Friday, December 31, 2010

1 Gigawatt Energy Storage Warehouse For Mexico

At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico's President Calderon announced his country's intention to support a project to build the largest energy storage warehouse in North America.

Many inroads have been made over the last couple of years in clearing a major hurdle associated with renewable energy - storing electricity generated during peak production for times when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing. Aside from developments such as molten salt batteries, energy storage warehouses are likely to become commonplace in the not-too-distant future. These energy warehouses will basically act as a giant battery.

1 Gigawatt Energy Storage Warehouse For Mexico : Renewable Energy News :

Drought-Hit Syria Creates Model 'Water Scarcity' Park

With its villages emptying due to drought, creating what the United Nations calls the "largest internal displacement in the Middle East in recent years," Syria needs solutions to its water-scarcity problem, and fast. That's why it's so heartening to see that the government has made an effort to show that life can be lived well with less water.

Using drip irrigation techniques, the 1,000-square-meter 'water scarcity park' will harvest rainwater and also use solar power to generate electricity to pump water for irrigation. Drip irrigation is a technique used to conserve water as draws water directly from it sources and takes it the plants through a network of pipes with small holes so that water waste is minimal.... It is hoped that the park will be used as model for public and private parks and help rationalize the consumption of water and energy.

Drought-Hit Syria Creates Model 'Water Scarcity' Park : TreeHugger#

Santander Brazil, On The Hunt For Wind Energy

Santander Brazil has set a new challenge: wind energy. And to get set up with a joint venture Martifer Renewable through which seeks to develop four wind farms.

The wind farms are located in northeastern Brazil. Specifically, two of them located in the Trairi and Amontada (State of Ceará) and two in Rio Grande de Norte.

The forecast is for wind farms, which have an output of 90.3 megawatts, began production in July 2012.

Santander Brazil, On The Hunt For Wind Energy

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Using Concentrated Solar to Produce Hydrogen

When it comes to the available sources of renewable energy, most of the focus is on the sun, since all other sources, like wind and biomass, ultimately are derived from it. But solar presents its own challenges, because it’s most easily converted into heat or electricity and we can’t store either of these at a high enough density for uses like transportation.

This explains why there’s a lot of effort going into things like biofuels and using electricity to produce hydrogen. Each additional step, however, involves a potential inefficiency.

These problems are what makes a system described in the current issue of Science very appealing. The authors demonstrate a device that is capable of taking solar energy and using it directly to split water, releasing oxygen and hydrogen. It can also perform a similar conversion on carbon dioxide, converting it to carbon monoxide and oxygen.

Better yet, it doesn’t need an exotic catalyst. Instead, its catalyst is based on cerium, an element that’s about as abundant as copper, and is stable for hundreds of cycles.

Using Concentrated Solar to Produce Hydrogen | Autopia |

Renewable Energy On Par With Nuclear In The USA

The latest figures on the growth of the renewable energy industry in the United States has the combined forces of solar, wind, hydro-electric and biomass fuel sources on par with nuclear energy in the electricity supply stakes.

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s latest quarterly report, renewable energy consumption increased throughout America by about eight percent between 2008 and 2009, contributing nine percent of the nation’s total energy demand, and 10% of total US electricity generation in 2009; equalling that of nuclear energy.

While any increase in clean energy production is welcome news, the report found that most renewable energy is utilised in producing energy in conventional power stations such as coal and gas-fired plants. Electricity companies consumed 53 percent of renewable energy generated over the report period.

Despite recent large-scale investment in solar energy technology in the US, solar power still only accounted for 0.2 of total renewable energy share in 2009. Hydroelectric energy was the largest contributor (66 percent), followed by wind (17 percent), wood (9 percent), biomass waste (four percent), and geothermal (four percent). Wind power grew by 28 percent over the reporting period, more than any other renewable source.

Renewable Energy On Par With Nuclear In The USA : Renewable Energy News :

India Power Company Signs 54 Companies for 537MW Of Solar Generation

Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) has entered into power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 537MW with 54 companies involved in the field of solar power generation, Business Standard reported. The PPAs were signed as the Gujarat government, in a second round of allotment, has given an additional 565MW of solar capacity to the developers.

India Power Company Signs 54 Companies for 537MW Of Solar Generation | Solar Thermal Magazine

New 50 Mwatt Solar Thermal Plant Announced. Godawari Green Energy India

Godawari Power plans to set-up 50 MW Solar Thermal Power Project

Godawari Power and Ispat Ltd has announced that the Board of Directors of the Company has decided to set-up the 50 MW Solar Thermal Power Project awarded to the Company under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) Scheme through its 100% subsidiary Company M/s. Godawari Green Energy Ltd.

New 50 Mwatt Solar Thermal Plant Announced. Godawari Green Energy India Solar Thermal Magazine

U.S. Scientists Invent Solar Fuel

A group of researchers from the University of Minnesota (USA) began an experiment to transform solar energy into fuel.

To perform the experiment a model solar system was built, that will transform carbon dioxide and water into fuel. The model represents seven lamps with bulbs of 6,500 watts. Its light is concentrated by a reflector at a point 7.5 centimeters in diameter and as a result, the temperature in the reactor may exceed 2,000 degrees Celsius.

When sunlight heats the cerium oxide, which covers installing reflectors, water and carbon dioxide is broken down into hydrogen, which would later be transformed into liquid fuel.

According to investigators, the produced hydrogen may be used in vehicles powered by fuel cells powered by hydrogen.

The experimental setup has little performance for now and takes less than 1% of solar energy. However, scientists say they already know how to build a facility with a throughput of up to 19%.

U.S. Scientists Invent Solar Fuel

QinetiQ Zephyr take off, flight and landing

Nike Creates Colorful Shoes From Shredded Magazines: Nike Sportswear Spring 2011 collection

Who said a picture was worth a thousand words? Consider a shoe. The minimalist and classic design aesthetic does the talking, but it’s the recycled magazines that help tell the story for this Nike Sportswear Women’s Premium Print Pack. The Nike Flash Macro Premium (sail/birch), Nike Blazer Mid Premium (sail/khaki) and Nike Air Rift Premium (sail/sport red) all feature recycled magazines that have been stitched together to created a one-of-a-kind pattern on each shoe.

Function was not compromised with this project. The surface has been treated with a transparent material for resistance and durability. Each shoe in the pack will be sold separately and debut in limited quantities within the Nike Sportswear Spring 2011 collection beginning January 1 in Europe, China and select emerging markets. More pictures

Siemens receives its largest-ever onshore wind order from the U.S.

Siemens has received its largest onshore wind order to date. The purchaser is the US utility MidAmerican Energy headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Siemens will deliver a total of 258 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2.3 megawatts (MW) for several wind farms in Iowa. After commissioning in January 2012, the combined capacity of 593 MW will be sufficient to supply 190,000 U.S. households with clean electricity.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

19 Stunning Platinum Projects of 2010 | Jetson Green

19 Stunning Platinum Projects of 2010 | Jetson Green

Biggest Offshore Wind Projects in 2010 (UK)

The largest offshore wind projects that were completed in 2010 were located around the UK. Seven miles off the coast of Kent at its closet point, the $1.2 billion Thanet Offshore Wind Farm officially began powering the UK grid with 300 MW of new renewable energy capacity in the last quarter of the year. For the time being, the wind farm is the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Next in line is Rødsand II, a 207-MW extension of an existing wind farm in Denmark that was installed by E.ON in 2010.

Finally, construction of the 180-MW Robin Rigg Wind Farm, Scotland’s first offshore wind farm, was completed by E.ON in April 2010.

Lastly, the Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm, a 172-MW wind farm 7 km off the Clacton-on-Sea and Holland Essex coast in the Northern
Biggest Offshore Wind Projects in 2010 (UK) >> Offshore Wind

Behind the Scenes: Signing Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal

Julia Butterfly Hill "Pro"

All Household Appliances Should Be Made By Apple

Like many of you, I am visiting family this holiday season and nowhere does gadget snobbery become more apparent than during gatherings with loved ones. Aside from the ubiquitous “Whose phone is faster?” question, which in my case led to an email race at Christmas dinner, there is endless potential for the marginally tech savvy to show off during the holidays.

