nedjelja, 19. studenoga 2017.

No-till farm technique



No-till is a technique and tool to achieve the farmer’s objectives of reducing tillage and building soil health. It is also a whole farm system. And these techniques and tools can work equally well on all farms. The term basically describes ways to grow crops each year without disturbing the soil through tillage or plowing. A true no-till system avoids disturbing the soil with tools like chisel plows, field cultivators, disks, and plows. No-till can help your farm in a number of different ways but it is imperative that the system be implemented in a way that encourages success.

Here are just a few of the key concepts to think about:

• No-till depends on the cover crops to provide the nutrition needs of the cash crop. Of course, the nutrients from the cover crops are not available immediately. They are partially available the first year and partially available in successive years.  If your soil is low in organic matter, or if you have not farmed organically before, it may take a while to build the soil.  Think of it as money in the bank. You’re investing in your soil, and as time progresses you will be able to cash in on the dividends or interest from your account.

• Kill is achieved with a roller-crimper rather than synthetic herbicides. It works by rolling the cover crop plants in one direction, crushing them and crimping their stems. The roller-crimper can be front-mounted on a tractor, freeing up the rear of the tractor for a no-till planter, drill or transplanter to plant directly into the rolled cover crop. While other tools, such as a stalk chopper, rolling harrows, and mowers have been used for this purpose, the roller-crimper has several advantages over other tools.

• The rolled cover crop acts as a mulch, preventing annual weeds from growing through the entire season. To achieve adequate weed control, the cover crop should be planted at a high rate and produce approximately 3 to 4 tons to the acre of dry matter. For this reason, cover crops that yield a high amount of biomass work best for the no-till system. It’s also important to select cover crops with a carbon to nitrogen ratio higher than 20:1.  The higher the ratio, the more carbon, and the more slowly the crop will break down.  This will provide consistent weed management through the season.



Here are some suggestions about how to get started—without planting a single seed. The following ideas will help you become a successful no-till farmer, while managing the risks of adjusting to a new system.

Reading and learning
Find out as much as you can about which cover crops do well in your area. This might include talking to other no-till farmers, taking advantage of resources available at your local Extension office, and following up by consulting reference guides.

Assess your farm
Look at your soil types, the crops you intend to plant, the equipment and resources you have and the time you have to explore new planting systems. Like any changes on your farm, knowledge is power and understanding how new cover crop management tools will fit into your operation will be critical to your success.

Source local seed
Locally adapted cover crop seed will give you an edge, providing a crop that’s already adapted to your area.  It will be less likely to winter kill and may perform better on your farm. Since it may take some time to track down a local source, you should begin early.  This is especially true for organic seed since quantities may be limited.

Test plot
Perhaps the biggest source of risk comes from transitioning to a new management system and a completely new technology. During the first couple of years, the learning curve may be fairly steep.  It’s a good idea to start with a small, experimental area or test plot on your farm.


Cover crops are an essential part of any organic system but are especially crucial to the success of no-till in an organic operation and provide a multitude of benefits:

Increase soil organic matter
No-till is an intensive system which requires at least 3 to 4 tons of dry matter per acre to be effective. Cover crops are grown to their full potential, instead of being tilled in at an earlier growth stage. This means that, in general, the organic matter will be higher in carbon and lower in nitrogen making for long-lasting benefits as mulch for weed management.

Provide year-round cover for the soil
Covering the soil increases infiltration, reduces evaporation, stabilizes soil temperatures, provides habitat for soil life, and reduces soil crusting.

Decrease erosion
The roots of the cover crop stabilize soil and reduce runoff, while the above-ground portion of the plants protects the soil against the destructive force of raindrops. In an organic no-till system, actively growing cover crops (or, the rolled and killed cover crops) are in place during key times when erosion can occur, including spring melt, winter thaws, and summer storms.

Capture, hold and stabilize nutrients
Many cover crops (also called “catch crops”) are excellent scavengers of nitrogen and other nutrients. Rye, in particular, can scavenge 25%-100% of residual nitrogen left behind from the previous crop. As covers are rolled down and begin to decompose, this nitrogen is slowly released for use by the subsequent cash crops. Buckwheat is especially good at capturing phosphorus and releasing it for use by cash crops. Cover crop roots can also forage deeper in the soil, bringing calcium and potassium up from untapped soil layers. Unlike chemical fertilizers, organic amendments are more likely to provide a slow release of nutrients.

Increase biological activity
No-till increases diversity on the farm by providing year-round habitat and minimizing soil disturbance. Cover crops provide roots which nourish microorganisms and stabilize organic matter. Aboveground, beneficial insects find both habitat and nectar sources which may lessen the severity of pest insect problems.

