Welcome to the participants of the EM42!

According to Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything. As we all are aware, these are challenging times for our planet in terms of sustainable development. Fortunately, today the 42nd (!) UNEP/UNESCO/BMU International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management for Developing Countries has started at TU Dresden. We do not exaggerate when we say that looking at the inquisitive and motivated faces of the newly arrived 21 (coincidentally = 42/2) environmental experts makes us more than confident, that they will find answers – perhaps not to the Life, The Universe, and Everything – but at least to the question of how we can make further progress in sustainable development. 💚🌍💙

Though a sudden and unexpected snowpocalypse caused some adventurous arrival days with plenty canceled, delayed and rescheduled flights, nearly all the participants made it in time to the opening ceremony taking place in the festive hall of the TU Dresden rectorate. After inspiring and motivating speeches, the much appreciated musical entertainment by the string quartet of the Dresden Philharmonic orchestra, and the cheerful reception with lots of chatter and laughter, we are now looking forward to the next six months with the EM42 participants from Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Ukraine, and Vietnam!

(Photos: T. Karp)

SC 76: Excursion to the City of Chemnitz – A symbol of Renewable Energy Innovations and Energy Efficiency

By Enoch Bessah (Ghana)

The international short course of Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency [SC76], has been an exciting and insightful experience at CIPSEM for the 21 participants selected from 19 countries across five of the seven continents in the world. The first week was for familiarizing with the course content, Dresden, Germany and among participants. Through our various presentations (country report) and socialisation we shared about our culture and knowledge as well as resources for capacity building through one-on-one chats and lectures. After two weeks of lectures and field visits to German Environment Agency (UBA) at Dessau and German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) at Leipzig, it was an exciting moment to prepare early Monday morning to visit the Gold Municipality award winning city of Chemnitz. We were welcome at the City of Chemnitz Environment Agency by Dr. Thomas Scharbrodt, Head of the Environmental Authority in the city. As with other places we visited, the reception was “water, fruit drinks, coffee and tea” available on the table to energize us (keep us awake) throughout the presentations. I enjoyed this part of our excursion because it was an adaptation strategy to the weather by keeping the mouth busy and body warm.
The first presentation on energy transition in the City of Chemnitz was given by Ms. Carina Kühnel from their Environmental Authority. The energy and climate protection policy of the city is guided by three principles: environmental sustainability, social compatibility and economic efficiency and supply security. Chemnitz has a detailed integrated climate protection programme defined by the city council. Energy and climate change can be said to be intertwined. Solving the energy problem is addressing climate change according to my understanding of the climate protection programmes undertaken by the City of Chemnitz and the results achieved so far in their energy transition. The partners with various public and private institutions and organizations to implement defined programs. City of Chemnitz has exceeded the SEKo* 2020 target of 30% renewable electricity in the regional mix by 22% this year. The programmes of the city are worth emulating to tackle the global energy and climate problems at the municipal level.
The second presentation was on innovative heating solution at municipal kindergarten by Mr. Andreas Braumann. The concept of this innovation was to recover waste heat from data centre servers and use it at the municipal kindergarten in the City of Chemnitz. The first period of the implementation was 2011/2012, however, that of the kindergarten was on October 12, 2013. Recovered waste heat from servers is to be used in heating of buildings, domestic hot water and hot water systems. During the period of operation till November 15, 2013, the servers consumed 4.3 MWh of power and produced 10 MWh of heat. It is worth mentioning that useful heat from heating water during the same period was 2.85 MWh. Therefore, the waste recovery innovation from servers is the green way of increasing heat in buildings without direct consumption from electricity or other primary sources of energy. The Director of CIPSEM, Dr. Anna Goerner also made a presentation about solar construction work at FASA AG. Buildings are constructed with the architecture dimensions of solarthermal heating installations. This is another innovation to promote renewables in room heating. There are urban buildings with this design in the City of Chemnitz which we visited after the presentations.
IMG_6662After lunch, we visited three sites in the City of Chemnitz to see what was presented earlier at the Environment Agency. Our first stop was at the Solarthermal settlement developed by FASA AG. The solar systems are installed at an angle for maximum irradiation. Some of the buildings were still under construction which gave us an opportunity to see what is being done as presented in class. The completed solar residence (Solardomizil) and urban houses (Stadthäuser) were already occupied. This is an indication of the level of commitment of citizens to the energy transition plan. Although, Germany has not yet achieved national target in energy but there has been improvement towards the climate actions plan fulfilment. The second stop was at the battery storage system (eins) in the city of Chemnitz. The battery storage system has a rated capacity of 16 MWh. The response frequency of the battery system to changes on the grid is in split seconds. The battery in the system helps to prevent “blackout”, thus guaranteeing reliable power supply from the grid.  Our last site visit was to the municipal waste water treatment plant.
chThe plant incorporates energy efficiency in its operations as it recovers energy from the sludge through biogas generation. Waste water treatment is energy demanding. However, this plant has two of 36000 m3 tanks for biological treatment to generate biogas within 30 days. Electricity produced from the biogas generation covers two-thirds of the electricity demand in the facility. One thing that intrigued me at the waste water treatment plant was the information about the collection of rainwater from the city at the plant. This system although was not elaborated in the visit because it was not a focus, showed me, one practical and proven measure to mitigate urban flood in developing countries.

