Contest #637: Mutriku Breakwater Wave Plant, Mutriku, Spain

Located on the northern coast of Spain in the Basque country, this ingenious power plant leverages the motion of the waves against a breakwater to generate power. The breaking waves push a series of columns of air. The moving air drives 16 generators.

Those who found it before the hint:

  • hhgygy
  • Eloy Cano
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Walter_V_R
  • Lighthouse
  • krenek
  • Martin de Bock
  • Garfield
  • Andreas Meister
  • David Kozina
  • Phil Ower

And after the hint:

  • Robin
  • Chris Nason
  • Jeather

By the way, I made a mistake in the hint — the 70,000 homes number comes from the previous contest (Steven’s Croft). Mutriku generates about 300KW, or enough to power about 250 homes. To be fair, I’m sure the “Basque” part of the hint was way more useful to people that needed it than the output number could have. I fixed it on Thursday, but, if that threw you off and kept you from entering the right place, comment here and we’ll consider giving you the point.

Contest #636: Steven’s Croft Power Station, Lockerby, Scotland

Steven’s Croft is a biomass plant — the largest one in the UK. It runs completely on wood, most of which it receives as by-products from the mill next door.

This little video has more info (excuse the sound):

Those who found this site were:

  • Paul Voestermans
  • Martin de Bock
  • Garfield
  • Phil Ower
  • Walter_V_R
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • hhgygy
  • Andreas Meister
  • Luciano P.
  • Root007-1
  • Nancy Barbato

Contest #634: Portvakten Söder, Passive House Apartment Buildings, Växjö, Sweden

Passive house architecture is a set of standards and methodologies for creating extremely energy-efficient spaces. Passive house uses technologies like superinsulation, dynamic heat-exchange units, low energy-loss windows, and intelligent air-exchange to minimize heat loss from the structure, allowing the tenants to leverage passive heat sources like body heat to keep warm, even in cold-weather climates like that found in Scandinavia.

In Växjö, they have taken this even further — Portvakten Söder is two, 8-story apartment complexes with 64 apartments between them. They have no traditional heating system. The heat produced by the residents, body heat, lamps, ovens, toasters, coffee makers, etc, is kept in the complex. Exhaust air is “mined” for heat which is redistributed throughout the buildings. A small allowance is made for unoccupied apartments, a battery that generates heat is built into each apartment which comes on only when the sensors in the air-handlers determine that the unit is not producing its fair share.

Those who moved in and save a bunch on their heating costs included:

  • Paul Voestermans
  • Martin de Bock
  • Garfield
  • Phil Ower
  • Luís Filipe Miguel
  • hhgygy
  • Walter_V_R
  • Teemu Pukki
  • Hans1789
  • MuThDdDe

And after the hint:

  • Andreas Meister
  • Lighthouse

Contest #633: Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station, Mexico

Cerro Prieto sits on top of a large geothermal field associated with the Cerro Prieto volcano. The whole thing sits on the southern end of the San Andreas fault system.

The power station is the largest (in size) geothermal complex in the world, producing about 850MW of electricity.

The verified users who found it were:

  • Walter_V_R
  • Martin de Bock
  • Phil Ower
  • hhgygy
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Luciano P.
  • Andreas Meister
  • Lighthouse
  • Hans1789
  • MuThDdDe
  • John Gospel IV
  • Garfield
  • René De La Carte
  • Nancy Barbato

And after the hint:

  • Rob de Wolff

Contest #632 — Noor III CSP, Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, Morrocco

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) refers to electricity generation by reflection and concentration of sunlight on a target, either a trough or a tower, heating that target and using that heat to run generators (boil water -> steam, etc).

The Ouarzazate Power Station has 3 CSP nodes, Noor I and Noor II are “trough” CSPs and Noor III, the image in the contest, is the world’s second tower CSP with storage (the first being Crescent Dunes in Nevada, USA). The sunlight heats a molten salt tank at the top, which stores the energy through the non-sunlight hours.

The sustained power generation from this site is about 150MW.

Those who got lit by these mirrors before the hint were:

  • Garfield
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Martin de Bock
  • Lighthouse
  • Walter_V_R
  • Phil Ower
  • hhgygy
  • Glenmorren
  • Gillian B
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Chris Nason
  • Andreas Meister
  • Yusef Yakub Hoca Fendi
  • Luís Filipe Miguel
  • Nancy Barbato
  • MC Solaar
  • John Gospel IV
  • Teemu Pukki
  • MiranDese-12
  • krenek
  • Luciano P.
  • pizzaro_12
  • Riel L
  • J.V. Conyers

And after the hint:

  • VliegendeHollander999
  • Elrober
  • Robin
  • David Kozina
  • MuThDdDe
  • Root007-1
  • Wista

Contest #631: Santa Teresa Blade Facility, just west of El Paso, Texas, US

We started off this series of 10 with a location where wind turbine blades are stored – the Santa Teresa Blade Facility.

Diamond WTG Engineering & Services, Inc. provides wind farm owners with parts and services. The blades are constructed in Mexico and moved across the border to many locations like this one.

  • Glenmorren
  • Martin de Bock
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Garfield
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Lighthouse
  • LegoGame
  • Walter Schirra
  • BurningSoul
  • Fernando Antonio
  • Борис Карлофф
  • René De La Carte
  • Hans1789
  • WENDY COBURN
  • JimCricket1981
  • Walter_V_R

Contest #630: Calipatria “Sea Level” Flagpole, Calipatria, California

The municipal flagpole in the small desert community of Calipatria, California was, at the time of build, the tallest flagpole in the world. The base of the flagpole sits 184 feet (56 M) below sea level, and the ball at the top sits at exactly sea level.

