Thursday, February 28, 2008

Laptop Mouse Powered by Laptop Waste Heat

Your laptop (TGW) – DORmino has developed an efficient laptop mouse that gets its energy from laptop heat waste.

The key to all of this lies not in the mouse, but in the mouse pad. The pad absorbs heat and uses it to power the mouse.
Via :: Greener Gadgets Competition

New Synthetic Soil Can Reduce Skyscraper Temperature 18 Degrees

Japan (TGW) – Japanese company Suntory Ltd. said this week that it has created an alternative artificial soil, named Pafcal, that will help keep cities green.

The soil is designed to ease the “heat-island” problem of rising temperatures in urban areas.

Some 450 grams of the sponge-like material, which is made of the synthetic substance urethane, can be put to the same use as one kilo of soil, the company said. Leafy plants growing in the synthetic soil can reduce the roof temperature by 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit).

Via :: Physorg

Volkswagen Diesel-Electric Hybrid to Get 70 MPG

Volkswagen HQ (TGW) – Volkswagen will reveal its 70 mile per gallon diesel-electric hybrid, the Golf Hybrid, next month at the Geneva Motor Show.

The car is expected to have a parallel hybrid drivetrain with a 2 liter engine, an all-electric mode at low speed, start-stop capability, regenerative braking and a 7-speed DSG double-clutch transmission.

Volkswagen is considering manufacturing other green cars as well.

Via :: Wired

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who's Controlling the Dialogue?

First post by new contributor Michael (michael4864 att gmail dotz com)

A great deal of effort is going into controlling the dialogue about many important issues of our times. Take, for example, global warming. There are those who wish to control this “conversation”. It’s instructive to look at this activity for its broader implications on public discourse and policy making.

Let me start by suggesting that there are only two answers and an explanation to the question of whether global warming is occurring. The first answer is: “I don’t know”. While there is preponderance of evidence that has documented important changes to global climate, the larger question of permanent, cataclysmic change is actually undeterminable. Which leads me to the second answer: “I don’t give a damn”.

Now, that answer requires an explanation.

If this dialogue is about creating public policy, then why are we being asked to determine such policy based upon things which we don’t know and can’t actually prove? Is the indeterminable quality of that conversation deliberate? Can we, or should we, actually make policy on that which we don’t know?

Here’s a novel idea: How about determining public policy on what we know? So, what do we know?

We know three things: (1) oil and gas are exhaustible sources of energy; (2) their use injures, kills and pollutes; and (3) our dependence on foreign sources for oil has made America a target for international terrorism and distorts the pursuit of true American self interests.

We don’t have to wait for definitive answers to the question of global warming. We know enough, now, to make responsible public policy. We know enough now to make the decision to promote existing alternative sources and pioneer new sources of renewable energy. It is hard to imagine that America could not easily wean itself off of Middle East Oil… should it want to.

The vast majority of Americans live on a small percentage of our land. And, the vast majority of unpopulated land is in areas that are viable locations for solar, wind and hydroelectrically generation. America’s survivability, today, and even more so in the future is based upon our intellectual capital. We have the most powerful military in the world (not the largest) simply because we excel in the technology that supports our military.

Our future economy will also be dependant on intellectual leadership. What is more relevant to our survival and prosperity than controlling future sources of new, renewable energy? Where is the leadership, today, that will insure our future intellectual capacity? Hell, even some of the oil companies know their future demise and are moving toward a brighter tomorrow. Imagine the job generation that will follow such new technologies. How do we help them and ourselves?

We need to understand that our public dialogue, like much in the world, is controlled by larger interests. Our best defense is an informed and educated population. Most of the problems of this country are solvable. The issues and answers are not “liberal”… “conservative”… “red”… nor “blue”. The issues that are at the core of our future success are those that resonate within the daily lives of the vast majority of Americans who are working hard, raising families, and contributing to the social fabric of our country.

Any public figure who uses divisive terms and language are, somewhere down the line, making money off of sustained public controversy.

And that is something which this country can do without. Let us move the conversation back to a more profound and straightforward dialogue. Let us find our true American voice: the voice of reason.

Renewable Energy Tax Credit Passes House; Unlikely to Pass Senate or White House Veto

Washington (TGW) – The House today voted to repeal $18 billion in tax breaks for big oil and to use the savings to renew the renewable energy tax credit.

