Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Made by passionate volunteers on a super tiny budget, on the behalf of Green Sangha!


Electric Surfboard: Li-ion Wavejet Brings EVs to the Beach

Source: Gas 2.0

German nuclear exit sparks first legal challenge

E.ON, Germany's largest utility, is to sue the government for billions of euros in damages arising from the decision to abandon nuclear power within the next decade.

"The company expects adequate compensation for damages related to these decisions amounting to billions of euros," E.ON said on Tuesday.

Source: Reuters

Panasonic Establishes First Recycling Factory in Chinese Market

Panasonic Corporation, Hangzhou DADI Environmental Protection Engineering Co., Ltd., DOWA Holdings Co., Ltd., and Sumitomo Corporation today announced they have reached an agreement to form a jointly-held company in China , Panasonic DADI DOWA Summit Recycling Hangzhou Co., Ltd.(proposed name;"Panasonic Hangzhou DADI") that will recycle home appliances and electronics.

Unprecedented Tornado Activity: A Momentous Month of Tornadoes (April) by NOAA

Posted for the Dot Earth blog of The New York Times, this video loop shows the extraordinary stirrings of the atmosphere through the month of April that generated the first big tornado outbreaks this spring. Joplin came later. Here's NOAA's description:

The U.S. experienced unprecedented tornado activity throughout the month of April 2011. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center received 875 tornado reports during that month alone; 625 have been confirmed as tornadoes, so far. Many of these storms were concentrated during 7 different major outbreaks, mostly in the Southern U.S. The largest of these outbreaks occurred during April 27-28, leaving over 300 people dead as over 180 storms were reported from Texas to Virginia.

This animation shows the GOES-East infrared imagery from April 1-30, along with the locations of each tornado that formed during the time (symbolized as red dots). Though tornadoes cannot actually be seen by GOES, these satellites are instrumental in being able to detect the conditions associated with their formation. As the resolution of GOES has increased with each successive satellite series, so have the warning times for tornadoes. The future GOES-R satellite will provide even higher resolution and storm prediction capability, especially with the use of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper sensor. The actual tornado locations are acquired from the Storm Prediction Center, which uses both NEXRAD radar and ground reports to generate a detailed database of tornadoes in the U.S.

World's carbon emissions hit record rise

Carbon emissions in the earth's atmosphere have reached a record high, according to the International Energy Agency. Scientists warn that climate change will lead to unprecedented catastrophic consequences, if global leaders do not take decisive action to reduce the harmful emissions soon.

Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2022: Germany Nuclear Free

Germany's coalition government has made a reversal of policy by announcing that all the country's nuclear plants will be phased out by 2022. The move was prompted by the crisis gripping Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Anti-nuclear power activists demonstrated outside the Chancellery building in Berlin on the same day that Germany's governing coalition said it will shut down all the country's nuclear power plants by 2022.

TEPCO Dumps More Water On Fukushima, Complains About Water Levels

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant says water accumulating in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building is contaminated with highly radioactive substances. The utility is battling to stop further leaks as the rainy season approaches.

Tokyo Electric Power Company detected 2 million becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic centimeter of water in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building. It speculates that radioactive substances from the melted fuel have leaked from the pressure vessel encasing the reactor core. Large amounts of contaminated water in the plant's buildings are hampering efforts to contain the situation.

TEPCO begins live video stream from Fukushima

TEPCO has begun live-streaming video of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant through the company's website. The real-time footage comes from a camera installed about 250 meters northwest of the No.1 reactor. The No.1 to No.4 reactors can be seen in the webcast.


Japan's Imperial Couple Visit Fukushima Evacuees

Japan's emperor and empress have been visiting victims of March's deadly earthquake and tsunami... offering what hope they can in their country's time of need. The quake and tsunami left more than 18-thousand dead in its wake. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made their last visit of disaster-struck northern Japan in Fukushima.

The Imperial couple has been touring the disaster-hit areas for weeks. They hope to provide some comfort to the crowds that still pack stadiums and gymnasiums eight weeks after they fled their homes. In Fukushima, most have evacuated to safer ground after the nuclear crisis forced the government to set a no-go zone around the nuclear plant. At the evacuation center, the emperor and Empress Michiko both kneeled down each time they spoke with evacuees.

ASUS PadPhone Hands-On Introduction

Food prices to double by 2030, Oxfam warns

The average price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years, leading to an unprecedented reversal in human development, Oxfam has warned.

The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80% of their income of food, will be hit hardest according to the charity. It said the world is entering an era of permanent food crisis, which is likely to be accompanied by political unrest and will require radical reform of the international food system. Research to be published on Wednesday forecasts international prices of staples such as maize could rise by as much as 180% by 2030, with half of that rise due to the impacts of climate change.

Source: The Guardian

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Ho! Toilet: Emergency Toilet For Disaster Afflicted Areas

Excelsior introduced the Ho! Toilet, an emergency toilet for use in areas afflicted by disasters. This toilet was developed to be useable with peace of mind when there are no toilets or running water, and by putting the supplied tablets into the toilet in advance, odors can be suppressed for approximately one year.

Smartphone Recreates The Sensation Of Buttons On A Touchscreen

KDDI displayed a smartphone which accurately recreates the sensation of using physical buttons on a touch panel at Wireless Japan 2011. This function of feeling a click is achieved by a combining a vibration function and a pressure sensor in a Haptic touch panel developed by Kyocera.

When you input letters, in addition to the visual feedback, you now get a feeling that you have pushed something and made it move, and KDDI believe that will result in faster input. When you use a menu, and touch or move between icons, it feels as if you are touching or moving across buttons, and if you press lightly, you get a stronger clicking feeling as you select an application.

Wireless Charging Smartphone: Sharp Aquos Phone SH-13C

As one of their 2011 summer models, NTT docomo has announced a waterproof smartphone that supports wireless charging, the AQUOS PHONE f SH-13C.

This model uses the Qi inductive wireless charging system. In the past, to use this system a special case for the phone was required, but as it is now inside the phone, it can be charged simply by placing it on the wireless charger without using any special accessories.

Targa Tasmania 2011: In the Cockpit of a Tesla Roadster

This year's Targa Tasmania had a new category: electric vehicles. The Tesla Roadster showed off its instant torque and thrilling acceleration as it tore through the course.

ASUS Padfone mockup hands-on

Engadget takes a closer look at ASUS' Padfone mockup

Grand Prix Electrique Big Pile Up at 2011 Grand Prix de Pau

The first Grand Prix Electrique held in France at the Pau street circuit featured 11 all-electric race cars. Even the quietest cars can create a big mess, like the Grand Prix Electrique series did at Pau.

Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2011 overview and dream cars

Power Strip with built-in wireless LAN: iRemoTap

At the Embedded Systems Expo, Ubiquitous exhibited a power strip which features a built-in wireless LAN, called the iRemoTap. This power tap can display the power status of devices connected to it from a PC or mobile phone, and switch their power on and off remotely.

This system enables you to switch off devices you've forgotten about, and receive a mail or tweet if power consumption exceeds a specific figure. This lets you know if you need to conserve power, without always having to keeping tabs on power consumption.

