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Hotel Morabeza, renewable energy sources and ecology
Hotel Morabeza is in Cape Verde, and since its 1967 origins, this pioneering company has been renowned for its determination to use and develop renewable energy sources, on the one hand, and on the other hand its wish to respect the particularly vulnerable natural environment of Sal Island
1. The founders, engineers Mr. and Mrs. Gaspart Vynckier-Massart, installed as early as 1966 a seawater distiller powered by solar energy (using evaporation). The first prototype of the device, conceived by an American engineer, was used on Symi Island in Greece.
2. Their son, Georges Vynckier, set up the first flat solar panels (75m²) In Cape Verde for the production of hot water. Those were subsequently developed and these days they meet practically all the hotel needs.
3. He attempted to perfect a system of concentration parabolic mirrors in order to produce steam destined to power a turbine to generate KWH.
4. But that attempt was temporarily abandoned when Mr. Vynckier determined that the use of a wind farm (aeolian) would be more profitable in the area. A Danish Vespas machine was imported and produced around 60% of the company’s electric needs (50KWH with moderate needs). It was a spectacular success. That machine served the company well for twenty years. The company has asked the authorities to grant it the authorization to set up a second-generation machine, four times more powerful. The power required for air-conditioning, recently generalized, is considerable. It could be provided by wind farming 80% of the time. The hotel has been built so as to be somewhat protected from the heat of solar rays and to largely benefit from a kind of natural air-conditioning, thanks to the trade winds with their permanent North-East orientation.
5. The electricity produced by the wind is also used to desalt seawater by reverse osmosis; the method has been perfected for years and the hotel installations have a sufficient capacity to cover almost all the hotel needs. The new method replaced long ago the old solar distiller set up by the founders, to great advantage. We have perfected, after successful research, a system that picks up very pure seawater, six meters under the beach (the sand functioning as an additional filter), close to the volcanic rock beneath.
6. One of our foremost projects is to set up solar panels with photovoltaic cells. The method is more appropriate here, seeing our limited needs, than a concentration solar farm (a few prototype dishes remain). Those solar panels are indispensable to complement the wind machines. Thus our needs are well-covered, seeing as wind and sun are in no short supply. The storage of energy is the principal difficulty of such ecologic devices, it is partly solved by the storage of distilled water.
7. Relying upon the knowhow of the SOAC company we have successfully practiced the recycling of used waters for more than ten years. It allows us to save money and has led us to the systematic avoidance of harmful detergents. The recycled water is used to water the gardens and for toilet flush water.
8. The ongoing program features other aspects that showcase our wish to respect our ecosystem, producing and using cheaper and non-polluting energies; e.g. we use low consumption lamps on a large scale, and we are planning a garbage recycling program.
The staff of Hotel Morabeza has always been aware of the efforts that the management makes in terms of ecology, and is helping us make constant new steps in the right direction.