Our excursion to the city of Chemnitz enlightened us on energy transition at the municipal level which was aligned to the National energy targets and climate action plans. Our since appreciations goes to the CIPSEM team (lead on the trip: Dr. Anna Görner and Ms. Tamara Karp) for successfully organising this visit.

Leipzig!

Authors: Ramoudane Orou Sannou (Benin) and Maksym Makukha (Ukraine)

On the sunny Wednesday of July 04th, nineteen out of 21 EM41 participants were preparing for the last excursion of the course program. This excursion planned to last from Wednesday to Friday took place in Leipzig which is about 100km from Dresden. Leipzig is a beautiful historical German city with the 2nd oldest university in Germany and has been home to many world renowned celebrities such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and... The city differs from Dresden in its cultural diversity, marked by a strong foreign presence. As proof, the presence of a Georgian restaurant – “Chito Gvrito” – where EM41 participants gathered for their 1st dinner.

About what we learned…

The first point of visit for the excursion was the Helmhotlz Centre for Environmental Research which is famous for its cutting-edge research in the field of environment. Being already a huge facility, the Helmhotlz Centre for Environmental Research  is part of Helmhotlz research organization which is also one of the three largest German research associations. The first stage at the Helmholtz centre has been a presentation about constructed wetlands followed by field visit. Constructed wetlands are low tech but highly productive technology that could help – and actually, already do – rural communities all around the world to treat waste water.

Photo2

Secondly, we had interesting presentations about the ongoing projects of the centre in the Middle East. These projects deal with spatial planning of water treatment, that also includes components on participation of various stakeholders and children education. We had an impressive 3D visualization that brings us deeper into the very advanced 3D models being used by the centre for spatial planning. Later we had other presentations on different research topics of the centre such as chemicals in our environment, urban planning, and the interesting topic of land use (TALE project).

Photo 3

Party again!

During the night of the 2nd excursion day, CIPSEM invited us for dinner in a place that was first kept secret from us. In fact, the dinner took place at the MoritzBastei restaurant near to Leipzig University. “The Moritzbastei is the only remaining part of the ancient town fortifications of Leipzig. Today it is widely known as a cultural centre. From 1974 the Moritzbastei was rebuilt under the supervision of the University of Leipzig. More than 30,000 students were engaged in the reconstruction of the bastion, among them the current Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (Yes-Yes, she has also studied there!) – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moritzbastei).

Biomass, new fuel???

