Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HP Recycling Bottled Water Bottles to Produce Ink Cartridges

HP HQ (TGW) – Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced today that it has developed a system to use recycled plastic to manufacture its ink cartridges.

More than 200 million cartridges have already been produced using 5 million pounds of recycled plastic already.

5 million pounds of plastic would fill more than 200 tractor trailers.

The program combines recycled plastic bottles with other recycled plastic and up to 30% new plastic to create the cartridges.

Via :: Press Release

Lightbulb Powered by Radio Waves Produce 7x the Light Per Watt

Luxim HQ (TGW) – Lightbulb maker Luxim has raised $21 million for its long lasting high intensity discharge (HID) lightbulb that creates light using radio waves.

The lamp uses a radio frequency amplifier to pump RF waves to an antenna inside a resonant cavity. The interaction between the waves and the crystal cavity convert trapped gases into a plasma.

Luxim’s bulbs get 120 lumens per watt, compared to the HID standard of only 90 lumens per watt. Compare that to LEDs, which get about 70 lumens per watt and a 100 watt 120 volt incandescent lightbulb will produce about 17.1 lumens per watt.

Therefore, the bulbs are more efficient.

It has a 5 times lifetime over regular bulbs, as well.

Via :: Green Tech Blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

U.S. Government Abandons Plans for First Clean Coal Power Plant

U.S. (TGW) – The future of the world’s cleanest coal-burning plant is in jeopardy after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) backed off plans to fund the research project.

The FutureGen plant was supposed to be the first facility in the world to utilize carbon sequestration technologies.

However, the Energy Department, which was supposed to bear about 75% of the costs, is balking at cost overruns of about $900 million.

Energy Secretary Sam Bodman met with Illinois officials, and told them he plans to "direct the department to begin to pursue other options," according to some of the officials.

"After our meeting today it is clear that Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman has misled the people of Illinois, creating false hope in a FutureGen project which has no intention of funding or supporting," Senator Dick Durbin said in a statement.

Via :: Reuters :: Press Release

Generating Power From Walking - The Crowd Farm Concept

Imagine powering your electricity by sitting down. Two MIT students have found a way to be lazy and generate their electricity by doing exactly this.

James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk have showed that the simple act of sitting on a stool can generate enough power to turn on 4 LED lights and that a single stride provides enough power to light a single 60 Watt light bulb for 1 second.

A relatively few 84 million strides could power a space shuttle launch.

The Crowd Farm concept relies on the related principle that mechanical movement can be converted into electricity, though on a larger scale. The mechanics would be supplied by a spongy floor in which embedded blocks move under the weight of passing pedestrians. The conversion process itself could be handled by a generator that uses a rotating coil and electromagnets to produce an electric current from the mechanical movement.

This all leads you to ask yourself, very seriously, “How much power do I generate by sitting on the toilet?”

Via :: Press Release

How To Build A Solar Powered USB Charger

How To Build A Solar Powered USB Charger - Watch more free videos

Monday, January 28, 2008

Scientists Harvest Energy from Rain

France (TGW) - Scientists at the CEA/Leti-Minatec in Grenoble, France have developed a system to produce energy from vibrations caused by raindrops.

“Our work could be considered as a good alternative to power systems in raining outdoor environments where solar energy is difficult to exploit,” researcher Thomas Jager said.

When a raindrop hits a surface, it produces a perfectly inelastic shock. To capture this energy, the scientists used a PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) polymer, a material that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Electrodes in the PVDF pick up the vibrations and convert them to energy.

The scientists have yet to develop a system that can store the power for practical use.

Via :: Physorg

Intel Becomes Largest Purchaser of Green Power in the U.S.

U.S. (TGW) – Intel will purchase 1.3 billion kilowatt hours a year of renewable energy certificates, making Intel the single largest corporate purchaser of green power in the United States.

"We have a long history of commitment to the environment and energy efficiency is an important consideration in everything we do, from building transistors to designing microprocessors and running our factories," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini.

The certificates will subsidize the development of wind, solar, biomass and small-scale hydro-electric sources of energy, Intel said.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated the purchase is the equivalent of taking more than 185,000 cars off the road for a year.

Via :: Press Release

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ann Arbor to be First City in U.S. Using 100% LEDs

Michigan (TGW) – Lumecon and Relume Technologies has won the contract for converting the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan over to 100% light emitting diodes (LEDs) for its 1000 streetlights.

The city will be the first in the country to use 100% LEDs.

The plan is expected to cut energy use for streetlights in half, and will reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by 2425 tons a year.

Via :: Press Release

Friday, January 25, 2008

Eco TV Uses Less Energy Than a Lightbulb

CES (TGW) – The new Philip’s 42 inch Eco TV, unveiled recently at CES 2008, has many green features.

