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Monthly ArchiveApril 2017

PROJECT “LET’S INVENT A BANKONOTE”

Scarce resources, valuable resources, resources to share.

The bank of Italy is traditionally committed to raising financial literacy in Italy, also through the involvement of citizens in specific didactic initiatives to approaching their

own functions.

Our class entered the competition of the banck of Italy “let’s invent a banknote”.

We had to make a banknote by following some themes; the theme chosen for this banknote was: scarce resources, valuable resources, resources to share.

The banknote ha sas a figurative element a waterfall indicating the preciousness of water; in fact, water is a ghift we was given by nature, and we can’t help it. The three glasses of water, one full, one half empty, and one empty, go to show that water does not last forever, as all the other things, so you have to take care of it and use it in the tight extent. Finally, the fountain goes to indicate how man was able to share, to bring this precious resource to everyone. Moreover, the symbol indicate show is at the root of everything, even of the world and our existence.

SOLAR POWER

What it is

The Sun is the source of solar energy produced using directly the rays arriving on Earth.

Solar Energy Source

The sun, a large sphere of incandescent gas, has got a much hotter surface than the Earth and for this reason it is similar to a huge thermal power plant.

The solar energy comes from the union of very small elementary particles, called protons, which constitute the majority of the mass of the sun. The protons, in continuous movement because of the high temperatures to which they are subjected, collide with each other, producing helium, a light gas, and a lot of energy. A part of it is transformed into light energy and is transmitted in space, but only a small quantity comes to us.

How it is exploited

The intermittent nature of solar radiation as an energy source makes indispensable the use of storage devices of the energy produced during the hour and favourable periods. The energy of solar rays can be used to produce electric power, through photovoltaic cells, or to produce heat, through solar panels.

The photovoltaic cells

The photovoltaic cells are very thin sheets of silicon which, affected by sunlight, generate electric power that can be directly used, they can only be used to power small appliances, since they have not great efficiency.

Solar panels

The photovoltaic panels are constituted by a kind of box with a sheet of glass positioned on the front surface and a black sheet positioned on the lower one. Between the two sheets there is a coil in which water circulates in the majority of cases and, only in a few cases, air. The glass lets the light filter; this one, then, is captured and converted into heat by the black surface. The heat cannot escape from the glass, so it heats the water that circulates in the coil and then it is put into a heating system. The cost of such a facility is quite high: a lot of panels are necessary to heat enough water and, in addition, the panels work well only in very sunny areas.

Environmental impact

Solar energy, like other renewable sources, is a clean energy, because its use is perfectly integrated into the natural cycles. Although some environmental effects are well visible, it does not produce polluting emissions and does not alter the environmental balances of our Earth.

Our Beautiful Country and the Photovoltaics

Uses and purposes of the technologies employed to harness solar energy
One of our main tasks to incorporate the alternative resources in order to protect our planet for generations to come. The solar energy is also an alternative to reduce the cost of electrical energy and it is a good resource because it can be used in different ways.
Different techniques for the use of solar energy have been developed in the corse of history, for example, for cooking, melting metals and even for war purposes (you have only to think of Archimedes’s burning glasses). However, the use of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal) has prevailed in the modern era; all these are nothing more than solar energy by living organisms over millions of years and ready to use at any time.
The awareness of the relative scarcity of fossil fuels and the sensitivity towards their effects on the climate and the environment, as well as an adequate technological development, have led to search the uses solar radiation to replace fossil fuels, at least in part, for energy ends.
A first classification can follow the criterion the technological uses of solar radiation, that is of the ends they pursue.  