Reduce field operations
In organic no-till, the yearly field operations can be as few as two: one pass to roll the cover crop and plant, and another to harvest the crop. Additional field operations may be used at other points in the rotation to establish the cover crops; however, these crops generally don’t require any cultivation to manage weeds.

Save energy
According to some estimates, up to 80% of the energy used in the production of corn is conserved by converting to organic no-till. While the production system may require approved organic fertilizers, energy savings are realized through the elimination of conventional nitrogen fertilizer.

Provide non-chemical weed management
For organic farmers, weed management is ranked as the number one challenge in most surveys. No-till can help by breaking weed cycles and by providing cover through much of the growing season.



If no-till trend caught on, it could have a few big climate benefits. It would lock more carbon in the soil and curtail fossil-fuel use in farm operations. The UNEP estimates that no-tillage operations in the United States have helped avoid 241 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide since the 1970s. That's equivalent to the annual emissions of about 50 million cars.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

srijeda, 8. studenoga 2017.

Silvopasture systems



Silvopasture in Croatia

Silvopasture is the intentional combination of trees, forage plants and livestock together as an integrated, intensively-managed system. Silvopasture can provide profitable opportunities for softwood or hardwood timber growers, forest landowners, and livestock producers.
Farmers in Croatia will have the opportunity to see first hand a project which seeks to demonstrate the feasibility and profitability of combining trees, forage crops and livestock.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) at CCRES Research facility in
Lika-Senj County is managed by Zeljko Serdar. Additional funding over three years will be provided by the Agriculture Program of the CCRES.

Through new plantings and thinning of existing woodlands, CCRES will show three stages in the development of a silvopastoral system. Starting last year, 2016, trees were planted o­n an existing mature pasture. Tube shelters protect the trees from animal damage and improve growing conditions. In this silvopastoral system, pasture crops will provide short term income while tree crops of different rotation lengths will yield medium and long term returns. Nitrogen-fixing forage species, pasture fertilization and animal manure all help improve the soil and tree nutrition. Grazing controls competing brushy species and reduces fire hazard. Trees create a sheltered microclimate to protect animals from heat and cold. Shelter also improves forage quality and lengthens its growing season.

One visible effect of including trees in pastures is the shady haven which they provide for livestock o­n hot summer days. The benefits of providing protection from the hot rays of the summer sun are obvious. It easily follows that animals, which are unable to shelter from the direct sun during the heat of the day, will have to expend energy to deal with their discomfort and/or reduce their feeding activity. Their productivity should decline in proportion to the time spent under these unfavorable conditions. Increased livestock production during hot weather is promoted by CCRES as o­ne of the benefits of having trees. However, there is very little published research available to either verify or disprove this widely held belief.
The prunings of some trees can also be used as fodder, e.g. poplar. The result is better livestock growth. Birds can use conifer trees as perches. From the tops of tree rows, they can easily survey the pasture alleys for insects, worms, and other food items.
Careful observation of animals behavior is necessary to detect and correct potential problems with browsing or rubbing of trees.

In summary, our experience is that silvopastures planted in rows are far superior for livestock production than are either grid or cluster plantings. Trees planted in rows with wide open spaces for pasture production between them, support high forage production and facilitate agricultural operations and animal herding. The large amount of edge created and maintained long into the timber rotation tends to maintain high biodiversity
Electric fencing or individual tree guards may be necessary to protect trees if animals are introduced when they are still small. Fencing is also used in rotational grazing methods to better control forage consumption.

Throughout the duration of the CCRES project at CCRES Research facility, Zeljko Serdar and others will monitor tree growth, crop and animal yields, fuel use and soil fertility. The practical results of the project will be shared with other farmers, both through o­n-site field days and educational displays at other meetings.


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

subota, 28. listopada 2017.

What You'll Study or Why Study Renewable Energy



93% of Renewable Energy students in graduate level employment or further study within six months of graduating.
  • Energy efficiency (buildings, industry, transportation)
  • Renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal)
  • Design for environment and resource efficiency
  • Large-scale energy and environmental systems
  • Clean energy for the developing world
  • Advanced thermodynamics and energy materials
If you’d like to be part of change, here are the 10 best academic institutions to pursue a degree in renewable or sustainable energy systems.

1. Oregon Institute of Technology

In 2005, the Oregon Institute of Technology rolled out North America’s first four-year undergraduate degree program in renewable energy. Today, the Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering program continues to prepare graduates to develop, manage, and implement sustainable energy technologies.
The program provides a foundation in math, physics, and chemistry. Core courses include instruction in energy management, wind power, photovoltaics, and fuel cells. The Institute added a Master of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering in 2012.