Probably the most eco-friendly, as well as the most innovative, is the ability to dim the backlight based on program material. The backlight also dims in responsive to lighting conditions of the viewing area.

The TV uses only 75 watts during use and only .15 watts during standby; that is less than the average incandescent lightbulb.

The Eco TV is also lead free.

Via :: CNET

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Solar Car is Expensive, Ugly :(

At a price of $24,600, is it worth it?

iChapters: Buy an eBook, Plant a Tree

UPDATE: They've planted a tree 'in my honor'. :)

You may have heard of Eco-Libris, the site that plants a tree for every book you buy. iChapters has a similar program, but it may be even greener.

The program
Unlike Eco-Libris, at iChapters, you buy e-books, instead of funky old fashioned paper books. iChapters sells print textbooks as well, but we all know that buying print textbooks is out of fashion.

The books are extra cheap because the site sells directly to students; books are 40 to 50% off.

The green
For every eChapter or eBook purchased, one tree will be planted. So far, 24,000 trees have been planted.

The drive also has a Facebook page; Prizes include a cash prize for purchases on iChapters, a free pass for one year to all U.S. National Parks, and more.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Greenpeace: Mainstream Environmental Extremism

(Special Report) - Part 4 in a series on extremist environmentalist groups

Greenpeace, though one of the most famous international environmental groups, can be considered extreme. The group’s leadership mandates peaceful direct action, but that does not mean it cannot engage in some pretty extreme activities.

Basic Ideas
On its official website, Greenpeace defines its mission as the following:

Greenpeace is a global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace by:

Catalysing an energy revolution to address the number one threat facing our planet: climate change.
Defending our oceans by challenging wasteful and destructive fishing, and creating a global network of marine reserves.
Protecting the world’s remaining ancient forests and the animal, plants and people that depend on them.
Working for disarmament and peace by reducing dependence on finite resources and calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Creating a toxic free future with safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in today's products and manufacturing.
Supporting sustainable agriculture by encouraging socially and ecologically responsible farming practices..

End climate change, defend nature, destroy all nuclear weapons, and to have toxic free lifestyles.

Greenpeace started in 1970, when activists from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament wanted to stop a planned nuclear test in Alaska. The test was not prevented, but it laid the groundwork for the Greenpeace organization.

Though the organization is nonviolent, it has engaged in some radical, though nonviolent, activities. In French Polynesia, Greenpeace engaged in civil disobedience to protest nuclear experiments taking place there.

In 1985, the French blew up the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior to prevent the organizations protest of nuclear testing.

Since then, Greenpeace has only been more radicalized. It has chained itself to coal power plants, and recently made headlines blocking Japanese waling ships from refueling.


Solar Powered Toothbrush Doesn't Require Toothpaste

(Special Report) – The Shiken Company of Japan wants to revolutionize the way you brush your teeth – and it wants to make you greener.

The Soladey-J3X uses solar power to create a chemical reaction in your mouth to kill plaque and bacteria.

The brush doesn’t even use toothpaste, and it leads to "Complete destruction of bacterial cells," according to inventor Kunio Komiyama.

Switzerland the Greenest Country in the World

Earth (TGW) – The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranking released today by experts at Yale and Columbia universities lists Switzerland as the greenest country in the world, followed by the Scandinavian bloc (Sweden, Norway, Finland) and then Costa Rica.

How countries were ranked (simplified)

The United States came in at number 39 (it came in #28 in 2006) out of the 149 countries listed, well behind the United Kingdom at 14 and Japan at 21.

"The United States, though very high in the Environmental Health score, ranked at 107th in the Ecosystem Vitality category, below countries like Sudan and Myanmar, which have significant nonenvironmental challenges and limited resources for environmental protection," the experts said in a report accompanying the ranking. "Poor performance in the areas of air emissions and climate change reduced the United States’ score significantly.

"The EPI’s climate change metrics ranking the United States alongside India and China near the bottom of the world’s table are a national disgrace," Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, said in a statement.

Via :: AP

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ELF and ALF -- "The Top Domestic Terrorist Threat"

(Special Report) - Part 3 in a series on extremist environmentalist groups

These homegrown terrorists have carried out more attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 than any Islamic terrorist group -- and yet, they receive very little media attention.

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF); the Animal Liberation Front (ALF); the Revolutionary Cells—Animal Liberation Brigade (RCALB); the Animal Rights Militia (ARM); the Justice Department (not the government’s). These are all animal and environmental extremist groups. Are they all the same movement under different names? Yes.

Basic Ideas

All of the above organizations actively endorse violent action for their cause besides ALF. All are for the protection of animals and nature. In particular, these sets of groups are against animal testing.

