Australian solar company Pollinate Energy brings light to slums of India ABC Foreign Correspondent By South Asia correspondent Stephanie March 26 May 15 With indoor air pollution from kerosene lamps and stoves the second largest cause of death in India, one company, founded by Australians, has come up with a solution to the problem.
Every night in the sprawling shanty towns of the country of 1.2 billion people, the air fills with dense, black smoke.
“We used to get oil from the market and pour it into the lamp and light it; the house used to get full of soot and dirt,” said Abdul, a slum-dweller in Bangalore who lives in a hut made of wooden board and tarpaulin.
That was until Abdul bought a portable solar light from a company called Pollinate Energy, founded by five young Australians.
“After we got this solar lamp a lot of things improved,” Abdul said. “Now we don’t worry that there will be a fire.”
There are 400 million people in India who do not have access to electricity. Many of them live in the thousands of slums found in the country’s cities.
“They’re people who’ve come from rural places to the city to find work, usually in construction sites or as rag pickers, and to make a life for themselves,” Pollinate Energy co-founder Kat Kimmorley said.
“They are sort of like the modern day pharaoh slaves building this next new empire that we all … take for granted that is just coming up before our eyes and yet [is] completely ignored and sort of invisible to the state here.”
Pollinate Energy employs locals to go tent to tent to sell the solar lights.
The lights cost about $30 each — a lot of money for people who earn a few dollars a day. The company allows customers to pay in instalments.
“For most of the people we work with in these urban slums, when we provide a solar light, every time I sell it I think this is the same type of investment as for a plasma screen TV in Australia,” Ms Kimmorley said.
More mobile phones than toilets in India
The lights are popular — the company has sold more than 7,000, and is expanding to two more Indian cities. And that is partly because they double as a phone charger.
“We discovered that the customers would pay double what they would pay for a solar light for a solar-powered phone charger,” Ms Kimmorley said.
“So it is just testament to the fact that it is not just what we think would improve peoples’ lives but also what keeping up with the Joneses means in an urban slum. It’s having a mobile phone and being able to charge that mobile phone,” she said.
The uptake of mobile phones in India has been huge — there are more mobile phones than there are toilets.
The team at Pollinate believes solar lights can follow the same path………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/solar-energy-brings-light-to-slums-of-india/6495912
Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water in Pakistan – TRFN BY AAMIR SAEED LAHORE, Pakistan, May 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – P unjab province is set to launch an innovation for water-short Pakistan: Solar-powered ATMs that dispense clean water when a smart card is scanned.
The two-foot-square prototype machine looks and functions like an ATM, but dispenses water instead of cash. Users are issued a card they can use to claim a daily share of water.
The project, a collaboration between the Punjab Saaf Pani (Clean Water) Company and the Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab (IPAL), a research centre in Lahore, aims to install a water ATM on each of a series of water filtration plants being established in rural and urban fringe areas of Punjab province…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/pakistan-solar-water-idUSL5N0Y51MO20150514
Apple wants to run on 100 per cent renewable energy, improve supply chain’s greenness, Manufacturers Monthly 12 May, 2015 Apple has announced plans to run its entire business in China through renewable energy, and to make its supply chain more environmentally friendly.
In a statement released yesterday, CEO Tim Cook said greening manufacturing operations would take years, but would be worth the effort.
“We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation,” said Cook…….
According to Apple, 87 per cent of its US operations worldwide are powered through renewable energy, and wants this to reach 100 per cent.
According to the company, 100 per cent of its US operations and all of its data centers are run by renewable power.
It launched its first solar project in Sichuan Province three weeks ago.
Scientists are turning salt water into drinking water using solar power The world needs this. Science Alert BEC CREW 27 APR 2015 By inexpensively turning salt water into drinking water using sustainable solar power, a team from MIT in the US has not only come up with a portable desalination system for use anywhere in the world that needs it, but it’s just won the 2015 Desal Prize – a competition run by USAID to encourage better solutions to water shortages in developing countries.
In order to win the $140,000 prize, entries had to demonstrate how their invention not only works well, but is cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient. And the MIT researchers teamed up with US-based manufacturing company, Jain Irrigation Systems, to do just that.
