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GreenTown Curaçao: the alternative that (almost) we all prefer

                                                                                             

Korsou Power- Aberto Montiel

Curaçao is a spectacular island of the Netherlands Antilles, located off the coast of Venezuela. I have traveled there on two occasions, staying on the island for several weeks, knowing almost every corner, most of them hand in hand with local people. Its extraordinary white beaches of coral and turquoise blue water, as well as its blue sky, are only part of its appeal, which could be overshadowed by a huge old refinery, located in the heart of the island, not very Far from Willemstad, its main population.
Returning from the trip to Curaçao, looking for information about everything seen to make several post for the blog MADrMIA !, I knew about the

GreenTown Curaçao project, which proposes to build a modern and sustainable urban complex, after the decontamination work, in the currently occupied lands By the refinery. I thought that the lucky inhabitants of Curaçao had a golden opportunity to change their options in the future. Undoubtedly this is a great worthwhile project, which would become a unique reference of how things can be done.
It has also inspired me to imagine other possibilities.
Considering that the project to replace the refinery has not only an economic but also an environmental impact, as well as its energetic side, it can be proposed to go a little further than the simple substitution of fossil energies for clean energies, and to define a true energy ecosystem Economic, fully innovative at multiple levels, generating not only clean energy abundant and economically competitive, but also fresh water, transport, large-scale air conditioning, qualified employment and economic and strategic development.

This “ecosystem” would be formed by the intelligent integration of the following elements.


Electric power

Curaçao (or other Caribbean islands) are ideally suited to an advanced mode of utilization of solar and wind renewable energies, as they would not need just accumulation, both being very constant. It also has locations suitable for both types of technologies. There are several ways to produce electricity from solar radiation, but as I will explain below, photovoltaics may not necessarily be the ideal technology in the particular case of Curaçao, or at least not the only one possible.


Transport

The electric power could not only be injected directly into the network, but could be accumulated through an effective and practical system giving it a use as useful as direct: charge electric vehicles. The autonomy of 100% small electric vehicles like the Renault Twizzy, or compacts like the Renault Zoe or the Nissan Leaf, would be more than sufficient for the distances to travel in the island. Initially they could be rental cars (for some resorts and hotels) or taxis for tourism. Without a doubt, a car that does not waste fuel, besides being quiet, clean and easy to drive, is also an added value, so once benefits are observed, electric vehicle brands would have representation on the island . The use of plug-in and electric hybrids with extended range can also be contemplated.


Energy accumulation

There is the possibility of using partially innovative reversible charging systems, which would allow the electric vehicle batteries not only to accumulate energy from the network for their circulation, but to return part of it to the network (during the night) and smooth the curve When required. In addition to the distributed accumulation in electric car batteries, there are other large-scale accumulation technologies that could also be tested with high chances of success, given the favorable conditions of Curçao. One of these requires a geography with important slopes, for the elevation of water in a reservoir, which perhaps could also serve as a fire-fighting system.
Another way to accumulate energy, indirectly, is to use surplus energy to produce something useful that can be saved; In this case the energy produced by the wind turbines would serve to desalinate water by reverse osmosis.


Sweet water

In addition, the more arid islands, such as Curaçao, could very efficiently use high- and medium-temperature solar thermal technology, because they would take full advantage of the thermal surplus of condensation for desalination of sea water, something For which they currently need to consume fossil energy. Currently, the island’s power plant is already using thermal desalination technologies, in addition to reverse osmosis.
High value-added agricultural production.

With the surplus of fresh water, a fruitful economy of high value-added agricultural production could be developed, which would benefit from the great insolation, the constantly warm temperatures,In addition, reverse osmosis.

High value-added agricultural production.

With the surplus of fresh water, a fruitful economy of agricultural production of great added value could be developed, which would benefit from the great insolation, the constantly warm temperatures, as well as of a fertile land: tropical fruits, cacao, cashews … The possible, the varieties of greater economic value and better adaptation.
Processing of food products.