The bill passed 236-182, but is unlikely to make it through the Senate or the threatened White House veto.

"We have the opportunity to invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency and grow our economy, creating new jobs," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Under the bill, renewable energy projects would receive tax breaks, as would consumers for buying plug-in hybrids.

Via :: CNN

New York's Black Taxis to Go Green, Cut Emissions in Half

NYC (TGW) – New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled new fuel emissions standards for the city’s 10,000 black taxis that will compel the owners to buy more fuel efficient cars.

This announcement comes one year after the city announced its 13,000 yellow taxis will go hybrid by 2012.

The black town cars are responsible for 2% of the city’s emissions.

According to the mayor, emissions will be cut by half by the cars because of the standard.

Via :: Reuters

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Energy From Banana Waste to Fuel Cars in Australia

Down Under (TGW) – A plant in Australia will use methane from banana waste to power cars.

Still in the prototype stage, the factory, built by Growcom, will transform banana waste into biomethane, which will then be used in vehicles powered by natural gas.

"An over-riding principle of the project has been to use locally available materials and expertise wherever possible. The system must also integrate with existing farm practices. If on-farm digesters are to have a commercial future they must add to farm efficiency and be simple to operate," Growcom board member Keith Noble said.

Via :: Press Release

Monday, February 25, 2008

Presidential Candidates Asked About Global Warming Only 6 Times Out of 3000 Questions

Mainstream Media (TGW) – Throughout the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, a total of 3000 questions have been asked by major TV interviewers – and only 6 of them have been about global warming, according to research done by the League of Conservation Voters.

Cox And Forkum Political Cartoons

As of January 25, 2975 questions had been asked, but only six mentioned the words "climate change" or "global warming."

To put that in perspective, three questions mentioned UFOs.

The prime time interviewers include reporters from all the major networks: CNN's Wolf Blitzer, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, MSNBC's Tim Russert, Fox News' Chris Wallace and CBS's Bob Schieffer.

Via :: Salon

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Study Debunks Supposed Scientist Consensus Over Global Cooling

U.S. (TGW) – A new study conducted by the National Climatic Data Center concludes that the supposed “global cooling” consensus among scientists in the 1970s is a myth.

Newsweek, Time, The New York Times and National Geographic all published articles speculating that the Earth could be on the path towards a new ice age.

However, Thomas Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center surveyed dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles from 1965 to 1979 and found that only seven supported global cooling, while 44 predicted warming.

Peterson says 20 others were neutral in their assessments of climate trends.

"There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age," the report says.

"A review of the literature suggests that, to the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking about the most important forces shaping Earth's climate on human time scales."

Even within the media there was no consensus of cooling, Peterson reports. "Even cursory review of the news media coverage of the issue reveals that, just as there was no consensus at the time among scientists, so was there also no consensus among journalists."

Via :: USA Today

Black Balloons Energy Saving Campaign Video

Friday, February 22, 2008

Special Coating Increases Solar Cell Voltage 40%

Northwestern University (TGW) – Researchers at Northwestern University can increase solar cell voltage by approximately 40% and conversion efficiency by up to 5.6% by a special coating to the cell.

The coating covers the anode of the solar cell with a 5 to 10 nanometer thick smoother layer of nickel oxide. This material is an excellent conductor for extracting holes from the irradiated cell but, equally important, is an efficient "blocker" which prevents misdirected electrons from straying to the "wrong" electrode (the anode), which would compromise the cell energy conversion efficiency.

The process is cheap and non corrosive, the research team said.

Via :: Press Release

Self Powering Mp3 Player - Mp3 Player Powered by Movement

Your pants (TGW) – This little MP3 Player here doesn’t need to be charged. It powers itself.

Unveiled at the Greener Gadgets convention this year, this self-power music player invented by Zhiliang Chen is powered by movement. Shake it or attach it to your pants and go for a walk and it will charge itself. As Mr. Sameer over at Ecofriend points out, there are some R-rated applications for this gadget.

The same technology has also been applied to a flashlight.

Via :: Greener Gadgets Competition

Thursday, February 21, 2008

John McCain Gets a Zero on Environmental Scorecard; Obama 67, Clinton 73

U.S. (TGW) – Presidential candidate and likely Republican nominee John McCain has scored a ‘0’ on the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard released today by the League of Conservation Voters.

McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every single environmental vote scored by the report.

The average member of Congress scored a 53; John McCain has a lifetime average of 24.

Republican Minority Whip Trent Lott also received a score of 0; Barack Obama received a score of 67; Hillary Clinton received a score of 73.

Bob Case of Pensylvania, Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Nelson of Florida were the only senators to receive a score of 100.

"We were appalled two weeks ago when John McCain was the only Senator who chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America-dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote. As it turns out, this was merely the most recent example of a clear pattern of missing the most important votes on energy and the environment--as his abysmal LCV score clearly demonstrates,” said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director.

League of Conservation Voters 2007 Scorecard Senate votes, all of which John McCain missed:
1. Cloture on H.R. 6, the energy bill (6/21, Vote 225)
2. Passage of H.R. 6, the energy bill (6/21, Vote 226)
3. Maintaining Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) in H.R. 6 (12/7, Vote 416)
4. Taking away giveaways to Big Oil to subsidize clean energy (12/13, Vote 425)
5. Loosening public health and environmental regulations on refineries (6/13, Vote 210)
6. Undermining the RES with coal and nuclear energy (6/14, Vote 211)
7. Offshore drilling in Virginia (6/14, Vote 212)
8. Liquid coal (6/19, Vote 213)
9. Environmental safeguards for biofuels (6/20, 219)
10. Consider global warming for water projects (5/15, Vote 166)
11. Appropriately prioritizing water projects (5/15, Vote 165)
12. International family planning (9/6, Vote 320)
13. Farm Bill subsidy reform (12/11, Vote 417)
14. Farm Bill subsidy caps (12/13, Vote 424)
15. Eminent Domain for public parks (12/3, Vote 429)

Via :: Press Release

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Special Report: Green Jewelry

(Special Report) – Well, yes, it’s passed Valentines Day, but girls still love jewelry and guys still love shiny things (that can’t just be me right?).

Elemental Silver has what you want. They ensure ‘our products come from artisans that source their raw materials through Eco Friendly means. We abide by ethical standards and ensure that we only work with vendors who pay fair wages and protect workers' rights.’

Every quarter, the company chooses a charitable cause to donate a portion of its earnings to. This quarter, the company is donating 10% of profits to the Elephants and Friends Refuge.

I hope not. But you can never be sure…

Technology Turns CO2 From Air Into Chalk, Toothpaste

Carbon Sciences HQ (TGW) – Carbon Sciences Incorporated has completed its prototype of a machine that captures carbon dioxide and transforms it into calcium carbonate, AKA chalk.

The calcium carbonate can also be made into drywall, bricks or even toothpaste.

Via :: Press Release

Scientists to Recycle Waste Heat Energy From Tailpipes to Help Power Cars

Cardiff University (TGW) – Cardiff University researchers are exploring ways to harness waste heat energy produced from tailpipes to produce greener cars.

Researcher Mike Rowe aims to use thermoelectric generation to capture this waste heat.

Professor Mike Rowe, OBE School of Engineering said: "The main interest in cars is to decrease the petrol consumption and reduce CO2 emissions. If you can utilise the exhaust heat you could replace the alternator. This would provide a 5 per cent saving in fuel straightaway."

He said, "Thermoelectric generation is a green solution. It can in many instances cost less than solar energy. It has huge future potential yet it has been neglected to date in the UK."

Via :: Science Daily

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Car Can Go Underwater, Produces Zero Emissions

Underwater (TGW) – The company Rinspeed has developed a vehicle, “sQuba” that travels on both land and water and produces zero emissions.

The car will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

sQuba is an electric car, meaning it produces no emissions while driving. It is powered by three electric motors: one powers the wheels, one powers the propellers in the back, and the third controls water jets the steer the car.

The car can submerge about 30 feet underwater.

Via :: Press Release

More pics:

Add Water to New Fuel Cell and You've Got Energy

Wal-Mart (TGW) – Millennium Cell has developed a water activated generator.

Add water, and the technology uses oxygen from the air along with the water to produce hydrogen to run its fuel cell.

Via :: Technology Review

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hypermiling Techniques: How to Get 95 MPG Out of Your Everyday Car

Several days ago we reported that your not-so-average green citizen Mike Turner improved his 15 year old car to get 95 MPG. As seen in the article, he’s made some pretty radical improvements to his car. Besides his upgrades, Mr. Turner is a ‘hypermiler’, meaning that he gets the most miles per gallon out of his car that he physically can. Today we thought we’d take a look at some of these hypermiling techniques.