The team’s invention works by using solar panels to charge a cache of batteries that power an electrodialysis machine that removes salt from the water and makes it perfectly drinkable. David L. Chandler explains for MIT News:………
They’re now hoping to expand their field tests to rural communities in developing countries, in the hopes that they can set them up as irrigation systems in small farms. “A solution with the potential to double recoverable water in an environment where water is becoming more precious by the day could have a huge impact,” environmental and civil engineer Susan Amrose from the University of California at Berkeley, who was not involved in the research, told MIT News. Sources: MIT News, Popular Science http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-are-turning-salt-water-into-drinking-water-using-solar-power?utm_content=buffer4a3b6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
THIS STUNNING HIGH-RISE HYDROPONIC FARM GENERATES RENEWABLE ENERGY AND REPRESENTS NEW HOPE FOR BIG CITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE [ good pics] by Rachel Oakley in Exhale on Friday 8 May 2015 To make Earth a greener place, Aprilli Design Studio got its designers together to create an incredible ecological system known as the Urban Skyfarm, for a site right in the heart of downtown Seoul.
This is not your average eco-friendly building. It’s so much more.
The Urban Skyfarm isn’t office space or apartments, but rather a complete ‘living machine’ that filters water and air, provides vegetables and herbs for the community, and produces renewable energy at the same time.
There are four major components to the Urban Skyfarm: the root, trunk, branch, and leaves.
The root section provides space for a market or public activities. The trunk can be used as a community garden space for residents. The trunk is also divided into eight individual branches (the leaf portions), which each support farming decks which are suspended from each branch by trusses and tension cables. These farming decks are spread out to receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.
Now, if that wasn’t enough, listen to this: the high rise farming system plans to operate on renewable solar and wind energy alone. Meaning, it operates completely on its own energy, and indeed provides energy to the grid…….http://www.techly.com.au/2015/05/08/this-stunning-high-rise-hydroponic-farm-generates-renewable-energy-and-represents-new-hope-for-big-cities-across-the-globe/
I predict, because solar is rising so rapidly in the land of the rising sun, that Japan will never restart any of its nukes – even though the U.S. media is demanding Japan restart one of its nukes. Let us pray that the solar home owners in Japan win this race against nuclear power. Our lives too depend on solar winning
Four years after Fukushima, Japan is solar-powered Bay View by Theresa Coleman and Paul Kangas, 29 Apr 15 In the week before the March 11, 2011, earthquake at Fukushima, one person, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, did an extraordinary act that set Japan’s energy course in history for the next 100 years. He was able to convince the Japanese Parliament to pass a solar payment policy (SPP), that required big utilities in Japan to pay solar home owners $0.53 kwh for 20 years.
This is amazing. One, because the rate is very attractive to solar home owners and two, because he even made the effort.This one policy shift is now making Japan one of the leading solar powered nations on earth – far ahead of California or the U.S.
Number one in solar generation in 2014 was Germany. The same year they won the World Cup in soccer. They are on a roll.It is going to be interesting to see if China becomes No. 2 in 2015. It is a tight three-way race between Japan, Germany and China. Who will win?
The really big question is: “What inspired Prime Minister Naoto Kan to introduce this solar payment policy to the Japanese Parliament the day before Fukushima? Was it Chernobyl?
Apparently Kan had read the book “Solar Economy” by Hermann Scheer the year before. It got him to thinking about how solar policy could actually be drafted to shut down all the nuclear power plants in Japan over the next 50 years……….
This one policy shift is now making Japan one of the leading solar powered nations on earth – far ahead of California or the U.S. Number one in solar generation in 2014 was Germany.
The government’s role would be in helping headteachers to crowdsource funds for the panels. Civil servants would also deal with linking up schools to the national grid and payments.
Gareth Thomas, a Labour MP mooted as a potential Labour candidate for London mayor in 2016, said the policy could help to free schools from reliance on the big six energy firms.
Thomas, who is promoting the policy as chairman of the Co-operative grouping of MPs within Labour, said: “Britain needs to expand community energy to give people more control over the energy they depend on. Helping schools to set up energy co-operatives to get a self-financing solar roof is a great way to spread understanding about sustainability.”
Friends of the Earth says that if every school installed solar panels the amount of energy generated would be the same as that used by 380,000 homes and would cut carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 110,000 cars off the road. A charity called Solar Schools is helping 66 schools raise a target of £851,000 and has crowdsourced half the target in six months.
