Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What’s the Return on Investment on Solar Thermal?

I just received this terse question from a reader: “What’s the ROI (return on investment) on solar thermal?”

I responded, hoping to prompt more discussion: “That’s an interesting but impossible question to answer. What is the nature of your interest in the subject, if I may ask?”

I post this brief conversation because it’s indicative of two much larger and incredibly important issues:

1) Computing the ROI for investors in new technologies like these is impossible, as no one can pick the winners from the losers at this point. Personally, I’m betting on solar thermal, and, though many agree, there are far greater minds than mine that don’t see it this way.

2) Not to get too flippant, but what’s the ROI on saving our civilization from destruction? According to Lester Brown, whom the Washington Post calls “one of the world’s most influential thinkers,”

Ice is melting so fast that even climate scientists are scrambling to keep up with the shrinkage of ice sheets and glaciers. The melting of the earth’s largest ice sheets—Greenland and West Antarctica—would raise sea level dramatically. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt entirely, it would raise sea level 23 feet. Melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet, the most vulnerable portion of the Antarctic ice because of its exposure to both warming air and warming ocean water, would eventually raise sea level 16 feet. Many of the world’s coastal cities would be under water; over 600 million coastal dwellers would be forced to move.

Solar thermal holds the single greatest promise of clean, abundant, inexpensive energy — in the absence of which mankind will be unable to make its way across these next critical 50 years.

I’m sure this latter point was not contemplated in the reader’s question, but some folks may find it worth considering.

View the original article here

Monday, November 28, 2011

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Alternative Energy Resources

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The environmental importance of alternative energy production cannot be overstated.
Solar power, wind power and micro-hydro power are non-polluting, renewable and sustainable forms of energy production and their use should be actively encouraged.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reduce consumption electric Intelligy

The advantages of the technological progress in the world of energy mean that many of these implementations revolve around an energy saving, which is not only an economic advantage, but a matter of State, that benefited long-term in alleviating the energy deficit that has a particular population, if the intakes are lower.

On this occasion, we have encountered with the presentation of a named device as Intelligy, that as his name is indicating, it is pointed to an intelligent consumption of energy power, easy to use and that will allow us to manage the spending power of a home, Office or any environment.

Of course, this requires an entire infrastructure, with electronic devices that connect wirelessly with this invention, which has the mission to simply monitor how much consumed in periodically, weekly or monthly, and assess a proposal for the user to consume less electricity.

It is easily controllable with a touch screen and a simple, intuitive GUI also scheduled to give an alert when we forget a device is switched on or when we're doing an unnecessary expense.

View the original article here

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cataratas del Niagara

As its name implies, this is not a simple waterfall, but a combination of several of them, located in the Niagara River basin, located in eastern North America, and that just makes a border between the United States and Canada.

As we have said, is comprised of several waterfalls situated at a height of 236 meters above sea level, and with a fall of approximately 52 meters, currently stationed with an area of ​​strong environmental conservation policies and resorts Niagara Falls (New York) on the U.S. side, and Niagara Falls (Ontario) Canadian side.

His background is in the time of glaciation, which ended about 10,000 years ago, which formed the Great Lakes area, due to the action of a large glacier that excavated soil and deepened some channels today make these lakes.

Among the falls is a small portion of landmass comprising Goat Island (in English, Goat Island) a facility that is a natural boundary between Canada and the United States and is completely uninhabited.

As we have said, the Niagara Falls consist of a conglomeration of cataracts, so there are three different and distinct groups together:

American Falls: Coming from the New York side, the most extensive and voluminous despite not having great height, making them the largest tributary area Lake.Cataratas Great Canadians: From smaller than American, enclosing between them the Isle of CabraCataradas Bridal Veil: the smallest of this conglomeration

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Air quality measurement systems

Measuring the quality of the air in cities is today something fundamental. Why we need to be installed measuring systems in all of them, especially in black spots of the city from the point of view of the emission of gases.

Pollution in the air

Today there are various types of measuring systems to analyze the presence of particulate pollutants.

Sulfur dioxide Analyzer. These meters are based on the fluorescence of the molecules of sulfur dioxide.

Carbon monoxide Analyzer. It is based on the absorption of infrared radiation of the carbon monoxide molecules.

Ozone Analyzer. Measure the absorption of ultraviolet radiation.

Oxides of nitrogen Analyzer. They measured the energy released to the join the oxide of nitrogen and ozone, energy released in the form of photons.

Air quality measurement system

Analyzer of suspended particles(PM10) one of the most important. These devices make a measurement of suspended particles with a diameter exceeding 2.5 µm. They can also incorporate systems of separation and removal of particles with diameters exceeding 10 µm.

Hydrocarbon Analyzer. They incorporate an iotización detector of hydrogen. Detect detached particle by the hydrogen to burn it and these produce an electric current with intensity depending on the detected particles.

Analyzer of BTX. They use a Photoionization detection device or an iotización flame detector.

Ultraviolet radiation sensor. It measures the light emitted by a phosphorous sensor.