But all the superiority gleaned from being able to load non-iTunes purchases into your mom’s iPod is tossed out the window when faced with a relative’s overly complex coffee machine, an arbitrarily complicated alarm clock and two separate indecipherable TV remotes for one TV.

In my first encounter with my family’s new Cuisinart Coffee Maker CHW-12 Cup Programmable with Hot Water System, I ended up confused by the superfluous “Hot Water System” and poured the water intended for coffee in there instead of the coffee maker, costing myself an extra 20 minutes trying to figure out how to extract coffee from the infernal thing. I almost went to Starbucks.

Many people received iPads and iPhones this Christmas, and because of Apple’s legendary intuitive and straightforward design, could pull them right out of the box and commence using. Not the case with a battery powered pepper grinder one of my relatives received at our gift exchange. It took three people to put together and when we did get it to work, we hilariously realized that it had a flashlight at the bottom, for no reason. Novel? yes. Productive? No.

In my own home, I use a De’Longhi Magnifica espresso machine, which is the closest thing to what would happen if Apple made a coffee machine. With literally a push of a button, it grinds coffee beans, brews them and even cleans itself afterwards.

All Household Appliances Should Be Made By Apple

GM Is Turning Recycled Deepwater Horizon Oil Containment Booms Into New Chevy Volts

As if it further needed to drive home its eco-friendly, anti-oil message, the Chevy Volt will soon boast a body made partially of recycled equipment originally used in the Gulf oil leak cleanup efforts. Specifically, GM will use recycled plastic from oil booms, which are sort of floating containment walls meant to keep oil in one place.

Oil booms are, generally speaking, tube-shaped cylinders of netting which contain some material used to block the spread of oil. In the case of the Gulf oil leak, most of that internal material was polypropylene, an oil-absorbent plastic--and an awful lot of it was used, saturated with oil, and discarded. But GM is taking a multi-step process to recycle that plastic.

GM Is Turning Recycled Deepwater Horizon Oil Containment Booms Into New Chevy Volts | Popular Science

New solar machine could generate hydrogen fuel, food for your future vehicle

We're hesitant to file this one in the folder marked "Awesome Things That'll Never Happen," but it's definitely on the watch list. A new prototype solar device has been concocted to convert sunlight into fuel, much in the same way a plant does. Eco-minded folks will probably understand that conventional photovoltaic panels "must use the electricity they generate in situ," and thus, cannot deliver energy at night; this here device takes a rather unorthodox approach, using the sun's rays along with ceria (a magical, marvelous metal oxide) to "break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported." In theory, at least, the device could be used to create hydrogen and / or carbon monoxide, with the former being obviously useful for fueling up hydrogen-based cars of the future. Sadly, the existing prototype is horribly inefficient -- only around 0.7 percent of the solar energy can be converted into fuel -- but researchers are adamant that they can boost that to nearly 20 percent in time. We'll check back in a decade or so to see how things are progressing.

New solar machine could generate hydrogen fuel, food for your future vehicle -- Engadget

TEDxBoulder - Thad Roberts - Visualizing Eleven Dimensions

Kennedy Center Honorees at The White House 2010

President Obama greets the 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House - Merle Haggard, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Bill T. Jones, and Jerry Herman

Students’ Solar-Powered water-testing tool wins $40,000

University of Washington engineering students have won an international contest for their design to monitor water disinfection using the sun’s rays. The students will share a $40,000 prize from the Rockefeller Foundation and are now working with nonprofits to turn their concept into a reality.

Team member Jacqueline Linnes, who recently completed her bioengineering doctorate, traveled to Bolivia last year with the UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders. While there, she and other students treated their drinking water by leaving it in plastic bottles in the sun.

The concept is an old one. Solar disinfection of water in plastic bottles, also called SODIS, is promoted by many nonprofits. It offers a cheap and easy way to reduce some of the roughly 1.5 million diarrhea-related children’s deaths each year. But global adoption has been slow, partly because it is hard to know when the water is safe to drink.

Students’ water-testing tool wins $40,000, launches nonprofit — University of Washington

25% Of Scotland's Electricity From Renewable Energy

According to a report from Scotland's government, over a quarter of the country's electricity needs now come from renewable energy sources.

Statistics published last week in relation to 2009 show that renewable energy contributed over 27 percent of Scotland's electricity consumption. The country's contribution accounted for 43 percent of the total UK renewables output.

2009 saw a 37 per cent rise in electricity generated from wind, wave and solar power, with the primary contributor being wind energy.

Scotland recently raised its renewable energy target from 50 per cent to 80 per cent by 2020. Currently it has 7 gigawatts of renewables capacity either installed or in the pipeline; which will take it beyond the interim target of 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2011. Wind power accounts for approximately 2.55 GW of that 7GW total and the next major contributor is hydro at nearly 1.5 GW.

25% Of Scotland's Electricity From Renewable Energy : Renewable Energy News :

Seoul Starts Operations of Battery Electric Buses

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it has started commercial operation of eco-friendly full-size electric buses on the Mt. Namsan circular routes as of December 21. It is the first time in the world that battery electric buses have been put into commercial operations.

SMG has worked on the project to develop full-sized electric buses with local technology over the last one and a half years, since it signed an agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber for the development of electric buses in September 2009.

Electric bus services will not only improve air conditions in the city but also lead the technology of large-sized electric vehicles in the global electric car market, the City said.

The electric coaches serving on the Mt. Namsan circular routes are 11.05 meters long and run up to 83km with a single charge. They can be fully charged in less than 30 minutes with a high-speed battery charger. The electric bus, with its maximum speed of 100 km/hr, has a low floor and a 322-horsepower engine. It adopts a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and an energy saving system that can collect and reuse energy generated from brakes when running downhill.

Seoul Starts Operations of Battery Electric Buses | Electric Vehicle News

Sun Pictures: A Full Year in a Single Frame

Sun Pictures: A Full Year in a Single Frame

"Oily Wings"

parody of Mister Mister's "Broken Wings" to promote cleaner energy than fossil fuel

Three young girls show how to produce enough clean energy with a little ingenuity and commitment: Licuacleta

Isam, Catherine and Hazel, are only 14, they are in the eighth grade in the school of Venice.

their love for the environment distinguishes them from other students, they proposed a goal and fulfilled. His ingenuity led them to develop in a blender into disuse, a bike and other damaged parts reused into a project to produce clean energy and useful for the home, they call: Licuacleta.

These girls won first place in the national contest “Play Energy Costa Rica 2010″ with the bike that allows both exercising and moving the horns of a blender to make any smoothie.

Ingenious Project Creates Clean Energy

Hydro House by Rael San Fratello Architects

The Hydro House by Rael San Fratello Architects is a conceptual design which, using water, creates a micro climate in desert regions to regulate internal temperatures. A roof pond along with a pond in the courtyard and a unique water retaining wall system are the primary water sources. Through evapotranspiration, breezes penetrate the outer courtyard’s skin and are cooled as they crosses the water surface and then into the home. A large operable skylight on the leeward side allows air to escape, and by stack effect draws air through the structure.

The thick walls collect and store rainwater that overflows from the roof pond. The water’s thermal mass in the walls along with the roof act as a thermal flywheel. By absorbing the heat of the day the mass then expels it at night, moderating internal temperatures. The top of the walls also house planters which help shade the roof. A white patina also assists in reflecting unwanted daytime heat gain.

Hydro House / Rael San Fratello Architects - eVolo Architecture Magazine

Can "Living" Buildings Help Fight Climate Change?

New research suggests protocell "skins" could be the secret to building carbon-negative architecture.
Researchers in Europe are collaborating on a project to develop materials that could eventually make it possible for buildings to produce water in desert environments or harvest sunlight to produce biofuels.

The University of Greenwich's School of Architecture & Construction is poised to use ethical synthetic biology to create "living" materials that could be used to clad buildings and help combat the effects of climate change.

The idea is to use protocells - bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals - to fix carbon from the atmosphere or to create a protective shell around the buildings, to protect them from erosion.

Professor Neil Spiller, an architect and head of the University of Greenwich's School of Architecture & Construction, said the research team was looking at methods of using responsive protocells to clad cities in an ethical, green and sustainable way.