The education sector represents a major potential market for the solar industry, as schools typically have large rooftops ideal for panels and rarely face planning difficulties. Current government regulations stop schools from borrowing to fund solar installations, even though ministers had said they wanted more solar panels installed on the roofs of public sector buildings.
Solar cooling system keeps water at 9 degrees Celsius for up to three monthshttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402081756.htm April 2, 2015 Source: Investigación y Desarrollo
Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost, it is now possible with Mexican technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system designed by Susana Elvia Toledo Flores.
The prototype developed in the Research Department in Zeolites, at the Institute of Science of the Meritorious University of Puebla (BUAP), in center Mexico, works 24 hours and keeps the cold for up to three months.
The researcher developed the prototype in the Black Mountain Range of the state, where she has achieve to maintain water at nine degrees Celsius “with that temperature we can cool food, though the goal is to get as low as five, with this fish can be preserved without denaturing its proteins.”
The BUAP design is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and environmentally beneficial. “Normal cooling systems use chlorofluorocarbon chemicals that destroy the ozone layer and contribute to greenhouse gases, ours is friendly to the environment,” explains Toledo Flores.
It works with solar radiation and the cooling is achieved by means of a thermodynamic adsorption-desorption cycle lasting 24 hours. Methanol is used as a refrigerant and as zeolite (mineral) as an adsorbent.
Toledo Flores says the system has two stages, during the day “warming, desorption and the period of condensation happens. Solar energy heats the zeolite and increases the methanol vapor pressure, the refrigerant is condensed and stored in a tank flowing to the evaporator. ”
Overnight the cooling process is achieved, adsorption and evaporation period is performed. “The adsorbent bed temperature decreases after sunset, therefore, the refrigerant pressure is reduced and evaporates while the absorbent is cooled. During this period the coolant begins to evaporate and is again adsorbed by zeolite generating cooling temperatures of five degrees Celsius. The adsorption process continues all night until morning. ”
The equipment is composed of a solar collector, adsorbent bed, condenser and evaporator. To build it, the researcher calculates the amount of water to be cooled, thereby knows how many zeolite to use. She also considers the room temperature, in this case of 20 degrees Celsius.
Furthermore, the system “is not only designed to cool foods. It may also serve as an air conditioning, for example, in communities like Tecali de Herrera, Puebla, where there are areas without electricity and the system could adapt well to preserve their foods and medicine, bringing them better quality of life,” says Toledo Flores.
The project was presented at the International Congress of Solar Energy at Germany.
Israel installs solar panels at parliament to save energy http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/29/israel-installs-solar-panels-at-parliament-to/ By Associated Press8:51 A.M.MARCH 29, 2015 JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has installed solar panels on the roof of its parliament building, creating what it calls the largest solar field of any national assembly in the world.
The office of the parliament speaker says energy generated from some 1,500 solar panels will provide 10 percent of the electricity used at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
The Knesset is also advancing other energy-saving projects, like installing energy-saving lights, automatically shutting down lawmakers’ computers at the end of each workday, and using air conditioning systems to help irrigate the gardens surrounding the building.
The statement says the measures will reduce the Knesset’s energy use by a third.
Scientists will also conduct ecological research on the parliament roof.
The Knesset unveiled the solar field in a dedication ceremony Sunday.
During the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy.
to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget.
Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad
Why This Tea Party Leader Is Seeing Green on Solar Energy As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar. 26 MAR 2015: INTERVIEW Environment 360 by diane toomey
Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.
But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.
Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. Continue reading
TREE SHAPED WIND TURBINES TO BE INSTALLED IN PARIS A French company called New Wind is installing tree-shaped wind turbines at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière came up with the idea while in a Paris square, when he “saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air.” He hopes the trees can be used to exploit small air currents flowing along buildings and streets, and could eventually be installed in people’s yards and urban centres………http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/tree-shaped-wind-turbines-paris/
France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/20/3636746/franch-rooftops-go-green/ BY ARI PHILLIPS MARCH 20, 2015
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT UNDER FRANCE’S NEW GREEN ROOFTOP LAW.According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.
Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters.