We can, thus, have:
• solar thermal which includes the technologies to get low and average temperature heat for the production of sanitary hot water, for the summer and winter air-conditioning of environments, for cooking (solar furnaces), for water treatment (desalination) and for some industrial processes (drying, ageing, etc.);
• solar power, whose technologies are aimed at the production of electrical energy in a direct way (photovoltaic, thermoelectric Seebeck effect) or by means of the heat collection at high temperature and its conversion with thermodynamic cycles (Rankine, Stirling).
• solar chemistry which includes different technologies for the utilization of solar energy as a driving force for chemical reactions aiming at the production of fuels, purification treatments or other industrial processes.
Finally, we can mention the exploitation of passive solar and natural light with technologies related to architecture which, beginning  from the first human experiences ( you have only to think of the Igloo or African huts with roofs of banana lives ) have become and more sophisticated.

 Italy: the first in the world for the use of solar energy, now covers 8% of requirements
The Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets report sais that global production capacity of Photovoltaics in treased by 50 GW (gigawatts) in 2015, reaching at least 227 GW. The strongest growth was in China, with 15.3 gigawatts more in 2015, followed by Japan (11 GW), the USA (7 GW), the  EU (7 GW) and India (2 GW). The Asia-Pacific region alone accounts for 59% of the global solar energy market. After Italy, Greece and Germany the countries that use photovoltaics more are Belgium and Japan (around 4%), followed by Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Australia (around 3.5%). China is the 21st, with only 1% of its requirements covered by the sun. Worse still the USA, at the 25th place with less than 1%.
These data confirm a strong position of our country in the field of clean energy. The main effort was made particularly in a period between 2007 and 2012 and renewable energies had the highest electricity production performance in 2014 (43%), when we had a historical record in the field of geothermal energy. Besides, at beginning of the referendum on the drills, the government has said that it to cover with renewable energies the 50% of electricity needs.
The commitment has been applied more to fossil fuels and less to renewable energies that are not properly supported. In fact, the retroactive cuts of Renzi’s government to the incentives and renewable energies appeared in Decree about “Competitiveness” and contributed to weaken investors’ interests in Italy last year. The consequence of this is that Italy is losing positions in the ranking globally pointing to new energy markets, after pulling the sprint in the most difficult moment, when costs were higher and yields lower.

SAFETY AT WORK

Security at work for the Italian law is the set of preventive measures to be taken continuously to make safe and healthy workplaces, in order to prevent or reduce the exposure of workers to the risks involved. These measures are intended to improve working conditions, reduce the possibility of injury to workers, independent contractors (eg. Subcontractors) and to those who are, even occasionally, inside the workplace. Measures of hygiene and health protection should be taken to protect workers from potential health damage such as accidents and dangerous diseases, as well as the general population and the environment. From a legal point of view, the term refers to the activity of prescription of prevention and protection measures (technical, organizational and procedural), to be taken by the employer, his associates (managers and officers) and workers themselves. In order to simplify the complex legislation, the Italian legislature has structured essentially three main axes on which the legislation on the safety in the places and at the workplace moves:

  1. General measures of protection
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Health surveillance
  4. RSPP and RLS.

 

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READ SAFETY AT WORK

 

 

IN ITALY…

The Italian Legislation in the field of reference to the aspects concerning the prevention on the workplace is the Legislative Decree 81/08, and in particular the Articles 31-35 illustrating the structure of an Effective Prevention and Protection System, defining skills, requirements and purposes and detailing the guidelines.

 

…AND IN EUROPE

The European Legislation in the field of reference to the aspects on concerning the prevention on the workplace is the EC Directive 89/391, in particular the Article 13 in which the general framework for the prevention management on the workplace is provided, with specific reference to the obligations of workers.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE A WORKPLACE SAFE?

Workshops contain a wide range of handtools and it is essential that only the correct tools are employed for a particular job. Electrical equipment should be designed and constructed in order to prevent the danger from shock and fire and they should be always be kept in safe and good conditions. All electrical power distribution circuits should be protected by differential protections; any gas supply must be automatically interrupted when some failures of the system take place. Safety spectacles or goggles must be worn whenever flyng chips, swarfs, and coolant splashes might endanger the eyes. Moreover, workplace health and safety alsoregarde lighting, the arrangement of forniture in the building, and the location of tools. Obviously, some jobs are more dangerous than others, so lots of organisations esignate a special team which will monitor safety on a regular basis in order to minimise the risks of accidents. Generally speaking, larger organisations have got better resources as far as safety is concerned; in so many smaller workplace, on the only contrary, the only expert is the person designated as the health and safety officer. In any case,every organisation needs to constantly review it’s safety standards.