The Center for Fundamental Living Technology at the University of Southern Denmark has managed to get these cells to capture carbon dioxide from solution and convert it into carbon-containing materials. Such cells could be used to fix carbon to create ways of building carbon-negative architecture.

Can "Living" Buildings Help Fight Climate Change? | Crisp Green

Climate Patterns to Help Predict the Next Big Flood?

Large flooding events, like the deadly Pakistan flood last summer, will be predictable with the next generation of climate-forecasting models, according to scientists.

Flood risk can be predicted by studying climate patterns, Columbia University hydroclimatologist Upmanu Lall said this month at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco. According to Lall, climate scientists should be able to refine their models to be able to issue long-term predictions of impending flood seasons, similar to those made each year for the intensity of the upcoming hurricane season.

"I'm not claiming that it's possible to predict individual floods at individual locations," Lall added of these long-term predictions. "What I'm claiming is that we may be able to identify the patterns that lead to more northerly floods in certain years, and more southerly foods in others."

Climate Patterns to Help Predict the Next Big Flood?

South Africa Unveils Plans for "World's Biggest" Solar Power Plant

South Africa is to unveil plans for what it claims will be the world’s biggest solar power plant—a radical step in a coal-dependent country where one in six people still lacks electricity. The project, expected to cost up to 200 billion rand ($28.9 billion), would aim by the end of its first decade to achieve an annual output of five gigawatts (GW) of electricity—currently one-tenth of South Africa’s energy needs.

Giant mirrors and solar panels would be spread across the Northern Cape province, which the government says is among the sunniest 3 percent of regions in the world with minimal cloud or rain.

The government hopes the solar park will help reduce carbon emissions from Africa’s biggest economy, which is still more than 90 percent dependent on coal-fired power stations. In April, the World Bank came in for sharp criticism from environmentalists for approving a $3.75 billion loan to build one of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants in the country.

South Africa Unveils Plans for "World's Biggest" Solar Power Plant Tomorrow is greener

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winner of China's Got Talent Final 2010 - Armless Pianist Liu Wei

New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'

A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun's energy into fuel.

The machine uses the Sun's rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported.

Conventional photovoltaic panels must use the electricity they generate in situ, and cannot deliver power at night.

Details are published in the journal Science.

The prototype, which was devised by researchers in the US and Switzerland, uses a quartz window and cavity to concentrate sunlight into a cylinder lined with cerium oxide, also known as ceria.

Ceria has a natural propensity to exhale oxygen as it heats up and inhale it as it cools down.

If as in the prototype, carbon dioxide and/or water are pumped into the vessel, the ceria will rapidly strip the oxygen from them as it cools, creating hydrogen and/or carbon monoxide.

Hydrogen produced could be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells in cars, for example, while a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be used to create "syngas" for fuel.

It is this harnessing of ceria's properties in the solar reactor which represents the major breakthrough, say the inventors of the device. They also say the metal is readily available, being the most abundant of the "rare-earth" metals.

Methane can be produced using the same machine, they say.

BBC News - New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'

Peru Amazon Natives win key victory against big oil

Amazon Natives of the Achuar tribe together with Amazon Watch and EarthRights International have managed a significant victory in their long battle to get oil companies such as California’s Occidental Petroleum to both better care for the Amazon rainforest and compensate Natives for pollution.

The Achuar tribe numbers some 4,500 individuals that live on subsistence level in central-northern Peru and rely on fishing and hunting. Starting in the 1960s they began to see oil production and pollution in their area and its consequences. In May 2007, with the support of activists they sued Occidental Petroleum in Los Angeles accusing them of deadly pollution.

The Ninth Circuit Court decided Dec. 6 that it would judge over the matter reversing a previous U.S. decision from April 2008 that it was up to Peruvian courts to rule on the matter.

“This is a major victory for the rights of indigenous peoples,” said Marco Simons, Legal Director of EarthRights International, who argued the appeal before the Ninth Circuit. “Oxy will now face justice in the U.S. federal courts, rather than in a Peruvian legal system that has never compensated indigenous groups for environmental contamination.”

Peru Amazon Natives win key victory against big oil Indian Country Today ICT Global

Snakes creeping out Bangkok

Monday, December 27, 2010

Billionaire to Invest $131 Million into Paris Carshare Program

French businessman and billionaire Vincent Bolloré just announced that he will invest $131 million in Autolib, the Parisian electric vehicle car share program that will be launched in the fall of 2011. The car share program will be modeled after the successful Parisian bike share program — called Velib — and Bolloré’s investment will go toward purchasing the bubble-shaped Bluecars that Autolib will rent by the half hour at 1,000 stations in and around Paris.

Billionaire to Invest $131 Million into Paris Carshare Program Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

15 Shipping Container Projects of 2010

15 Shipping Container Projects of 2010 Jetson Green

The Gandhi Rap - be the change u want to see

Project7 X01 electric superbike to use axial flux in TTXGP attack

Project7 is a Belgian group working to develop innovative electric vehicles. To prove and promote their eDrive system, it has entered an electric motorcycle, dubbed the X01, into the TTXGP. While the bike is not yet complete, the company has built a mock-up and published some provocative specs for this unique design.

What makes it unique? Well, the X01 is the first bike we've seen to incorporate an axial flux BLDC (brushless DC) motor. Located just ahead of the rear wheel, the power plant is said to be good for a constant 136 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque. While the predicted peak 137 hp is only ever-so-slightly above nominal, peak torque is said to shoot to 300 lb-ft for up to 30 seconds at a time.

Autoblog Green

Centre for Promotion of Science in Belgrade, Serbia

The Centre for Promotion of Science in Belgrade, Serbia designed by Austrian architect Wolfgang Tschapeller will be an institution of service and a national bank of knowledge in the field of science. It will organise innovative and educative exhibitions, and bring science closer to the people. The main goal of the Centre for Promotion of Science will be to facilitate scientific education, a continuous training as well as social and economic growth, both with direct action, and in partnership with other actors – primarily the Ministry of Science and Technological Development and the Ministry of Education.

The Centre will be floating high above the ground. It will operate in 3 main levels. On the level of the City it will be an optimistic sign positioned on one of the main routes of the capital. For the Blok 39 it will be a sign, a canopy and a portico. The building being programmed to promote sciences, it plays on visions of technology and construction. The architectural language of the centre will be one of state-of-the-art technology and the display of structural principles. A special role is given to the underside of the centre; it will have mirroring qualities, able to reflect all the movement on the ground as well as the visitors that by entering the centre are penetrating the reflections of the earth’s surface.

Centre for Promotion of Science in Belgrade, Serbia - eVolo | Architecture Magazine

Kaneka announce an OLED lighting competition

Kaneka is developing OLED Lighting panels, and have announced a competition - to design a lighting object to be set up in bars. Kaneka will present a bar space (designed by the architect Mr. Koichi Suzuno) based on the 'Attractive bars in Japan' theme in the MilanoSalone 2011 exhibition. This bar venue will be using designs from the competition.

The first prize is one million yen (about $12,000) and an invitation to the exhibition. There are also 3 runner up prizes. You can send your designs by January 10th

Kaneka announce an OLED lighting competition

First Floating Turbine to Operate off Portugal Coast

The Portuguese power company, EDP, is at the helm of an offshore wind project in the north of Portugal, which could be completed within the next six months. According to sources close to EDP, the project includes the installation of a prototype floating wind turbine to be located in waters off Aguçadoura, in the north of the country. The prototype will have a capacity of five megawatts. It is then envisaged that a further five machines will be installed during a second, pre-commercial phase of the project.

First Floating Turbine to Operate off Portugal Coast >> Offshore Wind

Sunday, December 26, 2010

China restuarant goes robot crazy

Japan has been at the forefrunt of robotics for decades. Over the years it has created mechanised medics, football teams and even chefs.

And now a restaurant in eastern China has replaced some of its staff with robot waiters and entertainers, stopping short of replacing chefs. So far the automated workers equipped with motion sensors have received acclaim from many customers.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Asian Elephant in Cambodian Forest

Rare high-quality footage of one of Cambodia's handful of Asian elephants in the Seima Protection Forest

Friday, December 24, 2010

Harvest City is a Floating Agricultural and Industrial City for Haiti

Boston-based architect E. Kevin Schopfer in collaboration with Tangram 3DS (visualization) envisioned “Harvest City” in Haiti as a floating agricultural / light industrial city off the shores of the island. Harvest City would be a vibrant fully functioning city of 30,000 residents which embraces three major concepts.

