Climate Trek Mission and Transportation Issues

Storage of Renewable Energy Technologies in Syaphrubesi
30. January 2021
Eco-friendliness under construction at Langtang Trek
20. February 2021
Show all

After the Climate Trek Nepal Langtang project was kicked off in February 2020 a lot of progress has been made. Eight lodges are being decorated and supported as per the vision and objectives of Climate Trek Nepal with all possible eco-friendly means.

Until having all things in place for Climate Trek Nepal in Langtang, there are still various issues and problems to go through. We want to provide some insights here: Among many obstacles of the project, transportation of the raw materials and renewable energy technologies (RETs) for the lodges is one of the key issues. This is due to the extremely difficult geographic position of the Langtang region, for example, from Syaphrubesi to the last point of Langtang Trek – Kyanjin Gompa, it is a mountain region with extremely difficult stone terrain. The trek is almost 65km in total, both ways. The highest elevation is 3965m. There is no motor road connection and transport cannot be done by motor vehicles. Instead, all material is being carried by mules, general porters or in some cases, helicopters.

Heli-sailing is only used if other transport means are impossible as the material is too delicate or its dimensions are too big to be transported on the paths. This applies for the solar items – photovoltaic plants and solar water heaters. Heli-sailing is the most expensive mode of transportation. In our project, heli-sailing cost around 25% of the total solar cost. Key to this project’s success is the hard work in each stage of the project and such as this current transportation issue would be one of the first milestones to achieve.

Furthermore, one of the main plans in CTN Langtang is to insulate lodges with efficient and eco-friendly materials: a very effective energy saving measure. After much research and consideration, all partners decided that insulation with hemp is the most suitable for the region. Lodges are subsidized by atmosfair to buy hemp-crete and hydrated lime. Total of 52 tons of insulation materials is due for transportation. As a mule can carry at the ratio of 50kg per travel, in a group of 20 mules, transportation of all the materials takes almost 2 months. However, the size of the hemp bags is a problem for transporting them with mules. The weight that can be transported at once decreases dramatically with these uncommon sizes, resulting in even more required transport trips. Alternatively, hemp for both locations, Thansyap and Mundu, can also be carried by porters. Similarly, transportation of the materials from the factory to Syaphrubesi is planned with trucks, whereas the maximum capacity of a truck is limited to 5t resulting from the materials size. In total, 11 trucks will be needed for all the materials. Last but not least, about 50% of the costs for the insulation is made up by these uncommon means of transport.

After having sorted all the challenges regarding organisation and financing of transporting insulation material, yet another obstacle crossed our way. The insulation material for Sherpagaun lodges have already been dispatched up to Syaphrubesi. Currently, lodges are busy celebrating Lhosar festival. Lodges will start collecting the insulation materials from the third week of February 2021.