To obtain the highest value, ideally it should be sold already processed and packaged, ready to reach the final consumer. In any case they should be sold semi-processed. It could be supplied to the internal market, as well as the European countries to which tourists come and go constantly (the Netherlands, especially). Taking advantage of part of the holds of the larger aircraft.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Another possible use of solar thermal energy would be the production of cold water, mainly by absorption cooling technology, for the air conditioning of spaces or food preservation, which could condition the air in large spaces such as: Airport Buildings, Shopping Centers, Hospital, Large hotel complexes, both autonomously and in series or parallel support. This technology is widely used at industrial level, to take advantage of thermal surges of chemical processes, as well as in the services sector, for the air conditioning of large spaces.


Qualified employment

Engineering and maintenance of large-scale energy production, desalination and air-conditioning systems combined with the new agricultural and manufacturing industry will create a number of jobs: engineers, technicians and specialists from different disciplines who could recycle at least In part, the jobs of the oil refining industry.


Investigation and development

To this job creation should be added the one that is derived from the application of innovative technologies on a large scale, integrated in an exceptional way in the infrastructure of Curaçao, reason why will be a world attraction pole of visitors and representations of great Technology brands, universities and research institutes in the field of energy and environmental sustainability.

 

Other options

Another possibility to obtain fresh water, without the need to desalinate sea water, is to obtain it from ambient humidity by means of wind turbines which cool a heat exchanger by which the circulation of humid ambient air is forced. This would be another valid option given the high humidity on the island of Curaçao.

Hydrogen

Energy vector that allows accumulation for later generation, either by micro turbines, fuel cells or internal combustion engines. Hydrogen can be produced in several ways, although the best known would be by electrolysis, which consists of the decomposition of water by a continuous electric current.

Microalgae, such as Spirulina

The algae and microalgae are a source of protein and nutrients of great value, also commercial, that for their development they need: water (salty or sweet, according to the seaweed), sunlight, constant warm temperature; All available here, also fresh water if it is produced from wind and solar energy. Certain algae rich in protein, would serve to develop aquaculture (fish farms).

For years, we knew the benefits of microalgae to biotechnology. In their metabolism, microalgae can generate compounds of commercial interest, such as fatty acids and essential amino acids, pigments, vitamins, hydrogen or hydrocarbons. To date, there are many research groups that are dedicated to optimize their industrial application or to diversify their technological performance

Some of the economic sectors with good prospects, that could be developed within an ecosystem conducive how is this:

Editing and digital publication

by its long-standing relationship with the Netherlands (still belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands), pioneers in the publishing industry, for your multi-linguismo (in addition to papiamento you can work in Dutch, English and Spanish) by the large number of professionals, highly skilled, located on the island, they would find a new field of work (new forms of communication and management of Intellectual Property), in Korsow could well develop a powerful publishing industry of the 21st century
this sector, in development, accurate, in addition to creative entrepreneurs: editors, designers, programrs, writers, translators, content managers, Video editors, etc.
In terms of infrastructure, would need a suitable connection of communications, ideally of optical fiber, and a system of computer servers (which could be fed 100% renewable energy).
The location, with bridges to Amsterdam and Miami, close to the time to USA and Latin America, would facilitate

R & D in sailing

Nautical companies could have representation if a wide port of modern design, accompanied by an industry for the development of new technologies, because it would have a bank of exceptional tests, in addition to a showcase to the world of first level. On the other hand, it would be very feasible to produce synergies with the fields of research in electric vehicles, wind energy, accumulation of energy, etc.

Criptomonedas and Banking Alternative

investors from North America and Europe could also find here an information center and management of investments in Bitcoins and other criptomonedas, in addition to custom and alternative investments in more conventional currencies, both in the developed industries here and in other related fields. The connection with the US and Europe, the complexes of luxury and relaxed atmosphere, would this type of exchange.

Underwater parks

In the liberated spaces with the dismantling of the industry, with a bit of time could be built spaces “design” for the diving, that being artificial, simulate perfectly the seascapes of the reef and continental shelf, with a large number of marine life prepared in a way that facilitates their viewing, either snorkeling, diving with autonomous breathing or traveling comodamene in mini-submarines.
It could be considered whether could create safe areas, avoiding the perils of the open sea, diving to make something more accessible.
Also in this case may well be synergies with other sectors of research, such as microalgae, electric vehicles (submarines and electric boats), the Decontamination marina and the regeneration of contaminated areas.

 

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