 

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RSPP AND RLS

 

A special role among the entities responsible for safety at work is attributed to the Head of the Prevention and Protection Service (RSPP), how is appointed by the employer and participates with the company doctor and the Workers’ Safety Representative to the periodical meeting called annually by the employer. The figure of the RSPP can be internal or external to the company, and in some cases, the employer himself may fill this role. The key interlocutor of the RSPP and the employer on the safety issues in the workplace is the Workers’ Safety Representative (RLS) how, in the companies employing up to 15 employees is directly elected by the workers within them, while, in companies with more than 15 workers, he is elected within the present union representatives. The RLS has the right to be consulted in advance by the employer, with regard to risk assessment, the identification, the planning, the implementation and the verification of prevention.
The employer can be held responsible for injury or murder if he does not adapt to the standards of worker protection tools. In fact, the Article. C.P. 590, “Personal Injuries Negligent”, focuses on serious injuries and, in the fifth paragraph, sets out the requirements for the prevention of accidents and occupational diseases, as well as the ones concerning the field of hygiene. The Article. 589 C.P., in particular, regards the manslaughter as a result of the violation of regulations about the prevention of accidents at work: in case of death it provides from to 2 to 7 years of imprisonment.

Energy sources

The energy is actually a secondary energy source. This means that we get electricity through the conversion of other sources of energy, such as coal, nuclear, wind power or solar energy. These are called primary sources. The energy sources we use to make electricity can be non-renewable or renewable. The four most common non-renewable energy sources are oil and petroleum products, natural gas, coal and uranium. Non-renewable energy sources come out of the ground as liquids, gases, and solids. Petroleum is the only commercial non-renewable fuel that is naturally in liquid form. Natural gas and propane are normally gases, and coal is a solid. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and propane are all considered fossil fuels because they were formed from the buried remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Renewable energy sources can be replenished.  The five most common renewable sources are biomass, water, geothermal energy, wind and solar energy. Unlike fossil fuels, non-biomass renewable sources of energy do not directly emit greenhouse gases. Power transmission in a country is generally done through a grid system, which supplies a whole country from a small number of very large and highly effective power stations. In power stations huge turbine generators transform mechanical energy into electric power. Turbines can be driven by different energy sources.

Here are the main types:

 

Thermoelectric Turbines are driven by the steam produced by the combustion of fossil fuels.
Nuclear Turbines are driven by the steam produced by the heat generated by the nuclear fission of 235-uranium.
Geothermal These power stations exploit the energy produced by underground steam.
Hydroelectric Turbines are driven by the kinetic energy of water collected in the reservoirs or by the movement of ocean tides and river falls.
Wind Power is produced by aerogenerators which harness the kinetic energy of wind.
Solar Special plates which exploit solar energy and transform it into electricity.

 

Renewable Energies

Renewable energies are energy sources whose use does not damage the natural resources available to man. The rate of regeneration of these resources is so high that, despite the continuous demand for energy, their quantity remains nearly unchanged and therefore they can be considered inexhaustible. Some renewable sources are available in large quantities and are not affected by their exploitation from man. A typical example of renewable energy is wind power.

Other renewable sources, however, can run out when man exaggerates the use of them. These sources are called exhaustible renewable energies. For example, wood is a renewable resource, because some trees are cut while others begin to grow. However, if the number of cut trees is higher than those that grow, there will be a progressive reduction of the forest in the course of time, until it completely disappears. In this second case, the excessive exploitation has transformed a renewable resource in an exhautible resource.

