Building biobased, nitrogen clean and carbon positive

It is possible. It is competitive, and it is fast.

Within a year a building is build and ready with 50 care units and daytime activities, aimed at residents who receive care and guidance from the Salvation Army

This building sets a standard in affordable, biobased construction for healthcare.

The project is characterized by a high level of innovation and sustainability ambition. For example, the fully solid wood supporting structure (CLT) can be completely dismantled and a high percentage of biobased and circular materials are used, including wooden facade parts made of Dutch hardwood.

The building stores approximately 570,000 kg of CO2 in the wood products used. That is comparable to the emissions are comparable to the electricity consumption of more than 600 Dutch  households per year.

The building will be very energy efficient and the majority of the remaining energy demand will be generated on site. Green facades and a green site design also contribute to providing shelter for plants and animals.

Dennis Hauer of the Urban Climate Architects: “This project is the new normal for us. If we built all buildings in the Netherlands in this way, there would be no nitrogen problem for construction. We see that it is possible. We also do not want to build differently and challenge everyone to do the same.”

Is nuclear energy sustainable?

Since last year, Europe has decided that nuclear energy is sustainable.

Is that actually true?

The original definition for sustainable development was formulated by the Brundtlandt Commission, in the report Our Common Future:

Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

So roughly: meet your own needs, but don’t damage the world for your future generations.

What I learned from my mother is that you should clean up your own mess and not leave it for your little brother. I assume that will also apply to grown ups: each generation cleans up its own mess.

The nuclear power plants work with uranium as raw material. The annoying thing is that – just like with any production of something – there is leftover waste. That waste cannot be processed. The pity is that the radioactivity of uranium has only fallen to an acceptable level in 20,000 years.

In terms of generations, we are talking about 667 generations.

In terms of sustainable development, I think that’s not sustainable development. It feels like a Pleistocene king has decreed that his people can do things that could harm us.

But we dispose of the waste safely.

The nuclear waste is poured into thick concrete and then it goes into salt mines – what can happen to it, nothing right?

Gas has been pumped out of the ground in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. Nothing could happen with that either. But thousands of houses are about to collapse and that’s only two generations later.

I can see a landslide coming that will force open the concrete blocks in the salt mines, sometime in the next 20,000 years.

But accidents won’t happen, though?

  Um, well, uh,

• 1957, Kystim (USSR), an explosion and fall out over a region. The damage was kept secret.

• 1957 Windscale (UK), radio active cloud across UK and Europe

• 1979, Three Mile Island, Harrisburg, partial melt down.

• 1984, Chernobyl, USSR, partial meltdown, radioactive cloud over USSR and Europe

• 2011, Fukushima, partial melt down, radioactive cloud over Japan. Since two years the radioactive cooling water has been pumped into the sea, because it is too much to contain.

So in two generations there are 5 major accidents that should not have happened. How are things not to be happening in the next 667 generations? A calculation says that there will be another 333.3 accidents.


The pity is, you can also do it with Thorium. Thorium waste can for the most part be reprocessed. The remainder of that has a half-life of 80 to 300 years. Then you are still talking about 2 to 10 generations, but that can still be explained to your grandchildren. I imagine something like this: “Grandpa and Grandma wanted so badly to go on holiday with you that we didn’t insulate our house. Many grandpas and grandmas wanted that, so then a nuclear power plant was needed to keep our houses at 20 degrees. Well, it was not too bad with us, because we heat up to 19 degrees, or even 18 sometimes. “

On the one hand, we find this accountability ridiculous, but on the other hand, we take it for granted if our leaders pass without batting an eyelid, even without a vote in parliament (it was a hammer piece), the law that would require 667 generations to get hazardous waste and -give or take a few- 333 nuclear accidents.

Between lobbies and leaders

It is possible with Thorium, but it is now Uranium. Why is it Uranium in the first place? Somewhere in the 1960s, Western countries opted for uranium, because this material could also be used in nuclear bombs, while Thorium could not. President Nixon halted the R&D project for Thorium in 1971.

Since then there has been a Uranium lobby and our leaders have been unable to free themselves from it. I could find one thing. A few years ago, the Dutch parliament decided to spend half a million on Delft University of Technology for research into Thorium. Nothing has happened with that yet. Or was that the TU lobby?

Every subsequent nuclear power plant becomes a uranium waste producer again.

How do you tell those leaders that there is no need to saddle 667 generations with our problems?

Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries, the do’s and don’ts

Per watthour, LFP batteries are 4 times lighter, 3-4 times less voluminous than lead acid.  Because there is more effective energy content, you can buy smaller ones. That makes them competitive to lead-acid batteries. And because they live longer if you treat them nice, they can even be cheaper.

How to make them live long? Some do’s and don’ts.

