Saturday, December 31, 2011

Solar Homes Popular in Southern California

KB Homes, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., is expanding its solar program in Southern California due to the program’s great popularity there. Solar power systems from SunPower will now be included in almost all of its Southern California communities.

KB notes at least one reason why its solar home options are so popular (an obvious one to CleanTechnica readers, but worth repeating) — the solar power systems “can help KB homeowners reduce their monthly energy bills by as much as 80% and lower their cost of homeownership for years to come.”

“Consumers who buy a Built to Order™ KB home get the value of a custom home-like experience plus the tremendous energy efficiency of our latest advanced building techniques. And now, having solar included is like having the sun help pay their energy bills,” said Jeffrey Mezger, president and chief executive officer of KB Home. Fun phrasing there; interesting way to think about it — the sun is actually paying your electric bill!

Of course, for each home design option they offer customers, they show the electricity savings involved. Example:

“… at KB Home’s Newbury at the Enclave in Eastvale, Calif., a one-story, four bedroom home without a solar power system has an estimated monthly electric and gas bill of $108. With the expansion of KB Home’s solar power initiative, this home will now include a 3.15 kWp system as a standard feature and the estimated monthly electric and gas bill will be $27. Compared to a typical resale home, this new KB home is estimated to save a homeowner about $2,000 annually on energy costs.”

KB Homes started its solar offers in March 2011. At that time, 1.4 kWp SunPower systems were offered in 10 of its communities. Now, the smallest standard solar power option is 1.8 kWp, 28 communities are in the program, and over half of them include a 2.25 kWp or 3.15 kWp SunPower system as standard.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Volvo Leading the Hybrid Bus Highway

With congested cities that continue to grow, more and more cities are looking towards public transportation as a way to move people around and get people not using cars.

However, despite the benefits of public transportation, many public transit buses still run on good old fossil fuel diesel. With carbon emissions reaching record highs, one wonders if public buses running completely on fossil fuels and wasting energy is efficient.

Enter Swedish automotive company Volvo, which has been getting into the clean tech game in a big way by developing hybrid buses.

Anders Kroon, technical official with Volvo, and his team began to work on the concept of buses that would be more sustainable. Call them hybrid buses. Hybrid buses use a combination of an internal combustion engine, along with an electric engine, which can cut the amount of fossil fuel energy used by the bus.

Volvo’s process to create a superb hybrid bus took ten years, which involved a team that discussed how the technology would be developed.

When all was done, Volvo’s 7700 model was created. Over 300 of these buses have been shipped all over the world, from Brazil to Europe (including London), as demand has been brisk.

The buses cut carbon emissions by 50%, while saving on fuel by 34%, 7% more then the nearest competitor in the hybrid bus market.

Part of the reason for the massive cut in carbon emissions and fuel savings is from the way the team designed the bus.

The price for Volvo’s hybrid buses are more costly then regular buses. However, the energy savings make up for those costs with a full return on the investment within 5 to 7 years, according to sources from Volvo.

Only time will tell, with the success Volvo has had with its hybrid buses, if other companies will get more involved and build them. Only time will tell, also, when other regions of the world and other cities decide to think in long-term savings by investing in hybrids.

What do you think about hybrid buses and their potential for moving people in cities?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wind Industry Makes $10 Billion Case for Tax Credit

Nearing grid parity, wind industry wants to “finish the job”

As much as they wished otherwise, the seemingly annual rite whereby the wind industry trots out all those nifty pie charts and bar graphs explaining why extending the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy (PTC) makes good sense is once again upon us.

But this year is different because the wind industry is in the middle of a period of scaling up that is making wind power cost competitive with conventional sources of electricity. And it’s different because the industry is not asking for permanent support, according to American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode.

“We just want to finish the job,” Bode said today on a call with reporters. Bode and other wind industry representatives echoed the key findings of a report published today by Navigant Consulting.

In the absence of a PTC extension ["Scenario 1" in graph below], the Navigant study predicted another period of stagnation in new wind power capacity—with total wind investment falling by nearly two-thirds, from $15.6 billion in 2012 to $5.5 billion in 2013—echoing the “boom and bust” pattern of wind industry development that has characterized the American case over the last 15+ years. In the years following PTC expiration, installations dropped by between 73 and 93 percent, resulting in nearly catastrophic job losses for the wind industry and its suppliers.

“If this doesn’t [get extended] we really do face some tough times,” said John Purcell vice president of wind energy at Leeco Steel.

According to Purcell, the steel industry has added 3,000 steel manufacturing jobs tied to the wind sector since 2005.

“This has truly been a success story for the steel industry and the fabricators we supply steel to,” Purcell said.

Leeco Steel will sell 150,000 tons of steel plate to the wind industry in 2012 alone.

While the industry would obviously prefer the stable investment climate provided by a four-year extension, the lack of productivity in the current Congress thus far may mean the industry would have to settle for a shorter one-year extension of the PTC like the one passed at the end of 2010.

Major findings of the Navigant study include:

With no PTC extension…

* The U.S. wind market will shrink by 75% in 2013, down to 2 GW from the projected 8 GW in 2012.
* Total wind supported jobs will drop by nearly half, from 78,000 in 2012 to 41,000 in 2013.
* Total wind investment will drop by nearly two-thirds, from $15.6 billion in 2012 to $5.5 billion in 2013.

With a 4-year extension of the PTC…

* Total wind supported jobs will grow to 95,000 by 2016.
* Total wind investment will grow to $16.3 billion in 2016.
* The U.S. would avoid 170 million tons of CO2 emissions through 2016 (and beyond)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And you how to choose?

Although we do not see constantly in the news and that only certain programs that reflect this event, there are fewer fish in the sea due to overfishing. ¿Grave? Of course, but not irreversible if we all put a little on our part to protect marine life.

Unfortunately, too many people who think they can do little to this problem, they believe that only governments and fishermen are the ones who can do something to prevent depopulation. The reality is different, each one of us, each person is responsible for the environment, seas and earth.

When you buy fish or choose this dish in a restaurant, your choice is valuable, choose sustainable seafood. You can read at the shop, supermarket or even in the restaurant on the fish they offer, you can look at a seafood guide because it is important to know where it comes from the fish, if a species is in danger of termination or otherwise belongs to a species with large populations, and how not, is it the right size?

In addition, we suggest you try other types of fish, new flavors! The high demand for certain marine species leads to overfishing of the same, so why not change your diet of fish species tested less known but equally rich and healthy?

If you're worried you do not know cooking, be sure your fishmonger or orient yourself with a new cookbook! There is nothing better than starting to innovate to find a new kitchen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Expedition to the South Pole

This adventure is promoted by Acciona, global company and leader in renewable energy, water in sustainable infrastructure.

This expedition to the South Pole is not a simple adventure because it coincides with the anniversary of the first arrival of Roald Amundsen and Scott 100 years ago, is a real tribute to these great adventurers.

It also has an ultimate goal, to carry out different scientific projects in the hands of Acciona.

On this occasion, the protagonists of this adventure will be Ramon Larramendi, Javier Selva, Juan Pablo Albar and Ignacio Oficialdegui that despite having all the technologies at their disposal, will reach the South Pole in a few weeks thanks renewable energies, the wind and a vehicle very special.

The route will consist of 3,500 km these courageous actors will tour on Board of a very special sled, that it will move with the help of the wind with the comets that will rise up at the top of the front of the sled.