The main renewable resources

Solar power

It is the best known renewable source and is used to produce heat and, thanks to photovoltaic technology, to produce electricity.

Wind energy

It can be transformed directly into mechanical energy and indirectly into electric energy. Wind energy is one of the oldest sources of renewable energy. It has been the only source of energy for sea transport over long distances since millennia.

Biomass

They are organic resources that can be used as fuels. For example, the inferior quality stuff from the agro-food processing can be used as raw material to produce thermal energy by combustion. Some organic substances can be transformed into biofuels.

Geothermal

It is the energy of the Earth and the heat coming from the subsoil. The temperature increases in hearthly depths. In some areas the thermic difference among the surface and the underground layers is greater and can be exploited to heat and create a motion of natural circulation of liquids.

Hydropower

It is the movement of water masses. The main sources of hydroelectric energy are generated by the natural cycle of water, by waves and tides.

The fossil energy sources and nuclear source are, however, considered to be of limited resources and non-renewable given that regenerate naturally through a much longer cycle compared to renewable ones.

Consumption of Primary Sources in Italy in 2004

To meet the energy demand millions of tonnes oil equivalent, on average 185 Mtoe, were consumed in Italy in 2004 by using various primary sources. The amounts of energy used for each primary source are specified in the following table:

Primary sources used in 2004
Oil

(Mtoe)

Methane

(Mtoe)

Coal

(Mtoe)

Renewable

(Mtoe)

Nuclear (Mtoe) Total
(Mtoe)
97,046 58,128 13,305 12,601 4,120 185,200
52,4% 31,4% 7,2% 6,8% 2,2% 100%

 

The International Exhibition Expo Astana 2017 Theme: Future Energy, the energy of the future

            

The International Exhibition Expo Astana 2017 will be held in the capital of Kazakhstan from June 10 to 10 September 2017. The theme “Future Energy” (energy of the future) will have as its object three macro-themes: providing universal access to energy, producing it by limiting CO2 emissions, improving efficiency in the sector.


A sphere in the middle

The Astana exposure Works began in April 2014 and their conclusion was in December 2016. The centre, not only physical, is the sphere – it is the largest ever built by man with its 80 metres – which will hold the pavilion of the host country. Thematic areas and international pavilions are around it.

The “green energy” central theme in the global economy of the future
The ways to produce clean energy will be discussed at Expo Astana 2017, dealing with the issue of energy availability, of sustainability and of the levels of the development of renewable energies, expected in the coming years.
The theme, however, is central especially for the future, not only in terms of environment and public health, but also in relation to the economic and social growth of the communities living on our Planet. And that is why the organizers’ intentions, will be of starting a comparison among different governments, that take seriously the problems that the developing countries will have to face, even with regard to the effects of climate changes on local economies.

Italy’s participation in Expo 2017
More than one hundred countries including Italy accepted to take part in Expo Astana 2017. Besides the 895 square metres of the Italian Pavilion, plus additional 700 square metres for commercial services, business meetings and restaurants, there will also be spaces dedicated to the Ministry of Environment, of the Protection of Land and Sea, to the Enea, to so many Italian regions over 20 large and medium-sized businesses in the energy sector.

UNDERGROUND ENERGY

What is the geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is a form of exploitable and renewable energy , if used in a short time ,which is derived from the heat present in the deeper layers of the earth’s crust, where the temperature increases on average of about 30 ° C for km. The deposits of this energy, however, are dispersed and in depth so high as to prevent the exploitation. Therefore,in order to extract and use the heat trapped in the Earth, it is necessary to identify the areas where it is concentrated.

What advantages can we take of this energy?

The use of this energy has advantages as the inexhaustibility in short times, if it is exploited in a rational way, and less pollution of the surrounding environment,  as it is possible the presence of ​​toxic elements in the area, such as sulfur, mercury and arsenic contained in geothermal fluids. For this reason  these geothermal areas are subjected to annual environmental checks.

