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Brigantes Renovation Project Is Creating Next Eco-Sustainable Sail Freighter



Brigantes Ship

The project is transforming a former 1911 sailing freighter so that it can be used for ecological freight transport, releasing zero emissions through propulsion using only the wind and self-produced electricity.

This, in a nutshell, describes the “Brigantes” project, an ambitious renovation project aimed at promoting the benefits of carbon neutral shipping, and strengthening the Sail Cargo Alliance, a growing movement of eco-sustainable freighters.

The 30 meters long ship is currently being fully restored in a specialized shipyard in Trapani, Sicily. The new launch has been scheduled for 2018 at which time the reborn vessel will again sail the world seas, and one day have a chance to meet the Eye of the Wind, its world famous twin-sister ship.

A Historical Freighter Saved From Demolition

The sail freighter with the original name “META” was built in Germany in 1911 by the renowned shipyard Lühring. Its 30 meters long, 7 meters wide riveted iron hull was optimized for speed and designed to sail one of the most dangerous seas in the world: the North Atlantic. As a spoil of war to the French in 1920, it arrived in Italy in 1923 and was used for the transportation of talc from Sardinia to Livorno. In the Fifties it underwent dismantling of the sailing rig, was converted into a motorboat and renamed Onice. From 1953 it transported merchandize between the Island of Pantelleria and the mainland. In 1998 the Onice was laid up and abandoned in a corner of the harbor in Trapani. In 2016, to save it from demolition, a group of Italian-Austrian-German enthusiastic investors bought the former sailing vessel. A delicate and precise examination of the hull plates at the Da.Ro.Mar.Ci Naval Ferro Snc shipyard in Trapani revealed the surprisingly good state of conservation of the hull plates. The “third life”, the recovery of the Brigantes, the new name given to the vessel could formally start!

Why Sail Powered Shipping?

There are basically two reasons that led the Brigantes team to venture into cargo sailing. The first was the wish to revive a world long forgotten, where navigation was experienced as an art of functional traditional seamanship. The second was the desire to be part of the growing number of people who want to change things and who believe in a sustainable future, made of healthy products, fair-solidarity and responsible economy. An unusual economic concept, intriguing and authentic.

How To Participate In The Project

Anyone can become part of the Brigantes project, offering sponsorships, materials, equipment, instrumentation, or even volunteer labor. Yet the strongest form of participation will be the acquisition of a limited number of ownership shares bearing the certainty of becoming part of a pioneering adventure and a small marine freight revolution (contact via for details). Large companies or associations committed to environmental protection and a sustainable economy may avail of Brigantes to transport their products or foods. The propulsion system on board, in addition to the sails, will consist of an electric motor combined to a solar / wind power plant. This is a unique opportunity for these companies to support a real sustainable alternative to “traditional” transport and demonstrate consistency with its own business philosophy.

A School Of Vocational Training For Sailors

In addition to delivering zero-emission goods between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Brigantes will offer anyone the opportunity to learn how to navigate on a traditional sailing ship. In turns, up to ten passengers will be accepted on board for a unique sailing experience. The berths will be housed in a community room, intentionally promoting an environment akin to the ancient tradition of sailing. The seven crew members as well as the captain will be available to share and explain the secrets of sailing manoeuvers needed to conduct Brigantes on the high seas. Yet the ship will also offer the opportunity to embark as “simple” paying guest and participate in international events, maritime festivals, historical regattas and any activity that might help raise awareness for the noble purpose of this project.

The Twin Sister Ship: ‘Eye Of The Wind’

To best understand what Brigantes will eventually look like, just take a look at the “Eye of the Wind”, the twin-ship built in the same yard. Christened as Friedrich, after the name of the longtime Friedrich Kolb who commissioned the construction of the ship, it was launched in 1911, three months before the Brigantes. In 1970, after a devastating fire, the ship was rescued by a group of young enthusiasts led by Anthony “Tiger” Timbs, who turned it into one of the most famous brigs in the world. The Vessel was in fact used as a floating set for movies such as “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields, “Tai-Pan” and “The White Squall” by Ridley Scott. Today Eye of the Wind continues to cruise the seas of the globe.

The Team

For the financing of the project the Brigantes Shipping company, owner of the ship and initiator of the venture has been inspired by the historical model of the “Partenreederei”, where investors become co-owner of the company and as a consequence co-owners of the ship. This financing model was frequently used in the last centuries in the sailing business in Northern Europe and is very similar to what we today would call crowdfunding. The protagonists of this extraordinary adventure are Oscar Kravina, professional boat builder and (project coordinator), the German engineer Tobias Blome, naval engineer and advisor to companies in the maritime sector, Daniel Kravina, entrepreneur and administrator of the company, and the Italian Giuseppe Ferreri, marine captain who began his own career on board of the Onice back when the ship was transporting goods between Sicily and the island of Pantelleria. He will eventually be entrusted with the command of the Brigantes. The design of the refit will respect the entity classification regulations by RINA (Italian Shipping Register), one of the most recognized navigational logs from the IACS (International Association of Classification Societies).



Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?



Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret |

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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