Inspections Reveal that 12 of 104 Operating U.S. Nuclear Power Plants have Problems

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has summarized its inspectors’ recent examination of the nation’s 104 operating nuclear power plants’ abilities to deal with power losses or damage to large areas of a reactor site following extreme events.

The inspections reaffirm that every plant has the capability, including the use of so-called “B5b” strategies (developed in response to NRC Orders after 9/11 to maintain reactor safety following large explosions or fires) to effectively cool down reactor cores and spent fuel pools following such events. Out of 65 operating reactor sites, 12 had issues with one or more of the requirements during the inspections; many of these discrepancies deal with training. Three of the 12 sites have already resolved their issues and the remaining sites are actively working to resolve theirs.

Source: Solar Thermal Magazine

Pioneer Floating Vision Display

Pioneer conducted a demonstration using it's floating image display technology for embedded systems at the Embedded Systems Expo.

Floating Vision is Pioneer's own display technology that displays images as if a diorama sized world were before a viewer's eyes in miniature realism. By combining Floating Vision with infrared sensors, it is possible to achieve an effect as if one had touched the floating image, and they demonstrated embedding this technology for use in a car navigation system as well as in a customer service role.

India takes unique path to lower carbon emissions

With four times the population of the United States, an economy growing 8-9 percent a year and surging energy demand, India's race to become an economic power has propelled it to No. 3 in the list of top carbon polluters.

India's greenhouse gas emissions will keep rising as it tries to lift millions out of poverty and connect nearly half a billion people to electricity grids. But it is also trying to curb emissions growth in a unique way, fearing the impacts of climate change and spiralling energy costs.

The government is betting big on two market-based trading schemes to encourage energy efficiency and green power across the country of 1.2 billion people, sidestepping emissions trading schemes that have poisoned political debate in the United States and Australia.

Source: Reuters

Solar Billboard Lights Up Times Square

A coalition of New York solar advocates released a video promoting the The NY Solar Jobs Act in Times Square. This new bill would launch NY into a brighter and greener future by supplying residents with clean, renewable energy, 22,000 new jobs, and lower energy bills.

NYLCV Celebrating 20 Years of Electing for the Environment

NYLCV is a non-partisan, policy making and political action organization that works to make environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision-makers and the voters by evaluating incumbent performance and endorsing and electing environmental leaders to office in New York State.

President barack Obama Places Wreath at Tomb of the Unknowns

President Barack Obama travels to Arlington, Va. and places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on this Memorial Day.

Tainted Vegetables Kill, Sicken People in Europe

Austrian officials inspect supermarkets for Spanish vegetables suspected of contamination with a potentially fatal bacteria that has sickened hundreds of Europeans. In Germany, the death toll from the outbreak rose to 11.

Memorial Day Moment of Silence


Edwin Starr's song to images from Iraq. An anti-war video but NOT anti-troops serving America.

President Barack Obama Pays Homage to War Heroes

President Barack Obama travels to the Arlington burial grounds in Virginia, saying the country must not forget the service of its war dead

Amazing waterspout 'tornado' caught on camera off Australia

Dramatic footage filmed from a helicopter by Australia's Channel 7 shows a series of powerful waterspouts near the coastal suburb of Terrigal, on Australia's New South Wales coast. Several powerful columns of swirling air could be seen blasting along the water's surface near the coastline. Channel 7 claimed the spouts reached heights of up to 600 metres (nearly two thousand feet), but dissipated as they neared land. The natural wonders came as strong winds and heavy rain also lashed other parts of the state, causing flash flooding and traffic chaos in Sydney.

Human Powered Bar on Wheels: City Cycle unveiling in St. Paul

Caztek Engineering launches the first City Cycle, a 14-rider pedal-powered bar, in St. Paul, MN. The City Cycle is a complete redesign of similar vehicles like the pedal pub or beer bike and features adjustable seats, bar hand rail, low running board style deck, 6-speaker sound system, forward-seated driver, room for a 1/4 barrel keg, etc.

World's First 8K Ultra High Definition Display

On the 15th of May, Sharp in collaboration with NHK unveiled the world's first Ultra High Definition-capable LCD display. This 85" LCD display has a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, which is equivalent to 16 times the resolution of HDTV, allowing for the display of incredibly detailed, high-quality images.

In the past the only way to show the Ultra High Definition broadcast at full resolution was using a projector, but due to Sharp's UV2A LCD technology, which allows for an unprecedented level of precision when controlling the alignment of liquid crystal molecules in an LCD structure, Sharp have been able to create a flawless 33megapixel display.

Waste to Energy Plant Spokane County

In Spokane county you can take your garbage to the Waste to Energy Plant where they will burn the refuse and use it to make steam energy.
The process is part of an attempt to make the state of Washington green and clean.

Gas Powered Everything by Nissan

What if everything ran on gas? Then again, what if everything didn't?

See also: Renault Electric Life Video

Michelin Hy-Light Active Wheel Motor EV concept Car

BritNed 1 GW HVDC Interconnector between UK and EU

The BritNed cable, the first electricity connection linking The Netherlands and Great Britain, has successfully been taken into operation. A 260-kilometre high voltage direct current connection between the Isle of Grain (Kent, Great Britain) and the Maasvlakte (nearby Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and will transmit power in both directions, driven by supply and demand patterns and by price differentials between the two power markets.

BritNed, a joint venture between grid operators TenneT Holding b.v. (The Netherlands) and National Grid (United Kingdom), is another significant step towards a single European electricity market. This new subsea cable has beneficial effects on the security and diversity of the electricity supply in both countries. Furthermore, the interconnector contributes to integrating European markets, providing greater import and export opportunities. The new interconnector also provides a crucial basis for the next generation of renewable energy production. The challenge is to utilise the full potential of growing renewable energy resources in realising Europe Commission's targets for 2050-- an overall carbon reduction of 80-95% by the year 2050.

Wavestar harvesting ocean power: Pavg = 27-28[kW] per float. Significant...

Wavestar is the strongest wave power concept. It leads the race to turn ocean power into unlimited clean energy. Test and research machines have been operating in the North Sea and the Danish fjords since 2006 and they are the first wave energy machines to be connected to the grid. The commercial 500 kW machine will soon go into production. Wavestar will work in harmony with other clean energy methods to support the movement towards alternative and sustainable energy.

Robotic Interface Based On Microscopic Hairs by Shunji Yamanaka Research Group

The Shunji Yamanaka Research Group at Keio University is doing R&D on an interface that copies the movement of cilium. Cilia are microscopic hairs on the surface of a cell which can react in unison, and are used by some microorganisms for movement. Although ordinarily soft and flexible, this device emphasizes the movement of cilium by making them hard and rigid.

This movement is created by using 4 biometal rods. Biometal is a thin fiber actuator that moves like muscle when electricity flows through it, and is characterized by lifelike flexible movement. In this device, after electrostatic capacitor sensors attached to the ends of the rods detect their position, the biometal rods are made to move based on calculations from a PC.

Climbers in survival pod stop Arctic oil rig

Greenpeace activists scale the underside of the 53,000 tonne Leiv Eiriksson oil rig and secure an Arctic survival pod hanging 30 meters above freezing seas with enough food and water to stay put for ten days. Their action will prevent the rig starting dangerous deep water drilling 100 miles west of the Greenland coast. The rig is due to begin deep water oil exploration for wildcat oil company Cairn Energy, which is leading the new Arctic oil rush.