What are the disadvantages?

Among the several disadvantages, the main ones are:

  • The typacal unpleasant smell of rotten eggs of thermal springs caused by hydrogen sulphide also leaks out from geothermal power plants.This is a problem particularly adverse to the resident population in the vicinity of a geothermal power plant and solved by installing special abatement equipment.
  • The external impact of geothermal power plants may cause some landscaping problems. The plant , in fact, seems to be a tangle of typical anti-aesthetic pipes of industrial facilities. This problem can be easily solved by using an architecture that respects the landscape and the common sense of aesthetics.

What is the history of this energy?

Hot springs have been used for bathing since Paleolithic. The oldest known spa is a stone pool in China, built on Lisan Mount during the Qin Dynasty in the third century BC. In the first century AD, the Romans conquered Aquae Sulis, now Bath, in Somerset in England, and used the hot springs to feed public baths and underfloor heating, which probably represent the first commercial use of geothermal energy, although the most ancient geothermal heating system for a neighborhood was installed at Chaudes-Aigues,in France and became operational in the fourteenth century. The first industrial exploitation originated in 1827 with the use of the steam of a geyser to extract the boric acid from a mud volcano, at Larderello, in Italy. Today the United States has reached the position as a world leader in geothermal electricity production and the largest group of geothermal power plants around the world is The Geysers in California. The Philippines is the second largest producer; in fact, the ‘use of such energy constitutes about 27% of its own production of electricity.

What are the available areas to recover it?

Some particular areas may present conditions in which the temperature of the subsoil is higher than the average, a consequence of tectonic or volcanic phenomena. In fact,  energy  can be easily recovered using geothermal energy in these “hot spots”.

How many types of geothermal sources can be?

Geothermal sources can be divided into three types:

  • hydrothermal sources: the source is not too deep (1000-2000 m) and depending on the pressure it can be classified as a geothermal source steam or water-dominant
  • geopressurized sources: the source is located at greater depths (3000-10000 m) and the water contained therein is at high pressures (1000 atm) and at a temperature of 160 ° C
  • petrothermal sources: the source is located at greater depths than the previous ones and is composed of hot rocks (without water). About 85% of geothermal resources are of this type but they are also difficult to use because of the lack of water.

ScamBioLoGiCo A right and shared shop

It is a shop for the sale of organic products, at Zero Kilometre, unpacked, of Fair Trade and Lucan handicrafts. Spaces dedicated to the barter of goods in right condition are present. It is also a place of meeting, training, research and development for the diffusion of environmental culture, the sharing of knowledge and the citizens’awareness. ScamBioLoGiCo is the first Italian Green Station run by a social company of which Legambiente Onlus Basilicata is an only manager.

ZERO KILOMETRE

The seasonability, the local production, the biological are the key features that the products present in the shop must have and which are carefully selected. With buying fruit and vegetables, bakery and  counter products (salami, cheese), only coming from local agricultural producers, we can:

  1. support the local economy;
  2. guarantee food safety and containment of market prices;
  3. protect the territories through the promotion of quality agriculture;
  4. reduce pollution and the production CO2.

SFUSO

Buying products on tap, deprived of packaging means reducing pollution, the production of CO2 and food waste, learning to regulate the expenditure on necessities. You can find in the department of loose: detergents and personal hygiene products, cereals and pulses.

FAIR TRADE

Buying products of fair trade you can:

  1. ensure to small producers in developing countries a direct and sustainable access to the market, favouring the transition from a precarious condition to a situation of economic self-sufficiency and of respect for human rights;
  2. strengthen the role of producers and workers as primary stakeholders in the organizations in which they work;
  3. operate on a large scale to achieve a greater equity in the rules and practices of international trade.

ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS

Choosing products friends of the environment is a gesture of care towards oneself and towards community. This is why you can find at ScamBioLoGiCo: plates, cutlery, glasses and biodegradable and compostable packagings, napkins and place mats made from recycled paper, ecocosmetics (shower gel, shampoo, soaps, body creams, natural and ecological toothpaste for the whole family).