To end inhumane actions against living things, and to prevent the harm of the Earth.

Earth Liberation Front:
ELF was founded in 1992 by members of the Earth First! movement. In 2001, the FBI named ELF the top domestic terrorist threat. ELF has carried out many attacks, mostly arsons.
Animal Liberation Front:
ALF evolved in the UK from a group called the Bands of Mercy, which opposed fox hunting. In the U.S., it appeared in the 1970s. Since then, it has grown internationally. ALF has taken part in many raids to, in their opinion, rescue animals on which tests are being performed, or in zoos, aquariums, etc. One action that was very successful was the movie “Unnecessary Fuss”, which was produced in part with PETA. The 26 minute long video showed researchers laughing and joking as they used a hydraulic device to cause brain damage to baboons.
ALF is against violence.

Revolutionary Cells—Animal Liberation Brigade:
RCALB has been accused of being the ‘terrorist wing of the Animal Liberation Front’. ALF does not support the actions of RCALB. RCALB has taken responsibility for two successful bombings (luckily no one killed) and an attempted third.
Animal Rights Militia:
ARM has taken responsibility for several mail bombs, and is most famous for a 68 day long hunger strike. ARM has been accused as being another militant wing of ALF.Justice Department
The Justice Department, also accused of being another militant wing of ALF (also denied), has been called by The Independent as "the most sustained and sophisticated bombing campaign in mainland Britain since the IRA was at its height." The organization has attempted to assassinate Prince Charles, and has attempted to assassinate over 80 researchers.

These movements are leaderless, meaning participants in each group form autonomous cells and act independently.

Animal Liberation Front

Shameless Self Promotion

As some may have noticed, I have finally monetized this site. Why? Let's just say big changes are coming to this site in the next few months, as soon as I make enough money.

In other news, I have added a fancy-shmancy tip jar on the right sidebar.

What you do is donate a measly $5, and you get a link back to your site (or, alternatively, you get your name on the side). Good karma, right?

Whole Foods to Stop Offering Plastic Bags

Whole Foods HQ (TGW) – Whole Foods announced today that it will go plastic bag free in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. by April 22, Earth Day, of this year.

The organic grocery chain is the first store in the U.S. to commit to completely eliminating the use of plastic bags in its stores.

The company is also giving away 50,000 reusable bags today and has declared today “Bring Your Own Bag Day” to celebrate the announcement.

Over the next three months, the Whole Foods stores will slowly deplete their stocks of plastic bags and put on sale more reusable ones.

In addition, paper bags used at the store will continue to be made from 100% material. Last year, Whole Foods became the first supermarket chain in the United States to offer this type of bag.

"Central to Whole Foods Market's core values is caring for our communities and the environment, and this includes adopting wise environmental practices," said A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market.

Via :: Press Release

Monday, January 21, 2008

Earth First!, The Eco-Terrorists

(Special Report) - Part 2 in a series on extremist environmentalist groups

Earth First! is the extremist group we'll be discussing today.

“No Compromise in Defense of Mother Earth”

Basic Ideas
“To put it simply, the Earth must come first.” This sums up the basic ideology of ‘Earth First!ers. Earth First! is a radical environmentalist group that believes anything must be done in order to protect mother earth. Members of the group believe in biocentrism, the belief that every life of every species is equally valuable.

To end the so-called ‘oppression’ of certain living beings.

Earth First! is most well known for its assumed attempted bombing in the UK 1990. In the incident, a bomb placed in activist Judi Bari’s car detonated, injuring her and fellow activist Darryl Cheney.

Earth First! was formed in the spring of 1980 after angry environmentalists pledged decided the environmentalist movement was being ‘sold out’ by mainstream environmentalists working for corporate cronies.

After the Bari bombing incident, EF became primarily associated with non-violent direct action activities.

Earth First! was the first 'mainstream' environmental extremist group. In fact, the more well known Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and its sister group, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) evolved from Earth First!.

According to Earth First!, “Earth First! is not an organization, but a movement. There are no "members" of Earth First!, only Earth First!ers.”

Earth First! Journal
Earth First!

Renault to Develop Electric Cars for Israel

Israel (TGW) – The Renault-Nissan has signed a deal to begin mass producing electric cars for Israel.

The cars will be designed to have a range of 60 miles in the city and 100 miles on the highway, will accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 13 seconds and have a top speed of 70 miles per hour – similar to many gasoline powered cars.

The reason Israel was chosen for the project, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said, is because 90% of Israelis drive less than 43 miles each day, and every major urban center is within 90 miles of each other.

The company expects to sell 10,000 to 20,000 of the cars, starting in 2011.

