Sunday, October 19, 2008

Green Printing - Recyled Paper vs. E-Paper

One kind of industry rarely discussed among environmental movements is the paper business.

It seems like such an obvious industry – paper is made from trees, after all.

The consensus seems to be that there are two options facing the future of paper: make recycled paper or make it electronic. Recycled paper, obviously, is paper made from paper that has already been used and recycled. This can be extremely efficient; the first recorded instance of making recycled paper in the United States was 1690 and has only been improved since then. Most paper today is actually used for packaging, so using recycled paper only makes more sense.
Electronic paper (e-paper) is a little more interesting. This has been most visible the past few years in e-book readers (notably the Amazon Kindle) and electronic billboards. The debate is still up on whether or not it is green. It saves trees – but what about the chemicals? For example, most plastic used in computers is made from petroleum. That leaves me at least to conclude that recycled paper is much more efficient than e-paper.

How can recycled paper be made more efficient?
• Paper waste must be recycled
• Printing facilities can be closer to where you live (this one’s arguable; building another facility arguably creates more emissions that it saves – it depends)
• Use soy based inks rather than petroleum based ones

One printing company I’ve found to have truly green printing is PsPrint. It does everything I’ve bulleted above.

Of course there are plenty of other green companies, but none are as local for me as PsPrint. It does brochure printing and everything, which is especially good for the business I’m in. They are also involved with or members of several eco-friendly organizations! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Accidentally Discovered Material, Black Silicon, Twice as Efficient As Regular Silicon

Harvard (TGW) – SiOnyx is using a material, “black silicon”, Harvard scientists accidentally discovered almost 10 years ago that is 100 to 500 times more sensitive to light than traditional silicon.

The silicon is produced by placing ordinary silicon into a vacuum chamber together with sulfur hexafluoride gas and exposing it to ultra-intense laser pulses equivalent to the collective strength of the total sunlight hitting Earth concentrated on a surface area that's about the size of a human fingernail.

The treated silicon can absorb twice as much visible light as regular silicon and unlike standard silicon is sensitive to invisible infrared light. It can absorb approximately 96 to 98 percent of visible light.

SiOnyx, a three year old startup with $11 million in the bank, has licensed the material.

Black silicon could radically change the solar industry. Furthermore, black silicon can be manufactured using the same equipment used today.

Via :: Good Clean Tech

Monday, October 13, 2008

Carnival of the Green (Links Fixed!)

Hello, and welcome to Carnival of the Green #149!

I’d just like to quickly thank Treehugger for sponsoring this, and remind everybody that last week’s Carnival of the Green was at Sustainablog and next week’s will be over at The Good Human!

Your ready to go?

This week around the green blogosphere:

Katrina Cain presents What is a Dual Flush Toilet? posted at Were You Wondering....

Mike presents The 104 Most Fuel Efficient Cars for 2009 posted at Hybrid Car Review.

Woman Tribune presents Good for Your Vagina, Good for the Environment posted at Woman Tribune.

In the eco-spiritual genre, Betsy presents A Brachah for Letting Go of Stuff posted at To Till and to Tend.

Steve Faber presents Why is Diesel More Expensive Than Gas? posted at super gas saver.

Tiffany Washko presents Celebrate Green! posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

Nimic presents 8 Products You Didn’t Know Were Made From Oil posted at The Green Routine.

Beth Terry presents Information Overload posted at Fake Plastic Fish.

Jamie McIntosh presents Save Money with Organic Gardening posted at Jamie's Blog.

Sally Kneidel presents Ecotourism can buffer the effects of poverty posted at Veggie Revolution.

Squawkfox presents 10 Reasons the Diva Cup Can Change Your Life posted at Squawkfox.

Grace presents What does your garbage say about you? posted at Face to the Sun.

The Digerati Life presents Will Green Food Saver Bags Make Food Last Longer? posted at The Digerati Life.

Kate presents Mestew, our New Friend posted at Green Thinking Blog.

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg presents Urban Farmer in Milwaukee, Founder of Nonprofit, Receives MacArthur Genius Grant : Sustainablog posted at Sustainablog.

Indian presents 2009 Horoscope - Astrology posted at DecisionCare.

Monday, September 22, 2008

10 Northeast States to Participate in First U.S. Carbon Auction This Thursday as Part of Cap and Trade Program (RGGI)

Northeast (TGW) – A group of 10 northeastern states will conduct the first carbon action in the United States, in an attempt to reduce humanity’s contribution to global warming.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will be selling carbon credits Thursday in the first of a series of quarterly online auctions.

