April 27: Rotterdam Climate Initiative:
Rotterdam stresses climate urgency

The Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI) has a broad support in the community. The ingenuity is as impressive as diverse. Sadly, what misses is an instrument to monitor the CO2-emissions so that progress cannot yet be established.
In the Blijdorp Zoo, one of the big energy users in the harbour city, the new crocodile home is heated with wood chips. A large German wood oven burns wood chips that the zoo receives from the municipal green maintenance service. It comes from parks and municipal green within the Rotterdam area. Two and a halve kilos substitutes one cubic meter of natural gas. Alas the zoo is energy burdened by a lot of old badly isolated buildings from its history, says Constance Alderslieste from the zoo's communication department. New buildings are designed according to low energy standards.
Fred Kok and Randolph Streng, Blijdorp Zoo

At the city's waste inciniary AVR a new installation is designed that will transform the yearly 400 kilo tons of waste with a 85 percent efficiency into steam that can be used for electricity generation (29 percent efficiency overall) of 20 megawatts or for the benefit of a district heating system that can support the demand of 50 thousand households. Steam can be divided at will between electricity or heat generation. According to AVR director Pim de Vries, the new facility will be operational at January 1st 2013.
AVR seen from the Maashaven

Ships of the Rotterdam Port Authority have tried to reduce their fuel use by 10 percent. According to captains Kees van de Kooij (left) and Marcel de Vliegh (right), the result of the trial was a little disappointing. Despite their tranquil navigation style, the overall fuel reduction stuck at about 3 percent. Nonetheless the authority participates in a wider port action project to reduce fuel consumption.
On board of the RPA10

City lighting amouts to a third of the electricity use of the municipal services. In an attempt to reduce electricity use, bulbs of traffic lights are being displaced by more energy efficient LED lights, which are the current industry standard for this application. There is a snag however. Hans van Run, traffic manager at the municipal's traffic service, tells that an electricity dissapating shunt to the LED lights is necessary for the functioning of the existing control system that monitors the burning of the lamps. Acknowledging that LED lamps are replaced preventively once in six to seven years instead of half-yearly (bulbs), one can doubt the need of the control system.

RCI's director Wiert-Jan de Raaf is happy with the current and widespread enthusiasm for the programme, but stresses there is a long way to go. He hopes to be able to monitor Rotterdam's CO2 emission in about a year's time, and thus the progress of the programme towards it's target of 50 percent CO2 emission reduction in 2025. His main concern is to maintain the sense of urgency needed, despite the current drop in fuel prices. “It takes away a powerfull driver behind the transition”, De Raaf says.
Wiert-Jan de Raaf

A risk in the programme is it's large (60 percent) reliance on carbon capture and storage (CCS). Apart from being a novel and non-proven technology, there is a rising resistance in the nearby city of Brendrecht that has been designated as a test location for CO2 injection. According to De Raaf offshore storage is an option as well.
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