2. University of California Berkeley

Berkeley has long been a leader in research that addresses global issues and concerns. Its full-time MBA program in energy and clean technology was created to help individuals in the business and public policy sectors address energy problems. The program explores energy issues from every angle, including engineering, environmental, and fundamental science perspectives.
The university’s Renewable Energy Speaker Series invites leaders in a variety of sustainable and alternative energy sectors to share their insights with current students. Another class partners students with other graduate students from law, engineering, science, and policy programs to address the challenges of bringing new energy technology to the global marketplace.

3. University of Texas at Austin

The engineering program at UT Austin offers an extensive Energy Systems and Renewable Energy Technical Core for bachelor-level engineering students. The program aims to prepare graduates for careers in power systems and generation, grid operation, and renewable energy sources.
Students in this four-year program study both traditional and renewable energy resources and explore the function and design of electrical machines. Courses delve into topics such as nuclear power systems, solar conversion devices, and the development of solar-powered vehicles.

4. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s Energy Institute offers master degrees in energy systems engineering and in sustainable systems. The Energy Systems Engineering program is the first in the country to focus on developing leaders who are prepared to dynamically respond to changes in environmental and energy needs across the globe.
The Sustainable Systems program is a dual degree that prepares graduates with strong foundations in both engineering and sustainability. The program includes courses on ecological sustainability, infrastructure, and how to communicate energy solutions to policy makers. Graduates will be able to engineer energy systems that are sustainable economically, environmentally, and socially.

5. Stanford

Through its Center for Professional Development, Stanford offers graduate and professional certificate programs in renewable energy. These energy technologies certificates are designed for working professionals who want to expand their knowledge or broaden their career options. Certificates take between one and two years to complete and are offered online to better meet the needs of students who are already working full-time in their field.
Students can get either a graduate certificate in energy engineering and technologies or a professional certificate in energy innovation and emerging technologies. Courses explore everything from cellulosic biofuels and solar cells to electrochemical energy conversion and entrepreneurship in engineering and science-based industries.

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It’s no surprise that innovative tech leader MIT has an energy studies minor that provides students with a combination of theory and hands-on experience. MIT views energy as a subject that permeates across all disciplines — so the university integrates undergraduate energy education across all schools, departments, and programs.
MIT also offers undergraduates the chance to participate firsthand in energy research related to a variety of energy and environmental challenges. Research opportunities are held over the summer and involve energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, and geothermal.

7. North Carolina State University

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center started in 1988 with a focus on solar energy. Today, the center offers an award-winning Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series through part of NC State’s continuing education division. Since its inception, the center has received both state and national recognition, including the U.S. Department of Energy Million Solar Roofs Best Progress Award for the Southeast Region.
Courses focus on practical application and help students obtain professional certifications for photovoltaics and solar heating. Technical professionals can fulfill requirements for certification through three 40-hour courses. The program also offers options for contractors, architects, and engineers to complete required continuing education credits for their professional licenses.

8. San Juan College

San Juan College in Farmington, N.M., has been offering solar training for more than 13 years and has one of the longest-standing renewable energy degree programs in the country. Students can pursue either an Associate of Applied Science degree or a certificate with a concentration in photovoltaic and solar thermal systems.
As part of the School of Energy, the Renewable Energy program emphasizes the National Electric Code as well as the design and application of solar energy systems. Courses also take an in-depth look at energy usage and conservation as well as building energy analysis.

9. Ecotech Institute

The first and only career college focused solely on education for careers in renewable energy technology, Ecotech offers a variety of bachelor and associate-level degrees for people who want a career in sustainable energy. Degrees range from a bachelors in business administration with an emphasis on sustainability to an associate degree in renewable energy. There are also options to focus on residential energy management or specific forms of clean energy like wind or solar.
Students in the Renewable Energy program can customize their degree to the specialization of their choice. Specialties include an emphasis on wind, solar, electrical engineering, and waste management.

10. University of Massachusetts Lowell

Whether you’re interested in minoring in sustainable energy or are ready to tackle a Ph.D., UMass Lowell has a renewable energy program to meet your needs. As a national research university, UMass is on the cutting edge of energy research and development.
From its energy engineering minor to its various doctoral programs, UMass offers a well-rounded education that emphasizes service learning and research. Students are encouraged to participate in renewable energy programs and initiatives in their community through SLICE, Service Learning Integrated throughout the College of Engineering.
With demand for clean, renewable energy sources growing, there will be an increased need for skilled workers. There are plenty of options available for people looking to start a career in renewable energy or expand their current professional goals to include sustainable energy. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, these 10 colleges are the best place to start researching which program will meet your education needs and career goals.

Europe?

International agreements on CO2 diminution and European directives on the expansion of renewable energy generation ensure that the recent rapid growth in renewable energy installations will continue. Skills shortages in this sector are already being identified and the expected growth will only exacerbate the situation. Within the rapidly expanding European renewable energy industry, an urgent demand exists for more post-graduate trained staff, specialised in renewable energy technology.