The last excursion day was dedicated to visiting the German Center for Biomass Research also located in Leipzig, two tram stop from the Helmholtz centre. This institution explores usage of biomass for energy supply mainly by combustion. It aims at producing biogas and biofuels for transport. Of course biomass cannot substitute all our demand for energy mainly because we also need land to produce our food. But a good option could be to use lands that are not suitable for food production to grow biomass for energy production. This lab also explores ways  for producing liquid fuels such as biodiesel or biokerosene to meet our needs for environmentally friendly fuel in the future.

 

The EM41 last excursion ended being about what should be called the “fuel of the future!” And that was the END!

Good bye, Leipzig!

Excursion to the Saxon Dam Authority and Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Authors: Ahimbisibwe Alfred (Uganda) and Clement G Tweh (Liberia)

“Water is Life”

You wake up in the morning some minutes late and you decide to rush through your preparation to be in time for the office. You rush to the bathroom, open the tap and lo… there is no water flowing. Your mind switches to panic mode. Can you go to the office without taking a bath? Or even without brushing your teeth?

This is a disastrous situation that the Saxon Dams Authority strives to avert by ensuring that there is always sufficient supply of high quality drinking water available to households and industry at any time all year round. Participants in the 41st Postgraduate Course of Environment Management for Developing and Emerging countries held an excursion to the Saxon Dams Authority’s drinking water reservoirs in Neunzenhain on 3rd and 4th May 2018 to learn about drinking water supply.

Two staff members of the Saxon Dam’s Authority and Dr. Lothar Paul of the Ecological Station Neunzenhain conducted the excursion. The Saxon Dams Authority manages fresh water resources in the Free State of Saxony of which dams make up 20%, the rest being rivers. They are in charge of 153 reservoirs, 23 of which are for drinking water and the rest for flood control. They also supply drinking water to 40% of Saxony’s population with storage capacity of 100 million m3 of water.

Participants were informed that the Saxon dams Authority supplies drinking water to six regional contractors who distribute water in the various cities in the state. In order to balance demand and supply, some dams are interconnected through tunnel systems or open channels and that the water quality has significantly improved due to strict requirements for purification of flue gas from coal power stations and industries that were previously responsible for acid rain.

Talsperre Neunzenhain II

Neunzenhain dams were constructed to provide drinking water for the city of Chemnitz, which was growing rapidly due to industrialization in the 19th Century. The first dam was built between 1891 and 1893 while Neunzenhain II was built between 1911 and 1914 using natural stones from the region. It is gravity dam whose weight of stones holds back the water. To avoid siltation in this dam, two pre-dams built upstream reduce the sediment load of incoming water. Secondly, 25 km² of the dam’s catchment area is forested giving it the best quality of water. The rivers flowing these forests also carry little sediments. However, every 10 years the Dams Authority does a general de-silting operation to maintain the capacity of the dam.

The Neunzenhain II dam was extensively repaired between 1996 and 2000 making it more robust with more monitoring devices to ensure its life is extended. During these works, a new concrete was built behind the stone wall and a monitoring tunnel also constructed. Important parameters monitored include

  1. Pressure: Due to high pressure in the water column, water tends to escape below the wall. To mitigate this, ground water below the dam wall is sucked out and drained away.
  2. Dam displacement: Due to alternating seasons, there is dam displacement especially in summer due to temperature difference on both sides of the dam. A maximum displacement measured is 8mm.

Water can be drawn from five different layers in the reservoir and such thermo-stratification allows for continuous supply of clear water even if silted water enters the dam by drawing water from lower layers, which actually remain clear.

Ecological Research Station Neunzenhain

Participants visited the Ecological Research Station in Neunzehain which was established in 1959 focus on research on drinking water reservoirs. This was after a realization that activities in the surrounding areas of the dams affect the quality of water. It was founded as a hydro-biological field station and they have collected a lot of ecological data on reservoirs.

Dr. Lothar Paul and Ms. Henrike Beesk presented research that is going on at the station on Cyano bacteria in the drinking water reservoirs and other micro organism such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. Cyanobacteria produce toxins which can cause sickness and death in severe circumstances. The team also presented ecological interventions used to maintain the quality of water such as bio-manipulation and sanitization of the catchment. Bio-manipulation involves stocking of predator fishes in the reservoirs such as pike and trout to hunt the smaller fishes thus favouring growth of zooplankton which in turn reduce the phytoplankton that degrade water quality.