1. Car maintenance

Key parameters to maintain are tire pressure, tire balance and wheel alignment, and proper motor oil weight and level. Equally important is the proper maintenance of the Engine Control Module and all sensors it relies on to control engine operation such as oxygen sensors.

2. Minimizing mass
Don’t haul around unnecessary luggage in your car.

3. Speed

Maintain an efficient speed (varies by car).

4. Acceleration (including braking)

Accelerate gently. Brakes should be avoided whenever possible.

5. Pulse and glide (Warning: can be dangerous)
Pulse and glide is a method where the driver accelerates to a given speed, and then glides. This is best accomplished with a manual transmission.

Of course, this is just the basics. For more, you might need a special trainer as some of the techniques can be dangerous.

Los Alamos to Create Energy from CO2 in the Air - Green Freedom

Los Alamos (TGW) – Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a concept known as “Green Freedom”, for production of a carbon neutral fuel made from carbon dioxide in the air.

The laboratory would extract CO2 from the air and convert it to fuel using a form of electrochemical separation.

"Initial system and economic analyses indicate that the prices of Green Freedom commodities would be either comparable to the current market or competitive with those of other carbon-neutral, alternative technologies currently being considered," said F. Jeffrey Martin of the Laboratory

To capture carbon, the researchers could use existing power plants as a source of carbon dioxide instead of removing the gas from the atmosphere.

That means nearly all of the carbon footprint created by the fuel would be from the building of the plant.

“The concept's viability has been reviewed and verified by both industrial and semi-independent Los Alamos National Laboratory technical reviews,” the research facility said in a statement.

Via :: Press Release

The Internets Has Helped Americans Improve Energy Efficiency

U.S. (TGW) – The internet helps Americans save energy, according to a new study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

For every kilowatt-hour of electricity used by information and communications technologies, the US saves at least 10 times that amount, the study found.

"Acceleration of information and computer technology across the US landscape post 1995 is driving much of the nation's energy-productivity gain," says John Laitner of the ACEEE and coauthor of the study. "Had we continued at the historic rate of prior years, we would today be using the energy equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil more [per year] than we were [in the 1990s]."

Via :: CS Monitor

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Largest Solar Plant Opens in Spain - On 1,000,000 Square Meters of Deforested Land

Spain (TGW) – The world’s highest capacity photovoltaic plant, and the most efficient to date, opened in southern Spain recently, with a peak power of 20 megawatts.

120,000 solar panels are grouped into 200 separate photovoltaic arrays each of which is owned by separate investors.

It’s expected to generate an estimated annual income of $28 million and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 42000 tons a year.

The plant covers an area of over 1,000,000 square meters, and its location has caused some controversy: the panels are in the middle of a cleared forest.

Via :: Technology For Life

Thursday, February 14, 2008

50% of Greenhouse Gas Cuts Could be Made at a Profit

U.S. (TGW) – Half the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to lower carbon dioxide to the IPCC recommended level can be made at a net profit to the global economy, a study has found.

The IPCC recommended level is 550 parts per million (ppm) of CO2, twice the amount of before the industrial revolution.

The study concluded a global investment of $170 billion would often a 17% profit of about $29 billion. The investments would only encompass energy saving measures and could be done quickly and at a minimal cost.

Via :: Financial Times

Solar 'Balloons' 25x Cheaper Than Regular Solar Panels

Cool Earth Solar's Solar Balloons
Coolearth HQ (TGW) – Cool Earth Solar has raised $21 million for its innovative solar ‘balloons’.

The design of the company’s product is extremely unique. Solar ‘balloons’ are suspended on wire structures, which frees the land below for other activities, like farming.The balloons can withstand the elements and up to 100 mph winds.

Because its design uses relatively cheap and readily available components, these solar concentrators can generate electricity at a cost comparable to that of natural-gas plants. According to Cool Earth Solar, the technology is 25x cheaper than installed solar panels.

Cool Earth Solar uses a technique called concentrated solar photovoltaics, in which light is magnified onto solar cells to maximize output. This reduces the number of panels needed in a given area.Cool Earth Solar's Solar Balloons

Cool Earth Solar's Solar BalloonsVia :: Press Release

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Record for Solar-to-Grid Conversion Efficiency

U.S. (TGW) - Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by besting the 1984 record of 29.4% and achieving 31.25 percent net efficiency rate.