The application process for Academic Year 2017/2018 is now closed, the 2018/2019 process will start on 15 January 2018.

The European Master is a course given by a consortium of Universities, each one with demonstrated experience in teaching and research excellence in a particular renewable energy technology. 
Core Providers
  • MINES-Paristech, France - French-taught 
  • Loughborough University, UK - English-taught 
  • University of Zaragoza, Spain - Spanish-taught 
  • Oldenburg University, Germany - English-taught 
  • Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands - English-taught
Specialisation Providers
  • National Technical University of Athens, Greece - Wind 
  • University of Northumbria, UK - Photovoltaics 
  • University of Zaragoza, Spain - RE Grid Integration 
  • University of Perpignan, France - Solar Thermal
  • Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal - Ocean Energy
  • Hanze University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands - Sustainable Fuel Systems for Mobility

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

srijeda, 27. rujna 2017.

Agroforestry in Croatia



Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) is a non governmental organization registered and working in Croatia in the field of renewable energy, agroforestry, reforestation and sustainable land uses. The organization started working at CCRES Research facility in the year 2013 and has been involved with giving farmers free seeds, training farmers and community at large on more about agroforestry techniques and environmental conservation awareness. CCRES has been able to facilitate planting of trees in forest lands, community farms, schools, waterlines and private lands. Some of the benefits the farmers have been able to acquire from the organization include; free seeds, free training manuals in agroforestry, workshops in agroforestry and sustainable land uses. 





Agroforestry takes advantage of the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock.
Several types of agroforestry:
*Forest Farming: the intentional cultivation of non-timber forest crops underneath the established canopy of an existing forest.
*Forest Gardening: mimicking the structure and function of forests in the way we garden, or using the forest as a model for the way we garden.
*Silvopasture: grazing animals under a forest canopy of about 50% cover, so that grasses can persist
*Riparian Buffers: tree crop systems in waterways like steams, rivers, wetlands, etc.
*Windbreaks: tree crop systems to buffer effects of wind
*Alley Cropping: rows of trees in between conventional crops, like Black Walnuts in-between rows of corn or soybeans

Agrošumarstvo se uglavnom sastoji od miješanja sadnje stabala sa sadnjom usjeva i/ili uzgojem stoke. To omogućuje bolju iskorištenost resursa, pomaže povećanju bioraznolikosti i može povećati prinose.

U sklopu Hrvatskog Centra Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE), objavili smo svoje nove planove za razvoj ekološki održivih šumarskih praksi diljem Hrvatske. Ovi projekti imaju za cilj smanjiti negativan utjecaj na okoliš te integrirati prakse upravljanja šumama u agroekologiju.



Agrošumarstvo se uglavnom sastoji od miješanja sadnje stabala sa sadnjom usjeva i/ili uzgojem stoke. To omogućuje bolju iskorištenost resursa, pomaže povećanju bioraznolikosti i u konačnici povećava prinose. Studija HCOIE pokazala je da parcela od 100 ha pod agrošumarskim praksama daje ekvivalent od 136 ha pod standardnim principima korištenja, dajući tako potencijalni ekonomski rast za proizvođače koje takve prakse usvoje.



Koncept ima velik broj prednosti po pitanjima uzgoja usjeva i zaštite okoliša. U principu, drveće kroz svoje korijenje stvara uvjete u tlu koji potiču bolju apsorpciju vode i minerala usjevima na površini. Agrošumarske tehnike potiču strateško pozicioniranje stabala kako bi se maksimiziralo povećanje prinosa. Dodatno, stabla pomažu u diverzifikaciji proizvodnje, ograničenju gubitaka nitrata iz tla te onečišćenju podzemnih voda.



Plodnost tla također se poboljšava padom jesenskog lišća i njegovom razgradnjom na tlu, stvarajući tako važan izvor prirodnog komposta i gnojiva okolnim kulturama. Drveće i živice na poljima povećavaju bioraznolikost, što je pogodno kukcima za oprašivanje. Konačno, stabla igraju važnu ulogu u apsorpciji CO2 i spremanju ugljika tijekom faze rasta, smanjujući tako učinak klimatskih promjena.



Agrošumarstvo tako postaje ključni igrač u agroekološkom planu HCOIE. Zbog svih ovih prednosti, promocija i širenje korištenja agrošumarstva postali su nam jedan od glavnih ciljeva u borbi protiv klimatskih promjena. Plan otkriva naše konkretne prijedloge za njegovu promociju u širokim kategorijama s brojnim specifičnim aktivnostima u svakoj od njih.





Kategorije uspostavljaju sustav za istraživanje i praćenje različitih oblika agrošumarstva koji se provode u Hrvatskoj, te uspostavljaju mreže za razmjenu informacija između različitih sudionika u agrošumarstvu. Povećanje informacija o tome što se radi u agrošumarstvu omogućit će širenje inovativnih ideja koje su u budućnosti primjenjive.



