

http://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2017/9/59c37cb74/greek-islanders-open-hearts-businesses-refugees.html

Tilos-beach