Saturday, December 13, 2014

World's first Solar-powered bike lane in the Netherlands

Here is some pedal power. You've heard about the idea of solar roadways which has been around for some time, but how about solar bike paths?

That is an idea that the Dutch are already putting into use with the 70-metre SolaRoad, billed as a world's first. RenewableEnergyWorld highlights the €3 million ($3.74 mil) path, which powers street lights and houses and features solar cells under a layer of tempered glass.

70-metre solar path that costs €3 mil (RM13 mil) to build

The surface of the road has been treated with a special non-adhesive coating

If you ask me, I'd say this is not a showcase of energy or resources efficiency, but this is an idea that might bring about some interesting results; we'll see.

An insightful comment from a reader read as follow:
"2000 cyclists over crystalline silicon panels? Let me get this right. Its more or less the same as 2000 leaves of shade over a rooftop panel? Am I right? I think your road's angle is not the only obstacle. Hope you also got some good termo conduction underneath those panels, for my guess is that they will run hotter, further dropping output. You should rather have roofed the pathway with the panels, shade for the cyclists, as well as an umbrella for rain." - PJ Van Staden, REW magazine.

The trees, when fully grown, could reduce the energy production further.

The bike road would be very useful to commuters and school children and could be a cool part of their daily commute. Approximately 2,000 cyclists are expected to use it on an average day.

The road, named by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as SolaRoad, is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, which were embedded into the concrete of the path and covered with a translucent layer of tempered glass.

Since the path cannot be adjusted to the position of the sun, the panels will generate approximately 30% less energy than those placed on roofs. However, the road is tilted slightly to aid water run-off and achieve a better angle to the sun and its creators expect to generate more energy as the path is extended to 100 metres in 2016.

You can read further here - REW and SolaRoad

Credit: Photos are from SolaRoad and REW websites.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekend at Desa Cattle dairy farm, Kundasang

A two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu to a small town, Kundasang, in Ranau district is not a bad idea to spend the weekend and unwind from a hectic work week. That's what we did today.

In particular we drove up to Desa Cattle Dairy Farm before finally checking in at Dream World Resort at Mesilau. Desa Cattle is situated about 100km from Kota Kinabalu and it is an ideal destination for the whole family. Viewed from certain perspectives, you can be forgiven to mistake it for sceneries captured at temperate countries.

Some activities you can do there include feeding the calves with bottled milk, feeding the goats with grass, watching firsthand the milking process, and learn how milk is processed. Of course, you can take all your time enjoying the beautiful surroundings and take nice pictures.

Here's some captures from our trip to Desa Cattle dairy farm:

Trip to Desa Cattle
The road leading to the farm is harsh gravel but it's no more than 500m. Still it's a bit taxing for small compact cars.

Gateway to Desa Cattle dairy farm, Kundasang Sabah
Gateway to the dairy farm. Adult pay RM4.00 and children RM3.00

Trip to Desa Cattle
More parking space than before

Trip to Desa Cattle

Trip to Desa Cattle
The cows are grazing further away from visitors nowadays.

Trip to Desa Cattle
The milking process

Trip to Desa Cattle
This guy loves fresh milk and grass. You can get some for a fee and help feed him.


Dream World Resort is quite new, it opened for business in May 2010 and because it is located right at the foot of Mt. Kinabalu you can expect cool and fresh mountain air with the scenic view of Kundasang town. If you are lucky enough you will be able to see the majestic mountain; more often than not, this area is enveloped by misty cloud.

Trip to Desa Cattle

Trip to Desa Cattle

Happy Holiday!