Još jedan veliki prostor na koji se odnosi plan jest poboljšanje regulatornog, pravnog i financijskog okvira koji okružuje agrošumarstvo. Neke od specifičnih aktivnosti uključuju osnaživanje financijske potpore za agrošumarstvo, poboljšanje dostupnosti alata za različite sudionike na regionalnom nivou te favoriziranje razvoja agrošumarstva kroz financijske alate.





Obrazovanje je još jedna važna komponenta plana, kako u poljoprivrednim školama, tako i u pružanju obuke već postojećim poljoprivrednicima o prednostima agrošumarstva i kako prijeći na njega. Dodatno, plan postavlja sustav pomoći kako bi se podigla vrijednost proizvedenih kultura koristeći agrošumarstvo te strategiju promocije agrošumarstva na međunarodnoj razini.


Široko korištenje agrošumarstva moglo bi imati veliku ulogu u prelasku na održive okolišne prakse u dugoročnom razdoblju, a također bi pomoglo i proizvođačima na ekonomskom nivou u povećanju prinosa, te korištenje biomase drveta, kroz malčiranje, kao prirodno gnojivo za usjeve. Predstavljeni plan trebao bi svoju primjenu naći na nacionalnom, ali i na međunarodnom nivou.




Željko Serdar, Hrvatski Centar Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)


Field windbreaks

Wind protection is a long-standing indigenous practice in traditional agriculture of many regions. In attempts to improve or establish wind protection schemes with trees, it makes sense to study the link which can be observed between traditional and relatively recent but promising agroforestry practices. And it makes sense as well to try to quantify phenomena taking place in such traditional and such promising practices alike.

In the case study in Croatia reported here, the farmer requested CCRES to assist in providing the agrometeorological input into the set-up of experiments under conditions in farmers' fields, with a system of wind barriers with trees, in irrigated crops in Lika Region.
The choice to use multiple tree breaks appears justified by the increase in roughness over a larger area in addition to separate wind break effects, and by the multipurpose use of trees and their products which is economically possible. In larger scale agriculture, where irrigated cash and food crops have to be protected against very strong winds, relatively narrow rows of trees are to be preferred above wider belts as an intercrop or scattered trees or bushes.
As mentioned earlier, where mechanical damage from strong winds is the primary limiting factor, the agronomist member of the team should pay primary attention to phenology, growth and yield parameters and visual or even microscopic observations of actual mechanical damage. This will make it possible to observe differences between unprotected crops and protected ones at different distances from belts.


Whether in strip cropping, in using narrow tree rows or in mixed experiments, cost/benefit ratio determinations are absolutely necessary to understand the proper gain from the multipurpose role of trees and from yield (quality) increases due to the trees or crops applied for protection from wind.

Zeljko Serdar, Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

utorak, 5. rujna 2017.

Take control of your energy consumption



Take control of your energy consumption

The Powerwall is a home battery system that turns your home’s solar panels into an all day resource – increasing self-consumption of solar – while also offering backup in the event of an outage. The Powerwall enables more of your home’s electricity use to come from solar, which enhances solar functionality, and reduces energy costs.
When solar panels produce more power than a home needs, the excess solar is sent back to the grid. The Powerwall enables a homeowner instead to capture and store excess solar power produced during the day for use at night. The result is greater self-consumption of your solar generation and reduced energy costs.

Tesla is far from the only company looking to profit off of rechargeable batteries for the home.

At-home batteries are a necessary purchase for anyone looking to convert their home to solar power. The batteries store the electricity generated by solar panels, which can then be used at night or during peak grid times to save money on your electricity bill.

But the batteries can also be used to charge electric vehicles, which is why many automakers are now selling their own units.

Scroll down to see the 10 at-home batteries looking to take on Tesla's Powerwall 2:

First, some information on Tesla's Powerwall 2 — a 264-pound, lithium-ion battery that you can mount on your wall. Panasonic makes the cells for the battery, while Tesla builds the battery module and pack.

A single Powerwall unit stores 14 kWh of energy, but you can link up to 10 batteries side-by-side to increase storage. A single unit, including installation, can cost as much as $11,450.

POWERWALL 2 SPECIFICATIONS

Technology
Wall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control.

Model 2
13.2 kWh – For daily cycle applications

Warranty
10 years

Supported Applications
Solar self-consumption, Time of use load shifting, BackUp

Power
7kW peak / 5kW continuous

Scalable
Up to 9 Powerwalls

Dimensions
1150mm x 755mm x 155mm

Installation
Floor or wall mounted
Indoor or outdoor

Operating Temperature
-20°C to 50°C

Use more of your solar
Instead of sending excess solar energy into the grid, Powerwall stores it for use any time.