Approved by French Parliament, the law was scaled back from initial proposals by environmental groups asking for green roofs to cover the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings. The compromise gave businesses a choice to install solar panels instead or to only cover part of the roof in foliage.
Even in a trimmed-down form, the law is trailblazing and will both change the urban landscape of cities across France as well as potentially inspire other countries to follow suit, especially with the United Nations’ climate summit coming to Paris at the end of the year.
France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made upabout 83 percent of the country’s total generation.
Rooftop solar benefits all ratepayers http://safeenergy.org/2015/03/18/rooftop-solar-benefits-all-ratepayers/ Michael Mariotte The utility and fossil-fuel industries continue to spread a crude canard against the growing popularity of rooftop solar across America.
The lie goes something like this: Households and business that install photovoltaic panels are doing so at the expense of other electricity ratepayers because they are “subsidized” by those that don’t have solar panels.
The truth is this: Rooftop solar provides substantial benefits for everyone, regardless of who installs it. It helps power the homes and shops that adopt it, to be sure, but it has far-reaching benefits for other customers as well. If Jane Doe in Anywhere, USA, puts a solar panel on her roof, every other electricity ratepayer within the footprint of whatever regional grid Jane Doe is tied into will benefit as well.
Honest purveyors of utility-industry fact know this, of course, and say it quite often. So, more and more, does Wall Street.No less a titan than Sanford Burstein & Co., one of the perennially best-rated firms in Institutional Investor’s annual rankings of investment researchers, has studied the issue deeply over the past couple of years and comes away with an unequivocal take on the issue: Rooftop solar, aka photovoltaic solar, means lower peak-hour energy prices for all.
Bernstein lays out the supporting research in a reported published last month that found that the rapid increase in the amount of solar PV available on the electricity grid in California—a seven-fold expansion in only four years, from 0.7 gigawatts in 2010 to 4.8 GW in 2014— had helped reduce system loads so much that peak prices were put off until later in the day, when demand was lower. Lower demand means lower prices.
That report went on to predict that the effect will be amplified inevitably across the state as growth in solar capacity continues. This will probably reduce the value of incremental additions of solar capacity on the California grid, but that’s not the point. The overarching conclusion is that all power consumers in California benefit from lower afternoon power prices, not just those that have rooftop solar PV panels.
The February report builds on earlier important work by Burstein & Co, notably a report the firm distributed to clients in November 2013. Titled “Tilting at Windmills: How Conventional Generators are Losing the Battle with Renewables,” that research found that the rapid growth of solar and wind resources (rooftop solar included) in four of the nation’s major electricity regions had suppressed the output of conventional coal and natural-gas fired generators. That’s good news because the trend also eroded the price at which the output of those conventional generators could be sold. Solar- and wind- powered electricity, in other words, drove market prices down.
This happened—and continues to happen—because renewable resources, which have zero variable costs, have displaced higher-cost conventional generation, lowering the marginal cost of supplying power competitively in wholesale markets or in states that do not regulate the retail price of electricity.
That particular Bernstein & Co. research also noted that by suppressing the output of conventional power plants, solar and wind generation had reduced demand for coal and natural gas. The firm estimated that some 52 million megawatt-hours of coal-fired generation and 42 million megawatt-hours of gas-fired generation was displaced in 2012 alone by wind and solar resources in the four regions it studied. This translates into a reduction of “coal burn” by approximately 30 million tons and “gas burn” by approximately .07 billion cubic feet/day. Bernstein & Co. also said this trend will continue too.
But back to rooftop solar for a second. In addition to driving energy market prices down, it brings environmental benefits by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and it acts as a hedge against fossil-fuel price spikes.
It’s in every ratepayer’s best interest. And that’s the truth.
Karl Cates is IEEFA’s director of media relations; David Schlissel is IEEFA’s director of resource planning analysis.
The original post on IEEFA’s website is here. http://ieefa.org/truth-rooftop-solar-capacity-benefits-all-ratepayers/
“Independent studies show that distributed solar benefits all ratepayers by preventing the need to build new, expensive power plants or transmission lines,” said Matthew Kasper, a fellow at the Energy & Policy Institute, a pro-solar think tank. “Utilities make their money by building big, new infrastructure projects and then sending ratepayers the bill, which is exactly why utilities want to eliminate solar.”