New Coal Fired Power Station For Victoria: A Bad Decision

In a time when the world needs to reduce carbon emissions and renewable energy should be at the forefront of that challenge, the Victorian Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has given the nod for a new coal fired power station to be constructed in Morwell, Victoria.

Victoria already has skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions thanks to its extensive use of the filthiest of fossil fuels, brown coal, for electricity generation. The state is also home to what is considered the world's most emissions intensive coal fired plant - Hazelwood.

Renewable Energy News

Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" – is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Source: The Guardian

Germany announces end to nuclear power by 2022: Who's Next?

Germany will shut down all its nuclear plants by 2022, becoming the first major industrial power to give up atomic power, the country's environment minister announced early on Monday.

The decision, announced by environment minister Norbert Roettgen, came after a meeting of leaders of the ruling coalition headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which lasted from Sunday evening into the early hours of Monday. It will make Germany the first major industrial power to give up atomic power.

Source: The Times of India

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Japanese gardens: a haven for moss diversity

Test drive of the new UPS Composite Car

Cooling system restored for fuel pools - 29 MAY 2011 - NHK

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has now successfully restored cooling systems to the spent fuel pools of reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4. On Saturday, TEPCO injected about 5 tons of water to the spent fuel pool of reactor 1 on a test basis. It was the last system to be restored.

The power company is also working to install new water-circulating systems that will more efficiently cool all the fuel pools. The new systems for reactors 1 through 4 are scheduled for completion by July.

Thousands of Volunteers Aid in Joplin Clean-up

An army of volunteers has gathered in Joplin, Missouri to aid in the clean-up effort following last Sunday's deadly tornado. The city has raised the death toll to at least 139, and state officials say that about 100 people are still missing.

The Gulf Spill: One Year Later

A year ago, the Gulf Coast region was preparing for a summer of misery. The Deepwater Horizon spill and resulting oil spill threatened to soak its tourist beaches in oil, devastate wildlife, destroy the careers of watermen and and ground the offshore oil industry. Now, months after the spill was capped, the region is heading into a summer of uncertainty. Will its natural resources rebound? Can the region's economy recover? And what's being done to prevent another disaster in the future?

We start with a look at the spill's effects on oystermen. Oysters were once a prime harvest from the Gulf of Mexico. Before the 2010 oil spill, 67 percent of the oysters Americans ate were grown and harvested there. But the oil and efforts to contain it shut down much of the region's seafood production, and many Louisiana oyster beds were killed by fresh water diverted from the Mississippi River to push oil away from shore. Our special correspondent, documentary filmmaker Michael Davie, visits with an industry leader to find out he and others are coping.

Next, anchor Thalia Assuras talks to Harry Shearer. The voice of several characters on The Simpsons is an environmental advocate, "investigative satirist," and part-time resident of New Orleans. He recently directed a documentary about Hurricane Katrina as a manmade disaster, titled "The Big Uneasy." Shearer discusses how the Gulf region is recovering from the spill and how he believes the government and industry should renew their focus on drilling safety. Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan follows with the story of how the spill affected one family -- and an entire industry. The spill and the ensuing drilling moratorium dealt a blow to oil drillers, but they've been devastating to family businesses that supply the industry. No drilling means no business at all, forcing people from their jobs and families to make heartbreaking decisions. Lee Patrick visits Thomas and Melissa Clements, owners of a machine shop that has practically ground to a halt since drilling ...

TW4XP - Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE

This innovative side- by-side two seat city car eschews a steering wheel for outstanding visibility and ease of entry/exit instead by using two control sticks and buttons to control the speed and direction of the car. A lightweight aluminum chassis and all-electric drive using high torque motor operating a wheel speed (no transmission or gear reduction needed) with integral differential weighed in at just 1545 pounds. This car uses an 800V lithium-ion manganese battery pack and an inverter adapted from a wind turbine power generator. This unusually high vehicle voltage level reduces electrical losses and increases overall vehicle efficiency while using standard electric components. Employing a technique just now being considered by OEMs, this team charges their batteries through their motor and controller.

Motorwind Turbines Spinning

Motorwind Turbines spinning - up close and personal. Motorwind was invented by Lucien Gambarota and is distributed by HAIKO Energy in Africa headed by James C. Lech. Motorwind micro wind turbines are scalable enabling the installation of systems that produce a few watts, kW to hundreds of MW. The turbines can be installed in a vertical axis wind turbine array (VAWT) or horizontal axis wind turbine array (HAWT). The enable signage, advertising while at the same time generating a renewable energy solution that is affordable, robust and scalable due to it's a ability to be mass produced.

Make this video go around the world

Climate change to deal blow to fruits, nuts

Climate change is expected to alter the global industry in fruits and nuts dramatically as tree crops such as pistachios and cherries struggle in the rising temperatures, researchers said.

A study said that even if polluters took greater action to cut carbon emissions, the impact of climate change will likely be severe enough that the nearly $100 billion-a-year fruit and nut industry needs to reassess planning. Trees in temperate regions evolved to need a chilly period so they can grow in the spring. Rising temperatures pose a special problem for temperate but comparatively warm areas where the winter chill is already in short supply.

Source: The Times of India

Beautiful Dutch Power Plant Clad in Delftware Tiles: The Ugliest Building of the Netherlands

The combined heating and power plant (the 'City Hearth') is a gateway building for the district of Roombeek, an eye-catcher and a point of reference: a basic form 10 metres high with a 40-metre chimney. Its elevations are clad in one-metre-square panels with expressive motifs and figurative depictions. These are reminiscent of the delftware tiles that line Holland's traditional open hearths and therefore hint that this structure might have something to do with fire and warmth: the City Hearth. The artist is Hugo Kaagman.

The building, desigened by Branimir Medić & Pero Puljiz has been named Stadshaard (which translates to ‘city hearth’), to honor the source of the city’s light and heat. Two gas turbines in the Combined Cycle Energy plant (CHP) generate on-demand electricity while providing district heating for the community’s buildings. This makes the facility two times more efficient than plants that generate energy alone, but this also means that the plant has to be located in the community it serves.

To celebrate the building as the community’s hearth, the designers decided to tile it in iconic Delftware glazed tiles that commemorate the Netherlands native and communicate the function of the building they clad. Recently the Stadshaard of Enschede was selected by the readers of the NRC Handelsblad as being 'the ugliest building of the Netherlands'. The editor of this Dutch newspaper was surprised by this choice and concludes that striking architecture always tends to be controversial. Architect Branimir Medić is content with the outcome: "The difference between ugly or beautiful is often minute. If you asked people to select the most beautiful building they might end up picking the Stadshaard as well." Sources: Inhabitat and Cie

The new cogeneration plant was built on a prominent location on the edge of the site (called The Brewery) that once Grolsch brewery was located. When the fireworks on May 13, 2000, much of this area and Roombeek wiped out. That disaster gave the municipality an opportunity to create a complete redevelopment of the area where homes and buildings are an efficient way to provide heat.

