April 16-29, Ukrainians could sip some sunny coffee or pedal a movie in the main squares of Ukrainian cities. This is not just another windy fair, but a strategic information tour to educate people on alternative energy use for day-to-day needs.
Vitaliy, a real energy geek, brews coffee in rays of sun. He encourages onlookers to sip some “sunny coffee” as he calls it. The coffee is hot and fragrant. You would never guess it was made without electricity or gas.
“We tell people about alternative energy. This is a solar concentrator, which can be constructed at home,” says Vitaliy about his solar machine. He gives simple instructions on how to construct it: “you just need an old satellite dish covered with sun-reflecting film.” As simple as that! With this invention, you can go for a picnic and have some fried eggs, coffee or even grill food without harming nature.
Vitaliy has been touring with a team from the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU) for two years. Over that time, he has noticed some changes in the mentality of Ukrainians. “People have started to realise their responsibility for the environment and climate change,” he says, adding, “they are also starting to look for energy efficiency to reduce their expenses.”
“Using our booklets, people have already constructed at least 60 solar concentrators all over Ukraine,” says Vitaliy.
A solar water heater is another way to stay energy-independent and eco-friendly at a low cost. NECU volunteers teach Ukrainians how to get hot water without electricity or gas. A solar water heater can heat 80 litres per 4-5 hours to 60 Co. This is quite economical – it is possible for a household to save over 5,000 hryvnyas every eight months.
Solar batteries are also touted by these eco-volunteers. Though these are quite an extravagant alternative to conventional energy, with a 7-10 year payback, there is a developing market for solar batteries in Ukraine, along with the services to install them.
You can take on several productive activities at once. This invention generates energy through pedalling a bike. So, you can do your favourite physical activity while at the same time creating energy for your laptops, or even powering an outdoor movie. The main idea of this invention is to show that even something simple like a bicycle can be an element of energy independence.
The info-tour is organised by a group of eco-NGOs to educate people on how to become more energy independent. The NGOs include NECU, UMKA, AVK, Eco club, Voice of Nature, Eremurus, and Green Wave. The EU actively encourages eco initiatives and gives financial support for their realisation, including support to this info-tour.