"It will be the most environmentally friendly mass-produced car on the market," Ghosn said at a Fuel Free Transportation ceremony at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, adding the main appeal of the cars is that they were as "normal as possible" while operating quietly.

The electric cars will have comparable costs to gasoline powered cars, Ghosn added.

The cars will eventually join the market in the United States, Ghosn said.

Via :: Reuters

Kite Powered Ship Expected to Save 35% of Fuel Debarks

Germany (TGW) – The world’s first commercial ship partly powered by a giant kite set sail from Germany today, and will make port in Venezuela in two weeks.

Click to enlarge. Source:Telegraph
The Deutsche Post’s MS Beluga SkySails,will be the first commercial ship to use one of SkySail’s kite-like wind propulsion system.

Depending on the wind conditions, Deutsche Post said fuel costs could be lowered by between 10 and 35 percent.

The boat is expected to save $410,000 a year.

Via ::

Saturday, January 19, 2008

98.5% New Record for Photovoltaic Inverter Efficiency

Germany (TGW) - Fraunhofer ISE has set a new record for photovoltaic inverter efficiency.

The company has achieved a rate of efficiency of 98.5% using prototype silicon carbide-based MOSFETs (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistors).

An inverter changes DC voltage from batteries or solar panels, into standard household AC voltage so that it can be used by common tools and appliances.

Fraunhofer has a patent pending for the technique.

Via :: Press Release

Study Warns of Rising Mediterranean Sea Levels

Mediterranean (TGW) – The level of the Mediterranean Sea is rising rapidly, according to a new report from the Spanish Oceanographic Institute.

The study showed levels have been rising since the 1970s and have been rising increasingly faster since the 1990s.

The study, entitled Climate Change in the Spanish Mediterranean, said the sea had risen "between 2.5mm and 10mm (0.1 and 0.4in) per year since the 1990s".

The study, entitled Climate Change in the Spanish Mediterranean, said the sea had risen "between 2.5mm and 10mm (0.1 and 0.4in) per year since the 1990s".

Via :: BBC

Oil Watch: January 13 to January 18 - Prices, Causes and Effects

Closing price: $90.57 per barrel (steady)
National gas average: $3.00 (steady)

Expect prices to rise until an economic stimulus package is revealed.

1. Weak dollar
A lower dollar makes oil cheaper in countries that use other currencies.
2. Recession worries in the U.S.

Positive feedback: higher gas and oil prices could hurt the economy more.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Clever Global Warming Ad

(Click for larger version)

Naga DDB Malaysia painted the poster for this Regional Environmental Awareness straight on the tiles of pool.
“Don’t let this be our future. Save our rainforest, stop global warming.”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Norway Plans to go Carbon Neutral by 2030

Norway (TGW) – Norway wants to go carbon neutral by 2030, it said today.

2030 is 20 years earlier than its previous target, 2050.

The Scandinavian nation plans to cut emissions by reducing its impact at home and investing in carbon credits abroad, including plans to spend $553.1 million a year to combat deforestation in developing countries.

"The parties now think it is realistic to assume reductions in Norwegian climate gas emissions of 15-17 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents by 2020 when forests are included," the government said in a statement.

To achieve the target, the country will also have to cut its emissions by two-thirds domestically.

Some environmental groups expressed skepticism, and even the Oil and Energy Minister Aaslaug Haga acknowledged: "We don't know how we will achieve the goals yet, and that is challenging."

The country has a vague plan of increased taxes on fossil fuels and increased investments in cleaner technology.

Via :: Reuters

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You Know the World Has Changed When...

And this is from prices from over 2 years ago!

New Solar Panels Work Both in the Day and at Night

Idaho (TGW) – Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory are developing a novel way to collect energy from the sun with a technology that could potentially cost pennies a yard, be imprinted on flexible materials and still draw energy after the sun has set.

The new process uses a special manufacturing process to stamp microscopic square spirals or “nanoantennas” of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic. These nanoantennas convert 80% of available energy, the team estimates, compared to current rates of about 20.

Though this concept is not entirely new, the team has perfected multiple aspects. For example, the nanoantennas are made cheap in the team’s process, greatly reducing costs.

The most promising potential of these antennas is that they could be used to collect power both day and night; power would be collected from the sun during the day and from the earth’s heat at night.

However, there are still some problems to be worked out.

A crucial part of this process has not yet been developed: transmitting or storing the energy collected.

"At this point, these antennas are good at capturing energy, but they're not very good at converting it," says INL engineer Dale Kotter, "but we have very promising exploratory research under way."

Via :: INL Press Release

The Madrid 'Air Tree'

Spain (TGW) – Madrid will build a huge structure called an “Air Tree” or “Eco Boulevard de Vallecas”, Spain announced recently.