  • The only maintenance is to balance them so now and then. Use a charger that is fit for this. The Battery Management System (BMS) inside starts charging till every little battery inside is at the same level, is balanced. Let that happen, don’t interrupt it.
  • You can discharge LFP till 10% of its capacity, but be nice and stop at 20%..
  • Don’t keep your LFP permanently at 100%.Configure your controller(s) of the solar panels and/or windgenerator that they stop charging at 90% or lower. If you leave your ship for a long time (in the winter), then discharge it to 70%. LFP doesnot discharge that much, so at the end of the winter
  • Take care for your alternator attached to the dieselengine. LFP ‘sucks’ the energy out of it, so the alternator is working on full power continuously, it gets hot and overworked. Same with the propshaft alternator. Ask the installer to put a limiter in between. There are more solutions, like connecting him to a lead acid battery, in case you combine this.
  • If the BMS makes the contactor switch off the energy to and from the battery, make sure that also your alternator(s) stop at the same time. This prevents the alternator to ‘blow up’ (diodes blow up mostly).
  • keep the contact bolds greased.

That’s it!

Guess what – a book

See the picture, this is photographer Brittany taking pictures of my feet closed to a stove.

A stove? In the tropics?

My feet? Are they that beautiful?

Check the next picture.

See me in a warm coat. I am completely packed, with lamswool slippers, everything.

And it is around 30 degrees Celsius.


Brittany makes pictures of a stove next to my feet, and this will show a way to heat more efficiently in the chapter Heating in a next book.

I am writing the book Duurzaam Varen (Sustainable Sailing), and it will be published by Hollandia (Gottmer Group) next October.

It will not be thin.

You are the first know.

Some energy saving ideas

A computer uses about 10% of its energy input. The causes:
– by converting it to the right electricity, it dissipates heat – most of it: because it is on when you don’t use it. So there is much to save

Street lights and as highway lights are always on. It can be less and it can be off many times.

Silent use: every night befor you go to sleep you simply shut off the complete group(s) of electricity you don’t need at night and you save hundreds of Euros per year.

You have your energy on an app? Take an old cell phone, install the app and put the phone on the place where the clock in your living room is. It will change your consumption rapidly.

Dont take a drink on a terrace with their heaters on.

Connect your dish washing machine to the hot water tap.

Investing in solar panels on your roof would save at this moment 10%. What does your bank give you?

Start an energy company.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Put an electric blanket on your couch

Airports: make air strips with a steep angle: the plane goes down to start and it goes up when landing.

Subsidise saltwater batteries for domestic use (and other batteries without biocides), to reduce the stress on the electricity net and you prevent ‘burning’ energy

Fossil freedom.

Some months ago, when the gas and oil prices blew sky high, I advised a friend how to lower the consumption. He did it until he could affort his gas bill.

I spoke him last week. Here is the discussion.

What you do, really fossilfree, Peter, that is special.

  • “It is a choice. You can do it.”

I cannot. You know how I live.

  • It is a choice

Man, I live in a badly insulated house.”

  • Why this defending mode? I did not answer to finance your landlord. Just check what you can.

You know I hardly can do a thing.

  • Sorry, I estimate you as an intelligent friend, live your life the way you want. So you can. But if you really want help, I have some proposals.

Ok then.

  • What do you mean with “OK then”. It sounds like you already know them. Which is true. But I will repeat them, just to provoke. You have an induction cooker? You use a pressure cooker? You put it in the insulation box to cook it ready?

Come on Peter!

  • Come on what?

You wrote that already in your blogs, you told it.

  • Ah, so you DO this already? I don’t believe that

To be honest, no.

  • How is the draught between your doors and between your windows? How many rooms do you heat now when the gas prices went down? How do you do your transport?

You know we both need a car, we live 7 kilometers from the first busstop.

  • You live 12 kilometers from a city train station with every 15 minutes a train leaving, true?

Yes, true, but you think we can afford a taxi, that would be about 3 to 5 times a week for me, and also that amount for Caroline.

  • You are both self employed. So you can plan. Though?

Yes for sure. What do you mean?

  • The same as earlier. I estimate you as an intelligent friend, you live your life the way you want. So you can. But if you really want help in case you have a moment of zero creative energie, then I  can give you some advises. Like getting rid of two cars and buy a second hand electric car, serving you 5 to 7 years. And you can taxi each other to the station. You save about 500 Euro a month and in the car together is quality time. True?


  • What, again, do you mean with “OK”? Don’t you want to hear them? Don’t you want the help I offer you?

Perhaps not.

  • That is fine. Perhaps you prefer to stick to fossils. OK. You only reduce your gas consumption till the level that you can pay it. Fine to me. You only reduce your fuel expenses till the level you can pay them. That is OK to me, we are friends for ever. But tell me, why?

The way you describe it, that sounds like addiction.

  • I don’t know, Is it?