The evolution of lighting technology: The Next Step by GE

A chronological representation of the evolution of lighting technology, showing how every advancement from the first prehistoric fire has been leading up to the introduction of the new energy smart LED bulb from GE.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Changing World by GE

Varanasi City of Light Video

Varanasi is placed among 3 rivers, the Varana,the Asi and the Ganges, and the city is also known as Benares or Kashi -- meaning City of Light.

FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant by GE

GE has developed the new FlexEfficiency* 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant, a product of ecomagination, to respond to the current and evolving energy production needs of the world. Developed from GE’s proven F-class legacy, this new single-shaft platform is an innovative total plant design that defines a new standard for high efficiency and operational flexibility.

As renewable energy resources on power grids continue to grow, so does the need for a balanced mix of generation sources. GE Energy is responding with combined cycle power plant technologies that redefine the standards of operational flexibility.

The latest evolution of the FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant uses an integrated approach to reduce fuel costs, create additional revenue sources, improve dispatch capability and reduce carbon emissions compared to prior technologies.

With new gas turbine, steam turbine, and generator components—along with digital control capabilities, power island integration, and a turnkey plant design—the new 510 MW block-size plant features an expected baseload efficiency of more than 61 percent.

See also: See also: GE Ecomagination $200 million Challenge Powering the Grid: Five Innovative Winners - GE Ecomagination: The Zero Emission Electric Bus of the Future - GE WattStation and Residential WattStation: Easy-to-Use EV Chargers by Yves Behar - A Changing World by GE

Everybody, Let's Eco Action in Japan, China, and Vietnam

"Everybody, Let's Eco Action!" was a joint event held in showrooms in Japan, China, and Vietnam. The three countries were linked via an HD video communication system. During the "Eco Paper Bag Craft Workshop," the smiling faces of children in China and Vietnam could be seen in Japan. The children also participated in a "Hybrid Toy Car Workshop" and learned about biodiversity at a 3D theater. Approximately 20,000 people visited showrooms in the three countries during the event.

EcoMotors Chief Don Runkle: “Electric Vehicles Are Not ‘Zero Emissions’”

The chief executive officers of two very different clean tech startups, Brammo and EcoMotors, discussed the relative merits and limitations of clean vehicle technology at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York on Wednesday.

Oregon-based Brammo designs and manufactures all-electric motorcycles and the battery technology and software that powers them, while Michigan-based EcoMotors designs and makes more efficient combustion engines.

EcoMotors’ CEO Don Runkle roundly criticized clean tech advocates who say all-electric vehicles (EVs) are “zero emissions.” Causing a bit of a stir in the conference hall, Runkle, the former VP of engineering at GM, went on to claim that EcoMotors’ engine technology enables car companies to produce diesel-powered vehicles that have a lower, overall carbon footprint than any electric automobile available today. Given that electric vehicles don’t produce diesel exhaust, and don’t use fossil fuels, how can this be? Runkle explained: more than 50 percent of the world’s power is generated by the burning of coal, today, and that had to factor into the “carbon footprint” assessment of all-electric vehicles.

Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher said that he refrains from calling his company’s plug-in, electric motorcycles — including the Enertia, Empulse, Engage and Encite (some models have yet to hit the road) – “zero emissions vehicles.”

Source: TechCrunch

Friday, May 27, 2011

Independent Lens: Garbage Dreams Trailer by PBS

Welcome to the world's largest garbage village located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. The Zaballeen (Arabic for garbage people) recycle 80 percent of the trash they collect—far more than other recycling initiatives. But now a multi-national corporation threatens their livelihood. Follow three teenage boys born into the business who are forced to make choices that will impact the survival of their community.

Panasonic Announces Sustainable Smart Town Project: Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town

Panasonic's President Fumio Ohtsubo announced on May 26, 2011, it is working together with eight other companies in an eco-conscious smart city project called Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST). This smart town concept showcases Panasonic's "entire solutions" business model in full scale and will serve as a worldwide model project of an eco-friendly city in action.

Panasonic and Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture, about 50 km west of Tokyo, announced on November 17, 2010 that it had reached an agreement to build a smart town on the vacant lot of Panasonic's former factory site. Aiming to open the new "eco-town" in the fiscal year ending in March 2014, the business partnership of the nine partner companies and one city will collaborate to build an innovative smart town deploying services and energy systems based on Panasonic's Eco Ideas for green lifestyles. All partners will work closely together throughout every phase of the project, from the master planning stage to actual operation of the town that will have about 1,000 households.

First Video of Nissan Stunning LEAF Nismo RC

Amazing Energy Answer Found? Salt Water

GE sees solar cheaper than fossil fuels in 5 years

Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric.

Source: Climate Progress

Dramatically Raising Low Metal Recycling Rates Part of Path To Green Economy

Less than one-third of 60 metals studied have end-of-life recycling rate above 50%; 34 are under 1%. Among recommendations: Boost waste management in developing economies,end hoarding of old phones and other electronic products.

Smarter product designs, support for developing country waste management schemes, and encouraging developed country households not to 'squirrel away' old electronic goods in drawers and closets could help boost recycling of metals worldwide. According to a report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), recycling rates of metals are in many cases far lower than their potential for re-use.

Less than one-third of some 60 metals studied have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 per cent and 34 elements are below 1 per cent recycling, yet many of them are crucial to clean technologies such as batteries for hybrid cars to the magnets in wind turbines, says the study. Recycling rates reported for the 60 elements studied:

More than 50 per cent recycling: 18 elements
1. Lead (main use: batteries)
2. Gold (main uses: jewelry, electronics)
3. Silver (main uses: electronics, industrial applications (catalysts, batteries, glass/mirrors), jewelry);
4. Aluminium (main uses: in construction and transportation)
5. Tin (main uses: cans and solders)
6. Copper (main uses: conducting electricity and heat)
7. Chromium (main use: stainless steels)
8. Nickel (main uses: stainless steels and super-alloys)
9. Niobium (main uses: high strength / low alloy steels and super-alloys)
10. Manganese (main use: steel)
11. Zinc (main uses: coating steel - galvanizing)
12. Iron (the basis and chief constituent of all ferrous metals)
13. Cobalt (main uses: super-alloys, catalysts, batteries)
14. Rhenium (a super-alloy component; main uses: gas turbines (perhaps 60% of use), and catalysts)
15. Titanium (main uses: paint, transportation)
16-18. Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium (main use of all three: auto catalysts)

25 to 50 per cent recycling: 3 elements
1. Magnesium (main uses: construction and transportation)
2. Molybdenum (main uses: high-performance stainless steels)
3. Iridium (main uses: electro-chemistry, crucibles for mono-crystal growing, spark plugs)

10 to 25 per cent recycling: 3 elements
1. Tungsten (main use: carbide cutting tools)
2. Ruthenium (main uses: electronics (hard disk drives), process catalysts / electrochemistry)
3. Cadmium (main uses: batteries (85%), pigments (10%))

1 to 10 per cent recycling: 2 elements
1. Mercury (largely being phased out; main remaining uses: chlorine / caustic soda production)
2. Antimony (main uses: flame retardant (65% of use), lead acid batteries (23%))