Emerging Issues

  1. Per capita water demand in Saxony has reduced from 200 m3 to 85 m3 and this is attributed to increased efficiency in use and change in industry to less water intensive industry
  2. To increase forest resilience, broad leaf tree species have been introduced to the previous coniferous monoculture and this diversity improves forest productivity and resilience.

Excursion to Control Center of Public Transport in Dresden

(By Sandar Myint, Myanmar)

On 24th April of 2018, we visited the Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe AG (DVB) (Dresdner Transport Services). The EM41 participants guided by Ms. Angela Francke from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic, went together to the DVB Control Center of Public Transport.

After arrival, we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Winfried Oelmann. Before the lectures and discussions, the EM41 participants asked him curiously what they want to know and what they want to include as a part on DVB Public Transport such as air ventilation inside the Tram, and an E-ticket system. He answered all questions thoroughly and started his presentation about the institutional organization and strength of DVB. In General Figures of his presentation, there are seven types of vehicles which are “Low Floor Trams, Older Tatra Trams, Diesel Buses, Hybrid Buses, Battery Buses, Ferry Boats and Freight Tram”. About 160 million of passengers travelled in the year and DVB was one of Dresden’s key employers with 1,851 employees and 97 trainees.

The main responsibility of DVB is to operate the local public transportation in Dresden, the capital of Saxony and also responsible for planning, marketing, driving, traffic and product planning, communication, investing, sales, maintaining and training. Every year DVB had already surveyed the satisfactory status on DVB services and transportation types. According to 2017 DVB survey, it accounts for over 47 % of very satisfied status, 33.5% of satisfied status, 0.4% of unsatisfied status and others on DVB services and also 12% -on foot, 27% – bikes, 39% -cars and  22% -public transport on transportation types.

The ticket price in Dresden is low on behalf of the environment, people, and the livable cities. Furthermore there are several discounts; children under 14 years and handicapped people ride for free; 75% are to pay by pupils and apprentices, 80% discounts for students and also 50% of the monthly ticket prices and 75% of 4-trip tickets to pay by poor people.

The ticket revenues cannot cover the costs of public transportation in Dresden/Germany and DVB has an annual gap of Euro 40 million. In this case, ENSO and DREWAG, which are responsible for energy, network, supply of power, gas, water, grid operator got always profits and filled the gap of DVB as a consolidation of companies in the case of public transportation funding of Germany. Also Mr. Oelmann compared the pros and cons between the use of private cars and public transports in rush hours with regard to facts of carbon emission, costs and time.

After that, another lecture is given by Mr. Andre′ Schiller, who is an IT coordinator to perform both technical and administrative tasks to ensure functionality and efficiency of computer and telecom systems in DVB, on the topics of Information and control system of DVB. We knew that the operator systems need the online different units which are not as easy as using smart phones. Every night DVB transformed the scheduled data to passengers via online systems to know the real time for all routes.

After that, we moved to the main control room for Information Center of DVB in which there are 22 employees who were working with the assigned tasks. According to the explanation by Mr. Schiller and Ms. Francke, we knew that one was mainly responsible for social media and the other ones were responsible to control the computer and telecom systems of all DVB transport operations with 3 shifts in 24 hours. The operating trams in the tram lines could be seen by the specified colors such as yellow and green within the computer systems. To operate the tram lines, it needs much energy.

After that, we went outside from DVB Center and moved to place for the tram stops in order to know the structures and tasks of the trams next to the DVB building. Tram routes were arranged by the respective tram lines in that place. In this case, Mr. Schiller explained well the structures of trams and the tasks which operated daily. On the body of the tram, there was the trade mark which describes the produced year and the company to know where the tram was build up. Also, the structures of the tram include the special features for the handicapped people.