“It’s really about utilities’ fear that solar customers are taking away demand,” said Angela Navarro, an energy expert with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “These customers are installing solar at their own cost and providing a valuable resource: additional electricity for the grid at the times when the utilities need it most. And it’s all carbon-free.”.
Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar WP By Joby Warrick March 7 Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.
If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.
The warning, delivered to a private meeting of the utility industry’s main trade association, became a call to arms for electricity providers in nearly every corner of the nation. Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the country’s government-regulated electric monopolies.
The campaign’s first phase—an industry push for state laws raising prices for solar customers—failed spectacularly in legislatures around the country, due in part to surprisingly strong support for solar energy from conservatives and evangelicals in traditionally “red states.” But more recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a more successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers. Continue reading
“………. What are we up against?
Let’s not kid ourselves. The fossil fuel industry’s main response to clean energy is to try to squash it. Selling the highly concentrated energy in oil, coal and gas is far more profitable in the short term than the slow-release, distributed energy from wind or solar power – especially when you factor in generous government fossil fuel subsidies, an international energy infrastructure already set up to use these fuels, and free rein to pump carbon pollution into the air at little or no cost. Whether it’s funding pro-fossil politicians, forging cosy links with officials or pouring money into anti-renewable front groups, the big oil, gas and coal companies are working hard to keep society hooked on their highly profitable products, and prevent alternatives from getting off the ground.6
There are exceptions to this rule. If those alternatives can provide decent short-term returns or access to new subsidies without disrupting the existing energy markets, then the big players might be tempted to step in. This is why the likes of BP, Shell and Exxon have moved into liquid biofuels, and why major power plants like Drax in Britain are starting to mix large quantities of woodfuel in with their coal supply.
We need a democratically controlled, people-focused clean energy system
Industrial biofuels and wood-fired power stations – along with the continued destruction caused by large hydropower dams – provide perfect examples of what can happen if supposedly ‘renewable’ energy sources are exploited for maximum profit, without proper consideration for people and the environment. Energy crops and hydroelectricity may both be sustainable on a small, local, carefully managed scale – but the current profit-driven rush to turn food crops and forests into fuel is leading to hunger, land grabs and deforestation; while megadams threaten huge areas of natural habitat along with the homes, lands and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.
These projects should act as a stark warning. Wind and solar power are still relatively small industries on a global scale, but are growing fast. These technologies are far less destructive than fossil fuels, but that doesn’t mean they’re impact-free – especially if they develop to the scale we need for a fossil-free future. Will they be carefully manufactured in renewably powered workshops with strict respect for workers’ rights and environmental standards; using largely recycled materials, and built as part of community-run, co-operatively owned and democratic energy schemes which benefit the communities where they are sited? Or will they be churned out in nightmarish sweatshop conditions, using minerals from exploitative mining projects and sited in giant energy parks on cleared rainforest land from which the residents have been forcibly evicted?
It could go either way. Renewables could transform our energy system, with solar panels particularly well-suited for decentralized use: 85 per cent of today’s solar panels are spread over millions of rooftops, with only 15 per cent in solar parks. Increased access to and control over energy could empower millions of people, improving lives and livelihoods and boosting the political and social influence of marginalized communities.
Unfortunately, the risks are also clear. Wind and solar generators require a significant amount of building material and land space. Though requiring less than 1 per cent of the extraction needed to keep pulling coal, oil and gas out of the ground, ramping up renewables will mean a significant spike in demand for steel, cement, aluminium and copper that could have serious local impacts around the world if not carefully managed. Wind power, unlike solar, is far more efficient when built on a large scale; big wind farms typically require levels of capital investment that are out of the reach of community groups. They’re more likely to be installed by governments or large utility companies such as E.ON. Seventy-five per cent of all wind turbines are manufactured by just 10 companies.
The Desertec initiative gives us an example of what a profit-driven, centralized solar energy future might look like. We shouldn’t be surprised to see it develop along the same neo-colonial and racist lines as our current fossil fuel industry, where the rights of Indigenous peoples and communities of colour around the world are trampled in the pursuit of ‘cheap’ energy for the industrialized nations…….” http://newint.org/features/2015/03/01/renewable-energy-keynote/
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