Less than 1 per cent recycling: 34 elements
1. Beryllium (main use: electronics)
2. Gallium (main use: electronics: ICs, LEDs, diodes, solar cells
3. Indium (main use: as a coating in flat-panel displays)
4. Selenium (main uses: manufacturing glass, manganese production, LEDs, photovoltaics, infrared optics)
5. Strontium (main uses: pyrotechnics, ferrite ceramic magnets for electronics)
6. Tantalum (main uses: in capacitors in electronics)
7. Germanium (main uses: in night vision (infrared) lenses (30%), PET catalysts (30%), solar cell concentrators, fiber optics)
8. Erbium (main use: fiber-optics)
9. Tellurium (main uses: steel additives, solar cells, thermo-electronics)
10. Hafnium (main uses: in nuclear reactors, and to a small degree in electronics)
11. Zirconium (main use: in nuclear reactors)
12. Thallium (occasional use in medical equipment)
13. Vanadium (main use: high strength-low alloy steels)
14. Arsenic (Arsenic metal is used in semiconductors (electronics, photovoltaics) and as an alloying element; Arsenic oxide is used in wood preservatives and glass manufacture)
15. Barium (main uses: drilling fluid (perhaps 80% of use); as a filler in plastic, paint and rubber (about 20%)
16. Bismuth (principal uses: metallurgical additive and alloy constituent)
17. Lithium (main use: in batteries)
18. Lanthanum (main use: in batteries)
19. Scandium (main uses: in aluminium alloys)
20. Yttrium (main use: as a phosphor)
21. Europium (main use: as a phosphor)
22. Ytterbium (main use: as a phosphor)
23. Lutetium (main use: a scintillator in computerized tomography)
24. Cerium (main use: as a catalyst)
25. Osmium (occasionally used as a catalyst, but has little industrial importance)
26. Thulium (no significant uses)
27. Praseodymium (main use: glass manufacturing and magnets)
28. Gadolinium (main use: in ceramics and magnets)
29. Boron (main uses: in glass, ceramics, magnets)
30-34: Neodymium, Samarium, Terbium, Dysprosium, Holmium (main use for all five: in magnets)

Source: UNEP

Wireless Electric Car Charging Closer to Reality

Flanders' Drive, Volvo, Van Hool, Bombardier and others are partnering to work on creating an induction charging system that could allow electric vehicles to be charge quickly and conveniently. Just park over a buried plate and log in the system (unlike in the image above, it'll probably be done by wireless identification), and voilà! Charging a battery pack of the size fitted to the Volvo C30 Electric(24 kWh), which Volvo will use for testing, is expected to take about an hour and twenty minutes, if the battery is entirely discharged.

Source: TreeHugger

Eco-Trek 14: China -- Economic Growth and the Environment

The fourteenth edition of Eco-Trek - one of the first ever syndicated green online news magazines and presented by German actress Anita Anthonj is now available for download and re-publishing for websites, newspapers, and magazines. This week Eco-Trek continues taking an in-depth look at the environment in China. Will China be able to balance economic growth and ecological responsibility?

The ancient city was the capital city of the first dynasty of China and today is one of the cradles of Chinese culture. The starting point of the Silk Road, Xi'an became fabulously wealthy as a trade centre and cultural and religious melting pot for over a 1000 years. Now it is undergoing another renaissance of industrial force as a city of technology, science and education and gateway to the Great Northwest.

The Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive is in China crossing the world's third largest country in their B-Class F-CELL cars. They drove from Shanghai to Bejing, Xi'an, and the Gobi Desert towards Kazakhstan. Crossing China was an opportunity for us to shed light on where China is heading to -- and how the fastest growing country can balance its need for economic growth with environmental responsibility.

Throughout the last 30 years China has gone through dramatic changes; the country turned from a primarily agricultural economy to one of the leading industrialized nations on the planet. Alone, in the last 10 years China's gross domestic product has almost doubled. From 2001 to 2004, 24,000 kms of highways have been built, and 17,000 kms of railways from 2006 to 2011. Every month, a city the size of New York is built, when you combine all urban buildings.

Wang Jiuliang is an award-winning Chinese photographer and filmmaker. Over the years he has captured China's most pressing issue: he has documented the effects of industrialization. Recently the central government in Beijing announced a five year plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions. How realistic is this goal and will the central government in Beijing be able to implement this policy in the vast rural areas of the country. China is building more wind turbines than any other country. Last year, China became the world's market leader for electricity produced by wind energy. At the end of 2010, nearly 35,000 wind turbines have been installed, with a capacity of 75 gigawatts. Amongst the many issues that China will face in the future, individual mobility will be key. While conventionally powered vehicles are still the norm in fulfilling the need for individual transportation, China's government is heavily investing in alternatively powered vehicles.

Huge solar photovoltaic farm opens in France - big picture

A new photovoltaic park has opened in Les Mées, in the southern department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Spread across 36 acres, the park, built by Belgian firm Enfinity, joins several other plants built on the vast Puimichel plateau. By the end of 2011, solar panels will cover 200 hectares and produce around 100MW, making it the biggest solar array in France. Enfinity's €70m investment has included work to preserve the landscape with space for grazing and a system without a concrete foundation

Source: The Guardian

TEDxCardiff: Why time complicates climate change by Clive Bates

David De Rothschild takes up the WED challenge!

Renault Electric Life Video

Renault is electrifying the car market with its brand new advertising campaign

Kiwis want one third of their oceans protected

Recent polling has revealed that New Zealanders want more than a third of their oceans protected in marine reserves -- a 100-fold increase on current levels.

Help WWF-NZ to protect New Zealand marine environments: http://www.wwf.org.nz/

Eco-Trek 15: Green between Orient and Occident

The fifteenth edition of Eco-Trek - one of the first ever syndicated green online news magazines and presented by German actress Anita Anthonj is now available for download and re-publishing for websites, newspapers, and magazines. Eco-Trek is in Kazakhstan this week -- the oil rich central Asian country that works hard on achieving environmental credibility.

Almaty or Alma Ata as the city was known until 1997 when it gave up being the capitol of Kazakhstan to Astana, historically has always been the threshold between Orient and Occident. The central Asian country, culturally and politically connects the West with the East.

The Washington State University department teamed up with some Kazakh students to re-design a botanic garden in Almaty. This is part of a greater initiative by the University to develop sustainable agriculture in southern Kazakhstan, developing renewable energy systems; water and hydro-energy projects The initiative is paired with consulting to help farmers and entrepreneurs develop economically sustainable businesses.

Khan Shatyr: The world's largest tent is now an iconic landmark of Kazakhstan's new capitol, Astana. Designed by Norman Foster, the 150 meter tall structure has a lot of impressive green features from copious natural day lighting to interior gardens and living systems. Although the outside temperature varies from -35 degrees to +35 degrees Celsius, the interior maintains a moderate 15-30 degrees.

Eco-Trek 16: Russia's Way to a greener Future

The sixteenth edition of Eco-Trek - one of the first ever syndicated green online news magazines and presented by German actress Anita Anthonj is now available for download and re-publishing for websites, newspapers, and magazines.