Weight
110kg

Always connected
Monitor your solar energy use in real-time and receive alerts when Powerwall is preparing for cloudy or severe weather.

All in one inverter
Powerwall uses an internal inverter to convert DC energy to the AC energy required for your home, lowering cost and complexity.

Depth of Discharge
100%

Tesla has offered battery and solar installations as one process ever since it acquired SolarCity last November. Tesla is now selling solar roof shingles that are designed to look like an actual roof to compete with rival solar installers, like Sunrun and Vivint, on an aesthetic level.

1. LG Chem's RESU battery is probably Tesla's closest competitor in the space. Last October, LG Chem partnered with solar company Sunrun to bring its battery option to the US.

The RESU is now available to Sunrun customers and its products distribution arm — a similar strategy to making the Powerwall available to SolarCity customers. It stores up to 9.8 kWh of energy and starts at around $4,000 for lower-voltage options.

2. Mercedes also has the potential to rival Tesla's home battery business. The company announced Thursday it will partner with Vivint to sell its home battery in California.

The German automaker is following Tesla and LG Chem by partnering with a solar company to combine the battery and solar installation processes. Mercedes' battery stores 2.5 kWh of energy, but units can be combined to store 20 kWh. The biggest storage option costs $13,000, installation included.

3. Nissan offers a rechargeable battery option, called XStorage, which holds 4.2 kWh of energy storage. The automaker began selling the XStorage in May in the United Kingdom, where Tesla and Mercedes also sell their battery options.

Nissan's xStorage battery costs $4,500, which includes the price of installation. Nissan is looking to set itself apart as a sustainable battery provider by using old battery cells in the units.

4. BMW plans to sell two battery options that can store a whopping 22 kWh and 33 kWh worth of energy, but they have yet to launch. Like Nissan, BMW will take a sustainable approach by reusing batteries from its BMW i3 series.

5. Sonnen, a German company, sells several at-home battery options with up to 16 kWh of storage. The eco compact version pictured here holds 4 kWh of energy and costs $5,950. It comes with the inverter included.

The company derives two-thirds of its revenue from its German operations, but is looking to expand abroad. Sonnen opened a factory in Atlanta in April to begin production for the US market. It also has plans to expand to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

6. SimpliPhi Power is an at-home battery maker that's been around since 2002, but its original name was LibertyPak Company. SimpliPhi offers several battery options, the largest of which stores 3.4 kWh of energy.

SimpliPhi's batteries can be combined to make a battery pack as large as you need. The company recently partnered with solar installer CivicSolar to provide a comprehensive energy system.

7. Sunverge offers battery systems providing anywhere from 7.7 kWh to 19.4 kWh of energy storage. Weighing around 500 pounds, the battery has to be installed by a trained Sunverge specialist.

Sunverge comes with a corresponding app so you can monitor your solar energy storage and see electric grid costs at different times. A Sunverge unit can cost between $8,000 and $20,000, depending on the size you get.

8. Powervault is an at-home battery system that is sold in the UK. All units come with an inverter included, and the most powerful model stores 6 kWh of energy. Prices start at roughly $3,000.

9. Palo Alto-based ElectrIQ sells a battery for US homes that stores 10 kWh of energy. Its retail price is about $16,000 and includes the price of an inverter.

10. Panasonic, which makes the cells for Tesla's home battery, also has its own unit that can store 8 kWh of energy. It's currently available in Australia.

Panasonic's battery weighs about 185 pounds, but the cost of a unit is not made readily available.

subota, 5. kolovoza 2017.

Yarrow / Stolisnik


Stolisnik

-Achillea millefoltum L. 
Obitelj: Asteraceae  

Nadzemni dio biljke stolisnika - Millefolii herba 
Cvijet stolisnika - Millefolii flos 
Eterično ulje stolisnika - Millefolii aetheroleum. 

Naziv ove biljke potječe od imena mitskog junaka Ahila i "mile folium", što znači tisuću listova. 
Stolisnik je rasprostranjen u cijelom svijetu. Raste i u nizinskim i u planinskim područjima. 

Morfološke i fiziološke značajke
Stolisnik je višegodišnja zeljasta biljka. Korijenov sustav sastoji se od pužućeg rizoma s brojnim sitnim žilicama. Stabljike su ravne, najčešće slabo razgranate, visine do 80 cm. 

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Cvjetovi su složeni i skupljeni u vodoravne cvatove. Obodni cvjetovi su bijele, a vrlo rijetko i ružičaste boje. U sredini cvijeta nalaze se plodni cvjetići. Sjeme je sitno, ovalnog oblika, sive boje. Masa 1000 zrna je 0,10 - 0,15 g. Zrelo sjeme je dobre klijavosti i klija odmah nakon berbe. Nakon dozrijevanja 
sjemena cvjetonosne stabljike se suše. a biljke prezimljavaju u obliku rozete. Stolisnik dobro podnosi niske temperature kao i ljetne vrućine i suše. Cijela biljka je žilava i formira čvrst i gust busen. 