1. The creation of an artificial, floating, productive and livable land desperately needed for Haiti.

2. A city designed based on the principle of Arcology (Architecture and Ecology) which embodies an ecologically sustainable and practical urban platform.

3. That harvest City should be established as a “Charter City”. Charter City is a relatively new and advanced economic model specifically developed for struggling nations.
In addition to accommodating city services, Harvest City has been designed with an integral program of economic capabilities. This mixture is two thirds agriculture and one third light industrial. Harvest City is envisioned as a 2 mile diameter complex of tethered floating modules. The overall design is divided into four zones or communities interconnected by a linear canal system. The four major canals will focus built neighborhoods consisting of four story housing complexes. The outer perimeter of the design is predominately “one acre” crop circles with secondary feeder canals. The inner “harbor” will house the city center with schools, administrative, community activities and general marketplace. The entire complex will float and be cable secured to the sea bed. Because of its low profile, low draft dead weight capacity and perimeter wave attenuators, hurricanes and typhoon will have little effect other than collection of much needed water harvesting. A breakwater will be constructed to add to the city’s stability. (It should be noted, this proposal suggests using all the concrete rubble debris from the earthquake as the breakwater filler.) Harvest City is seen as the first floating city for Haiti. The system of floating platforms allows for a master plan to grow and link to other future cities within the harbor.

Harvest City is a Floating Agricultural and Industrial City for Haiti - eVolo | Architecture Magazine

Energy Matters News - Episode 23 - December 24, 2010

New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'

A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun's energy into fuel.

The machine uses the Sun's rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported.

Conventional photovoltaic panels must use the electricity they generate in situ, and cannot deliver power at night.

BBC News - New solar fuel machine 'mimics plant life'

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Florida's Clean Energy and Ocean Energy Technology

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion System : DigInfo

Tidal Wave Alternative Energy

Tidal Wave Alternative Energy

Giant Sea Snake Renewable Electricity Generation

ISS Crew Sends Holiday Greetings to All

University researches battery applications for Tobacco Mosaic Virus

A team of researchers at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, headed by Professor Reza Ghodssi, is studying the use of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) as a component of the next generation of minute, yet extremely powerful batteries. TMV is a plant virus that attacks crops such as tobacco, tomatoes, and peppers, but studies have shown that it can be modified to bind to battery electrodes and assist in the chemical reactions that generate power.

University researches battery applications for Tobacco Mosaic Virus [w/video] — Autoblog Green

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enter the Great Bear Rainforest: Oil in Eden

Starring grizzlies, eagles, humpback whales, and the legendary spirit bear! In 2010 Vancouver filmmaker Damien Gillis joined two separate week-long journeys by boat through BC's Great Bear Rainforest. This magical place is threatened by Enbridge's proposal to bring an oil pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands and supertankers to BC's North and Central coast - Gillis was filming for his recently released short documentary, "Oil in Eden." This 4 min film captures the highlights of that experience - featuring breathtaking, never-before-seen footage of the Great Bear Rainforest!

Jay Leno picks up his Chevrolet Volt

The first Chevrolet Volt customers in California are picking up their Volts. Watch as Jay Leno takes delivery of his car and compares the Volt to other electric vehicles.

Sustainability in a Time of Crisis

TU München - Rutsche (alte Fassung)

Your Highness Trailer 2011 HD

Our Rivers Awards - 2010 Winner

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tapping Into Wave Power

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia: Gaudí's monument to nature

He became one of the most famous Modernist architects- responsible for Barcelona's most famous monuments-, but Antoni Gaudí wasn't aiming to be avant-garde. "To be original," he claimed, "is to return to the origin". For Gaudí the origin was nature.

Today, his Sagrada Família temple in Barcelona is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Spain's most visited places. And nature is everywhere: not just an inside that feels like a concrete forest- complete with trees, branches and leaves that conceal windows to the sky-, but in his replication of the geometries of nature.

Jordi Cussó i Anglés spent decades studying Gaudí's work as head of the Sagrada Família's modeling workshop and searching for what secrets he pulled from nature. In his book Gaudí's Sagrada Família: a Monument to Nature, he explains some of his findings, such as, how the famous architect's study of an oleander plant helped lead to his discovery of a new column (the double twisted column).

In this video, we talk to Cussó and to Jordi Bonet, chief architect of the temple and son of a Gaudí collaborator about nature as a source of inspiration.

Oil Company Partners to Build Solar Power Plant on the Island of Oahu,Hawaii

Chevron Energy Solutions, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Tioga Energy have broken ground on an 856 kW solar system at Oceanic’s Mililani Tech Park on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Chevron Energy Solutions designed, engineered and will construct the solar project, which will include PV panels on two buildings and parking canopies. Tioga Energy will finance, own and operate the system, selling the generated electricity to Oceanic Time Warner Cable over the next 20 years. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.

Solar plant with molten-salt storage gets green light

Solar Reserve said today it has the federal permitting approvals it needs to begin construction of a concentrated solar power plant with enough storage to operate after the sun goes down.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company said the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the "record of decision" for a 110-megawatt solar thermal power plant in Nye County, near Tonopah, Nev. With the authorization, Solar Reserve expects it can start construction by mid-2011.

This Crescent Dunes project will use a field of sun-tracking mirrors, called heliostats, to reflect light onto a tower that holds molten salt. The heated molten salt flows to a storage tank and then is pumped into a steam generator, which uses a process called a Rankine cycle to generate electricity from the heat.

Solar plant with molten-salt storage gets green light | Green Tech - CNET News

Is night falling on classic solar panel: Solar Panels That Work At Night

A new breed of electronic solar cells that harvests power from heat could double the output of conventional panels

SOLAR cells that work at night. It sounds like an oxymoron, but a new breed of nanoscale light-sensitive antennas could soon make this possible, heralding a novel form of renewable energy that avoids many of the problems that beset solar cells.

Is night falling on classic solar panels? - tech - 20 December 2010 - New Scientist

Video: Christmas tree made of plastic spoons

A Christmas tree made of 80,000 plastic spoons was lit up in Taiwan bringing an environmental message to the holiday season.

Video: Christmas tree made of plastic spoons - Telegraph

Desert Flower

Massive pipeline blast turns streets into flaming rivers in Mexico

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Honoring Outstanding Museums and Libraries

Mira EV travels a thousand kilometres on Single Charge

The Mira EV completed a 1000 km run on a single battery charge non-stop, powered by Sanyo’s lithium-ion battery systems. This is a new world record. The experiment took place on the world’s longest race course in Shimotsuma in Japan. This long marathon driving was accomplished by a team of 17 auto-racers from a training school in Ibraki, Japan. The marathon was organised by the Japan Electric Vehicle Club.

Electric vehicles are already on the road for some time now, but they weren’t able to travel very far because of their limited battery power. But now Sanyo’s lithium-ion battery technology has made it possible for Mira EV to travel 1003.184 km without a recharge. Traveling for 27.5 hours, at 40 km/h average speed, from May 22 to May 23, 2010, the trail run by Mira EV was powered by putting together 8320 cylindrical lithium-ion 18650-type batteries.

Mira EV travels a thousand kilometres on Single Charge | Tomorrow is greener

Friday, December 17, 2010

China wants 500 GW of renewables by 2020 :: Sustainable development and much more

You know if you have been reading this blog for some time now : China is determined to become the leader on cleantech. But it’s not only about making money in tomorrow’s leading industry : it is also about the environment.

Indeed, if China is investing $12 million each hour on cleantech, it is also to clean the air and solve its dependence on dirty fossil fuels that pollutes massively the air of its capital and many other cities.

Today, Cleantechnica published an article reporting that the People’s Republic wants 500 GW of renewable energies by 2020.
Here are some extracts of the full article :

China’s plan is to get a total of 500 Gigawatts of renewable energy on the grid by 2020. It explodes wind power from a mere 25 GW on the grid now, to a staggering 150 GW, a six-fold increase on the previous already ambitious plan.