This way of approaching the action to the South Pole is bathed symbolism, a way of projecting a friendly future, a future of research promoted by renewable energy, taking care of the environment.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Major earthquakes in 2011

We will then analyze those that have been most serious damage, to not only generate economic damage, but also an irreparable loss of life and even changes in ecosystems, product of a direct or indirect contamination of the affected area.

The first of these natural disasters, occurred exactly on February 22, recorded an earthquake of 6.3 on the Richter scale, and while he shook much of the South of New Zealand, is taken as the Centre of the incident to the city of Christchurch.

They were immediately announced the sad figures of about 166 dead, more than 200 missing, as well as the evacuees product of a large number of buildings severely damaged or collapsed, including the historical cathedrals of the place.

A new earthquake occurred a few weeks of what happened in New Zealand, but this time in Yunnan (China) day March 10, taking a toll of 25 dead and some 250 people were injured due to an earthquake which registered 5.4 degrees of magnitude Richter.

Subsequent to this main movement has been at least some seven replicas, with a maximum of one magnitude 4.7 degrees on Richter scale, what reason for the evacuation of more than 100,000 people, as a preventive measure.

In the month of June, there were replicas of great magnitude, where it was feared that this incident happen again:

Finally, one of the most important natural disasters of recent times, happened on March 11, 2011, which has been named officially as the earthquake in the Pacific coast of the region of Tökohu, being an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 which created tsunami waves (also known as Tsunamis) with a height of up to 10 meters.

The most devastating consequences were not directly caused by this phenomenon, but rather resulted from the destruction of a nuclear power with the subsequent explosion plant in Fukushima nuclear power, with consequences which still persist due to the release of radioactivity.

This incident without precedent in the Eastern world registered a high rate in the international scale of nuclear events and has earned numerous volunteers join humanitarian aid, including the newly decorated group of Heroes of Fukushima.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Renewable Energy - Maybe

And while laboratories seek improvements that will give greater efficiency to future projects, in the present give very interesting progress with installation or projection short-term new wind and solar parks, which will help to continue to expand the amount of renewable generated energy. These are some of the highlights:

Solar energy not only can be used to generate electricity for the network, they can be captured directly by a large number of devices and appliances with its own solar cells. Thus, we avoid increasing the electricity network, while us we guarantee that the energy that we are using is 100% clean. Some of our elected this year are:

Therefore the fact that more and more State policies aimed at increasing energy savings and renewable energy generation is certainly something to highlight.

Even when looking at the complete picture we notice that they are often insufficient or not be accompanying consistently with other measures (which seem to point in the opposite direction). But whatever sum is positive and we fervently hope that every year Governments steps further in this regard.

View the original article here

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Green homes programme

It green homes program is to provide, to all those who want to follow him, advice and recommendations to save water and electricity, using the car more efficiently, learn how to Recycle in the proper way, learn about composting and so full of possibilities.

Because what he really wants is to promote self-control of the domestic consumption of water and energy in a simple way, introducing little little steps and saving behaviors involving no more than a simple change in the way of life.

In this way, a more ethical and more responsible purchase will not be as an effort but will be as something automatic, standardised.

The green homes program lasts a full year, and he often participate families and/or young people who want to learn how to lead a life more healthy and supportive environment.

These programs are carried out in various cities and municipalities of Spain as Las Rozas (Madrid), Ciudad Real, Toledo, Badajoz, Galicia, Tenerife, Valencia Community… Among other cities struggling to be solidarity.

But if it is not possible to register in your city or town hall, you can always follow the councils that are providing green home blog or that we have in Erenovables.

Do you know that we are we, citizens, responsible for 30% of energy consumption and 10 per cent of the total water in our country?

With these figures, the green homes program aims to raise awareness of the importance of these duties so that little by little people make an use more sustainable and solidarity of all those resources which are collective.

Otherwise, for many more compelling approach to it, is that through these changes in consumption can Save money and resources.In our hand is helping to make life possible now and many years to pollution reduction, that everyone can enjoy water cleaner and less polluted.

Because when one begins to make small changes, we are achieved when the great.

To finish the post today, I would like to leave you a I proverbio facing the green agenda that seems truly significant blog:

"Before changing the world, gives three laps around your House" (Chinese proverb)

We have made a selection of articles that can be you of interest for more information about energy saving modes, both water and electricity:

If you enjoyed this article might interest you following related courses. At we offer hundreds of courses with the possibility of employment at the end of

View the original article here

Friday, December 23, 2011

Solar cells cheaper and more efficient with low-quality Silicon

We told you of a new line of innovation in manufacturing of photovoltaic solar cells seems to reach one of the most important objectives for future of solar energy approach: increase efficiency and reduce the cost of the electricity generation.

Singapore researchers have taken advantage of the advanced technology that has developed in the creation of nanostructures to make a highly efficient Silicon cell and still cheaper. With this development, the researchers hope that the cost of solar energy can be reduced by half, which could certainly mean the opening of the renewable to millions of people in the world.

This development was carried out jointly by the University of technology of Nanyang (NTU) and the to * STAR Institute of microelectronics (IME). These new thin film solar cells using Silicon low-quality, a cheaper material, allowing a low final price. Exceptional for his invention is that they have found a technique which can generate electricity flows similar to those produced by traditional solar cells that contain such expensive high quality Silicon.

The new nano-estructuradas solar cells NTU-A * STAR can produce a stream of (34.3mA/cm2) - a world record for a solar cell of Silicon of class. This is possible through the creation of a unique texture using nanostructures on the surface of the solar cell, which are thousands of times smaller than a human hair.

To compare the resulting electrical current with the results of other types of solar cells, we can see it quite close to the traditional cells which is 40mA/cm2. While the conventional solar thin film cells typically produce about half of this stream.

The adoption of solar energy worldwide is hampered in large part by the high cost of traditional solar panels , and this is because they are made with high quality Silicon. To rectify this, has been used - as you had above - to low-quality amorphous silicon , a thin film has no texture-- which is 100 times thinner. However this material - is its natural form - is not as effective to convert sunlight into electricity, so it produces less energy.

The developed method is then to create a unique texture on the surface of amorphous, Silicon using nanostructures and thus improves the efficiency of conversion of energy (PCE) of thin film silicon cell and therefore increases the production of energy.

More about high efficiency solar cells:

Solar energy could have its future in the colder regions of the planet

Solar cells with efficiency of 45 %

High efficiency solar cells

A Virus improves the efficiency of solar cells

Solar Cell film fine record of 28.2% efficiency

View the original article here

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The ecological footprint

The ecological footprint is an indicator of the environmental impact generated by humans. Crudely, it is the effect we are producing on land based on inadequate, disrespectful and extreme exploitation of its resources.

The ecological footprint is expressed as the surface needed to produce the resources consumed by an average of a certain human community citizen, as well as the necessary to absorb the waste generated, regardless of the location of these areas.

We exploit the fields, forests, the sea... without leaving a space of time so you can regenerate itself, we do not give an only rest to land above the respect it is own economic good.

The calculation of the ecological footprint is based on the impact that makes each mode or way of life, i.e. communities of human on the planet by comparing it with its capacity.