Russia is by far the largest country in the world and is dealing with many environmental challenges. It is also home of some daring futuristic concepts that one day may become a reality. Eco-City 2020 is one such concept. Envision an underground city entirely powered by the sun for more than 100,000 people. The architectural studio AB Elis in Moscow has conceived this idea, to be built in the crater of a defunct diamond mine in Siberia. The new city is designed to be divided into 3 levels with a vertical farm, forests, residences, and recreational areas. Another such project is the The Ark hotel, designed by Remistudio in connection with the International Union of Architects' program, "Architecture for Disaster Relief." Russian architect, Alexander Remizov, is the mastermind behind the project and he believes that his floating "slinky," which can hold up to 10,000 people can be used for multiple purposes.

Volvo Flywheel KERS system animation

Volvo has announced plans to develop and test a new flywheel kinetic energy recovery system (FKERS). While this doesn't sound terribly exciting, Volvo says the FKERS is "a light, cheap and very eco-efficient solution that makes a four-cylinder engine feel like a six at the same time as fuel consumption drops with up to 20 percent."

The details are fairly technical, but the FKERS is fitted to the rear axle and collects rotational energy during deceleration. When the car starts moving again, the rotational energy is sent to the rear wheels through a specially-developed transmission. This setup allows the car's engine to be deactivated during deceleration and launch (ie: moving away from stop light) to improve fuel efficiency. If everything goes according to plan, the company will begin testing the system later this year with the hopes of launching it "within a few years."

Google Wallet and Google Offers Product Launch: Mobile Commerce

Google Wallet: Make your phone your wallet

Google Wallet is an Android app that makes your phone your wallet. It stores virtual versions of your existing plastic cards on your phone. Simply tap your phone to pay and redeem offers using near field communication, or NFC.

In the past few thousand years, the way we pay has changed just three times—from coins, to paper money, to plastic cards. Now it's time to change again to mobile phones.

Source: Google

High Tech Dutch Fire Station Relies On Innovative Solar Collecting Rooftop Parking Lot

When the municipality of Alkmaar in The Netherlands needed a new fire station, they had a lot of specific criteria that needed to be met. First the facility had to achieve a high level of energy efficiency and sustainability. They also needed the NBHW fire station to have facilities for a care center for addicts and meet many strict town planning conditions. As a result the facility, designed by LIAG, conforms to the site along the North Holland Canal with a rooftop parking deck to place cars out of sight. The parking deck is also used to collect solar energy for the underground thermal energy storage system to minimize electricity use.

LIAG and the municipality of Alkmaar joined forces in an ambitious plan for a sustainable and energy efficient building. The municipality of Alkmaar has athe policy that all its buildings must perform 20% better than the applicable legal norms. Additionally the municipality of Alkmaar requires a minimum score of a clear pass (7.0) per theme for the GPR building (Municipal - Performance - Guideline). The new building project more than amply satisfies the objectives in this area with an average score of 7.9 and scoring a ‘good' on average.

Aside from a balanced choice in materials with attention for environmental impact in manufacturing and recycling, use has been made of building elements that due to their size and detail can easily be reused and fit within the vision of ‘Cradle-to-Cradle' building. In this way all the windows of the offices are one size and a high degree of repetition of elements has been chosen in the façade. Many of these elements can easily be reused at the end of their current useful life-cycle.

Use is made of underground thermal energy storage (UTES) to achieve a pleasant and comfortable indoor climate using a minimum of energy. In order to further utilize this system the parking deck is used as a solar collector. Water hoses will be built into the parking deck to pump water heated by the sun into the ground so that cold water can be pumped up to be used to cool in summer, and warm during winter, the building of 8,500 m2 gfa and the adjoining council offices of 12,500 m2 gfa. This system means that a new boiler is not required for the 8,500 m2 of additional functions. All energy required by the fire station and the Brijder care centre for addicts will come from the UTES installation. Additionally the UTES system can be used to keep the parking deck ice-free in winter. This building design actually works as an energy/climate plant with general functions for the municipality of Alkmaar.

Source: Inhabitat

EPRI: Smart grid benefits vastly exceed costs, enable sharp cuts in CO2 by 2030 « Climate Progress

A new study from the Electric Power Research Institute finds that a “smart grid” would cost up to $475 billion, the total economic and environmental value provided would range between $1.2 and $2 trillion.

Source: Climate Progress

Smart Grid Application: A Virtual Power Plant

Pete Cashmore's Opening Keynote at Mashable Connect 2011

Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore talks about the future of Mashable and Social Media in his opening keynote speech at Mashable Connect, an intimate three-day conference at Disney World.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trailer Taste The Waste

TEDxPuget Sound: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

Google Data Center Efficiency Best Practices

Here at Google we've spent more than a decade striving to improve the energy efficiency of our data centers.There are many simple design choices that you can apply to both small and large data centers to improve the efficiency of a data center facility. This series of five videos takes you through the top 5 recommended best practices from our data center experts.

Mayor switches on new electric vehicle scheme

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, today launched the capital's first city-wide electric charge point network and membership scheme, making it easier for electric vehicle owners to plug in whilst on the move.

With 150 new charge points operating under a single scheme, Source London is now the capital’s largest charging network. It has significantly boosted existing numbers of charge points operated by a range of different localised schemes. By 2013, Source London will total at least 1,300 charge points, more than the number of petrol stations currently in London, ensuring the infrastructure is in place for significantly more people and businesses to buy an electric vehicle from the expanding range coming to market.

Annual membership of Source London is £100, enabling card holders to charge up at any Source London point as many times as required. Charge points are located on streets and in car parks and are instantly recognisable in Source London branding. Users simply touch their membership card to the reader on the charge point and then plug in their vehicle to charge.


YouTube Town Hall: Ask a question

YouTube Town Hall is an online platform for members of Congress to debate and discuss the most important issues of the day. Visitors can select an issue, watch two short videos expressing competing ideas, and then support the one they agree with most. To help people focus on the merits of the idea and not the party of the speaker, the speaker's party isn't revealed until after a user decides which video to support. The most supported videos will be highlighted on the YouTube Town Hall Leaderboard.

The issues included on the site today are those that were the most popular on Google News and Search over the past year. From this point on though the YouTube community has the opportunity to ask (and vote on) the questions they want members of congress to answer. Every month members of congress will add new videos to the site answering a selection of the top-voted questions. Interested in lowering gas prices, or reforming the tax system, or making college more affordable?

Visit http://YouTube.com/YtTownHallQuestions now to ask a question!

NOAA Forecasts Above Average Hurricane Season | Hurricane Season, Forecast & Names

This year's hurricane season is expected to be an active one. On the heels of an already violent tornado season and other wild April weather, the 2011 hurricane season may see 12 to 18 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes, an above-average season.

That's the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released May 19 2011 for the Atlantic basin, which includes the East Coast, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. If the forecast is anything like last year's, it should be taken very seriously. Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

This year's storm names are:
•Arlene (ar-LEEN)
•Bret (bret)
•Cindy (SIN-dee)
•Don (dahn)
•Emily (EH-mih-lee)
•Franklin (FRANK-lin)
•Gert (gert)
•Harvey (HAR-vee)
•Irene (eye-REEN)
•Jose (ho-ZAY)
•Katia (ka-TEE-ah)
•Lee (lee)
•Maria (muh-REE-uh)
•Nate (nait)
•Ophelia (o-FEEL-ya)
•Philippe (fee-LEEP)
•Rina (REE-nuh)
•Sean (shawn)
•Tammy (TAM-ee)
•Vince (vinss)
•Whitney (WHIT-nee)

Source: LiveScience

EU urged to target 45% renewables by 2030

The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) has called for the EU to set a legally binding renewable energy target of 45% by 2030, saying it is necessary to fight climate change and give investors long-term predictability.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels, Arthouros Zervos, president of EREC, said EU energy policy needs to be “geared up” if the bloc is to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. He said the EU also needs such a target “to keep its pole position in terms of competitiveness … as this would make up a clear signal for investors and unlock crucial private investments”.