(…) China is already the world leader in solar thermal hot water heaters for rooftops. The solar hot water goal is to have 300 million square meters of solar hot water collectors, up from 100 million in 2006.

Electric power would come from adding 100 GW to make 300 GW of hydro power, adding 125 GW to have 150 GW of wind power, adding 28 GW to have 30 GW of biopower, and going from a half Gigawatt to 20 GW of solar. Giant steps.

China wants 500 GW of renewables by 2020 :: Sustainable development and much more

Raw Video: House Passes Tax Cut Bill 277-148

Congress sent President Obama sweeping legislation late Thursday night to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes for millions and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worst recession in 80 years.

100 People: Video Lesson Plan

Global solar PV demand reaches 20.4 GW in 2011

Global solar photovoltaic (PV) demand could reach 20.4 GW in 2011, according to Solarbuzz.
In the third quarter (Q3) of 2010, solar PV demand was up 107% from the same period last year, reaching 4 GW. Total industry revenues for the quarter were US$17.9 billion, up 74% on the same quarter last year.

According to the Solarbuzz Quarterly report, 10.6 GW of solar PV were installed in the first 9 months of 2010, charting a course for a record year.

As a result, Solarbuzz has increased its 2010 forecast to 16.3 GW for 2010, an outcome that would represent 117% growth on 2009.

Solarbuzz also says that Chinese solar PV manufacturers accounted for 51% of global shipments in Q3’10, up from 47% in the same quarter one year earlier. Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers took 8 out of the top 12 solar cell manufacturer positions.

China-based JA Solar captured the lead in solar cell shipments with an 8% market share in Q3’10, with Suntech Power and First Solar taking second and third positions, respectively.

Renewable Energy Focus - Global solar PV demand reaches 20.4 GW in 2011

Stephen Colbert Refuses to Tweet 1.9M Followers to Plug

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Stephen Colbert refused a request by Skoll grantee cofounder Matt Damon to Tweet his 1.9 million followers to promote the organization. Instead, the host of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report spent a two minute segment mocking Damon and talking about the organization, “a thoroughly worthwhile cause, ” said Colbert, “…which aims to provide clean and safe drinking water to over a billion people.” The show averages around 1.5 million viewers each night.

Stephen Colbert Refuses to Tweet 1.9M Followers to Plug « Skoll Foundation

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Introducing The Lifeplayer

Lifeline Energy has created the world's first media player, recorder and 5-band radio designed and engineered specifically for humanitarian use. It has 64 GB of memory and uses solar and hand crank to operate anytime and anywhere on demand.

It can be used equally for ongoing development projects or in natural disasters or conflicts -- anywhere people have been displaced. Its 64GB of content can hold educational or informational content. That includes lessons, books, stories dictionaries, and lots of practical advice. The limit? Your imagination.

Please ReTweet Me Song

"Release Me", the 43-year old classic sang by Engelbert Humperdinck, has been reworked as a social media anthem performed by a 30-strong Drybrook & District Male Voice Choir.

The"Release Me" lyrics have been re-written to include major social networks, iconic digital brands including Facebook, MySpace, Google and Twitter. "Release Me" was a hit for Engelbert Humperdink in 1967 when it reached number one in the charts and remained there for six weeks. More than 40 years on and the new version has its tongue firmly in its cheek.

Governments are gambling recklessly: Climate change calculations put millions at risk

Emissions cuts of 16% by 2030 needed to have at least 70% chance of avoiding climate catastrophe, says Friends of the Earth

Governments are gambling recklessly with human lives by wilfully underestimating the depth of the emission cuts they must makein the next 40 years, a new study has found.

Governments have so far based their calculations for cutting emissions on only a 50:50 chance of holding temperature rises to 2C, the point that many scientists consider to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change which, once passed, will leave millions exposed to drought, hunger and flooding. This constitutes an unacceptable risk, says the report from Friends of the Earth.

It suggests that to have any reasonable chance – 70% rather than 50% – of avoiding dangerous climate change emissions will need to fall 16% by 2030 worldwide, based on 1990 levels.

Climate change calculations put millions at risk, says new report | Environment |


How social media, web and mobile tell the story of the Nativity.

Christmas story told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon...

Times change, the feeling remains the same.

Philips CL Energy Saving Campaign

Philips Green Floor Care Products: Save Energy Keep Suction Power

Elmo Visits the White House Kitchen

LG launches Optimux 2X with Android, world’s first dual-core smartphone

The Korean company today launched the Android-powered Optimus 2X, the first phone ever to sport a dual-core processor.

The phone is a follow-up to LG’s successful low-end Optimus One phones. The 2X features Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 2 processor running at 1 gigahertz. It packs a 4-inch display, 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing. The phone will ship with Android 2.2, but LG says that it will be upgradeable to the newer 2.3 release. Notably, it can record 1080p high-definition video (most phones today are limited to 720p HD recording).

LG launches Optimux 2X with Android, world’s first dual-core smartphone VentureBeat

Coming soon … a green laptop that runs on water?

Green chemistry company SiGNa Chemistry has unveiled a new chemical process for generating hydrogen from water, which the company says could solve both of the most vexing hydrogen fuel cell problems: real-time hydrogen generation and storage.

SiGNa Chemistry’s CEO Michael Lefenfeld told me that the new process could make hydrogen fuel cells practical as a power source for consumer electronics like laptops and cell phones. Since the hydrogen is generated from water, this effectively means that you end up with a water-fueled laptop.

A fuel cell transforms the chemical energy of a fuel (hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, gasoline), and an oxidant like the oxygen in air, into electrical energy. Fuel cells have many similarities with batteries, but no electrodes are consumed in the fuel cell process. In a hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then used as the fuel.

Coming soon … a green laptop that runs on water? | VentureBeat

Youth wants renewables- not coal, or nuclear

DECC’s new report on ‘young people and energy’, based on participative surveys, shows massive support for renewable energy among young people. 94% of those questioned said that offshore wind was the ‘fairest’ energy technology, 81% said onshore wind, and 94% supported solar energy. This is compared to 2.2% for coal energy and some very critical responses on nuclear- 19.8% of people taking part in the survey thought nuclear power was fair, 26.6% not so fair, 30.8% not fair and 22.8% a raw deal.

Youth wants renewables- not coal, or nuclear (environmentalresearchweb blog) - environmentalresearchweb

“To Deny The Existence Of Climate Change In The Face Of Overwhelming Evidence Is Not Scepticism, It Is Stupidity”

“To Deny The Existence Of Climate Change In The Face Of Overwhelming Evidence Is Not Scepticism, It Is Stupidity”

President Nasheed of the island nation of Maldives gave a powerful speech on climate change at Oxford on Dec 3rd. We are at a pivotal time, as he says, where we can choose the future over the past. He frames it as a unique opportunity in history, to choose hope over despair,and to change the course of human history:

“We can win not because hope can triumph over grim reality, but because I know there is no shortage of humanity’s greatest resource. That resource is not solar power, nearly unlimited though it is. It is the ingenuity and innovative capacity of people like you…”

“To Deny The Existence Of Climate Change In The Face Of Overwhelming Evidence Is Not Scepticism, It Is Stupidity” « 350 or bust

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hydropower gushing ahead

Hydropower is under-loved and under-funded, but is nonetheless growing in countries like Brazil, according to SBI Energy.
Around 80% of Brazil’s power is already supplied by hydropower, and the country is involved with hydropower projects elsewhere as well.

At the moment, the Brazilian Government is considering funding options for a hydropower project in Tanzania. The US$2 billion, 2.1 GW Stiegler’s Gorge hydropower station is scheduled to see the installation of three 700 MW hydropower turbines in 2012. Completion is expected in 2015, SBI Energy says.

Renewable Energy Focus - Hydropower gushing ahead

Every Province in Canada Produces Wind Power

In 2009, Canada installed more than 900 MW of new wind energy capacity, placing Canada in the top 10 worldwide for new installed capacity.

With a huge landmass, lengthy coastlines, and quality wind resources, Canada has enormous potential to generate electricity from wind. In 2009, Canada installed more than 900 MW of new wind energy capacity, placing Canada in the top 10 worldwide for new installed capacity.