This calculation is based on:

Certain materials and energy, as all existing products, have their origin in ecological systemsare needed to produce any product.In turn, become need ecological systems to reabsorbed waste that we have created to obtain our product or to use it.Later, fill all infrastructures that occupy the space needed for productive ecosystems.The calculation of the ecological footprint is complex and its data are often underestimated the real impact of human activity by the lack of available information.

Here, we show you the data from the calculation of the ecological footprint that took place in a study of 2003 at the global level (Semarnat, 2007)

In it you can see which activities are those more ecological footprint have generated in the population. To understand the result, keep in mind that have spoken earlier, the bases of calculation:

47.5% Burning fossil fuels22.0% agriculture7.6% wood, pulp and paper.6.7% Fishing6.3% livestock3.6% Nuclear energy3.6% urban settlements2.7% LeñaLa obtaining ecological footprint has made it possible to compare two completely different worlds under one common denominator, its impact to the environment. It allows us to see two closely related realities:

The first observation allows us to see the way of life of the rich countries of the planet can not to expand to the rest of its inhabitants.

While the second, if we talk in terms of sustainable global economy, the wealthy minority would have to reduce their consumption and their standard of living because there would be no sufficient planet that everyone lived as a well-off European citizen because of the exploitation of the resources based on the availability of fossil fuels.

That leaves us in conclusion, that the much of the developed countries ecological footprint exceeds exorbitant way its own surface, given the resources and discharges of waste extraction in places far removed from its territory.

View the original article here

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 International year of sustainable energy

The Agency seeks with this that the world's population takes consciousness about the importance of increasing sustainable access of the energy renewable in local, regional and global level.

To that, we mean when we talk about sustainable energy?. The "sustainable energy" is that energy is produced and used in such a way that promotes long-term human development in the social, economic and ecological field.

The lack of access to clean energy is a real obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium development goalsthere that by 2012 the United Nations should focus on this issue and the possibilities that gives us renewable energy to correct it.

Graficando this problem in figures can say that between 1400 and 1500 million people (about a world population of 7000 million) lack access to modern energy . While other 3 billion people depend on for the " traditionalbiomass " and coal as the main sources of energy. And as if this were little, another amount of millions of poor people cannot afford these energy services even if they are available.

Vale highlight that it is necessary to bring to reality the equation to comply with the real set objectives of The Millennium Development energy + sustainable development..

To this end, it is necessary to develop access to this energy modern, more economical and less polluting the world's poorest people.

To achieve this objective is essential then investment of technological resources to generate cleaner energy and at the same time improve the access of these new energy services to the community as a whole.

To ensure compliance with the "Millennium development goals" should be accompanied by national and international policies that encourage the use of new sources of renewable energy and low emission of greenhouse gases.

To the growing demand for energy worldwide is needed then the promotion of the development and dissemination of appropriate, affordable and sustainable energy technologies, as well as if necessary the transfer of technologies from advanced countries in developing countries.

That is why then that with the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, ONU-Energía, and a group of 20 United Nationsagencies coordination, they prepare the launch of a new proposal at the global level called Sustainable energy for all.

This play includes involving members of Governments, the private sector and civil associations around the world in order to achieve three specific targets for 2030. The main objectives are:

Ensure universal access to modern energy services. The more synthetic definition of 'access to energy' is the physical availability of modern energy services to meet basic human needs, at affordable costs. These energy services must be reliable, sustainable and, if possible, product of renewable energy or other energy sources with low carbon emissions. Reduce global energy intensity by 40%. Increase the use of renewable energy at the global level to 30 per cent.

Learn more about renewable energy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2012 International year of sustainable energy

Good news, no doubt, is for those who are in favour of the growth of renewable energy as a means for sustainable development. But certainly this "gesture" of the UN will not be a solution to the serious problems arising worldwide from the use of fossil fuels, it will be a good opportunity to bring more attention and point to awareness.

Why the UN choose this theme for the year 2012. One of the reasons pointing to the concept of energy as a means for the improvement of the quality of life of many (many) people around the world. In this regard, emphasize the social aspects of sustainable energyaccess.

The energy increases the productivity of farmers, helping to alleviate the scourge of hunger. Energy illuminates the learning on the way to reduce the high rates of illiteracy. Energy relieves the burden of work on millions of girls and women. Energy saves the life of sick children. Energy allows to modernize diagnosis systems, helping to prevent diseases or better care of children and pregnant women. Energy gives the operating rooms, giving doctors the power to heal and save lives. Energy enables communication and the improvement of life in thousands of previously isolated communities energy opens bridges to the future and helps equip opportunities.

While the benefits of sustainable energy that we have described just seem very encouraging, reality unfortunately far from take this to the majority of the people.

In the presentation of the project, the United Nations published very worrying statistics do not if corroborate the huge disparity in our world.

Approximately between 1400 and 1500 million (21 per cent of the world's population) has no access to modern energy . 3 billion people (40% of the population) depend of the « traditionalbiomass » or coal as a source of energy. At the same time, in countries with energy systems, millions of low-income people cannot access them by inability to pay this service.

The big leap to incorporate these masses of people to the possibility of electrical energy is a priority. But it is important to note that the energy must be sustainable. I.e., their production and their use must not harm to the environment or the communities. For this reason, the response to this need is renewable energy.

Renewable energy is inexhaustible, put in feeds on natural resources - as its name - you you renew: wind, solar, wave, geothermal sources, etc. It does not generate pollution in the process of generation.

And here do not complete the benefits... It is more economical in the long term, and does not require mega investment as it required for a nuclear power plant or a thermoelectric power station. It does not require a network to work, since it can be generated independently in each community and each House. And is more secure (only remember Fukushima).

In short, is the energy of the future… a future we must build.

View the original article here

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Animals in danger of extinction

An endangered species is a population of organisms that is at risk of extinction, so when we talk about animal and plant species. This critical situation can be achieved for various reasons: very low number of specimens, threats by environmental changes or predation.

It is necessary to clarify that extinction is also a natural mechanism that comes from thousands of millions of years ago. But we must recognize that in recent times, the impact of human activity on climate, ecosystems and numerous practices harmful against a large number of species have pushed many animals on the brink of extinction.

The situation is indeed worrying. The International Union for the conservation of nature (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species as 40% percent of all organisms (estimated on the basis of the sample of species that have been evaluated through 2006).

For some of these species, Governments and international agencies provide protection in an effort to achieve the conservation. This is done, for example, forbidding hunting and traffic, with the creation of reserves or funding breeding programs.

But unfortunately only a few of the many species threatened with extinction which are covered in these programmes. Many more are the species that are extinct, or potentially become extinct with the passage of time, without increasing public attention.

The State of conservation of the species is a cataloging that tells us the probability that the endangered species become extinct. Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species, not just the remaining number of specimens. Other highlights are the increase or decrease in the population through time, the pups survival rates, and threats to conservation.

Based on these criteria, has drawn up a Red list of threatened species. It catalogues the species into different categories. Let's see what are they and some examples of endangered animals.