In this interesting excursion to Control Center of Public Transportation in Dresden, we had fun with this excursion and then we came back to CIPSEM Center. I would like to thank CIPSEM Teams and all facilitators for their warm reception and supports and for every schedules and arrangements of knowledgeable lectures and interesting excursions on behalf of our [EM41] participants.

Bicycle excursion in Dresden

by Khusniddin Alikulov

On April 5th, 2018 the CIPSEM EM41 course fellows took part in a bicycle excursion in Dresden under the guidance of Angela Francke and Fabian Heidegger, both from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic. All fellows gathered on the back side of the CIPSEM building for choosing suitable bikes and helmets. Initial announcement by the guiding staff was about riding rules in Germany such as designated special paths for bikes, right side riding on the roads in Germany, road cross section rules, etc. Subsequently Angela Francke introduced the excursion route to all fellows, which included pit and long stops in seven points of Dresden’s Altstadt (e.g. Grosser Garten, Elbe River shore site, historical places of Dresden etc.). In my opinion, the main purpose of the tour was to educate fellows in good riding of bikes in Germany and to introduce the beautiful streets and landscape of Dresden. Moreover, all fellows enjoyed riding bikes for healthy life style. Now all fellows can rent the bikes of CIPSEM and enjoy upcoming beautiful days in Dresden.


We were also informed by Angela about the important role of Dresden’s bicycle roads for connecting the German bike road system. The most beautiful site in our route was Elbe river shore with its fresh air, attractive landscape and comfortable bike road path. Based on provided information by Angela on speed analysis, our bike excursion team had 9.3 km/h average speed and 26.3 km/h maximum speed. On the way of our route, we could also know about the interesting place in Dresden, which counts number of bicycle passes on the designated road line for statistical data collection. It was obvious that many people prefer to use bicycles for contributing to protection of environment. So it was a good example for us to experience German approach on using green transportation. I am very surprised that people in Dresden are aware of climate change and willing to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emission. I think I will also start to share the CIPSEM bicycle excursion approach in my home country and neighborhood. Thanks a lot to the CIPSEM team for organizing this enjoyable bicycle excursion and teaching us in important transportation movement rules in Germany.

13th February – 360° Panorama Fascination in Dresden

written by Melano Sirbiladze

On February 13th, 21 CIPSEM participants visited the 3600 panorama museum with German teacher Dr. Breuls. This day is a historic day for German people and especially for Dresden citizens. On 13th February 1945 British and United States Army Air forces dropped more than 3900 tons of bombs on the city. Dresden’s city center was severely destroyed.

The museum is very impressive and the atmosphere with emotional music takes you back in time. The amazing 3600 panoramic view, so-called “Dresden 1945” was created by the very famous artist – Yadegar Asisi. The artist dedicated his work to “people thinking about creativity and abysses of human nature, about grim logic and insanity of war in the world” (Yadegar Asisi).

 

In the museum, we “met” people from the past, people who experienced adversity during world war second. For example, we “met” Arno Wend, who was the youngest member of the Dresden City Parliament and unfortunately, was forced to go to Hohnstein concentration camp because of the Nazis. We also saw Jenny Schaffer’s profile. Jenny was an active member of Dresden Semper Opera House. She was Jewish and because of her origin, Henny Schaffer along with her husband was deported to extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered.

We also listened to the stories of the people who experienced bombing during 13-15 February. Ordinary Dresden citizens talked about the unbelievable days they had in 1945. And one might think that these people have only sad, tragic memories but surprisingly in every person’s talk, you will find hope to rebuilt and renew the city.

Overall, for me and I think for every CIPSEM participant, 13th February was full of history, emotions, people, tragedy, and hope. And how surprising it may sound, I still managed to find the beauty in these tragic stories. The Dresden Beauty is that love continues even after death and the impact of that trauma brought people closer together due to the love they shared for the city. In other words, Dresden citizens had carried and still carry the amazing feeling of hope and the feeling to start over. So, as our guide told us, we saw not only the tragedy of Dresden, but people’s strong faith for a better future.