The conversion efficiency is achieved by calculating the net energy delivered to the grid and dividing it by the solar energy hitting the dish mirrors.

“Gaining two whole points of conversion efficiency in this type of system is phenomenal,” said Bruce Osborn, SES president and CEO. “This is a significant advancement that takes our dish engine systems well beyond the capacities of any other solar dish collectors and one step closer to commercializing an affordable system.”

Via :: Press Release

Microfiber Fabric Makes Its Own Electricity

U.S. (TGW) – U.S. scientists have developed a microfiber fabric that generates its own electricity.

If made into a shirt, the fabric would generate power simply from the wearer moving.

"The fiber-based nanogenerator would be a simple and economical way to harvest energy from the physical movement," Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who led the study, said.

Tiny fibers in the fabric rub up against each other when the wearer moves, creating electricity.

"Our estimates show we can have up to 80 milliwatts per square meter of this fabric. This is enough to power a little iPod or charge a cell phone battery," Wang said.

The challenge that remains for the team is solving the problem that the fiber degrades when wet.

The fabric has the most promise for hikers or soldiers.

Via :: Reuters

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Man Improves 15 Year Old Car to Get 95 MPG

Earth (TGW) - Mike Turner’s made some pretty radical improvements to his 1992 Civic CX.

After spending 2 years, approxamitely 250 hours of labor, and about $400, he has taken the car from 50 mpg to 95 mpg.

See more pics and information: Ecomodder

Other Life Forms Causing Climate Change

Guest Contributor: Lucy Goodchild
If you'd like to write for us, send an email to worldthoughts [at) gmail (dot] com

Earth (TGW) - We might think we control the climate but unless we harness the powers of our microbial co-habitants on this planet we might be fighting a losing battle, according to an article in the February 2008 issue of Microbiology Today.

Humans are continually altering the atmosphere. “Arrogant organisms that we are, it is easy to view this as something entirely novel in Earth’s history,” says Dr Dave Reay from the University of Edinburgh. “In truth of course, micro-organisms have been at it for billions of years.”

Humans affect the atmosphere indirectly by their activities. Most human-induced methane comes from livestock, rice fields and landfill: in all of these places, microbes are actually responsible for producing the methane, 150 million tonnes a year. Microbes in wetlands produce an additional 100 million tonnes and those that live inside termites release 20 million tonnes of methane annually.

90 billion tonnes of carbon a year is absorbed from the atmosphere by the oceans, and almost as much is released; microbes play a key role in both. On land, a combination of primary production, respiration and microbial decomposition leads to the uptake of 120 billion tonnes of carbon every year and the release of 119 billion tonnes.

“The impact of these microbially-controlled cycles on future climate warming is potentially huge,” says Dr Reay. By better understanding these processes we could take more carbon out of the atmosphere using microbes on land and in the sea. Methane-eating bacteria can be used to catch methane that is released from landfill, Cyanobacteria could provide hydrogen fuel, and plankton have already become a feedstock for some biofuels.

“Microbes will continue as climate engineers long after humans have burned that final barrel of oil. Whether they help us to avoid dangerous climate change in the 21st century or push us even faster towards it depends on just how well we understand them.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Algae Energy : That Other Biofuel

(Special Report) - The biofuel industry, pushed by the Bush Administration as an environmentally friendly alternative has come under a lot of c-r-i-t-i-c-i-s-m lately.

But these criticisms have mostly centered on biofuels that use corn, soybeans, or sugar cane as sources. What about other sources of biofuels?

Using tires, agricultural waste, or switchgrass has been widely discussed, but a new source is entering the conversation: algae.

How efficient is algae biofuel?
Algae energy is low cost/high yield. Algae produces 30 times more energy per acre than other sources of biofuels like soybeans [1]. The reason? Algae has a simple cellular structure, a lipid-rich composition and a rapid reproduction rate. Also, algae can grow in salt water and other harsh conditions, while corn or soybean ethanol requires fertile land and fresh water (100 times the amount of fresh water algae needs).