The Tree was created by Urban Ecosystem to be a social center and to improve the surrounding environment.

The tree produces its own energy using its many solar panels, and excess energy is sold to local power companies. The tree also produces oxygen – hence its name.

Also, the building is efficient; the materials are lightweight, recyclable, and made from recycled materials.

In more practical terms, the building is a social center where temperatures are 8-10 degrees Celsius cooler.

Via :: Gizmodo

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The MacBook Air is Green

San Francisco (TGW) – Last year Steve Jobs promised a greener Apple.

This year we’re seeing some results.

Today Apple unveiled the MacBook Air, ‘the world’s thinnest laptop.’ Not only is it thin, it is green. Other than the laptops non-user-replaceable battery, the laptop has many green qualities:
• it has a fully recyclable aluminum case
• it’s Apple’s first display that is mercury-free, with arsenic-free glass
• the circuit boards are BFR-free and PVC-free
• and it has 50 percent less packaging than the MacBook

Via :: Earth2Tech

Monday, January 14, 2008

Extreme Environmentalism - Voluntary Human Extinction

Part 1 in a series on extremist environmentalist groups

(Special Report) - “Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.”

So says the frontpage of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT, pronounced vehement).

May we live long and die out

Basic Ideas
The basic concept behind VHEMT is the belief that the Earth would be better off without humans, and as such, humans should refuse to breed. However, this does not mean humans should be forced to not breed. The group was founded by Les U. Knight, whose stated life work is “to phase out the human race by non-coercive means.”

The goal of VHEMT is eventual human extinction, although they understand that is unlikely to happen.

Action is voluntary. So far, not much success, other than media attention.

VHEMT recognizes two levels of support:
“Volunteers” think all of us should voluntarily refrain from reproducing further, bringing about the eventual extinction of Homo sapiens.
“Supporters” think intentional creation of one more of us by any of us is unjustifiable at this time, but extinction of our species goes too far.

Semi-realistic lunatics

Study: Winters in the Northeast Warming

Northeast (TGW) - A study of weather station data from across the Northeast from 1965 through 2005 found December-March temperatures increased by 2.5 degrees and average snowfall totals dropped 8.8 inches over the period.

Also, the number of days with at least 1 inch of snow on the ground decreased by nine days on average.

"Winter is warming greater than any other season," said Elizabeth Burakowski, a researcher.

Burakowski cites two likely causes for the reduction in so-called snow-covered days: higher maximum temperatures and "snow-albedo feedback," in which less snow cover to begin with allows more sunshine warmth to be absorbed by the darker ground, making it less conducive to snow cover.

Though the research has yet appeared in a peer reviewed journal, her observations appear to be in line with meteorologists and skiers thoughts.

"We've seen some erratic winters in recent years," Parker Riehle, president of the trade association Ski Vermont, said. "The mood swings of Mother Nature, perhaps, are deeper than they used to be."

Via :: AP

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hybrid Gets 150 MPG Using Ultracapacitors -- The AFS Trinity XH-150 Extreme Hybrid

On the highway (TGW) – AFS Trinity Power Corporation revealed its XH-150 hybrid SUV today, which gets 150 miles per gallon, and goes 40 miles on electricity alone, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Also, the eXtreme Hybrid-150 has rapid acceleration, even in full electric mode, and highway speeds of up to 87 miles per hour in either hybrid or electric mode.

The car isn’t “a small two-seater,” says CEO Edward Furia; it’s a, “medium-size family SUV designed to support a serious supermarket run or a family’s weekend recreational activities.”

The next step for the company is to license its breakthrough technology to carmakers, Furia said. “However,” he continued, “If carmakers decide not to take advantage of this offer, AFS Trinity intends to raise the funds to begin modifying existing hybrids or manufacture its own 150 mpg SUV’s and, eventually, 250 mpg sedans. We believe such production models could be available for sale in three years.”

Trinity’s new technology is expected to increase the cost of SUVs by about $8700. That means if gas prices stay around $2.85, cost savings could “repay the purchase price premium in 3.5 years.”

How it works
Typically, hybrids only use electric motors at low speeds or in combination with gasoline for maximum speeds. AFS Trinity, on the other hand, took a purist position. The gasoline engine doesn’t start until the electric battery runs down.

The car also uses ultracapacitors to capture much more energy from when the driver hits the breaks.

The idea behind the AFS Trinity uses a basic rule of thumb: most drivers drive less than 40 miles a day. That allows drivers to charge up their cars at night, and if need be for the car to go long distances, they can use oil.

Via :: AFS Trinity Press Release

[POLL] Will Oil Reach $200 in 12 Months?