Source: Environmental Finance

In Switzerland’s Decision to Phase Out Nuclear Power, a Glimpse of the Future?

The political fallout from Japan’s nuclear crisis has reached Switzerland. On Sunday, 20,000 people participated in the country’s largest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation. Today, the Swiss cabinet decided to phase out nuclear power through attrition over the next few decades.

“The existing reactors will operate for as long as they’re safe,” Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said, but no new nuclear plants will be built. The decision was seen as a compromise between those who support a quick halt to nuclear power generation and others who want to build more plants.

Source: Forbes

The world’s first commercial-scale CSP plant: Torresol Energy Commissions 19.9MW Gemasolar Power Plant in Spain

Torresol Energy, a joint venture between Masdar – Abu Dhabi’s leading future energy company and SENER – the leading Spanish engineering and construction firm, announced today the commissioning of its flagship 19.9MW Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Seville, Spain.

The world’s first commercial-scale CSP plant featuring central tower receiver with thermal storage capabilities has commenced supplying electricity to 25,000 homes in the Andalucía region of Spain. The plant is expected to save more than 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emission a year.

The innovative molten salt heat transfer technology deployed at the Gemasolar greenfield independent power project helps avoid fluctuations in power supply through a system that is capable of 15 hours of energy production without sunlight. This accordingly allows for generation of electricity 24 hours a day for many months of the year, even during the hours of darkness or poor daylight during winter.

The Gemasolar plant comprises 2,650 heliostats (mirrors) that stretch approximately 185 hectares. The system is capable of reaching temperatures exceeding 900-degrees Centigrade at the central receiver located at the top of the tower. The tower technology uses molten salt as a heat transfer medium that reaches temperatures above 500 degrees Centigrade and allows delivering hotter and more pressurized steam to the turbine than the parabolic trough technology, which significantly increases the performance of the overall plant.

Source: SENER

Panasonic Solar Charging Table is Totally Wireless

At the Retail Tech Expo held in Tokyo Panasonic showcased a prototype solar powered inductive charging table which is able to juice up devices simply by placing them on the table.

Although inductive coupling products have been on the market for some time, what was different about this product was how the charging panel on the table connected directly with the battery itself. A Panasonic employee demonstrated how it was possible to simply place the battery on the table and it would begin charging without any coupling or 3rd party accessories, as the circuits are integrated with the batteries themselves.

Source: Japan Trends

Tokyo Eco Office: Pasona O2 Urban Farm by CScout Japan

Teaching algae to make fuel by MIT

New process could lead to production of hydrogen using bioengineered microorganisms. Many kinds of algae and cyanobacteria, common water-dwelling microorganisms, are capable of using energy from sunlight to split water molecules and release hydrogen, which holds promise as a clean and carbon-free fuel for the future. One reason this approach hasn’t yet been harnessed for fuel production is that under ordinary circumstances, hydrogen production takes a back seat to the production of compounds that the organisms use to support their own growth.

But Shuguang Zhang, associate director of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering, and postdocs Iftach Yacoby and Sergii Pochekailov, together with colleagues at Tel Aviv University in Israel and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, have found a way to use bioengineered proteins to flip this preference, allowing more hydrogen to be produced.

“The algae are really not interested in producing hydrogen, they want to produce sugar,” Yacoby says — the sugar is what they need for their own survival, and the hydrogen is just a byproduct. But a multitasking enzyme, introduced into the liquid where the algae are at work, both suppresses the sugar production and redirects the organisms’ energies into hydrogen production. The work is described in a paper being published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and was supported in part by a European Molecular Biology Organization postdoctoral fellowship, the Yang Trust Fund and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Adding the bioengineered enzyme increases the rate of algal hydrogen production by about 400 percent, Yacoby says. The sugar production is suppressed but not eliminated, he explains, because “if it went to zero, it would kill the organism.”

Source: MIT Photo: Patrick Gillooly

Smartphones Measure, Turn Off Household Appliances: The Energy Literacy Platform

The Energy Literacy Platform is a tool that shows you how much electricity you are consuming in your home. Conserving energy is important both for the environment and economically, but how many people really know how much electricity the various appliances and devices around them consume? Or how much energy is conserved by being diligent about switching them off? Normally we only realize how much energy we have used once the bill comes from the electric company. However the bills we receive cannot tell us how much of that energy was used for the refrigerator and how much was used for the vacuum. With the Energy Literacy Platform we offer, users can learn about the amount of electricity they are consuming every day in a more intuitive way and increase their home energy literacy. Through this our goal is to reduce wasteful electricity usage and promote more efficient home energy consumption.

Energy Literacy Platform from sassor on Vimeo.

WikiSecrets: The biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history (Full Coverage)

Source: PBS

China Widens Lead in Renewable Energy Ranking: USA 2nd, India and Germany 3rd

China widened its lead over the U.S. as the most attractive country for renewable energy projects, following its “greenest” five-year plan to date, Ernst & Young LLP said.

China’s score out of 100 increased to 72 from 71 last quarter, while the U.S. remained in second place at 67 points in the consultant’s quarterly Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index released today in an e-mailed statement. India drew ahead of Germany to claim third spot.

Source: Bloomberg

Japan short of Geiger counters

Japanese consumers snap up geiger counters amid radiation fears, as manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand.

Web Magazine for Energy-Saving Housewives

With summer just around the corner, people are wondering how to save electricity following the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out some of Japan’s power supply. Big corporations and brands have already announced some measures, such as shutting down offices for long summer vacations, plus we are starting to see eco products designed with this kind of thinking in mind. But it is also a case of every individual consumer doing his or her bit.

A new Japanese web magazine is now offering free tips for conscientious housewives to prepare for what summer may bring. Setsuden Shufu no Tomo (literally, “energy-saving housewife friends”) has sections specifically on tactics for the summer season, though it also includes ideas for how to save gas and water.

Source: Japan Trends

TEDxTokyo: Soil-free Agriculture by Yuichi Mori

U.S. smart grid to cost billions, save trillions

A planned modernization of the U.S. national power grid will cost up to $476 billion over the next 20 years but will provide up to $2 trillion in customer benefits over that time, according to industry experts.

The so-called "smart grid" will save energy, reduce costs and increase reliability by delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way communication that can control appliances, the charging of electric vehicles and the flow of power from renewable sources at customers' homes.

Source: Reuters

President Barack Obama to visit storm-struck Missouri

Deadly Missouri Tornado: Devastates Joplin, Missouri, killing 116 people

A massive twister rips through Joplin, Missouri, killing 116 people.

Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan vows to boost renewable energy

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledged on Wednesday to boost renewable energy to at least 20 percent of Japan's electricity supply in the 2020s, as he reviews the role of atomic energy after the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

Kan also assured world leaders the Japanese economy was recovering strongly two and a half months after the massive earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan and left some 25,000 people dead or missing.

Source: Reuters

Hilary Swank Produces Documentary Film For Cancer Charity: Choose You

Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank has teamed up with the American Cancer Society to create a new short film to inspire women to take steps to making their health a priority.

The film, titled “Choose You,” will be a documentary that follows three women trying to make personal health a priority in spite of their schedules, work, and family commitments. Sound like something you can relate to?

It will mark the first anniversary of the Choose You movement, created by the American Cancer Society, to raise awareness that 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

Source: Ecorazzi

Watch Meghan McCain, Brandy Go Naked For Skin Cancer PSA

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rock that cabbage: Like Vegetables by Parry Gripp

Top 10 Veg-Friendly Major League Ballparks by PeTA

Take me out to the ballgame! Take me out to the crowd! Buy me faux-chicken and corn on the cob, nondairy smoothies, and veggie kabobs... The great American pastime has gotten even greater, as loads of vegetarian and vegan foods have been added to menus at ballparks across the country. Here is this year's list of stadiums that have us hoping for extra innings.

1. San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park
2. Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park
3. Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park
4. Atlanta Braves' Turner Field
5. Colorado Rockies' Coors Field
6. Oakland Athletics' Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
7. San Diego Padres' PETCO Park
8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Angel Stadium
9. Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park
10. Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park

Source: PeTA

The Fracking Song: My Water's On Fire Tonight

The Fight for Clean Water: Coal Seam Gas or Fracking Spread Virally

The production, export and burning of CSG for energy may be little or no better for our climate future than coal. As a gas, CSG burns cleaner than coal, yielding only 56% of the CO2 for the same heat output of coal. It also tends to produce fewer emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (Nox).

The gas industry claims "gas-fired power stations emit up to 70 per cent less greenhouse gases than existing coal-burning plants. The '70 per cent less' figure may be accurate if only combustion is considered. It does not include the emissions associated with producing the gas - the drilling of almost 20,000 planned wells, the fracking process, the compression, dehydration, scrubbing and liquefying of the gas; nor those involved in exporting it - purging, boil-back from cryogenic transfers, leakage during LNG transfers, boil-back in transit, powering of LNG ships; and finally, re-gasification before use. It also ignores the impact of deforestation of woodland for the production well sites, pipelines, service facilities, roads and power easements.

The global warming potential (GWP) of Methane is 72-times x more potent than CO2, making any fugitive emissions (leakage) of CSG that much worse. Methane emissions from the natural gas industry are equivalent to 1.4% of gross natural gas production. Fracking is a technique used to speed up the flow of methane gas from underground rock formations. It makes the rock that has contained the gas for tens of millions of years permeable. This increases the risk of fugitive emissions. This is also being ignored by the CSG industry. A 3% methane leakage rate cancels any greenhouse gas emissions advantage claimed for CSG over coal.

CSG may be cleaner than coal, but it is not clean, nor green.

Offshore Wind Development in Ontario, Canada: Moratorium on all offshore wind development

The number of wind turbines in Ontario has increased from a handful to almost 800 in just eight years, with windmills now supplying almost three per cent of the province’s electricity. But in recent weeks the wind has dropped out of the sails of the alternative energy industry in the province, with developers unsure about the future direction of wind development in Ontario.

The heady pace of wind development in Ontario has been due in large part to the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) program. It guarantees a 20-year price of 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for wind projects.

But the government announced a moratorium on all offshore wind development, saying more research was needed to determine health and environmental impacts, particularly with respect to projects in the Great Lakes.

Source: Offshore Wind

Solar-Powered Plastikoleum Tower Recycles Old Plastic Back into 900 Barrels of Oil a Day

The Plastikoleum Tower was designed after being impressed with the idea that the Japanese inventor Akinori Ito came up with to convert plastic waste back into the raw petroleum from whence it originally came. His company, Blest Corporation, sells various scales of his converter from 1kg capacity to 50kg. Ito has been traveling around the world demonstrating the small desktop version (shown below) which can convert 1kg of plastic waste material into 1 liter of oil which can be refined into gasoline, kerosene, or diesel.

What got us thinking is that the hour long process requires about 1KWh of electricity to create each liter of oil (the plastic must be heated to 500 degrees Celsius). Since one liter of oil equivalent equals 11KWh (measured in BTU’s), the process itself uses up 9% of the energy that is contained in the resulting product. We thought: what if instead of the electricity for the conversion coming from the grid (fossil fuel generated electricity), it came directly from the sun? And what if instead of converting 1-50kg of plastic, it converted 10 tons of plastic each hour?

We designed the Plastikoleum Tower as an interesting variation on the conventional solar power tower. The latest generation of this particular concentrated solar power technology is getting very efficient and is able to maintain 15 hour cycles of heat that maintain at least 500 degrees Celsius. For more about these, see the Torresol Energy Gemesolar plant (a collaboration with Masdar).

We designed the Plastikoleum Tower as an interesting variation on the conventional solar power tower. The latest generation of this particular concentrated solar power technology is getting very efficient and is able to maintain 15 hour cycles of heat that maintain at least 500 degrees Celsius. For more about these, see the Torresol Energy Gemesolar plant (a collaboration with Masdar).

Solar power towers generally are sized at around 20MW capacity. We’ve sized ours only at the capacity (10MW) that would be required to heat 10 tons of plastic (scaling up from the smaller models designed by Akinori Ito). At 10 tons per hour capacity, the tower could produce 60 barrels of oil every hour, or 900 barrels per day. With economies of scale in effect, it may be that 10MW could actually produce much more than that, but we’re being conservative in our estimate.

900 barrels per day would therefore net $90,000 per day from plastic feedstock that is either free or that the company could even charge for to help dispose of. That comes to $32 million per year in revenues, which should pay back the capital costs of the construction within just two years (based on a construction estimate of $2.5 million per MW installed capacity and accounting for operational expenses).

It should be noted that burning the resulting oil fuel will still contribute to CO2 emissions. But leaving the plastic in landfills also contributes to perhaps greater greenhouse gas emissions, and burning the plastic as-is creates 5x the CO2 emissions as compared to burning the oil that the plastic melts down into. The amount of oil per tower (900 barrels) that would be produced is literally a drop in the bucket (Abu Dhabi produces 2.8 million barrels per day). Nevertheless, towers such as this could become a useful source of fuel energy for geographical locations that have a lot of sun and a lot of plastic waste. We can see these being built in tandem with electricity generating towers in the future. Or perhaps residual heat energy within the Plastikoleum Tower can be used to generate steam power at the same time as the plastic is melted within the same tower (by running water through pipes within the melting chambers). Another thought is integrating this system into the fabric of a new urban community. The plastic is not combusted in the process (the heating must occur in a chamber free of oxygen) so there is no off-gassing or fumes of any kind. We can imagine an Ebenezer Howard garden city plan (one of his radial utopias), with each house shaded by a large heliostat. Source: Blagi See also: Land Art Generator Initiative and Zayed Future Energy Prize 2012: Open for Nominations – Total Prize Fund Now $4 Million

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