Extinct : species completely disappeared. Examples: monk of the Caribbean, Tiger of Java or Macropus greyi (an Australian wallaby), all of which are extinct in the 20th century.Extinguido in nature: only surviving individuals in captivity, but there is no wildlife. Examples: Raven Hawaino, Wyoming Toad, Spix macaw.Critically endangered : faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the near future. Examples: Gorilla mountain, Iberian lynx, Ethiopian wolf, Bactrian camel, rhinoceros in Sumatra, Java, Philippine Eagle, orangutan, Sumatran Rhinoceros, and many other more-endangered : faces a high risk of extinction in the near future. Examples: blue whale, Asian elephant, Giant Panda, Malayan Tapir, Tiger, Asian Lion, Borneo Orangutan, Grevy, gorillas, African Penguin Zebra, Goliat frog. And the list continues and continues.Vulnerable : faces a high risk of extinction in the medium term. Examples: the African elephant, Lion, sloth bear, polar bear, Indian Rhinoceros, Komodo dragon, great white shark, hippopotamus, Chuck.
Here also the list is worryingly long.Near threatened: may be considered threatened in the near future. Examples: American bison, Leopard, Jaguar, shark Tiger, white rhinoceros, Magellanic Penguin.Least concern : no immediate threat to the survival of the species.

View the original article here

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guide to recycling

All those materials that have to do with cans and packaging of plastic, aluminium and I Cork are intended for this container.

Many times one asks do this Yes, this does not? and there is nothing as examples of everyday life to be clarified , in this case we talk about bottles, tetrabricks, cans, bags, trays, covers yogures…

There are many elements that we use every day have to end up in this container at the end of his life.

Despite the fact that increasingly more people which begin to separate into their homes the different types of waste, about 25% of waste in the yellow container are not correct.

In the blue container you have to take those paper materials such as newspapers, magazines, books (as long as have previously removed them the rings), boxes or packaging of paper.

If you already want to finish do things well, fold the cardboard everything you can that does not occupy much space and can keep introducing more waste in the container you has never happened to them you had to leave outside the container because they were not?A curious thing that many do not know, is that the napkins, tissue or another type of dirty paper is not included in the container because it makes waste.

The Green container is intended for all things connected with the glass such as bottles, the bottles or jars (eye! lids go to yellow)

He did not personally know this detail, but the ideal is that glass is deposited in the container without breaking so it is more usable.With some types of containers we quite complicated if not impossible, but it is good to know it!

Another aspect to take into account is that everything which are boats glass of medicines nor this is instead to have traces of substances should be going to the Sigre.

The vast majority of products are intended to end his days in this container which is more commonly known as "organic waste container".

In this container take place food waste, paper and dirty cartons which have named above, tires, plastics that are not containers, toys, etc.

Every city and town even has different types of containers, some are guided by colors, some with the word and some even carry both!Personally, felt that he knew enough of recycling where every thing was going, but after investigating the truth for this article is that I was surprised of what was assumed which really are.

I hope you have served, and that we should gradually move more people of conscience to the facts.

View the original article here

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nissan Leaf energy for home

Electric cars are still gaining its place in the world of automobiles, with a great infrastructure that includes stations cargo to increase their autonomy, and bearing pillars to great examples, such as the Nissan Leaf, one of the most award-winning and that now it has found a new utility.

A car of this type requires that, to reach our home, we exert to the electrical network to be able to recharge their batteries, something that usually be accompanied by some accessories that increase the loading speed, although this will now have a new purpose.

Engineers of the headquarters of Nissan in Yokohama have developed a home charging station that we will initially have functionality to recharge the batteries of our Nissan Leaf at a speed higher, easily transportable and without occupying much space.

Until now not many new features, but the interesting thing is that in addition, this accessory has the ability that, when it reached the total of the burden, it allows to be a source of energy for the home, enabling a delivery of up to 6 kW of electricity.

New advantages of decide to change a car with an internal combustion engine, on the other employing energy clean.

View the original article here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

T3 Electric Vehicle Launched (for Consumers)

T3 Motion, Inc., a producer of clean/green technology, announced the launch of a pretty cool-looking “power sports electric vehicle” at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California over the weekend. The T3 has traditionally been used by law enforcement, but is apparently ready for consumers now.

“T3 Motion’s initial focus on law enforcement facilitated its expansion into additional professional markets, particularly private security, military, and government,” the company notes.

“There are over 3,000 T3 Motion vehicles in operation, spanning nearly 30 countries worldwide and logging over 20,000,000 miles. These vehicles are currently used by the Pentagon, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), police departments, cities, municipalities, universities, airports, ports, military bases and other high-profile venues.”

Now it’s coming to consumers, with the following bragging rights:

operating cost of less than 1 cent per mile400 mpga “hot-swappable, plug-and-play battery module design that allows continuous vehicle operation without the downtime normally associated with the charging process”100% electriccharges in less than 3 hours25-40 miles per chargecamera/GPS option

Looks like a fun, nifty vehicle.

View the original article here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Third Gigantic Solar Roof in US – Apple Gets Visionary Headquarters

A just released update for the plans for the new Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley shows a modification to include solar panels covering the entire roof. ARUP North America and local engineering firm Kier & Wright will collaborate on the Foster + Partners plans to convert the new headquarters to a solar powerhouse.

Sustainable architects Foster + Partners are no strangers to visionary design concepts; their work includes the first ever port for commercial space travel. On the Apple building almost all of the 750,000 square foot building, as well as possibly a good part of the parking garage (another 320,000 square feet) will be sport a 5 MW solar array, enough power to supply nearly all the power needs of the huge campus.

The only comparable installations are a pair in New Jersey – which is home to the most favorable solar SREC market in the US. New Jersey SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) essentially make it possible to earn a guaranteed profit off of a solar roof for the next 20 years, at much better rates than the stock market.

The two are for Toys’r'Us - which has put up a 5.38 MW system on the roof of a distribution center, and Avidan Energy Systems which has a 4.26 MW system. In New Jersey, if utilities do not add a certain amount of renewable energy every year to the grid to meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) the utilities must buy a SREC certificate showing that some one else is shipping that much power to the grid.

Some solar is a requirement. Utilities must put over 200 MW of solar power onto the grid, or 3 percent of the energy they sell by 2020 (and that rises to 5 percent by 2026) or buy SRECs showing that someone else has done so. So Toys’r'Us and Avidan are making are fortune off selling their SRECs showing how much solar energy they are putting on the grid each year.

Apple also plans to solar-power a building in Maiden, North Carolina where it has 174 acres of usable space – enough for a fair bit of power – to supply a $1 billion data center. While you only need about as much (roof) space as a decent-sized living room to power the average home, commercial data centers have much more intensive energy needs.

View the original article here

Monday, December 12, 2011

Herbs The Natural Alternative

Drug Companies Make Millions In Profits Each Year.

Never Pay For Expensive 'Over The Counter Medicines' Again - Even If You CAN Afford It.

Are you sick and tired of paying out hundreds of dollars for prescription medicines that only seem to make you feel worse?

For centuries there have been alternative ways to heal and prevent disease, but drug and pharmaceutical companies make enormous amounts of money and dismiss these treatments as fake.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Solar Training Mandatory to Produce Efficient Solar Thermal Installations

In 2008, the United States' solar thermal industry underwent a period of noteworthy growth. With the Great Recession in full force in 2009, the economic situation worsened and lowered consumer spending as well as decreased the demand in the solar thermal industry. In 2010, the solar thermal industry slowly recovered and experienced an optimistic growth in which solar thermal installations began to increase in popularity. Consumers started realizing that solar thermal installations are a very efficient technology that greatly improve the return on investment and increases their property's value.

A new innovation in the solar thermal industry that received a lot of the consumers' attention is the growing trend towards combination solar hot water and home heating systems. These systems are custom-made to fit each home's needs and require well-trained system designers and installers.