I think I am biased. I am programmed. I don’t know. Yes, perhaps it is addiction. Yes perhaps I like to heat my house with gas, perhaps I love to drive a diesel car. Indeed, I have no rationalities.
It feels like being programmed. I must be influenced by 50 years of commercials?

  • I don’t know. But it sounds to me that being fossil free could mean more to you.

Yeah, perhaps. It can be a break through. A freedom.

  • Let us call it fossil freedom?

Two times a TOP 3 for fossil free sailing.

Top 3 for the rookies

  1. Check the weather and plan your route on the weather.
    So don’t bases your planning on an appointment that you made weeks ago and then up against the wind and down against the wind. We have great weather forecasts, so use (one of) them.
You want from Amsterdam/Ijmuiden to Lowestoft? If you have to take the green route, then take your Plan B and change your destination. Because it will be an awful lot of motoring, this is no pleasure, and by the way, we have no Planet B.(Courtesy PredictWind)


2. Sail!
When you leave the harbour, you are allowed to hoist the sails, so what stops you to stop the engine and do it. And enjoy the piece and tranquillity.

3. If going on the engine, then go slow
If you go slow, you enjoy the environment you sail through, it saves you an awful lot of diesel, it saves the people around you fine dust in their lungs and cancer, it saves nitrodioxides killing the biodiversity, it gives the sea mammals a less little chance to extinguish, and our next generations get a less unsustainable future.


Top 3 for the advanced

1. Consider using an electric drive

Now that you sail more and motor less, and you have learnt to motor slowly, you are ready to consider an electric drive. And, when that is installed, you can easily start cooking electric at once. An induction cooker, a water cooker, a microwave, that is all comfort, and more safety.

Check the Ya as an example:

2. Exchange your propeller to a variable prop
This saves energy, but you also get more regenerated when your electric engine is switched to the charge mode.

Check for an example

3. Make energy till you are in balance
It is fun to make your own energy by solar, wind and hydro. It is a special, free experience to be in energy balance all the time. Day by day an extra to life.


Stop the dolphins from screaming

It was 30 years ago and we were floating somewhere on the Atlantic,  sailing an old two mast Dutch lugger. The wind was dropping to zero and we, all six crew, just lowered all of the 500 square meter of sails. Then, the deckhand a loft yelled: “Whales! A whole lot-a-them!”

‘Our’ old fashioned lugger somewhere on the ocean

We started seeing them from deck. Big ones. Humpbackwhales. Slowly they were making their way to us. Till about some 200-300 meter. There they kept plunging, playing, but did not come closer. They were just checking us, we guessed. So, we enjoyed, waiting. The captain had a great camera, but they were just to far off for a good picture. He kept on trying while the whales played their game on the same distance. Then the engineer started the engine to help the captain to get closer. Half power we went to them. But 10 seconds later, as if they discussed it, all whales disappeared at once.

A whale swimming with Ya

Did you know, talking through water works great, much better than talking through the air. Water does not muffle the sound, like air does. Never thought of that? Neither did scientists, till the late sixties. They discovered that whales communicate over hundreds of miles by making a sound in the lower frequencies. Dolphins do the same on a higher frequency and shorter distance.

The relation

Every decade the human made noise in the ocean doubles. More frequently then ever, whales end up at our beaches. They were apparantly lost. Also the number of lost whales grow, despite the fact that there are less and less. Lately scientists hear dolphins screaming in the water, instead of the regular ‘talking’. The causal relation can not be proven, but the correlation is too strong to not take action.

What can we do to stop the dolphins from screaming?

Like a radio jammer

The noise in the oceans we make come from three sources. By far the biggest culprit is the ship’s propellers. When running on higher rotations, they create ‘cavitation’. This creates the noise you can compare to the noise of pebbles running through a steel pipe. What do you think, would happen to a whale’s ears? Or, suppose the whales are hundreds miles away, what do they hear? All props together must create a sound in their ears, like when you hear a continuous disturbing noise on your radio. Like one big radio jammer.

The whale hears a constant grinding rumble noise and in between that noise he has to distinghuish the directions of his fellow whales

You can bring your hand to the throddle and go slower. Making 4 knots through the water in stead of 6 , stops the cavitation. And by the way, your fuel consumption dives down with 50%, so that is good for your own wallet. This also contribute to reduce the second cause.

Sudden blows

This second cause is the bangs created by seismic research, mostly for oil and gas. The impact for a whale or dolphin close to it is obvious. Will the animal, just a mammal as you and I, be deaf perhaps? We don’t know.  And these blows can be heard a thousand miles away, so how do they interpret these signals? Like you and I would suspect: Is there is a war going on?

Continuous noise

The third source are the wind generators at sea. They produce a consistent low sound, just the frequency the whales communicate with.  Lucky us, we found technology to reduce it, even to stop it. It still has to be done.