The cap and trade aims to steady carbon emissions by 2014. This would be followed by a 10% reduction in emissions between 2015 and 2020.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are participating in the auction. Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Quebec in Canada are participating as observers.

The starting minimum will be $1.86 per ton of carbon dioxide.

RGGI, at least for now, only caps the emissions of power plants.

Via :: AP

Friday, September 19, 2008

How are the Candidates Going to Clean America?

The method in which America creates energy has been a hot topic during the 2008 presidential election. For most, a primary concern deals with how we can keep prices down at the pump while eliminating our need for foreign oil. This desire has lead to the “drill here, drill now” crowd calling for domestic offshore drilling (among other things). While everyone agrees that energy independent principles are vital to revving up the American economy, there are big differences in how to accomplish this task. Notably, when it comes to the energy resources and environmental protection standards, there are fundamental differences in Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s interests. Additionally, when it comes to bills in congress addressing consumer protection, manufacturing standards, and other topics not talked about enough, the future will heavily depend upon which candidate prevails. The following include a few you may not have known about, and some you may have, but they are all liable to affect the lives of everyday Americans.

One fact to note when looking for the candidates policies on their respective websites is that Barack Obama has a category named “Energy and Environment” under the “Issues” section. On the other hand, John McCain has “American Energy” and “Climate Change” listed as separate categories under the “Issues” section. This seemingly subtle difference represents some conflicting policies between the two candidates. While McCain believes in global warming, he is resistant to associate the call for more oil with his global warming concerns because supporting the two issues is a sheer contradiction. In sum, Obama wants to rid our dependence on all oil (not just foreign) and McCain wants to use every available resource needed to end our dependence on foreign oil.

McCain calls his energy plan “The Lexington Project,” which is an all of the above energy solution according to his website. Included is expansion of domestic oil and natural oil exploration, tax credits for automakers and consumers who buy cars with low carbon emissions, $2 billion annually reserved for clean coal technology, 45 new nuclear power plants and he will “encourage” the market for alternative fuels such as wind, hydro, and solar power. He has greenhouse gas emissions targets listed in the climate change section that includes dropping it 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 66 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

Obama calls his plan “comprehensive” and puts added emphasis on new forms of energy. He wants to provide $1,000 to American families through a windfall profits tax, calling it an “Emergency Energy Rebate.” He will invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to build a clean energy future, and in that same allotted time, rid American dependency of foreign oil. He wants to put one million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015 and ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025. In addition, Obama wants to implement an economy –wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Interestingly, by 2050 many of those reading this article still won’t be as old as John McCain is now. Moving on, there are other issues that you may not hear about quite as much.

The use of asbestos in products and the manufacturing industry could come to a close in 2009. Senator Patty Murray introduced the “Ban Asbestos in America Act” that has been introduced and passed by the entire U.S. Senate. However, the bill does contain a harmful pro-industry amendment eliminating coverage for workers exposed to products containing one percent or less of asbestos. CWA and the AFL-CIO will work to have this language omitted in the final Senate-House legislation.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum has introduced the “Bruce Vento Asbestos and Prevent Mesothelioma Act of 2008.” This legislation is not expected to be passed by the full house during 2008, so this is basically groundwork in order to get the bill passed in 2009. Right now there are now mesothelioma treatments that result in a cure.

Another bill is the “Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008.” These are all supported by the Blue-Green Labor/Environmental Coalition.

With Barack Obama as president and a Congress dominated by democrats, the above legislation should all pass. With John McCain as president, the bills could be vetoed.

In paying for all of these plans, Barack Obama pledges to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans (annual income of $250,000) and raise taxes on oil companies. While John McCain will actually lower taxes for oil companies, he pledges to cut small business taxes and promote fiscal responsibility within the government. He says that with bi-partisan efforts, he can bring the budget to balance by 2013. Until then, expect a dirty fight in efforts toward a cleaner America.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bill Gates Invests in Algae Fuel Company

Sapphire Energy HQ (TGW) – Bill Gates’ investment firm is investing in algae energy firm Sapphire Energy, part of a group of financiers that invested over $100 million in the company.

Sapphire produces the chemical equivalent of gasoline from algae grown in wastewater, what it calls “Green Crude”. So far, now company has made the fuel commercially.

The funding will allow the company to produce 10,000 barrels of the stuff a day at a commercial scale in three to five years, the company says.

Via :: Press Release

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tesla's Cheap(er) Electric Sedan Model S to be Built in California

See also pictures of a Tesla Roadster crash

San Jose (TGW) – Tesla has announced that it will be building its Model S electric car factory as well as its new headquarters in San Jose, California.