Heating and hot water are the largest consumers of energy. The combination solar hot water and home heating systems help decrease a home's energy use and contribute to a decrease in energy bills, but the combination systems are difficult to design and install since homes vary in size and have different needs. Installers often face challenging situations integrating equipment into a cost-efficient solar thermal combination system for homes.

?Unfamiliarity with these components or system design increases the time required to build a project and contributes to the overall costs hurting the customer's return on investment and potentially jeopardizing the project completely,? said Nigel Rudell, vice president of operations at Apricus Inc., and Eric Skiba, technical engineer at Apricus Inc. Therefore, the solar thermal industry requires a well-trained workforce to take on the challenges of design and installation.

The solar thermal industry has proven steady growth, and it is important that workers receive on-site solar training in order to make the solar industry meet its anticipated growth rate in future years. Workers need to make sure combination solar hot water and home heating systems work efficiently, and only the right solar installation training will allow for this to happen. Being trained at a solar training school creates a workforce that is ready to take on the challenges of solar installation and design. The solar thermal industry requires workers to attend solar installation courses in order to be considered as having the knowledge, skills and abilities needed towards performing the job correctly.

?As demand for these systems increases, a lack of knowledgeable installers could hamper market growth, creating a niche market of installers. Training sessions will help grow a network of competent installers capable of designing and installing these systems, meeting anticipated industry growth,? continued Rudell and Skiba. ?To help achieve market acceptance, the entire industry must put an emphasis on providing adequate solutions and solar training so that distributors and their installers have access to materials and products that allow them to design a system with confidence.?

It is extremely important that the solar thermal industry workforce has the drive to receive solar installation certification because combination solar hot water and home heating systems is a hard job to take on. With adequate solar training, efficient systems will be installed at a faster pace and at a lower cost, allowing to achieve the goal of more solar thermal installations on homes.


View the original article here

Friday, December 9, 2011

Energy Education Is The Need of The Hour

The conventional energy sources, primarily, coal, petroleum and natural gas are consumed on large scale globally and these non-renewable resources cannot be restored. Hence deep investment in alternative energy is imperative.

A recent news article, stated U.S President Barack Obama to have raised an alarm by endorsing the need of investing in clean energy, as it is one of the ways to combat rising gas prices and straining family budgets.

Based on these comments by the president, CEES considers energy education a very important aspect, which will play an important role for the Non-Renewable and Renewable energy industry in the world. So, why is Energy Education a significant goal?

* President Obama has emphasized the need to spend on clean energy- including wind, solar power, electric cars and energy efficient buildings. The government support has improved the scope of clean energy consumption in the US, thus boosting the economic growth. European, Asian and other markets globally are funding massively for environment-friendly initiatives.
* Many alternative sources of energy are being used in various industries and organizations. It is thus noted that clean energy is getting the expected leverage and many new jobs are being created in this field. Slowly but steadily, the importance of green energy is spreading globally and the professional gamut in the energy field is enlarging day by day.
* One of the most fundamental aspects of the energy industry today is the rise in the demand for professionals who are in sync with the global and national energy needs, policies, economics, technology etc. As the demand for energy jobs is picking up, many students, professionals, retirees and homemakers are harnessing their efforts to get the right education required so that they can contribute to a better and a brighter future.

Some institutes including CEES provide quality energy education for students and professionals alike.

"Energy is getting exhausted,
Renewable resources must be adapted,
Efficient and effective thought,
Mustn't green energy be sought?
Let there be no haste, green energy is absolutely not a waste!"

We feel energy education is the need of the hour and lessons in energy education can definitely strengthen the global environmental picture.


View the original article here

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cleantech Policy Round-Up (10 Stories)

Time for another round-up. This one’s on some of the top cleantech policy stories I’ve seen around in the past week or so.

1. Spain Now Allowing Net Metering for Small Power Plants!

“Spain’s government passed a decree [last] Friday designed to make it easier for small power plants to connect to the grid and pave the way for their operators to become self-sufficient,” Reuters reports. “Government spokesman Jose Blanco told a weekly news conference the measure was aimed at renewable energy sources, particularly photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight into electricity.”

2. U.S. Could Save Over $80 Billion in Lower Energy Costs by Switching to Clean, Safe, Renewable Energy

“Titled Toward a Sustainable Future for the U.S. Power Sector: Beyond Business as Usual 2011' and available online at, the new Synapse/CSI report outlines a realistic transition to a cleaner energy future that would result in a net savings of $83 billion over the next 40 years,” a recent news release reports. “The Synapse report also details other major benefits, including: the avoidance of tens of thousands of premature deaths due to pollution; the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs; sharp cuts in carbon pollution; and significant cuts in water consumption for power production.”

3. U.S. Puts $112 Million in Energy-Efficient Transit

“The U.S. Transportation Department is sending $112 million to projects across the country to help build energy-efficient transit vehicles and facilities,” Reuters reports. “The money, intended to create environment-friendly transportation options as well as construction jobs, will be shared among 46 projects.”

4. Climate Change More Important than Financial Crisis to Europeans

“Europeans are more concerned about climate change today than in 2009 and they believe that fighting climate change can boost the economy and create jobs,” Vestas (a job-creating wind turbine company) reports. “ Between 2009 and 2011, the share of citizens who feel that climate change is the most serious problem has increased from 17% to 20%. Also, EU citizens believe that the seriousness of climate change has increased compared to two years ago.” (The only issue Europeans were more concerned about was “poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water,” which is quite clearly tied to climate change anyway.)

5. Regional Cap-&-Trade Creating Economic Growth in Northeastern U.S.

“A regional cap-and-trade program launched in the northeastern U.S. three years ago has saved customers nearly $1.1 billion on electricity bills, helped create 16,000 jobs, and has retained more than $765 million in local economies by reducing the demand for fossil fuels, according to a new analysis,” Yale e360 nicely summarizes. “While the future of the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) remains in jeopardy — with New Jersey planning to drop out and other states also considering leaving — the study by the Boston-based Analysis Group finds that the project has had real benefits for the ten participating states.”

6. EPA Clean Air Rules Boost Economy, Create Jobs

“A new study details the positive impacts on the economy and job creation resulting from companies’ investments in emission control technology in response to new air pollution rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” a news release last week states. “The report, “New Jobs – Cleaner Air Part II: An investment in American Businesses and American Jobs,” released today by Ceres in collaboration with the Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC), highlights specific case studies of companies involved in building a fleet of modern power plants.”

“As Congress continues to debate how best to create jobs, we already know one area that is poised for more jobs – the utility sector. As companies invest in upgrades to their older, less efficient power plants to comply with EPA air pollution rules, jobs will be created at supplier’s manufacturing centers all the way down the supply chain to the actual construction sites,” said Ceres president, Mindy Lubber. “Hands down, clean air is a good thing and putting these air pollution rules into effect at a time when new jobs and economic growth are desperately needed is the right thing to do.”

7. Energy Efficiency Creates Jobs, and How

“For many years, ACEEE has done analyses and written reports on the role of energy efficiency in creating jobs,” ACEEE reports. “[Our new] fact sheet seeks to de-mystify how net job impacts should be estimated, and demonstrate how investments in cost-effective energy efficiency improvements can yield a net positive benefit for the nation’s overall employment.”

