Green Energy

 

Unitronix has been thinking about an environmental policy page for a number of years, however it has always been put to one side in favour of other more pressing tasks. This I feel is pretty much the defacto standard response of all people, companies and governments around the world. As a certain young person in Switzerland said recently, everyone talks about doing something, but nothing actually happens.

So Unitronix is going to start now, on what we should have started years ago, an engineering approach to looking at our carbon footprint and practical things we can do to reduce it. We are going to be publishing this as we go on our website and I will be involved in writing our posts, publishing the things we are doing and the things we find out. This communication will not be a particularly formal affair, we don't have time to make this in to some sort of corporate communications nonsense, its just going to be rough and ready, looking at what we are investigating, finding out, doing, and the results that we see.

Bullet Point Break down 

Companies, organisations, be they big or small, could do a lot more to help the environment.

Small organisations like Unitronix can make a difference.

Our initial focus to start with is solar power.

Companies use power during the day, so are potentially ideal for solar installs. IE the pay back time is shorter than for domestic installs.

If enough small companies located in business parks and industrial areas, all started installing solar, and those installs can link up on micro grids, then the actual effectiveness ratio of the solar installs is magnified. Cluster solar together and you get a better renewable input into the overall local power system.

Micro grids have the potential to dramatically increase the effectiveness of every solar install in an area.

Our Immediate task list:

1). Mark, our technician, is installing a power-usage meter in our premises. 

2). Madi or Marketing Coordinator is talking to the owners of our building to check we are OK to install on the roof. 

3). Paul, our Operations Manager, is talking to our power provider to discuss what they offer in the way of solar install services. 

4). Myself and Richard, our Marketing person, will be drawing up the straw-man outline covering the broader scope of this initiative including;

Use of air travel in the company, how many miles do we fly a year, can we reduce this and be more effective through use of ICT and / or driving.

Can we do crazy things like buy a 100 trees a year and then go around planting them in the local area. Will the council get upset if they suddenly have trees popping up everywhere.

What is the law pertaining to planting trees any were we see a nice space?

Re-initiate our NOMAD Electric vehicle R&D program. We actually started this 4 years ago, but could not find any interest at the time, things might be different now so we want to look at this again. The NOMAD is a small military vehicle that fits in to a Chinook helicopter. They are used for all sorts of Military applications, medivac, re-supply, that sort of thing . What we want to look at is, rip out the diesel motor and gearbox, replace with 4 x hub motors and some new battery tech coming out of the USA, utilise a hydrogen fuel cell in a direct charging plant closed system and document the types of capability profiles that a vehicle like this could provide in an operational scenario. 

Thats were we are as of 30th Jan 2020, I will be updating this post on our website as we go.

UPDATE August 2020:

 
As we somewhat get to a way of working going forward from Covid we have the following to report
regarding our environmental Policy.
 
1). Testing of the power we use in our Office/ Factory unit. This has proved problematic, we had 
     purchased a piece of equipment to measure power usage through the day. Unfortunately it was
     Found difficult to get the access to the main power line coming in to the building and consequently
     we have not been able to get a base line usage number for power. However due to our working from
     home policy and only having a cut down number of staff at the factory on any given day, we have
     to consider the worth of the measurement since it would not be a true representation of our power
     use in normal times. We will however pick this up again in the future.
 
2). Lights in the main office consisted of 24 fluro tubes, these have all been changed to LED down lights.
     Unfortunately the light output of these LEDs is not great, the office has a dark feel to it and not a bright
     daylight effect that we had wanted. Investigation is on going and we may have to change the actual 
     LED lights to units with greater light output. It is disappointing that we could not have measured 
     power usage before and after this install. Hope is that we will see a difference in the power bill.
 
3). Bin Trim, a NSW government initiative to help small companies look at wast and recycling, this is about
     to be undertaken and we will report the findings next update.
 
4). Solar install, has not moved forward at this time due to Covid, however we will be looking at this in the 
     coming months.
 
5). Travel, looking at cutting down travel, was solved with Covid, however we need to consider what 
     happens after Covid, what is travel likely to look like. At this stage our best guess is that travel will
     now be under 50% of what it was post Covid. We are using video meeting software extensively and 
     considering that this will be the way forward for the future, far less travel, and mostly travel by car.
 
6). We have been investigating Hydrogen powered electric cars, mainly due to the fact that standard battery 
     electric cars just use power from the grid, and thats coal fired power, which is just emissions via
     a different route. Hydrogen is very interesting.
 
Thats our update for August 2020, lets see what the next 6 months bring.

 

Tim Marshall: Managing Director