The Tesla Roadster
The $250 million factory will produce the $60,000 Model S electric sedans that Tesla hopes to roll out by 2010. The car is expected to get 240 miles per charge.

This year, Tesla began selling its $100,000 electric sports car the Roadster.

The company wants to develop a $30,000 car within 4 years.

Via :: Press Release

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Electric Car to be Unveiled from Venturi and Michelin

Venturi HQ (TGW) - Venturi has announced that it will unveil a “new-generation” electric car that it has developed in partnership with Michelin at the 2008 Paris Motor show on October 2.

The vehicle was designed by Sacha Lakic.

Venturi has already designed three electric sports cars, including its $422,000 Fetish, which will hopefully begin production in June 2009. It’s Eclectic is its second car, which is covered in solar panels and has a turbine on its top. It’s most recent project is the solar powered Astrolab.

Via :: Press Release :: Earth2Tech

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Space-Based Solar Power Wireless Power Transmission Breakthrough to Be Announced Tomorrow

Space (TGW) – A landmark in space based solar power will be announced Friday, long-distance, solar-powered wireless power transmission.

John C. Mankins, former manager of NASA's Exploration Systems Research and Technology Program, will announce the success of a transmission project in Hawaii. In the test, wireless power transmission between two Hawaiian Islands 148 kilometers apart – more than twice distance from Earth to space – was successful.

The project will be featured in an hour long special on Discovery Project Earth on the Discovery Channel on ambitious geo-engineering ideas to fight global warming.

In space based solar power, large satellites would collect solar energy and beam it down to Earth.

Via :: Press Release

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cylindrical Solar Panels Always Facing the Sun

Solaroad HQ (TGW) – Solaroad Group, LLC has come up with an innovative way to ensure that its solar panels are facing the sun: cylindrical solar panels.

Their cylindrical solar panels, the ElectraWall PV System, can be attached to almost any surface: walls, light polls, rooftops, etc.

However, Electrawall does come with one serious deficiency: never will all of the solar panels be utilized.

Information on efficiency was not available.

Via :: EcoGeek

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

65 MPG Ford Won't be Available in the U.S.

Not the U.S. (TGW) – Ford Motor’s 65 mpg diesel Fiesta ECOnetic will not be available for sale in the United States, Ford has announced.

The five-seater will only be sold in Europe because the vehicle runs only on diesel. In Europe half of cars run on diesel; only 3% of American owned cars do.

Diesel fuel is now as clean as or cleaner than gasoline and is at least 30% more efficient.

The Fiesta would be $25,700 not including a $1,300 tax deductible available for diesel car owners.

Ford will be making a gas powered Fiesta. (Yes, that sentence sounds a little strange)

Via :: Business Week

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chevy Accidentally Publishes Volt Pictures

...And here they are! (via)

Google Files Patent for Wave-Powered Floating Data Centers

Google HQ (TGW) – Google has filed a patent for a system of floating data centers powered by the waves beneath it.

All though the patent was filed over a year ago, the patent was only recently found.

According to the patent, Google wanted to move data centers closer to users, but power generation would be too expensive to make that feasible. To solve that problem, Google came up with this idea: floating data centers holding standard shipping containers housing computers powered by wave-power generators and wind turbines.

Google engineers calculated generators spread over about half of a square mile could produce 30 megawatts of electricity, enough to operate a single system.

A crew and operating staff would live aboard in living quarters, with a helipad for transportation.

Via :: USPTO :: Greentech Blog

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Polar Bears Going Green Too!

He's flipping of Exxon ... in his mind

This little big green polar bear at the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Japan got some interesting stares from visitors this weekend. The greenness was caused by algae stick to the bears fur.

High temperatures in July and August and less-frequent water changes because of the zoo's conservation efforts have caused an algae growth in the bear pond and safety moat.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Honda Unveils Cheap Insight Hybrid

Honda HQ (TGW) - Honda today unveiled the hybrid Insight, said it will be shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, and announced that it will only be sold as a hybrid.

The only car that is on sale currently only as a hybrid is the Toyota Prius.

The Insight will be a five seater, and Honda has introduced a host of new features to improve efficiency: the battery and control unit are located beneath the cargo space for exceptional utility and a light, a highly efficient compact hybrid powerplant, and a new driving support function.

Honda also claims ‘significant’ cost reductions.

The car will be introduced into the market in the spring of 2009, and Honda expects to have annual global sales of 200,000 units. The Prius, America’s most popular car, sold 180,000 units in the U.S. alone last year.

Via :: Press Release