8. U.S. Supports Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax!

“A majority of Americans across the political spectrum support policies that reduce carbon emissions, including a revenue-neutral carbon tax, according to a new survey by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication,” Yale e360 reports.

In a survey conducted between Oct. 20 and Nov. 6, 65 percent of respondents said they would support a revenue-neutral carbon tax to help “create jobs and decrease pollution” — including 51 percent of those identifying themselves as Republicans, 69 percent of independents, and 77 percent of Democrats. Sixty percent said they would support a $10-per-ton carbon tax if the money was spent reducing federal income taxes. That support continued even when respondents were told the carbon tax would “slightly increase the cost of many things you buy, including food, clothing, and electricity.” Support for the tax dipped to 49 percent if the revenue was instead returned to each family as an annual check, and to just 44 percent if it was spent paying down the national debt. Sixty-nine percent said they oppose federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, while 54 percent opposed ethanol subsidies.

9. Bill Gates Urges U.S. to Triple Its Investment in Cleantech

Bill Gates wants the U.S. to triple its cleantech investments to $16 billion a year, noting that we’re lagging behind China, France, and Canada in this arena. Writing in the journal Science last Friday he mentioned a report by the American Energy Innovation Council and said the extra money could come from cuts in investments and subsidies to well-established energy industries. Sounds good to me (and the majority of the U.S.)!

10. China Probing U.S. Renewable Energy Support

The potential solar trade war heated up on Friday as China announced that it was investigating government policy and subsidy support for renewable energy in the U.S. “The announcement by the Commerce Ministry also comes after China’s solar industry association said on Tuesday that Chinese solar companies may ask Beijing to launch an anti-dumping and subsidy probe into imports of U.S. polysilicon, the raw material used to make solar cells,” Reuters reports.

View the original article here

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wisconsin slips five notches in energy efficiency ranking

Wisconsin’s move to roll back funding increases for programs that help homeowners and businesses save on energy bills was criticized in a report Thursday by a national energy efficiency advocacy group.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released a scorecard rating states’ efforts in the area of energy efficiency.

Wisconsin was in the top 10 several years ago but ranks 16th in this year’s scorecard. Massachusetts was the top state overall, and Michigan and Illinois were cited as among the most improved states.

“Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs,” said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE senior policy analyst and the report’s lead author.

“With even higher energy savings possible, we expect leading states to continue pushing the envelope next year and inspire those at the bottom of the rankings to embrace energy efficiency as a core strategy to gain a competitive advantage by generating cost-savings, promoting technological innovation, and stimulating growth,” he said.

Wisconsin has lost some ground while other states have made significant pushes to set up initiatives that provide incentives to consumers and businesses to conduct energy-saving retrofits. Improvements by Michigan and Illinois pushed those states to rankings just behind Wisconsin.

The report saluted efforts in Arkansas, Rhode Island and Arizona, which “worked with utilities and adopted significant energy efficiency regulations,” the report says.

“Despite significant progress, some states have slowed or stepped backward in the race to save energy. New Jersey and Wisconsin have both diminished investments in utility-sector energy efficiency and Arizona is considering a law that will reduce transportation efficiency in the state.”

View the original article here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Brazilian solar initiative serves as model to better the lives of world’s poorest

My Clean Break column this weekend takes a look at the efforts of Brazilian social entrepreneur Fabio Rosa and how, with the donation of 560 solar panels from Canadian Solar Solutions, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., impoverished villages in the Amazon will soon get a clean, reliable source of power for keeping lights on, pumping clean water, and keeping medicine, vaccines and food cooled. This initiative demonstrates clearly how solar, beyond simply adding more renewable energy to the power mix of developed countries, has the potential to directly improve the well-being of millions of individuals around the world living on a few dollars or less per month.


A number of impoverished villages in Brazil’s Amazonia region will soon receive a life-changing Christmas present from Canada.

As you read this a shipping container full of 560 solar panels is en route to Brazil aboard the cargo ship MSC Santhya. The panels, worth nearly $1 million (when shipping and delivery costs are factored in), were donated by Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. and manufactured out of the company’s new facility in Guelph.

Once these made-in-Ontario panels arrive in Brazil, they will be transported to a handful of villages and, come spring 2012, installed atop schools, hospitals, and water-pumping stations. The power they produce will be used directly, or stored in golf-cart batteries so the energy from the sun can be used at night.

It’s all part of a program started in 2001 by Brazilian social entrepreneur Fabio Rosa, who, along with help from Canadian investigative journalist Paul McKay, are on a mission to bring clean water, light, refrigeration, basic communications and, ultimately, better health and education to some of the poorest people on the planet.

McKay was a reporter at the Ottawa Citizen when he travelled to Brazil in 2004 to do a series of stories. It was there that he met Rosa and learned about how something as simple as a solar panel could have such a profound impact on the lives of so many.

Solar may have a growing role to play in cleaning up Ontario’s electricity system, creating green jobs, and helping homeowner reduce their environmental footprint – and their guilt.

But in these remote Brazilian communities with no connection to a power grid, solar technology can both enrich and save lives. Medicine, vaccines and food can be kept cool 24 hours a day. Light can come from CFL bulbs and LEDs instead of kerosene lamps that emit toxic fumes indoors. Sun-powered pumps can supply a constant flow of clean water.

The problem is villagers typically make as little as $2 a day. “There are 20 million people in Brazil without access to electricity and they can’t afford the panels themselves,” explains McKay, who in “retirement” is now a green energy advocate running his own foundation that acts as a kind of North American ambassador to Rosa’s efforts.

“Most utilities there have been privatized and are not interested in going after tiny customers in remote places.”

Rosa is offering these villagers an alternative, but to be clear, he isn’t giving the technology away. What he has developed is a low-cost leasing model that makes the systems and the energy they produce accessible to the poor.

Typically, he will install a solar panel, a battery, a charge controller, a few lights, and a water pump in each home and then charge less than $15 a month for what, in essence, is the service this equipment provides.

Keep in mind that these individuals would already be paying $15 a month on candles, batteries, and kerosene that would no longer be required, so there is no additional financial burden. What they get in return, however, is a far better quality of life and work.

Something as simple as the ability to pump water automatically for a cash crop operation can also generate new income for villagers.

The panels supplied by Canadian Solar will go a step further. Instead of being used to support individual households, they will support entire villages by bringing power to schools, hospitals, central pumping stations and even Internet and cellphone stations.

Milfred Hammerbacher, president and chief executive of Canadian Solar Solutions, which is a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., says the decision to get involved came in 2010 after McKay brought Rosa to the company’s factory for a presentation.

The company fell in love with the idea, recalls Hammerbacher.

“It was a great opportunity for us to help out,” he says. “On a personal level, it’s really why I got into the solar business in the first place. There are so many cases where a few solar panels can make such a huge difference in people’s lives.”

Next spring, the company will be sending down a team of employees to help install the systems.

McKay says the donation of so many panels is significant and takes Rosa’s program to a new level. It has taken years to install 300 systems, as Rosa could only raise enough money to purchase five to 10 panels at a time. He also has to raise funds for all the batteries, pumps and lights that go with each system.

He hopes that by having Canadian Solar show such good will, other suppliers and non-governmental organizations will step up to the plate. In that regard, McKay’s and Rosa’s next priority is to get a similarly large donation of batteries to go with the panels.

The potential is there to grow Rosa’s program throughout Latin America and into the poorest regions of Africa and Asia. Indeed, that’s their plan.