Voting Booth

Will oil reach $200 a barrel in the next 12 months?
Other free polls

Friday, January 11, 2008

Site News

Wow. I was just checking Google Analytics, and wow. The number of visitors increased 20x overnight. For no apparent reason. Anyone who subscribed to the feed in the past 24 hours want to explain what sent them here, because Analytics makes it look you all just typed in into your address bar because you wanted to. And that doesn't seem right!

Anyway, thanks for subscribing.

I won't be able to post much this weekend, and probably not at all (I've got a wedding to go). But operations will be resumed Monday!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ethanol from Switchgrass Releases 94% Less CO2 Than Oil

Internet (TGW) – Using switchgrass as the source of biofuels cuts emissions 94% compared with petrol, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Also, switchgrass derived ethanol produces 540% more energy than required to collect it.

The study involved 10 farms, and is described as the largest of its kind. A report last year suggested switchgrass only produces 343% of the energy required to collect it.

"A lot of their information was based on small plot data and also estimates of what would be needed in the agronomic production of biofuels," coauthor Dr Vogel explained. "We had on-farm trials, so we had all the data from the farmers on all the inputs needed to produce the crops,” including nitrogen fertiliser, herbicides, diesel and seed production.

The process to produce ethanol from switchgrass is more complex than producing ethanol from corn, but the product, 2nd generation “cellulosic” ethanol, yields much more energy.

Burning biofuels produces greenhouse gases, but producing the plants absorbs a comparable amount. However, other factors make the fuel rarely carbon neutral. Switchgrass may be an exception.

"Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of ethanol from switchgrass, using only the displacement method, showed 88% less GHG emissions than conventional ethanol," the researchers wrote.

Many scientists, environmentalists, and politicians have expressed concern over 1st generation biofuels.

Via :: BBC

Both China and Australia to Ban Free Plastic Bags - Why Can't U.S.?

China and Australia (TGW) – Both China and Australia have announced bans on plastic bags this week, in some form or another.

China has banned ultra thin plastic bags and all free plastic bags starting in June, while Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the government there wants to phase out free plastic bags by the end of 2008.

"There are some 4 billion of these plastic bags floating around the place, getting into landfills, ending up affecting our wildlife, and showing up on our beaches while we are on holidays," Garret said.

"Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling," the Chinese government said.

Chinese people use up to 3 billion plastic bags a day and the country has to refine 37 million barrels every year to make the bags.

Via :: Reuters :: BBC

Body Heat Used to Warm Office

Sweden (TGW) – One Swedish state owned company has announced it has found an easy, green way to heat their offices: human body heat from a quarter million commuters streaming through Stockholm’s central station.

Body heat already heats the station itself, but the surplus heat will now be used to heat as much as 15% of the real estate firm Jernhusen.

"We had a look at it and thought 'We might actually be able to use this'," said Karl Sundholm, project leader at Jernhusen, which also owns the station. "This feels good. Instead of just airing the leftover heat out we try to make use of it."

Bodily warmth will be used to heat water, at a cost of $31,200. "The ventilator aggregates are already there, and even some of the pipes. All we need to do is complement with a few pumps and pipes."

Via :: Reuters

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Could Global Warming Lead to the Next Ice Age? - Shutdown of Thermohaline Circulation

(Special Report) - If you’ve seen The Day After Tomorrow or read The Coming Global Superstorm, you probably have heard of ‘thermohaline circulation’. Okay. Maybe you haven’t heard it named, but if you’ve seen the movie or read the book then you know what it is. Unconsciously. Trust me.

Basically the central theory of both mediums is that the melting ice caps will affect the salinity (AKA the amount of salt) of the oceans and currents of the world, specifically the North Atlantic Current. The North Atlantic Current is part of the Gulf Stream, which carries heat up to East North America and West Europe. And what is the North Atlantic Current (and the Gulf Stream) powered by? Thermohaline circulation. The danger is that with a desalinated current, the current could slow or even stop, and an ice age could ensue.

Okay, that’s not likely. But global warming is going to cause thermohaline circulation to slow down. This brings us to our question:

Why will global warming cause the slowdown or shutdown of thermohaline circulation?

The answer isn’t simple. I mean, it took me a whole half an hour to even begin to comprehend. How can I expect you, the anonymous reader, to understand this in the slightest?

I’ll humor you.

To understand why global warming could cause the partial shutdown of thermohaline circulation, we first have to understand how thermohaline currents work. Thermohaline currents are NOT powered by heated convection currents, unlike most currents. But we won’t get into that. Thermohaline circulation is density driven.

You have to imagine this in 3D. The current moves north along the top of the Atlantic Ocean with less density. As it moves further north, it begins to become denser. Why does it become denser? First of all, the water cools as it gets closer to the North Pole. Cold stuff is denser than hot stuff. Second, it becomes saltier as sea ice forms. Sea ice isn’t salty, so the salt gets left behind in the water. Salt, obviously, is denser than water. So now it’s denser.