Every Province in Canada Produces Wind Power >> Offshore Wind

Green Gift Ideas: Personal Energy Generator | Crisp Green

Green Gift Ideas: Personal Energy Generator | Crisp Green

Two Large PV Plants Planned for Arizona

There were two big solar announcements in Arizona last week that could bring 57 additional MW of PV capacity to the state.The first piece of news comes from the utility Arizona Public Service, which signed contracts for two plants with a combined capacity of 37 MW. The facilities will be developed by the solar-services provider SunEdison.

The 17-megawatt Hyder solar plant and the 20-megawatt Chino Valley solar plant are part of APS’s AZ Sun program. Through this program, APS plans to develop 100 megawatts of utility-owned photovoltaic power plants using a procurement model where a third party builds the solar plant and APS takes ownership when it goes into commercial operation.

According to APS, with the two projects announced today, AZ Sun has 70 megawatts in development. APS’s other two AZ Sun projects, a 15-megawatt installation at Luke Air Force Base and an 18-megawatt project in Gila Bend, are both scheduled to come online in 2011.

Two Large PV Plants Planned for Arizona | Tomorrow is greener

Windows generate electricity using Sony's dye-sensitized solar cells : D...

HSBC Clean Cities Film

The HSBC Climate Partnership is a five-year programme between HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF, to inspire action on climate change. Since 2007, The Climate Group has been working to reduce the carbon emissions of major cities – with a focus on Hong Kong, London, New York, Mumbai and Shanghai.

The Climate Group

Dutch Space signs space contracts: solar panels for 14 satellites of the European navigation system Galileo

Under the watchful eye of Minister Verhagen, Dutch Space signed two large space contracts this afternoon, together worth more than 50 million euro. For the supply of solar panels for 14 satellites of the European navigation system Galileo, Dutch Space signed an agreement amounting to more than 20 million euro with the German prime contractor OHB-System; as prime contractor of the Dutch space instrument TROPOMI, Dutch Space signed a contract worth more than 30 million euro with the European Space Agency ESA for development activities that Dutch Space shall realise together with foreign suppliers. This contract is a milestone in the realisation of the TROPOMI instrument and comes over and above the Dutch government’s previously budgeted contribution to TROPOMI, a project being realised in a close collaboration between industry (Dutch Space, SME), knowledge institutes (TNO) and science (KNMI, SRON).

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas by The Big Picture

In many places around the world, it is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Santas are making appearances from Beijing to Beirut, and the traditions of the season can be seen all over - the trees, the lights, the shoppers, the devout and more. Collected here are a handful of recent photographs of people enjoying and celebrating this year's Christmas Season as it hits full swing.(37 photos total)

[Editor's note: This year, I'll be inviting you to submit your own Christmas 2010 photos, starting December 26th. Details coming soon, here and on Twitter (@big_picture)]

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas - The Big Picture -

Gov. Schwarzenegger Receives Green Governor of the Year Award for 2010

The 2010 Green Governor of the Year Award was presented to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, by Lex Heslin, President and CEO of Beautiful Earth Group. The award was established by Beautiful Earth Group, a leading sustainable energy, products and services company, to annually honor a Governor who shows the greatest leadership, courage, understanding and action in improving the environment.

According to Heslin, Governor Schwarzenegger was the first governor chosen for this award because of his groundbreaking achievements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change, his push for an increase in the state’s renewable energy portfolio requirement, his ability to balance the complex interests of environmental groups, energy developers, utilities and consumers, and, in an election year, for turning the tide against a regulatory framework that potentially supports legalized pollution.

G.E. Reaches it Renewable Energy Target for 2010 as Part of $6 Billion Investment Strategy

GE Energy Financial Services, has announced that it reached its multi-year target of building a $6 billion portfolio of renewable energy investments by the end of 2010, inspired by GE’s ecomagination initiative.

GE Energy Financial Services – a major global investor in multiple energy generation and distribution projects and companies – said at the ACORE Phase II conference in Washington, DC, that renewable energy now comprises nearly 30 percent of its overall portfolio, up from about 6 percent in 2006. In 2009 and 2010 to date, the business unit invested or committed to invest more than $1.5 billion in wind farms, closed transactions in geothermal and hydroelectric power generation, and made venture capital investments in smart grid and renewable energy companies.

G.E. Reaches it Renewable Energy Target for 2010 as Part of $6 Billion Investment Strategy | Solar Thermal Magazine

President Obama and the Los Angeles Lakers

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits The Children's National Medical Center

LEDs keep coming: 60-watt stand-in

LEDs keep coming: 60-watt stand-in priced at $30 | Green Tech - CNET News

Uncommon Alliance to Accelerate Plug-in Cars in California

A new plan outlines steps to be ready for up to 1 million plug-in hybrid and battery-powered cars by 2020. The report was unveiled at Universal Studios Hollywood where Back to the Future’s electric car was first introduced 25 years ago.

The new plan, “Taking Charge: Establishing California Leadership in the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Marketplace,” was developed by an uncommon alliance and offers 30 suggested actions to build a successful electrified transportation system in California.

Key recommendations from the plan include:

■Simplify the process to get home charging stations installed quickly
■Develop solutions to enable charging at apartments and condos
■Structure electricity prices to encourage off-peak charging
■Increase consumer demand through education and awareness programs
■Develop new service industries to make charging a car easier than fueling at a gas station
■Encourage tech-based solutions (e.g. smart phone apps) to help drivers find existing public charging stations
■Ensure local governments help establish the strategic placement of a public charging network
■A full list can be found at
“We aim to address all the questions. It must be simple, simple, simple for consumers to choose plug-in electric vehicles,” added Wittenberg.

This plan will serve as a roadmap for developing a specific course of action. The Collaborative will support ongoing work and start up new efforts to address the 10 major recommendations in the report. The California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative endorses a systematic, customer-focused approach to creatively overcome challenges in this new California marketplace where consumers enthusiastically adopt clean, cutting-edge technologies. Go to for more information.

Members include:

Diane Wittenberg, California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative; Robert Babik, General Motors; Aram Benyamin, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Janice Berman, Pacific Gas and Electric Company; James Boyd, California Energy Commission; Elisabeth Brinton, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Catherine Dunwoody, California Fuel Cell Partnership; Mark Duvall, Electric Power Research Institute; Anthony Eggert, California Energy Commission; Bonnie Holmes-Gen, American Lung Association in California ; Nancy Gioia, Ford Motor Company; Roland Hwang, Natural Resources Defense Council; Enid Joffe, Clean Fuel Connection, Inc.; Don Karner, ECOtality; Christine Kehoe, California State Senate; Doug Kim, Southern California Edison; Andreas Klugescheid, BMW Group; Barbara Lee, Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District; Alan Lloyd, International Council on Clean Transportation; Bonnie Lowenthal, California State Assembly; Richard Lowenthal, Coulomb Technologies; Patricia Monahan, Union of Concerned Scientists; Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board; Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla Motors, Inc.; Alex Padilla, California State Senate; Dan Pellissier, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger; Nancy Ryan, California Public Utilities Commission; Nancy Skinner, California State Assembly; Dan Skopec, San Diego Gas and Electric; Daniel Sperling, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis; Eileen Tutt, California Electric Transportation Coalition; V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies; Jason Wolf, Better Place; Tracy Woodard, Nissan North America, Inc.; Toshio Yoshidome, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America.

Energy Matters Video News - Episode 22 - December 15, 2010

Computer Chips With Built In Solar Cells

Researchers from the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, along with colleagues from the universities of Nankai in China and Utrecht, have announced their success in producing a microchip incorporating a solar cell.

Placing a solar cell directly on top of electronics means the chip will not require batteries; which lends to the possibility of small devices, such as sensors, being made complete with the necessary programming and wireless communication. These chips could operate under low light conditions, including indoors.

While the simplest solution in developing such a device would appear to be creating a solar cell separately and then fitting it on top of a chip, the researchers said this was not the most efficient production process. Instead, the researchers applied the solar cell layer by layer directly to the chip, using fewer materials and providing better performance.