Algae, like corn and soybeans, is photosynthetic, meaning it absorbs carbon dioxide. And because algae can survive such harsh conditions, some have proposed putting the stuff in smokestacks to absorb released CO2. One other place algae could be grown is in sewage ponds; in fact, it’s already being done in New Zealand.

Another added bonus: if you replaced all of the diesel in the United States with soy biodiesel, it would take half the land mass of the United States. In contrast, if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum used in the United States, it would only require an area about the size of Maryland. [2]

What’s the catch?
Yes, this is definitely not a catch free technology. There are two strong criticisms of “oilgae” (as it is sometimes called):

Although biofuels from algae grown in smokestacks reduce emissions at the factory, the CO2 is just emitted when it is burned in an automobile. There is still a net benefit, as carbon dioxide is only emitted once, instead of twice.

The second problem is potentially more serious. Ideally, algae biodiesel would be used as a transition technology; the problem is, what’s the incentive to develop solar or wind technology when current power plants can be cleaner (but not completely clean) for far less?

Oilgae is an incredibly efficient biodiesel. Nonetheless, there are serious drawbacks, and it would be harmful to overestimate the greenness of this up and coming technology.

[1] (Washington Post)
[2] (Wikipedia)

Researchers See Vehicle That Recycles Carbon

Georgia (TGW) – Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a strategy to capture, store and recycle carbon from the tailpipe of cars.

The Georgia Tech team’s goal is to create a sustainable transportation system that uses a liquid fuel and traps the carbon emission in the vehicle for later processing at a fueling station. The carbon would then be shuttled back to a processing plant where it could be transformed into liquid fuel.

Currently, Georgia Tech researchers are developing a fuel processing device to separate the carbon and store it in the vehicle in liquid form.

Georgia Tech’s near-future strategy involves capturing carbon emissions from conventional (fossil) liquid hydrocarbon-fueled vehicles with an onboard fuel processor designed to separate the hydrogen in the fuel from the carbon. Hydrogen is then used to power the vehicle, while the carbon is stored on board the vehicle in a liquid form until it is disposed at a refueling station. It is then transported to a centralized site to be sequestered in a permanent location currently under investigation by scientists, such as geological formations, under the oceans or in solid carbonate form.

In the long term strategy, the carbon dioxide will be recycled, involving high energy liquid usable for transportation.

The Georgia Tech team has already created a fuel processor, called CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston (CHAMP) reactor, capable of efficiently producing hydrogen and separating and liquefying CO2 from a liquid hydrocarbon or synthetic fuel used by an internal combustion engine or fuel cell. After the carbon dioxide is separated from the hydrogen, it can then be stored in liquefied state on-board the vehicle. The liquid state provides a much more stable and dense form of carbon, which is easy to store and transport.

Now that the Georgia Tech team has come up with a proposed system and device to produce hydrogen and, at the same time, capture carbon emissions, the greatest remaining challenge to a truly carbon-free transportation system will be developing a method for making a synthetic liquid fuel from just CO2 and water using renewable energy sources.

Via :: Press Release

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Study: Biofuels Release 420x More CO2 Than is Saved

Earth (TGW) – A new study by The Nature Conservancy shows that biofuel can release 17 to 420 times more carbon dioxide than the annual greenhouse gas reductions these biofuels provide by displacing fossil fuels.

The study shows that it depends where the biofuels are grown and what they are made from.

For example, converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food-based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates more carbon dioxide than is saved.

In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials incur little or no carbon debt and offer immediate and sustained advantages.

Via :: Science (subscription required)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Find Oil Contributions per Politician (and Presidential Candidates!)

(Special Report) – From Oil Change International comes a new tool that lets you track oil industry campaign contributions to any and every U.S. politician: Follow the Oil Money.

With a simple name or zip code search you can see how much money your local politician is receiving in campaign contributions from oil companies.

Even better, the site shows how much money current presidential candidates receive.

1. Hillary Clinton (D) $235,250 -- Biggest contributors: Global Partners LP, CAMA Intl and Exxon Mobil
2. John McCain (R) $206,935 -- Biggest contributors: Hess Corp and Glencore Ltd
3. Barack Obama (D) $110,412 -- Biggest contributors: Exxon Mobil and Hess Corp
4. Mike Huckabee (R) $18,700 -- Biggest contributor: Oil and Gas Producer

Note: Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney received more, though they now have dropped out.