And then it sinks.

Remember, this part of the current (the north flowing current) is on the top of the Atlantic. It sinks and starts heading south. All of its dense buddies are down south, and everyone wants to be at the party, right? Strange, but true. As it moves south, it loses salinity and becomes warmer. It rises, and the cycle begins again.

Can you see the problem yet?

Global warming melts the ice caps, which are made of fresh water. Fresh water means no salt, which means less dense. The fresh water will make parts of the current less dense, slowing down the current, slowing the transportation of heat. If that makes sense.

Basically, global warming will desalinize thermohaline circulation, slowing it down.

Scientists still don’t know how much of an effect the desalinization will have. Most likely it will only lead to lesser warming in far Western Europe, but further research is still needed.

But don’t worry that there’ll be an ice age. We’ve already delayed that (well technically, if ...).

Singapore Opens Green Airport Terminal

Singapore (TGW) – Singapore opened a new, $1.22 billion green airport terminal today.

The terminal, in state owned Changi airport, boasts 919 energy-saving skylights, a butterfly garden, lower to floor air conditioners, koi ponds over 200 species of foliage spread over enough floor space to cover 50 soccer fields.

The terminal increased passenger capacity in the airport by about 50 million, and will likely lower electricity bills for the airport, mainly because of the skylights and air conditioners.

The terminal also has a five story wall of hanging plants

"The cost to run the terminal should be lower. But it's still too early to project what the cost-savings will be," said a spokesman from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, which manages the airport.

Via :: Reuters

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

An Eco-Friendly 'Recyclable' Hotel

UK (TGW) – The British hotel chain Travelodge is building what they claim to be the first ‘recyclable’ hotel.

The building is made of pre-built, container like crates imported from China, stacked on each other and bolted together.

The building can be dismantled and the end of its life, picked up, and moved elsewhere.

The 120 room, 8 story building will open in June at £19 a night. “You won’t tell any difference,” a spokesman said.

"It could facilitate the creation of hotels on a temporary basis at times of peak demand in certain locations -- such as festivals or sporting events," the firm's director of property and development Paul Harvey said.

Travelodge says using the Chinese-built modules is 25 percent faster and 10 percent cheaper, making it a core part of their strategy to become the largest hotel operator in London by the 2012 Olympics.

Via :: Reuters :: The Sun

Super Soaker Inventor Aims to Double Solar Efficiency

Super Soaker Factory (TGW) - You’ve heard about advances in solar power before, but coming from the inventor of the super soaker?

Lonnie Johnson, the inventor of the super soaker, says he can achieve a conversion efficiency rate that tops 60 percent with a new solid-state heat engine.

Most photovoltaic materials have around a 30% conversion rate. In case you failed elementary school math, that’s double the current average.

Johnson, a nuclear engineer with more than 100 patents, calls his invention the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Conversion System (JTEC).

JTEC isn’t photovoltaic; it’s more like a fuel cell.

JTEC circulates hydrogen between two membrane-electrode assemblies (MEA). Unlike a fuel cell, however, JTEC is a closed system. No external hydrogen source. No oxygen input. No wastewater output. Other than a jolt of electricity that acts like the ignition spark in an internal-combustion engine, the only input is heat.

The system works by using temperature differences in different areas to manipulate pressure in the system. One area is ultra hot and potentially heated by the sun. The cycling heat and cold produces voltage across the MEA stacks. The high voltage moves hydrogen across a stack, creating energy.

“It’s like a conventional heat engine,” explains Paul Werbos, program director at the National Science Foundation, which has provided funding for JTEC. “It still uses temperature differences to create pressure gradients. Only instead of using those pressure gradients to move an axle or wheel, he’s using them to force ions through a membrane. It’s a totally new way of generating electricity from heat.”

Using the theoretical Carnot thermodynamic cycle, a 60% efficiency rating can be predicted.

The engine can operate on tiny scales or on megawatt scales. The promise lies in the source of the heat. The heat could not only come from the sun, excess heat, or even from the human body.

Via :: Popular Mechanics

Using Basic Cost-Benefit Analysis to Understand Global Warming

“The risk of not acting far outweighs the risk of acting.”

The teacher uses basic cost-benefit analysis to show that we NEED to take action on climate change. If you have time, watch the whole thing (the WHOLE thing).

Monday, January 7, 2008

The CityCAT Air Car - Runs on Compressed Air

(Special Report) - Tata Motors, India’s largest automaker, is set to debut the world’s first commercial air powered vehicle.

The Air Car, developed by Formula One engineer Guy Negre for Moteur Developpment International (MDI), uses compressed air to power its engine.