It’s an idea that Hammerbacher finds appealing. “This is something we’d like to do on a long-term basis,” he says. “There are many other organizations like Rosa’s around the world that we’d like to support if we can.

“I hope a lot of other solar companies follow.”

View the original article here

Monday, December 5, 2011

Zero Touch Energy Audit: Will it Change the Game?

What new energy efficiency technologies will change the game? I’d like to use this space on occasion to explore that question and get your feedback on companies that I profile.

This week’s company is FirstFuel Software, which it appears could make the conventional energy building audit go the way of the buggy whip.

FirstFuel ‘audits’commercial buildings from afar. No human ever needs to set foot in the building and no monitoring or measurement devices are installed on the premises, hence the audit is “zero touch.”

The Massachusetts-based company relies on a Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Internet, and a proprietary algorithm to remotely analyze a building’s energy use. The program requires some data from the utility, but not a lot: the address of the building and one year of hourly interval electric and gas billing information. It combines this information with building characteristics mapped through GIS and high frequency weather and climate data.

After running all of the information through its algorithm, FirstFuel comes up with a series of specific recommendations to improve the buildings efficiency, the cost and the expected savings.

FirstFuel, which has financial backing from Battery Ventures and Nth Power, describes its work not so much as auditing, but as mining useful data to make sense of a building’s energy profile.

“We sell information. We provide the intelligence about the performance of buildings,” said Swapnil Shah, co-founder and CEO, in an interview. Shah is the veteran of three software startups that have gone to IPO or acquisition: Open Environment, WebSpective Software and mValent.

FirstFuel’s work doesn’t end with the audit; the platform continues monitoring and measuring the building to see if the energy efficiency upgrades are working and how the building stacks up against other like structures. The information flows via a portal that serves as home to a relationship the platform attempts to cultivate between the utility and customer. The goal is to get the customer engaged and motivated about energy efficiency.

What’s interesting is the scale FirstFuel appears to offer. Many states have energy efficiency targets, some with financial penalties if utilities fail to make the grade. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has set a goal to reduce energy use in commercial buildings by 20 percent over the next decade. Given that commercial buildings consume 20% of our energy, and there about five million commercial buildings in the US, how does a utility get to all of them in its territory with an on-site energy audit? How does it even decide which buildings should get priority because they offer the most bang for the buck?

Shah thinks FirstFuel’s platform offers the solution: “We can do hundreds of buildings in the time it takes to do one energy audit” Shah said.

The software is being tested in about 50 buildings. A Department of Energy-funded project earlier this year evaluated the accuracy of the system against data from 50 submeters at a 312,000 square-foot LEED Platinum National Grid building in Waltham, Massachusetts. FirstFuel took about 19 hours to complete its zero touch analysis of the building and came up with results close to that of the submeters, according to the study, conducted by Fraunhofer CSE.

In another case study, FirstFuel analyzed the energy usage of five municipal buildings in Lexington, Massachusetts, and found ways to save 7.3% of the buildings $1.6 million budget with no investment required by the building owner. FirstFuel identified operational problems that if fixed could save energy without installation of any new equipment in the building. For example, lights were on in the building when no one was there and thermometers were not set at best temperatures.

So is FirstFuel a game changer? How will this technology affect the conventional energy auditing business?

View the original article here

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Portable solar lamp

This small portable solar lamp is a development of Sunnyside up Solar and has been dubbed ´Signature your´. The name comes from the hand of drawing on his forehead showing their signature on the inside of a lamp. This lovely design makes that to light, glows the silhouette of the bulb, only that this time we can have it on hand or take with us on a night walk.

The lamp consists of two bulbs LED, a switch and two AA batteries that are rechargeable. Its tiny size (14 x 10 cm) is one of the best things about this solar lamp that you can carry it wherever you want, whether in camps for weekend or night tours.

It's a very good idea, in fact, that with just leave the lamp to the Sun during the day can be used by how many hours of the night.

A charge during the day allows that the lamp of five to seven hours you can use at night. When the solar lamp glows so do it automatically, you can schedule. It is already on sale in some stores of EE.U.S. by $38.

View the original article here

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Too Mod for Batteries: Ioxus Introduces iMOD Ultracaps

Ioxus is a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for transportation, alternative energy, medical, industrial and consumer markets. Ioxus has focused on improving capacitor technology, specializing in electric double layer capacitors (EDLC).

The Oneonta, New York, company recently announced the release of its 16V/58F iMOD Ultracapacitor Module Series for alternative energy markets (pictured above).

The iMOD is an ultracapacitor comprising a plurality of in-line high voltage capacitors which provide power for such green technologies as wind turbine pitch control systems, start and drive systems on hybrid vehicles, and power conditioning for renewable energy systems. The iMOD allows for in-line high voltage capacitors sized to parallel or replace common battery sizes.

According to Cleantech PatentEdge™, Ioxus currently owns one U.S. utility patent and has at least four pending U.S. patent applications, all relating to ultracapacitor technology.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2010/0053844 (’844 Application) is entitled “High voltage EDLC cell and method for the manufacture thereof” and directed to an EDLC having a unit cell structure with alternately interleaved electrodes formed lithographically and a separator between the electrodes and impregnating an electrolyte therein. The ’844 Application also describes a manufacturing process for the EDLC cells.

U.S. Patent No. 7,830,646, is entitled “Multi electrode series connected arrangement supercapacitor” and directed to an EDLC series stack formed into a single electrolyte cell structure. The figure below shows a complete 12-volt EDLC in a poly bag package.

An EDLC device (10) includes five concatenated electrode assemblies (34-38). Voltage monitor/control tabs (39-42) extend external to poly bag (31), which provides a lightweight, puncture resistant, air-tight seal for the cell stack. The power tabs (32, 33) and voltage monitor/control tabs (39-42) provide the complete electrical interface.

Ioxus ultracapacitors have many applications in green technology. For example, they have previously been used on wind turbines to control the pitch of rotor blades relative to wind speed in order to maximize efficiency. Rotor blade pitch control is also used as a safety feature to slow or stop the turbine when wind speeds are too high or in the event the turbine loses connection to the grid.

Compared to batteries, ultracapacitors are preferred for use in wind turbines due to their light weight, solid state design, and ability to operate in cold conditions. Ultracapacitors also require very little maintenance and have an approximate ten-year life span – twice as long as most batteries.

According to Ioxus’ press release, the iMOD modules deliver easy to install, ready to use, and durable ultracapacitor modules at a lower price and with improved cell balancing.

According to Chad Hall, Ioxus Founder and Vice-President of Sales, “This is a complete, ready to install package. You can go up to 750V without any external management, you can run parallel to a 12V battery or replace a 12V battery. It’s ruggedized to handle insustrial environments.”

While ultracapacitors charge quickly, they are limited in application as they also discharge quickly. They are ideal when relatively short bursts of electricity are needed. As this technology improves, its application will undoubtedly increase.

Are ultracapacitors the new battery? Due to their lack of long term power delivery, ultracapacitors are not ready to replace batteries yet, however, they are certainly preferred in some situations.


View the original article here



Friday, December 2, 2011

Smart phones power consumption cut by more than 70 percent

ScienceDaily (Nov. 25, 2011) — Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have designed a network proxy that can cut the power consumption of 3G smart phones up to 74 percent. This device enhances performance and significantly reduces power usage by serving as a middleman for mobile devices to connect to the Internet and handling the majority of the data transfer for the smart phone. Historically, the high energy requirements of mobile phones have slowed the adoption of mobile Internet services in developing countries.