(h/t Solve Climate Chronicles)

New Solar Panels Furry, Flexible

Canada (TGW) – Researchers at McMaster University have developed new flexible, furry solar panels.

The panel uses light-absorbing nanowires made out of photovoltaic materials that are embedded onto either flexible polyester film and carbon nanotube fabric.

The team, led by Ray LaPierre, now aims to improve efficiency of the panels to about 40%.

The panels, because of the nanowires unique structures, absorb a greater range of the light spectrum.

Via :: Press Release

Device Generates Power From Walking: 30 Minutes of Cellphone Use From One Minute of Walking

North America (TGW) – U.S. and Canadian researchers have developed a device that effortlessly harvests energy from human movement.

The gadget is a knee brace with special technology, and can power a cellphone for up to 30 minutes from just one minute of walking.

The device generates power from a process known as “generative-breaking”, much like the process used in Toyota Prius hybrids.

"Walking is a lot like stop-and-go driving," explained Dr Max Donelan of Simon Fraser University. "Within each stride muscles are continuously accelerating and decelerating the body.

Using a series of gears, the knee brace assists the hamstring in slowing the body just before the foot hits the ground, whilst simultaneously generating electricity.

Sensors on the device switch the generator off for the remainder of each step, reducing strain on the individual.

The researchers see potential benefit in not only energy production, but in prosthetic limb use.

Via :: BBC

Monday, February 4, 2008

EnviroWonk's Green Guide to the Presidential Candidates

Check out this from EnviroWonk (click for larger image): Green Candidate Guide

Warm Cow Milk Heats Castle

Sweden (TGW) – Using warm milk from over 1100 cows, a castle in Sweden heats itself in an environmentally friendly way.

The castle’s herd produces some 8000 gallons of milk each day. The milk leaves the cow at about 99 degrees Fahrenheit and is quickly cooled to 37 degrees so it won’t spoil.

The herders at the castle have developed a way to capture the lost heat, and use it to heat the building and heat water.

Via :: AP

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Greenest Restaurant in America

U.S. (TGW) – Pizza Fusion will open San Diego’s first ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified restaurant in May.

Pizza Fusion, which only builds LEED certified restaurants, proclaimed it the “most environmentally sustainable restaurant in America.”

The company uses hybrids to deliver its pizza and wind turbines to generate electricity.

Pizza Fusion's LEED certified restaurants reduce water waste by 40 percent and electricity consumption by 20 percent annually.

The restaurant in Sand Diego eliminates the use of water heaters and air heating units by recycling heat from their ovens to warm their water and the restaurants themselves.

Other elements of sustainability include:
• countertops made from 100% recycled detergent bottles
• bamboo flooring
• 30% recaptured industrial concrete
• ceiling panels made from 74% recycled aluminum cans and 24% post industrial
• metals
• USG Gypsum Board made from pre-used drywall
• insulation made from recycled blue jeans
• ceiling baffles made from recycled composite board
• low voltage and low heat lighting
• seat cushions made with soybean oil
• furniture made from reclaimed wood
• 100 percent post consumer toilet paper in their bathrooms

Via :: Press Release

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Only 12% of Republicans Concerned About Global Warming

U.S. (TGW) - Only 12% of Republicans are concerned about global warming, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

That is 11% less than when the poll was conducted 1 year ago.

In contrast, 47% of Democrats view dealing with global warming as a 'top priority'. That is one less percent than last year.

Why so few concerned about global warming? The poll suggests many have serious concerns about what are perceived as immediate problems: the economy, the Iraq war and healthcare.

Via :: Pew Research Center

EXCLUSIVE: Greenpeace Projects Climate Message onto Washington Monument

(Exclusive Special Report) – Greenpeace protestors at the Washington Monument recently projected a warning to D.C. politicians.

The protestors projected an image of water onto the Monument with words reading “U.S. global warming plan: hell and high water.”

(Click for larger images)

Plastic Bag Use in Ireland Essentially Eliminated After Plastic Bag Tax

In 2002, Ireland put a tax on plastic bags because of environmental concerns. On a separate note, last year, the same country announced plans to tax cars based on lightbulbs and a decision to ban incandescent lightbulbs.

We'd like to update the tax on plastic bags story. Within weeks of the tax being implemented, plastic bag use dropped 94%. Within a year, nearly everyone stopped using plastic bags.

Success? Definitely.

Via :: NYT