Kemijski sastav i upotreba 
Stolisnik sadrži 0,2 - 1,2 % eteričnog ulja. U ulju tetraploidnog stolisnika ima 30 - 50 %. azulena. nešto cineola. kamfora. sabinena, pinena i drugih tvari. Biljka također sadrži flavonoide, alkaloide (ahilein), tanine, organske kiseline i krom. koji je važan za sintezu inulina. 

Stolisnik je gorka aromatična biljka koja se koristi za poboljšanje probave kao i za stimuliranje lučenja žuči. Koristi se i za izbacivanje žučnih i bubrežnih kamenaca. Može se koristiti i za vanjsku upotrebu u obliku kupki, obloga ili ekstrakata za liječenje kožnih oboljenja, hemeroida itd. Eterično se ulje koristi u kozmetičkoj i farmaceutskoj industriji. 

Uvjeti uzgoja 
Klima - Stolisnik treba uzgajati na sunčanim površinama jer nema velikih potreba za vlagom. 

Tlo - Stolisnik se može uzgajati na svim tipovima obradivih tala, neutralne do slabo kisele reakcije. Najbolje uspijeva na dubokim tlima dobrih fizikalnih i kemijskih značajki, ali treba izbjegavati tla bogata dušikom. 

Uzgoj 
Plodored - Stolisnik se kao višegodišnja kultura ne uzgaja u plodoredu. Najbolje ga je saditi iza kultura koje ostavljaju tlo čisto od korova. Leguminoze nisu dobre pretkulture. 

Obrada tla - Za razliku od mnogih kultura, stolisnik ne zahtijeva duboku obradu tla. Oranje treba obaviti na dubinu od 20 do 25 cm. 

Gnojidba - Za osnovnu se gnojidbu upotrebljavaju mineralna NPK gnojiva s povećanim sadržajem fosfora koji potiče razvoj cvatova. 
Gnojidba se obavlja tijekom predsjetvene pripreme tla. Ovisno o plodnosti tla primjenjuje se 200 - 300 kg/ha gnojiva. Mineralna gnojiva treba primjenjivati tijekom cijelog uzgojnog razdoblja i to krajem godine, nakon vegetacije ili u rano proljeće, prije početka vegetacije. U organskoj se poljoprivredi primjenjuje stajski gnoj i druga dozvoljena gnojiva koja sadrže fosfor i kalij. 

Razmnožavanje - Stolisnik se razmnožava direktnom sjetvom sjemena u polje ili preko presadnica. Direktna sjetva sjemena obavlja se sijačicama u redove na razmaku od 50 do 60 cm. Sjeme se sije u brazde, bez naknadnog pokrivanja. Nakon sjetve površinu treba povaljati glatkim valjkom. Sjetva se obavlja krajem kolovoza ili početkom rujna. Sjeme klija za 10 - 15 dana. pa su do zime biljke dovoljno razvijene da mogu prezimiti. Sjetva se može obavili i u proljeće, tijekom ožujka ili najkasnije do polovice travnja. Za sjetvu na razmaku između redova od 50 - 60 cm potrebno je 300 g sjemena uz uvjet da se sije 50 zrna po m². 

Za jesensku je sjetvu potrebno 1 - 2 kg/ha sjemena. Sjeme treba miješali s nekim inertnim materijalom - nosačem (pijesak ili sl.). 
Čistoća sjemena za sjetvu treba biti 90 %, a klijavost najmanje 80 %. Ako se stolisnik razmnožava preko presadnica, sjetva sjemena u hladne lijehe obavlja se u drugoj polovici lipnja. U tom su slučaju biljke spremne za presađivanje krajem listopada. Presadnice se sade na dobro poravnatu i usitnjenu površinu u brazde duboke 5 - 8 cm na razmaku između redova od 50 do 60 cm. Nakon sadnje presadnice se prekriju zemljom i dobro pritisnu. Za površinu od 1 ha potrebno je 66 600- 80 000 biljaka. 




Njega
Stolisnik nije zahtjevna biljka, ali najveći se prinosi postižu na rastresitim površinama čistim od korova. To je posebno važno za mlade biljke u prvoj godini uzgoja. Nasade na siromašnim tlima treba prihraniti mineralnim dušičnim gnojivom. 
Međuredno okopavanje i kultiviranje obično se obavlja 2 -3 puta. a po potrebi i više. 
Prihranjivanje se obavlja u rano proljeće, najčešće tijekom travnja s dušičnim gnojivom (KAN) u količini od 100 do 150 kg/ha. Nakon završetka prve ili na početku sljedeće vegetacije treba primijeniti 100 - 200 kg/ha mineralnog NPK gnojiva. 