CalipatriaFlagPole.jpg
By Perdelsky (talk) – Link

CalipatriaPlaque.jpg
By Perdelsky (talk) – Link

The “Good Neigborliness” on the plaque is a reference to one Harry Momita. Harry was the town pharmacist in 1957. He and his wife Helen had lived in the Japanese internment camps during World War II, but Harry was a dedicated patriot, proud of his inherited home.

On a trip to visit their son in Los Angeles, the Momitas were in a horrible car crash. Helen was killed instantly, and Harry was critically wounded. The community drew together — they kept the pharmacy open with the help of a pharmacist from the next town over, they collected donations towards paying for Helen’s funeral and Harry’s medical care. When Harry was released and returned home, he was so touched by the graciousness of the town, that he decided he would work to create something that would make the town stand out.

The town’s elevation had long involved jokes about creating a building or something that would top out at sea level, but Harry took this idea seriously. He began to collect donations to build the flagpole, he got an architect and engineer to donate their time, he got a steel pipe company to agree to do the job for cost. Harry’s story and his quest started to make national and international news.

In May of 1958, the television program “This Is Your Life” featured him (the previous week’s guest was Kirk Douglas). They spotlighted this immigrant with a tragic past, still staunchly patriotic. They talked about his and Helen’s time in the detention camps. They also talked about his desire to build this monument to “Good Neighborliness”. Through the program, he won a car and several other prizes, including $1000 in cash — the last bit of cash he needed to start construction.

Those who found it — all before the hint:

  • Walter_V_R
  • hhgygy
  • Garfield
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • Phil Ower
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Martin de Bock
  • Jean Noyau

Congratulations to the series winners, with perfect scores, hhgygy, Garfield, Lighthouse, and Jean Noyau.

Contest #628: the Bleriot ferry near Drumheller, Canada

This week’s contest was the ridiculously short Bleriot Ferry across the Red Deer River near Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

The hint was in reference to the fact that the first operator was Andre Bleriot, brother of aviator Louis Blériot who was first to fly across the English Channel.

It’s 103 metres across, making it one of the shortest rides in the world. It probably took me twice as long to write this post as it does to cross the ferry.

If anyone has a spare ferry around, send it to me and we can set up a double ferry ride with no need for the ferries to actually move. Drive-on-off-on-off.

Link to short video of ferry

Those who took no time at all to solve the puzzle:

  • Paul Voestermans
  • Wakter_V_R
  • Martin de Bock
  • Garfield
  • Phil Ower
  • hhgygy
  • Eloy Cano
  • Lighthouse
  • Jeather
  • David Kozina
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Jean Noyau
  • Andreas Meister

Contest #627: the Foreshore Freeway Bridge on Cape Town, South Africa

Construction started on the Foreshore Freeway Bridge in Cape Town in 1970, but stalled in 1977 and has not resumed. All that is there are two sections – a ramp up in the west and what is now a parking garage in the east. Several urban legends have surfaced over the years about the reasons why it was never finished. One is that the design team had made a calculation error resulting in the two ends failing to link up. Another was that construction was halted due to a disgruntled shop owner who refused to sell his property that stood where the flyover would pass. However, the official explanation to date is that the city had run out of money with traffic numbers at the time not justifying its continuation and the project had to be abandoned.

The hint referred to the vuvuzela during the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament hosted by South Africa. The world’s largest (35 m (114.83 ft)) operational vuvuzela sponsored by Hyundai was mounted on the western side and meant to sound at the start of each game. The city council, however, decided not to use it as the jarring sound and volume level was a cause of concern. When one of your humble contest moderators read that, this reveal took a quick turn.

See, the moderator in question **HATES** vuvuzelas with a white-hot passion. He refers them to as “loser soccer horns”. He is a big hockey fan, and when these abominations show up at the rink, he loses all enjoyment of the game (and his favorite team invariably starts to lose, or, at least, win by less of a margin). Were it up to him, they would all be thrown into the pit of hell (from contest #184). The fact that the creators of this awful thing never got to hear it sounded as planned brings him no end of joy. But we digress…

FORTY YEARS!?!?!??! That seems like an excessive construction delay, n’est ce pas?

Found despite no end in sight:

  • Martin de Bock
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Garfield
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Eloy Cano
  • Walter_V_R
  • David Kozina
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Lighthouse
  • Andreas Meister
  • Jean Noyau
  • Robin Giles

No-one after the hint.

Contest #626: The Twelve Apostles Cottages, Catacol, Scotland

The Twelve Apostles at Catacol Bay - geograph.org.uk - 679050.jpg
By Wendy Kirkwood, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The Highland Clearances were a very controversial set of policies carried out in Scotland in the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s. Landlords, trying to increase income, pushed out traditional open-space farmers and sustenance hunters to make way for large-scale sheep farms (which paid much higher rent). The farmers and hunters who were pushed out of these lands were expected to find employment in other industries, including fishing.

To this end, on the Isle of Arran, this row of cottages was built to house those who were cleared from the countryside who were expected to turn to fishing in the Firth of Clyde. The builders put a different type of window in the upstairs in each cottage, with the idea that the family of one of the fishermen could signal them by lighting a candle in that window and the fisherman who lived there would know to come in.

Of course, it didn’t really work that way — for one thing, the folks who were cleared from the land weren’t too keen to just jump into fishing. The cottages sat empty for a long time.

Currently, they are used as vacation lodging (think AirBNB or VRBO).

Those who saw the light included:

  • Phil Ower
  • Martin de Bock
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Eloy Cano
  • Garfield
  • Lighthouse
  • Walter_V_R
  • hhgygy
  • Jean Noyau

None after the hint.