THE PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR PERMACULTURE

We are at the age of rapid technological progress, accompanied by concerns of its destructive impact on the planet’s wellbeing. While acknowledging the needs of human beings, we should also consider the potential of conscious, thoughtful approach of living, for the sake of ourselves and the future generations. Instead of fighting against it, how about combining the advantages of modernization with preserving natural ecosystems? The permaculture movement is emerging as an active response to this calling. Back in the 1970s, the concept was first conceived in Australia by environmentalist Bill Mollison and his student at University of Tasmania, David Holmgren. The term ‘’permaculture’’ originated from ”permanent agriculture’’, a set of principles primarily concerned with a sustainable way of farming. Later on, acknowledging the importance of a holistic approach to a truly resilient system, it expanded into ‘’permanent culture’’ . As described by co-fonder D. Holmgren, it is “.. a design system for sustainable living and land use that’s concerned both with the consumption and production side and that is based on universal ethics and design principles which can be applied in any context’’. 

Permaculture fundamentals are often portrayed in a shape of flower. It’s middle represents the base, code of ethics: 

  • Earth care- environmental aspect, attentive to preserving biodiversity and the sustainable use of the land.
  • People care- social aspect, acknowledging the power of the community and considering the basic needs of people.
  • Fair share- economical aspect, the synthesis of the first two, aspiring to design systems that equally values the needs of all of us who are sharing one living space- Earth, including the future generations

The code serves as the underlying guidance for 12 permaculture design principles, tools of universal application: 

Permaculture Design Principles (Credit: permaculture.co.uk)

WHY RENEWABLES?

The production of energy (burning coal, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, natural gas) is one of the most destructive activities that humans carry out on a daily basis. Both consuming waste amounts of water and creating air pollution, the reliance on nonrenewable energy sources is threatening us with an eventual expiry date- depletion of the natural storages. In order to avoid that, the 5th permaculture design principle is focused on the use and evaluation of renewable energy resources that naturally occur on site. Including them in our energy cycle is in line with the 6th permaculture principle of ‘’reducing the waste’’ by using what we already have. 

OUR SOLUTION – HYBRID GREEN ENERGY SYSTEM

 

The two most commonly used clean energy sources are solar and wind. How about combining both to get the maximum productivity of the space available?

As the peak operating times for wind and solar systems occur at different times (daily and annually), when combined they provide more steady power supply. If the plan is going ‘’off-grid’’,  it would lower the reliance on batteries (you can go for a smaller battery bank size). Another advantage is space conservation- wind turbines are easy to fit on an uneven, hilly ground and in narrow places where solar panels wouldn’t go while the last ones are suitable for flat areas.

Our solar-wind hybrid system operates with physical (hydro) batteries- the most sustainable and permanent solution. When you have the electricity surplus (the sun is shining and the wind is blowing), excess energy pumps water to the storage uphill.  Then, when the grid needs power (at night and low-light hours), the uphill reservoir releases the water and it will go through the turbines, generating electricity. 

Water Retention Landscape (WRL) – part of our system

Semiarid and arid Mediterranean regions face mismanagement problems like desertification, erosion and water scarcity due to destroyed fertile topsoil. Since no roots hold the humus and infiltrate the rainwater into the soil, it runs off and causes flooding in lower regions. Biodiversity and agricultural productivity decreases, making the areas less suitable for living and more exposed to climate change.

With all that said, can we recover the damaged ecosystem?
Yes. By re-creating water retention landscapes that capture, store and slowly release the liquid of life back to the soil. The conservation methods vary depending on factors such as geography and climate, with swales, terraces, and lakes being widely used. In the Green Hybrid Energy System, we aim to create and incorporate WRL as a part of the pumped hydro storage (one or both reservoirs) and direct the rainwater into them. During heavy rains, the storage fills up and satisfies the needs for energy generation. Later on, the collected water also serves for the irrigation and regeneration of topsoil. The water cycle is back, and so is life.