Berba
Od stolisnika se koristi cvijet sa stabljikom dužine do 25 cm (herba) ili samo cvijet. Stolisnik se bere u fazi punog cvjetanja. Berba se obavlja strojno, a na manjim površinama ručno. Prva godina uzgoja daje samo jednu berbu i to lijekom lipnja. Višegodišnji nasadi daju dvije berbe, prvu tijekom lipnja, a drugu tijekom kolovoza ili rujna. 

Sušenje
Stolisnik se može sušiti prirodnim putem ili u sušnicama na temperaturi od 40 do 60 °C. Za 1 kg suhih nadzemnih dijelova biljke potrebno je 3,5 - 4,0 kg svježih. 

Prinos
U prvoj godini uzgoja prinos suhih nadzemnih dijelova biljke je 1500 
- 2500 kg/ha. a sljedećih godina i do 6000 kg/ha. Prinos cvijeta u prvoj godini je do 1000 kg/ha, a sljedećih i do 3000 kg/ha. 

Standardi kvalitete za herbu stolisnika (Millefolii hb.) prema Ph. Eur. 5. 
- eterično ulje min. 2 ml/kg (s.t.) 
- strane tvari: 
- dijelovi stabljike promjera većeg od 3 mm max. 4 % 
- ostale strane tvari max. 2 % 
- gubitak sušenjem max. 12,0 % 
- ukupni pepeo max. 10,0 % 
- pepeo netopljiv u HCl max. 2,5 % 


Željko Serdar, Hrvatski Centar Obnovljenih Izvora Energije
(HCOIE)


Yarrow

This herb plant was first used by ancient Greeks over 3,000 years ago for treating external wounds on the skin. The flowers and leaves of yarrow were eaten and also made into a tea-like drink. The fresh leaves were used to stop bleeding wounds, treat gastrointestinal problems, fight fevers, lessen menstrual bleeding and better circulation. The fresh leaves were also chewed on to relieve tooth aches. Scientists have credited yarrow for its benefits relating to almost every organ in the body.

Native Americans used yarrow for wounds, infections and bleeding. Chinese medicine gives it praise for the ability to affect the kidney, spleen, liver and energy channels throughout the body. Animal studies have also shown support for the use of yarrow in cleansing wounds and controlling the bleeding of wounds, cuts and abrasions. Many times yarrow is categorized as a uterine tonic, which supports the circulation in the uterine. Many studies show that it helps the uterine by improving the tone, increasing menstrual flow and reducing spasms in the uterine.




Other benefits of yarrow
Fights bacteria. Yarrow has an antiseptic action. The bitter parts and fatty acids encourage bile flow out of the gallbladder, known as the cholagogue effect. The free-flowing action improves digestion and prevents and gallstones from forming. Decongestant. Yarrow contains a drying effect and seems to improve coughs and sinus infections with sputum formation. Astringent. Very helpful with allergies where nasal secretions and watery eyes are caused by molds, dust, pollen and dander. Yarrow is also known to cause sweating in cases of flu, fevers and colds, helping to cure simple infections. Infusion. Yarrow is used to aid in healing skin conditions, such as eczema. The essential oils are used and rubbed onto the affected area. Anti-inflammatory. The oil found in the yarrow has been used to treat arthritis. Expectorant. Helps to cure colds. Promotes digestion. Helps in the secretion of enzymes and digestive juice and increases appetite; both help in digestion.


Yarrow is highly known and widely used in herbal medicines and supplied either externally or internally. The entire plant is used, both dried and fresh and is best when gathered while in flower. It is recommended to use caution when this herb if used in large or frequent doses taken for a long period of time. This can possibly be harmful and may cause rashes or make the skin sensitive to sun.

The leaves of the yarrow can be used cooked or raw. They have a bitter flavor but are good in mixed salads and best used when they are young. The leaves may also be used as a preservative or flavoring for beer. The flowers and leaves can be made into an aromatic tea and the essential oils found in the flowering heads can be used as flavor for soft drinks. Its basic components are Alpha Pinene, Acetate, Borneol, Beta Pinene, Borneol, Cineole, Camphene, Camphor, Gamma Terpinene, Isoartemisia Ketone, Chamazulene, Limonene, Sabinene and Tricyclene.

Recommended dosage and administration of yarrow for adults

~Yarrow flowers or equal preparations: 3g in one day as tea or infusion ~Extract (1:1, 25 ethanol): 1-4 ml three times in a day ~Dried herb: 2-4 g of infusion or capsules three times in a day ~Tincture (1:5; 40 ethanol): 2-4 three times in a day



Zeljko Serdar, Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
(CCRES)