Belgium
Koen Mortelmans
Koen Mortelmans I am a Belgium-based freelance journalist, mainly writing about energy , environment , construction and science.
Powering the future: could Europe go dark?
Powering the future: could Europe go dark? February’s blackout in Brussels left neighbourhoods in darkness, streets lit only by headlights and torches. You may be left thinking it was the symptom of a sick system.
Assessing wind resources in our cities
Assessing wind resources in our cities The 43-story Strata tower in London was one of the first buildings in the world to incorporate wind turbines into its structure. It has three small turbines – each with a rated capacity of 19 kilowatt hours – built into its roof.
Biotechnology: navigating a minefield
Biotechnology: navigating a minefield In our fast-moving world, biotech is at the forefront of developments – but, by its very nature, it can provoke ethical and moral concerns .
Do microbes control our mood?
Do microbes control our mood? If aliens were to examine a human, they would think we were just slavish organisms designed to feed microbes and carry them around. Our bodies contain ten times more bacteria than cells , and there are an estimated 3.
Gauging public opinion on small wind turbines
Gauging public opinion on small wind turbines Recent studies suggest that around 70 to 80 percent of people in Europe support wind farms, although there are still concerns around noise and aesthetics.
Gone with the wind farms – Six of the world’s top offshore arrays in pictures
Gone with the wind farms – Six of the world’s top offshore arrays in pictures United Kingdom - London Array With a peak rated power of 630 megawatts, London Array is the largest wind farm in Europe by capacity, and also the largest offshore plant in the world.
Cyber attacks – Are smart cities safer or more vulnerable?
Cyber attacks – Are smart cities safer or more vulnerable? In the wake of the Brussels bombings, the French blogger Francis Pisani addressed the quandaries of modern, connected European cities facing terrorist threats .
Green buildings: is the market ready to pay more for them?
Green buildings: is the market ready to pay more for them? The European construction industry and home-builder citizens are increasingly aware of sustainable choices. Some solutions can be more expensive than others, although sometimes this only concerns the construction phase.
How to measure the quality of life in smart cities?
How to measure the quality of life in smart cities? From pollution levels and the number of traffic accidents to safer public spaces and more efficient heating in buildings:  to what extent can the smartness of a city be quantified?  And  is it possible to measure the quality of life  for an urban area through numerical parameters? It’s all about collecting data that is reliable and making sense of the numbers afterwards.
Preventing “oceans of plastic soup”
Preventing “oceans of plastic soup” Approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic waste washes off land into the ocean each year. Bottle caps, toothbrushes, tiny plastic fragments, filaments, pellets, film and resin float about in the water columns.
Wind energy costs approach nonrenewable levels
Wind energy costs approach nonrenewable levels All too often, conversations on renewable energy meander toward the same end: green technology is a nice thing, though it has to become economically viable before widespread adoption becomes the norm. ...
Smart grid: A grid suitable for renewable energy
Smart grid: A grid suitable for renewable energy Traditionally our electricity grids were designed to move power from large nuclear and fossil fuel power plants to consumers, but renewable energy will see changes to allow smaller power generation from wind and solar to be hooked up to the grid.
When public buildings get smart: new technologies and tailor-made solutions for users
When public buildings get smart: new technologies and tailor-made solutions for users Cooling and heating public buildings remains an expensive and a mostly unresolved issue in Europe. According to the not-for-profit think-tank Buildings Performance Institute Europe , Spain has about 11.
Low carbon materials to capture the imagination of homebuilders and owners
Low carbon materials to capture the imagination of homebuilders and owners In Europe, households are responsible for 32% of greenhouse gas emissions and 42% of energy. Cement production alone contributes to 5% of manmade CO 2 emissions .
Building makeover project – retrofitting to boost energy efficiency
Building makeover project – retrofitting to boost energy efficiency There is nothing like the real world to reveal a project’s true worth. This is why a project called BRICKER will test its mettle out by retrofitting public buildings situated in three different countries in three different climatic zones .
New drug tackles transplant complications
New drug tackles transplant complications Every year nearly 50.000 dialysis patients worldwide receive a kidney transplant, but depending on the type of donor between 20 to 60% of the implanted kidneys are not working .
New treatment against transplantation complications tested
New treatment against transplantation complications tested It is not uncommon for kidney transplants to fail. Once transplanted, the kidney must connect back with the blood supply to start working properly and be truly accepted by the body. Delays can cause complications.
Ali Vasallo - Towards near-zero energy consumption at district level
Ali Vasallo - Towards near-zero energy consumption at district level Transforming districts into near-zero energy consumption urban areas could be a reality in the next few decades.
Tackling the many challenges of smarter, greener cities
Tackling the many challenges of smarter, greener cities The quest towards low energy consumption in city districts requires many changes not only at building level, but also at district level.
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