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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).



Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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