6000 Air Cars will be on the streets of India by August 2008. The first model to be sold commercially will be the CityCAT for a measly $12700.

The car takes only a few minutes and $2 to fuel up at special compressor units, or drivers can plug the car into the electric grind and power up in 4 hours.

With a top speed of 68 miles per hour and a max range of 125 miles, one might be forgave for expecting the CityCAT to hit the streets of New York City soon. Sadly, it is unlikely, especially considering the vehicle’s all glue construction.

But if you’re German, Israeli, South African, or live in 9 other countries, you can expect to see the cars at a theater stoplight near you.

$200 Oil, Germany's Leading Economic Institute Predicts

Germany (TGW) – Oil will hit $200 a barrel, one of Germany’s leading economic institutes predicted today.

"Oil supplies are becoming increasingly scarce and that will continue to drive up prices," Claudia Kemfert, the energy expert of the DIW German Institute for Economic Research, told Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

The Institute predicted $150 oil in 5 years and $200 oil in 10 years. Kemfert added prices will likely reach $105 in the coming weeks.

Few analysts see the oil market calming anytime soon. "We find it difficult to contemplate any scenario which doesn't see annual average prices going steadily higher," said Kevin Norrish, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

Via :: Der Spiegel

Sunday, January 6, 2008

SolarReserve: Salt Powered Energy

U.S. (TGW) – Solar Power tower technology and corresponding molten salt storage system developed by Rocketdyne will be commercialized through a new entity known as SolarReserve, Hamilton Sundstrand and US Renewables Group, announced today.

The technology solves the problem of solar power’s irregular power generation ability by storing energy in the form of heat in molten salt.

SolarReserve will the hold the exclusive license to Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects using molten salt technology.

The technology is designed for utility-scale power generation, and will be capable of producing up to 500 MW of power.

"Due to the unique ability of the product to store the energy it captures, this system will function like a conventional hydroelectric power plant, but with several advantages. We will have the capability to store the sun's energy and release it on demand. This product is more predictable than water reserves, the supply is free and inexhaustible, and the environmental impact is essentially zero," said Lee Bailey, managing director of US Renewables Group (USRG).

Via :: Press Release

[POLL] Do You Use Non-Incandescent Lightbulbs?

Voting Booth

Do you have non-incandescent lightbulbs where you live?
No free polls

CO2 Killing Hundreds in U.S. Alone

U.S. (TGW) - Carbon dioxide (CO2) spewed by coal-fired power plants and vehicles have caused hundreds of premature deaths in the U.S. alone, a new study says.

The study does not take into account the consequences also caused by the heating of the earth.

The deaths were due to lung and heart ailments linked to ozone and polluting particles in the air, according to the report.

Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and his team used a computer model to discover that the impact is worse more populated and polluted cities.

"Of the additional ... deaths per year due to ozone and particles ... about 30 percent of those occurred in California, which has 12 percent of the (U.S.) population," he said, noting that California has six of the 10 most polluted U.S. cities.

"So it was pretty clear ... that climate change was affecting Californians' health disproportionately to its population," Jacobson said.

Via :: Reuters

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Oil Watch: December 31 to January 5 Prices, Causes and Effects

Closing price
: $97.91 per barrel (up)
National gas average: $3.01 (up)

Although we predicted oil would remain steady, oil spiked this week to over $100.

1. Weak dollar
A lower dollar makes oil cheaper in countries that use other currencies.
1. U.S. economy
An economic report relieved some worries about the U.S. economy.
3. Mexico exports down
Because of bad weather
4. Instability in the Middle East
In Pakistan and Indonesia.

Market jitters, rising gas prices.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Not a lot of news lately...

Not a lot of environmental news, global warming news, alternative energy news or anything like that lately...

There's been a lot about the Iowa Caucuses. Why don't you head over to for more?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Crystal City - World's Biggest Building Coming to Moscow, and It's Going to Be Eco-Friendly

The world’s biggest building will be coming to Moscow in 2013, and it will be energy efficient.

Covering an area of 2.5million square meters and towering above the Kremlin at 450 meters, it will be one giant hotel. There will be 3000 hotel rooms and 900 serviced apartments.

Energy Efficiency
Now the good stuff. The building is one giant spiral, creating terraces on every level. These terraces create a thermal buffer for the main building, protecting the building from Moscow’s extreme weather, saving electricity.

The building will be covered with solar panels and wind turbines. Natural ventilation will be provided thanks to numerous strategically placed large atriums.

Also, dynamic enclosure panels will be slotted into the structural framing allow daylight to penetrate deep into the heart of the scheme and can be controlled to modify the internal environment.

“Energy management is at the heart of this structure, several on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation projects are planned,” the company said in an official press statement.