Meanwhile you can use less energy, so then we don’t need to build that many. And it saves you in the wallet.

You enjoy music? For the sea mammal, our North Sea must sound like a bar blowing bad techno 24/7 on a loud volume.

IMO SDC 9 ;  the boring bureaucracy will do it

Rules can do the thing. Therefore we need bureaucracy.
That should work globally. Therefore we invented the United Nations. Short cutting now, we go straight to the Subcommittee on Ship Design and Construction, starting their 9th meeting this week. The USA, UK and Netherlands are members of influence.

The SDC-9 members are human beings, just as you and I, doing all the bureaucracy for us. Direct them in between all the lobby noise, and send them an email.

Give our members a push into the right direction.

Help stopping dolphins from screaming.

Send an email.

Send an email

You can send an email like this:

Subject: To the members of the SDC-9
Fill in what you want. An opening is:
Dear Members of the Subcommittee on Ships Design and Construction,

Here under a suggested subject to inspire you.

Cavitation and sea mammals in the current ecosystem

Cavitation disturbs the sea mammal communication. These mammals are crucial in the chain of ocean life in our current ecosystem. The ecosystem can do without mammals, no worries about that. But that will then be an ecosystem to the disadvantage of our next generations, with dying plankton, copepods, fish, and without human beings.

An honest question

Going slow saves a lot. When you go faster, the necessary energy  (the fuel consumption)  grows exponentially? This graph shows the solution to save you some money and the world a climate problem.

This graph says how much power in kilowatts is necessary for every knot of speed, for a 12 meter cruising yacht.

An example.
Suppose your taxi driver drives slow, say 40 miles per hour. You ask him to go 60. So 50% extra. He says: “OK, but you have to pay me double money”.  Would you do that?  You would call him a rip-off, a swindler.

Another example.
Let us say you go 4 knots with your boat. Costs you 4.3 kW, about 2 dollar/Euro every hour. But speeding up with 2 knots to 6 knots, costs 8,5. Would cost you 4 dollar/euro per hour. So for only 50% extra, you have to pay double.

Why are so many people ripping themselves off?

Why are there so many people even trying to make even 7 knots in stead of 6 with their sailing (!) yacht, which nearly doubles the costs again?

In their spare time, even their leisure time.

I honestly don’t understand.

Are you one of them? Please mail and explain it, on

Propellers for sailors

Most sailors love the propeller under their ship, because it is so beautifully shaped, the bronze thing with its blades, specially made for the job. Do you have any idea what the efficiency of the propellor under a yacht is?? I always thought it would be like 80%. Till I saw that Dick Koopmans, a well respected and seasoned yacht designer, has the rule of thumb to estimate 50%. That means: 50 % loss of all the energy the engine delivers.

The regular prop under a boat.

Designed for the fastest speed only

You know why? Because the propeller designers have to design the propeller for only one speed, the fastest. It means that the blades of the propeller are fixed to that pitch.

The pitch of the blade defines the angle of the water flowing along the blade

You can make the propeller for slower speeds, but the problem is that you can not run it faster. It would not only be very inefficient, but with too many rotations the prop damages itself. It is called cavitation.

The cavitation problem

This is the following process. When a prop runs through the water, it creates the desired underpressure on the thrust side (the side where the ship is heading to). So the prop will go forward. But when the prop runs faster than designed, the prop creates sometimes that much underpressure that bits of water evaporate. These tiny bubbles stick to the prop and a fraction of a second later they implode, with that much force that it leave a little hole, a little dimple in the bronze. It happens most frequently on the outside of the blade, the most effective part. The prop’s surface loses its smoothness and that gives resistance, and the chance on even more cavitation.

So that’s why a prop is made for its highest speed. To prevent damage.

We hardly ever motor on maximum speed, so then it is getting inefficient. The so-called ‘pitch’ is too small. Your prop is like a sail that is too flat for the job to be done. It doesnot hurt, but it doesnot make the speed.

the solution: the variable propeller

But, there is a solution! That is the variable propeller. The blades can adjust . They were invented in 1924, and although expensive, they were widely used on ships with variable speed. You had to adjust the most efficient pitch yourself.

Some years ago, they invented the propellor that can automatically adjust its best pitch. Ideal for leisure sailors. They tested it and even on a high speed, the variable prop is doing 10 to 15% better. On low speeds it will be more and more.

This is the Autoprop. Each blade rotates to its most efficient angle, the pitch.

When under sail, the blades of the Autoprop can be set in a feathering position.

Check the movie with the explanation

The prop costs more than the regular one, but it is something to think about, with the ever increasing diesel price.

Extra: no prop works well if you use it in reverse, to go backwards. But the variable prop adjusts itself to it and is just as efficient in reverse.

Therefore, the Autoprop is also a great prop to regenerate electricity in case you have an hydro alternator, or a propshaft alternator. So you can even get energy with it.