The process is not without its risk - applying the solar cell has the potential to damage the delicate electronics, so the researchers decided to use solar cells made of amorphous silicon or CIGS (copper - indium - gallium - selenide), which is safer and highly suitable for industrial production using standard processes.

Computer Chips With Built In Solar Cells : Renewable Energy News :

Santa delivers mail, not presents in S Korea

Santa delivers mail, not presents in S Korea - People's Daily Online

Take Me Home Tonight (2011) - Trailer (HD)

Seven Supergreen U.S. Government Buildings

The U.S. government's clean energy research team now works on a campus in the Rocky Mountain foothills that aims to showcase the promise for better buildings. With Colorado's night air and intense sunlight helping to cool, heat and light the space for more than 800 workers, the new $64 million National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Research Support Facility uses half the energy of a more typical office building.

Pictures: Seven Supergreen U.S. Government Buildings

Little hands can make a difference

Saving the Planet by George Carlin

The Secret to you, here is Planet Earth - our home

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Unleash the Future - Wave

Thin Film Solar Catching Up To Crystalline Panels On Efficiency?

The National Renewable Energy Labratory (NREL) recently tested thin-film solar modules made by MiaSolé, and verified that their energy conversion efficiency rate hit 15.7 percent, up from 14.3 percent last year.

The company boasted about the number, and several news outlets touted the results. Does it mean the performance gap between thin-film and crystalline solar modules is closing? Could thin-film take a bite out of the market for crystalline panels in the U.S., soon?

Clean tech analysts and engineers believe that thin-film solar is not likely to catch up to crystalline in terms of efficiency any time soon. Neither will thin-film solar modules steal market share from crystalline in 2011, they predict.

Thin film solar modules are made by a huge number of companies today including: Abound Solar, Best Solar, First Solar, Konica, LG Electronics, MiaSolé, PrimeStar Solar, Nanosolar, Sharp and Uni-Solar. Not all thin-film solar is created equal, however.

Today’s typical thin-film modules look like sheets of glass (image, below). Crystalline modules also look like sheets of glass but are thicker, and framed in metal (image, top of post). Uni-Solar’s thin-film modules, interestingly, are flexible and have a stick-on backing.

Thin Film Solar Catching Up To Crystalline Panels On Efficiency?

Russian Domed Underground City Powered by Solar

Once upon a time, there was a massive mining pit in Eastern Siberia, Russia. At nearly 4,000 feet wide and 1,804 feet deep, the mine in its heyday extracted 2,000 kilograms of diamonds per year, a fifth of that high-quality jeweler’s stones.
In fact, production at the Mirny Mine, as it was called, was so weighted toward these superior-quality stones that diamond giant De Beers was forced to buy them to keep the market artificially inflated.

However, the mine closed in 2001, leaving a gigantic hole in the ground with layers, or levels, reminiscent of the tiered paddy fields in China.

Russian Domed Underground City Powered by Solar

Merry Christmas from Grolsch & the Swingtop Philharmonic Orchestra

Conserve New Delhi

Sierra Club, Environment Texas Sue ExxonMobil Over Alleged Violations Of Air Emission Laws

The largest U.S. oil refinery released 8 million pounds of illegal pollution in the last five years, violating federal air pollution laws thousands of times, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by environmental groups.

The lawsuit against ExxonMobil is the latest by Sierra Club and Environment Texas as part of their campaign to rein in what they call "illegal emissions" by dozens of refineries and chemical plants that operate in the Texas Gulf Coast. In recent months, the groups have reached multimillion-dollar, out-of-court settlements with Shell and Chevron Phillips after filing similar suits. The groups say this is the largest of the lawsuits based on the size of the plant.

ExxonMobil denied the allegations and said it would fight the lawsuit. The company said it had invested $1 billion in recent years to improve emissions.

Sierra Club, Environment Texas Sue ExxonMobil Over Alleged Violations Of Air Emission Laws

New wind farm investment of over one billion Euros

Forcefully investing in renewable energy, Vattenfall has now entered into the DanTysk project for the construction of an offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The wind farm will produce renewable energy equivalent to the electricity consumption of 500,000 households. The project is among the biggest ones in offshore wind power and implemented as a joint venture by Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München (SWM). The total investment is estimated to more than one billion Euros. In the joint venture DanTysk Offshore Wind GmbH, Vattenfall has 51 percent and SWM 49 percent of the shares. Vattenfall will be responsible for the construction, which will begin in 2012, and the operation of the wind farm. The North Sea wind farm will be situated roughly 70 kilometres to the west of the German island of Sylt. With a capacity of 288 megawatts (MW), and an output of around 1,320 GWh electricity, the wind farm will supply enough renewable power to supply electricity more than 500,000 homes, based on an average electricity consumption of 2,500 kWh per home

New wind farm investment of over one billion Euros | Tomorrow is greener

EU takes action with new rules on illegal timber being sold in the EU

The EU has formed new rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market. The legislation will strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging which causes serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss and undermines the efforts of those trying to manage forest responsibly. The regulation was first proposed by the Commission in 2008. Last month the regulation was adopted for all member states and will be implemented in March 2013.

EU takes action with new rules on illegal timber being sold in the EU Tomorrow is greener

The Plastic Soda Bottle Gets An Algae-Based Redesign

A designer and engineer have teamed up to create a new eco-friendly plastic made from algae.
One hundred years after the introduction of Bakelite, plastic has become a ubiquitous material in every sector of our lives. Catastrophes like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch force us to acknowledge the detrimental affects of plastic, so designers and engineers across the globe are researching and developing alternative materials to plastic for a variety of applications.

Home-grown manufacturing is allowing innovators like designer Francois Azambourg and Harvard professor of bioengineering Donald Ingber to create unique solutions to the problem of plastic.

The Plastic Soda Bottle Gets An Algae-Based Redesign | Crisp Green

Electric Sail Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built

The European union has selected the Finnish Meteorological Institute to lead an international space effort whose goal is to build the largest and fastest man-made device.

The electric sail is a Finnish invention which uses the solar wind as its thrust source and therefore needs no fuel or propellant. The solar wind is a continuous plasma stream emanating from the Sun.

The working principle of the so-called electric solar wind sail was invented in 2006 by Finnish Meteorological Institute researcher Pekka Janhunen.

In December 8-9, 2010, the kickoff meeting of the electric sail EU project was held at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The meeting gathered space scientists and engineers from Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Germany and Italy.

The ESAIL project will last for three years, its EU funding contribution is 1.7 million euros and its goal is to build the laboratory prototypes of the key components of the electric sail. In the EU evaluation, the ESAIL project got the highest marks in its category.

Electric Sail Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built | Electric Vehicle News

John Schaeffer on Solar Energy

World's smallest battery uses a single nanowire, plant-eating virus could improve Li-ion cells tenfold

When it comes to building better batteries, building electrodes with greater surface area is key, and scientists are looking to exotic methods to attract the tiny particles they need. We've already seen graphene and carbon nanotubes soak up those electrons, but the University of Maryland has another idea -- they're using the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) to generate usable patterns of nanorods on the surface of existing metal electrodes. By simply modifying the germ and letting it do its thing, then coating the surface with a conductive film, they're generating ten times the energy capacity of a standard lithium-ion battery while simultaneously rendering the nasty vegetarian bug inert.

Meanwhile, the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) at Sandia Labs was more curious how these tiny charges actually work without confusing the forest for the trees, so to speak, so a team of scientists set about constructing the world's smallest battery. Using a single tin dioxide nanowire as anode, a chunk of lithium cobalt dioxide as cathode, and piping some liquid electrolyte in between, they took a microscopic video of the charging process.

World's smallest battery uses a single nanowire, plant-eating virus could improve Li-ion cells tenfold -- Engadget

Monday, December 13, 2010

Do You Really Need Plastic Made From Oil?

Eco-Products 2010: Paper Tube Folding Chair HECMEC by Sankei

Fujitsu Unveils New Solar Hybrid Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd has announced the development of a new hybrid energy harvesting system that generates electricity from either heat or light using a single device.

While other similar hybrid technologies usually combine two devices, Fujitsu Laboratories developed an organic material that is suitable for a generator in both photovoltaic and thermoelectric modes.