-- This new solution is particularly valuable in developing countries because it provides significantly more effective Internet access to a much larger number of people. At the moment, only a small percent can access the Internet from a wired connection, but 90 percent of the African population lives in areas with mobile phone network coverage. Mobile phone usage is increasing rapidly, however the use of mobile Internet services is hindered by users not having access to the power grid to recharge their phones," says Professor Jukka Manner from Aalto University.

The case study conducted at Aalto University examined Internet usage in three East African countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Researchers developed energy-saving solutions for smart phones that could be easily deployed across a mobile network and in particular in areas without reliable sources of electricity. In addition to the new, optimized proxy solution, the researchers found that the power consumption of smart phones could also be significantly reduced by mobile optimized websites, HTTP compression and more efficient use of data caching.

The study was published at the scientific conference Africomm 2011. The research began in the Future Internet research program of TIVIT and funded by Tekes -- the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The work has been continued in the ECEWA project funded by Tekes, with partners from European Communications Engineering Ltd, Efore Plc, Ericsson, Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology.


View the original article here

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dawn of the New Algae: cleaning up and enriching biofuels, with biofuels

Iowa algae and corn ethanol project points the way towards optimizing delivery of feed, fuel, carbon reduction.

In our 10-part series, the Bioenergy Project of the Future, based on extensive interviews with industry leaders, we outlined what is expected to be the multi-product, multi-input structure of biofuels and biomaterials projects in the future.

In step 1, we identified the acquisition of an existing first-generation ethanol plant as an appropriate base, because it had so many assets already in place, including a feedstock aggregation system, relations with growers and customers, rail lines, roads, water, power and so on.

In steps two through nine, project developers would add in a variety of inputs and outputs that would increase the product value, stabilize the input costs, and improve the carbon footprint and impact of the project.

2. Cellulosic biomass feedstock
3. Renewable chemicals
4. Advanced drop-in biofuels
5. Algal fuels and materials
6. Bio-ammonia
7. Renewable diesel
8. Lowest-cost waste feedstocks
9. Solar, wind and other renewablesThe most complete realizations of that vision at scale, to date, are the POET Liberty Project in Emmetsburg, Iowa; the Gevo biobutanol project in Luverne, Minnesota; the Amyris (AMRS) SMA Indústria Química project in Brazil; and the Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) project in Shenandoah, Iowa – in which an algal fuels and biomaterials project in underway in partnership with BioProcessAlgae.

The Green Plains project is by far the least-known of the three – given POET’s position as the largest privately-owned, dedicated ethanol producer, and given the deserved hoopla over Amyris’ and Gevo’s (GEVO) successful IPOs in the past year.

In the POET project, they have taken on the most direct route to the Bioenergy Project of the Future, by adding in  cellulosic biomass feedstock, and moving on to the production of fuels in 2013 when the 25 million gallons Project LIBERTY plant officially opens at scale.

In the Amyris project, they have established a joint venture with an existing 8.5 million tonne sugarcane ethanol project in Pradópolis, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, owned by Usina São Martinho. Starting in Q2 2012, Amyris and São Martinho plan for the joint venture plant to produce Biofene, a renewable hydrocarbon, which would be used as an ingredient in detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, industrial lubricants, and diesel. In their case, they are still testing out cellulosic feedstocks, but have added in renewable chemicals and renewable diesel to expand their high-value product portfolio.

In the Gevo project, they have acquired an existing corn ethanol plant as a base, and are busy converting that production over to isobutanol, which is scheduled to commence at-scale in March 2012. In the Gevo case, they have skipped over (for now) the addition of cellulosic feedstock, but likewise added in renewable chemicals and advanced drop-in fuels to diversify the product portfolio.

Of all of them, the Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae project in Shenandoah is the first to reach step five of the multi-step transition we identified – which is to bolt-on an algal fuels and materials capability to an existing corn ethanol production system

It’s all still at relatively small-scale. The partners will have to prove they can sustainably produce, harvest and process the algae. But it’s significant in three ways, for sure.

First, it massively changes the carbon footprint and impact of a corn ethanol project. Almost one-third of the corn kernel, by weight, is transformed into carbon dioxide in the ethanol fermentation process, and the algae can remediate that usage by absorbing the CO2 in its own growth process. It’s not carbon sequestration – that’s different, because the algae itself will be utilized for fuels and biomaterials. But it is capture and re-use, or a second bite of the cherry, and dilutes the carbon impact by creating a second batch of fuels or materials for the same given bushel of corn.

(You may be wondering how they grow algae at all in the state of Iowa during the colder six months of the year, without using bioreactors that are simply too cost intensive. Ah, that’s where the process heat and steam that comes off an ethanol paint comes in handy.)

Second, it changes the economics of the corn ethanol project. Though it remains exposed to the commodity price swings in the corn market, except to the extent to which it can achieve fixed-price or partially-fixed contracts with growers – it is far less exposed to the commodity price of ethanol. Biodiesel, for example, comes into play, or other bio-based materials made from algae – omega-3 laden fatty acids, for example that make for rich protein.

More importantly, the economics of algae do not work unless a project is using the entire biomass – either for feed, to gasify for fuel, or to provide energy back to the system. So, making algae work as a feed system is important to the economics.

Third, making algae work as a secondary feed source can substantially add to the feed options available to the meat and dairy industries, that have been sore as heck in having to compete with ethanol plants for corn-based feed, and have been running a first class, textbook “fear, uncertainty and doubt” campaign against ethanol that has befooled and beguiled, apparently, most of the US Congress.

So – for many reasons, one of the big question marks is whether algae strains that can tolerate industrial gases will work as an animal feed.

So it is significant that, yesterday, Green Plains Renewable Energy and BioProcess Algae announced the successful completion of the first round of algae-based poultry feed trials. The algae strains produced for the feed trials demonstrated high energy and protein content that was readily available, similar to other high value feed products used in the feeding of poultry today.

The algae strains used in the feed trials were grown in BioProcess Algae’s Grower Harvester reactors co-located with Green Plains’ ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. The test was conducted in conjunction with the University of Illinois led by Dr. Carl M. Parsons, a leading expert in the field of poultry sciences.

“This was the first time we tested algae as a poultry feed-product and many of the qualities found were similar to high protein soymeal, but with higher energy content,” said Dr. Parsons. In addition to the high energy and protein content, the testing found amino acid profiles similar to existing feed components. The University of Missouri analyzed the results and provided an independent third-party validation.

“Based on these first-round tests, we will continue the development of this and other high-quality animal feed products from our algae. We will proceed with further testing for poultry and begin evaluating a replacement product for fishmeal,” said Tim Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BioProcess Algae. “We can now look into the opportunity to use algae as a ‘carrier’ for higher value products going into poultry feed such as Omega-3s.”

So, there’s reason for increased optimism on the algal fuels and materials front. Next steps for BioProcess Algae include further feed trials, and more importantly, continuing to knock down the production cost. Their current costs, at the scale they are producing, are sure to be too high, but how fast they knock them down in their science of growth and engineering of a low-cost production system will be key. We expect that, if they had a path to parity with $80 oil already figured out, the public might well have heard about it.

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