MEETING AND SHARING

ScamBioLoGiCo places its charming upper floor at your disposal. It was completely renovated in the energy class A as the rest of the structure, with a heating and air replacement system, with laminated wood flooring and typical iron vaults of the ancient railway building. In continuity with the shop, this common space wants to be a place of meeting, exchange and training open to the town.

 

ScamBioLoGiCo

ScamBioLoGiCo is the first Green Station of Italy, the result of the agreement signed among Legambiente, the Italian State Railways and the Italian Railway Network for the re-functioning project of the Upper Station of Potenza.

The structure houses recycling workshops, exhibition spaces for the sale of organic products at zero kilometre, which are loose, unpackaged and of Fair Trade; spaces dedicated to the barter of goods in right condition but it is also a place of meeting, training, research and development for the diffusion of environmental culture and the sharing of the knowledge.

The project –  made possible thanks to the support of the Foundation with the South within the Project Center for sustainability – allowed the recovering and redeveloping of the property of the Upper Station of Santa Maria, dating back to the last years of the ‘800. The purpose was to preserve the existing architecture typical of the time but, at the same time, to give a sustainable mark starting from the use of biocompatible materials and construction techniques, preferring as much as possible commodities coming from recycling in order to reach a certification of energy consumption class A.

In fact, the construction is made up of natural wood fiber panels, and the pillars are lined with rock  wool also used for the outside coat giving the building a large insulation capacity. There is not a real network of attack for gas but a photovoltaic system capable of producing electricity is present. This one, by the use of an inverter,  turns the direct current into alternate current indispensable to feed two heat pumps, which are outside and are necessary to heat the place.

On the basis of these principles of environmental sustainability and with a viewed of a training of the experts and the workers employed in the construction sector, a School Yard was also activated during the restructuring works.

This yard, thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding between Legambiente Basilicata, EFMEA Potenza (Authority for the Construction Training), INAIL –  Regional Directorate for Basilicata and the Paint shop Lamorte – made possible realize the insulating coat suitable to reduce the use of energy linked to the heating of the environments, with the help of nine asylum seekers, guests in the different structures present in the town.

The experience of the Scalo goods of Upper Potenza is the first of the Green Station projects around Italy, projects having as pulsating heart that of increasing the value of not attended spaces inside the stations and railway junctions, intended not as arrival, departure or social decay places anymore, since they are abandoned, but more and more as meeting and socializing places. Besides, they can also become urban magnets, centres of social and environmental services and collective mobility.

We would like to thank Mr. Marco De Biasi, an Only Manager Energy S.r.l. social Company, for guiding us to the discovery of this wonderful Green Station and for the great enthusiasm he puts into his work.

Let’s know something about our school-work experience and the blog “Costrueco”

The blog “Costrueco” originates as a diary about the School-Work experience carried out by 27 students of the class 3rd E of the Liceo Scientifico “P.P. Pasolini” in Potenza, the chief-town of Basilicata, a region south of Italy.

Starting from the collaboration with property company  “Astor” and the “Unibas” of Potenza, the students had a complete vision of the Sciences which are applied to the systems of energy saving and of Sofety in the building sector, thus understanding that the hard  and a bit boring theoritical studies (Carnot’s Cycle, the study of waves, of inorganic chemistry), which they are dealing with, find a practical use in everyday life.

Sensitizing to Sustainable Development concerned  then many other aspects such as: recycling, fair trade, sustainable agricolture, the preference for product’s at zero kilometre.

A sheer multilinguistic editorial staff originates in this way, which, enjoying itself, learnt to choose information, to create and to plan, to work in team, and to publish in a simple, prompt and straight way, with using the web and the most advanced digital technologies.

Our motto was: “A real discovery trip is not searching for new lands, but having new eyes”.

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