By changing the electrical circuits connecting two types of semiconductor materials - P-type and N-type semiconductors - the device can function as a solar cell or thermoelectric generator. The material can produce power from even indoor lighting in photovoltaic mode, and from heat in thermoelectric mode. If either the ambient light or heat is not sufficient to power the sensor on their own, the technology could draw on bother both sources simultaneously.

Since the organic material and its process cost are inexpensive, production costs can be greatly reduced.

Fujitsu Unveils New Solar Hybrid Technology : Renewable Energy News :

Metrodome Roof Collapse Video From the Inside Metrodome

Oil Industry Can Improve Safety, But Risk Will Always Lurk

The conclusion that the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico needs to make a “major transformation” in its approach to safety, which will be delivered by the co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling later Wednesday, is hardly surprising.

There is already a broad acceptance from companies drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico that regulations will be more stringent, risk management must improve and the industry needs to improve its preparedness for handling deep water blowouts.

“There has to be a recognition that the industry has not made safety a high enough priority. We need a major transformation in the oil and gas industry’s understanding of what it means to put a priority on creating a safety culture,” Commission co-chairman William Reilly plans to say at a conference in New Orleans.

Oil Industry Can Improve Safety, But Risk Will Always Lurk - The Source - WSJ

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter highlighting the Green City, Clean Waters plan at Charting New Waters

Mayor Nutter Presents Green City, Clean Waters from Green Streets on Vimeo.

Green City, Clean Waters | Office of Watersheds

South Korea plans a massive off shore wind farm

A lot of South Korean companies, for example Hyundai special industries, Doosan heavy industries & construction, and Hyosung Corp are showing much interest in the production of wind turbines. According to the MKE (Ministry of Knowledge Economy) this project will erect 500 wind turbines in the West Sea off the Jeolla province. They are supposed to produce up to 2500 megawatts of energy a year. This amount of electricity will be sufficient for 3,5 million Busan residents for a full month. MKE director general Kang Nam-hoon said: Basically, the scheme is composed in three phases. By 2013 we’ll have raised twenty 5 megawatt turbines and add a 180 by 2016. Another 300 will join the turbines by 2019.

South Korea plans a massive off shore wind farm | Tomorrow is greener

China won't repeat old path of unlimited emissions

China will stay the course of sustainable, low-carbon and green development and will never repeat developed countries' old path of high energy consumption and unlimited emissions, China's climate chief negotiator said Wednesday.

China still has a large population living in poverty and it is confronted with a lot of challenges, such as the reduction of poverty, improving living standards and responding to climate change, Xie Zhenhua, head of the Chinese delegation, said at an open plenary during the UN Climate Conference.

"However, such challenges also provide opportunities for countries like China to transform the pattern of its economic growth," he said.

The Chinese government last year announced its mitigation actions, aiming at reducing carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

"Achieving these targets will require tremendous long-term efforts," Xie said. "China will adopt comprehensive policies to slow down the speed of emission growth, and strive to reach emission peak as soon as possible."

China won't repeat old path of unlimited emissions

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review

AFP: Vatican is world's greenest state: official daily

AFP: Vatican is world's greenest state: official daily

Press Briefing with President Obama and President Clinton

Tar sand extraction impacting First Nation rights, Athabasca River

A new study that examined the impacts of tar sands operations on the Athabasca River and two aboriginal nations living downstream from those industries concluded oil sands operations are removing large amounts of water from the Athabasca River.
The withdrawals have impacted the lives of those living downstream negatively, creating shallow waters that are impassable in summer months, said the report. This then restricts access to traditional hunting and fishing grounds for the First Nations communities, activities protected under Treaty 8. The water is also being contaminated from the oil sands operations.

Read more: sand extraction impacting First Nation rights, Athabasca River

Two spills in six months dump 1,300 gallons of oil in Salt Lake City

It's not quite the Gulf Coast, but Salt Lake City has developed a persistent problem with oil spills. On Wednesday evening, the federal Department of Transportation ordered Chevron to temporarily close a pipeline running through Salt Lake City following the second spill there in six months.

The first incident happened in June, when the Deepwater Horizon was sending thousands of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The Salt Lake City pipeline, which carries oil from a western Colorado terminal to a Utah refinery, leaked, sending 800 gallons into the Jordan River. That river, which runs through the city, empties into the Great Salt Lake, a major bird refuge.

Then, on the evening of Dec. 1, the pipeline leaked again as temperatures plunged below freezing and a valve cracked. This time, 500 gallons of oil spilled toward a local creek, though only trace amounts have been found in the water.

A Chevron spokesman said the leaks were "highly unusual" and vowed a full examination of how the latest one occurred. The order from the Department of Transportation requires the oil company to submit a detailed plan before it can restart the pipeline. In the meantime, some of the oil is being trucked to the Salt Lake City-area refinery.

Two spills in six months dump 1,300 gallons of oil in Salt Lake City [Updated] | Greenspace | Los Angeles Times

President Obama Lights the National Christmas Tree

5 Indicators That China is a Key Player in Clean Energy

What has China already been up to with regard to clean energy and climate change?

1. Admitting It Has a Carbon Problem. – China has recently admitted to being the world’s number one greenhouse gas emitter, and outwardly recognizing a problem is the first step towards making it better, right? Even though data have shown for several years that China leads the word in its GHG pollution, China has also been taking steps to increase its efforts to combat climate change and ramp up clean energy technology.

2. Significantly Growing Wind Energy Capacity. – According to an October 2010 Bloomberg New Energy Finance release [PDF], in 2010, China “will install 25% more new capacity than in 2009, when the country set a record with 14,000 new megawatts,” whereas in the United States, “installations [of wind turbines are expected] to fall 39% in 2010 compared to 2009.”

3. Surpassing the U.S. as The Most Attractive Market For Renewables Investment. – The August 2010 Renewable energy country attractiveness indices by Ernst and Young “sees the U.S. relinquishing its top position held since 2006 — dropping two points to slip behind China, effectively crowning the Asian giant the most attractive market for renewables investment.” Green jobs and investment are moving from the U.S. to China because the American government is not implementing policies that would give more confidence to investors. Ben Warren of Ernst and Young stated, “China has all the benefits of capital, government will, and it’s a massive market.” In 2009, an American company called Applied Materials opened a new research and development facility in China. Mark Pinto, the company’s CTO said, “We’re doing R&D in China because they’re becoming a big market whose needs are different from those in the U.S.” He added that he also sees China becoming “the biggest solar market in the world.”

4. Setting Targets To Reduce Its Carbon Intensity. – In response to climate change, last year China pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 levels. A recent NRDC working paper [PDF] states that “China‘s CO2 intensity target is a big step in the right direction and it provides the right incentives for future improvements in reducing emissions.”

5. Doing Something About Coal-Fired Power Plants. – China still gets around 80 percent of its energy from coal, which means the country is continuing to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Chinese are trying to balance this by building more efficient coal power plants and by shutting down less efficient plants. But China needs to do a lot more in order to end its reliance on coal.

It is clear that China wants to pull ahead in what Chinese President Hu Jintao has called “the new round of global energy revolution.” During his recent speech, Secretary Chu said, “China and other countries are moving aggressively to capture the lead. Given that challenge, and given the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it’s time for America to do what we do best: innovate.”

5 Indicators That China is a Key Player in Clean Energy

The Great Energy Challenge by National Geographic

The Great Energy Challenge -- National Geographic

Electric vehicle appetite to hit 100 per cent by 2020, industry predicts

The appetite for electric vehicles is anticipated to hit 100 per cent within the next ten years as their costs decrease to less than a quarter of petrol-fuelled cars, according to key industry players.

‘There will be a 100 per cent appetite for electric vehicles by 2020,’ said Better Place CFO Charles Stonehill while speaking at the Envirotech & Clean Energy Investor Summit on Thursday.

Comparing electric vehicles to an Apple iphone, Stonehill said that people do not know what they are missing until they own an electric car, with Tesla’s Cristiano Carlutti calling buying an electric vehicle ‘an emotional choice’.

At between 20 and 25 per cent of the cost of alternatives, appetite will rise as electric vehicles attain increasing ubiquity, the industry predicts.

Electric vehicle appetite to hit 100 per cent by 2020, industry predicts | Electric Vehicle News

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