This should be added conventional measurement of weather systems that also significantly influence the State of the quality of the air and pollution.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Aurora Borealis

The aurorae are luminous phenomena that appear mainly in the polar regions, North and South; they are respectively the aurora borealis and the southern aurora.

the polar aurorae are caused by a radiation of charged particles from the Sun, forming what is called the solar wind. Electrons and protons coming from this radiation are "trapped" by Earth's magnetic field, and collide with the ionosphere. This is a layer made up the Earth's atmosphere, which is composed of gases ionized and subjected to very high temperatures. As from the Sun particles collide with different gases of the ionosphere, they give rise to brightness and lights, as well as a variety of colors that make the show one of the most impressive nature.

It sometimes seems that the auroral curtain almost touch the ground. However, this phenomenon only occurs between 100 and 1,000 miles of the Earth's surface. The clashes that take place at lower altitudes create shades of yellow and green, while a larger altitudesproducen red light emission and blue. Some polar auroras are huge--they may reach 3 to 5 miles thick and more than 160 kilometers of height- and literally extend thousands of miles.

In Greenland, Iceland North Norway or Alaska, the aurora borealis can be seen some two hundred forty nights a year. In the North of Siberia and the central region of Canada is about a hundred nights a year, while those who reside in southern Alaska only watch a few five nights a year.

In the Centre of Mexico you can see an auroral event every ten years. This is due to the Aurora rely on solar activity and its intensity is greater when the corpuscular radiation increases during solar flares. The intense solar flares can cause visible Aurora outside common areas; lights even in Equatorial areas with an average of once every ten years can observe.

The activity of the polar Aurora is maximum in autumn and spring. The regions most prone to express this phenomenon are which are placed in a circle of 22 °of latitude from each of the magnetic poles of the Earth.

In principle, the most intense polar auroras may provide for. Indeed, they occur in relation to the solar flares that can be detected through telescopes and observatories. It is known that the particles that have been thrown from the Sun after eruptions take 15 to 30 hours to reach the Earth's atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Como reciclar

Reciclar es una de las más importantes acciones que podemos llevar adelante para ayudar al medio ambiente. El reciclaje es un proceso para el tratamiento de los residuos, tanto industriales como domésticos, que permite volver a introducirlos en el ciclo de producción de un producto o de los materiales que lo componen.

Un ejemplo que ilustra bien el proceso de reciclaje puede ser el de las botellas nuevas de vidrio que se realiza a partir del vidrio extraído de las botellas viejas que se han tirado y luego han sido recuperadas.

El reciclaje corresponde a una estrategia de tratamiento de los residuos denominado “de las tres R”:

Reducir: reagrupa todo lo relacionado con la reducción de los residuos.Reutilizar: reagrupa los procedimientos que permiten darle a un producto ya utilizado un uso nuevo.Reciclar: es el proceso de tratamiento por el que tienen que atravesar los residuos mediante el reciclaje.

Hay tres grandes divisiones de técnicas de reciclaje: química, mecánica y orgánica.

El reciclaje “químico” utiliza una reacción química para el tratamiento de los residuos, como por ejemplo para separar determinados componentes.

El reciclaje “mecánico” es la transformación de los residuos con la ayuda de una máquina, por ejemplo, una moledora de desechos.

El reciclaje “orgánico” consiste, después de la fermentación, para producir fertilizantes y combustibles como el biogás.

La cadena de reciclaje está dividida en tres partes o en tres etapas:

Etapa 1: Recolección de residuos: Las operaciones de reciclaje de residuos comienzan con la recogida de los residuos.
Los residuos no reciclables son incinerados o enterrados en vertederos. Los residuos recogidos para el reciclaje se preparan para su posterior transformación. La recolección se organiza con ese fin.
Como resultado de la recolección, los residuos, ordenados o no, son enviados a un centro de clasificación en el que, mediante diferentes operaciones, son ordenados para optimizar su procesamiento. Una de esas operaciones es la manual.Etapa 2: Transformación: Una vez clasificados, los residuos pasan a las usinas que serán las encargadas de su transformación. Están integrados en la cadena de procesamiento que les es específica. Entran en la cadena en forma de residuos y salen en forma de material listo para usar.Etapa 3: Comercialización y consumo: Una vez transformados, los productos acabados del reciclado se usan para la fabricación de productos nuevos que, a su vez, serán ofrecidos a los consumidores y consumidos. Para ser arrojados, recuperados y reciclados nuevamente.

El reciclaje es una contribución importante en la disminución de las cantidades de residuos que deben eliminarse en vertederos, por incineración o por otras vías. Por este motivo, el reciclaje es necesario para luchar así contra el aumento de los residuos.

¡Contribuyamos a cuidar nuestro medio ambiente! Aprendamos a reciclar diferentes materiales:

Si estás interesado en saber como reciclar en tu ciudad, en El BlogVerde tenemos especiales sobre algunas ciudades.

Para poder llevar adelante esta importante tarea, la mayoría de los ayuntamientos del país cuentan con contenedores especiales para la clasificación de residuos donde podemos llevar, vidrios, papel y cartones, plásticos y briks, envases metálicos, y -en algunos casos- también residuos orgánicos.

A su vez en las principales ciudades hay Puntos Limpios o Verdes donde llevar otros materiales para reciclaje o residuos peligrosos, entre ellos aceite, pintura, neumáticos, madera, ropa, cristales, pilas y muchas otros elementos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Biosolar: Solar panels with ecological materials

The solar energy is one of the most important renewable energy sources in the world. And solar panels are one of the most effective applications of solar energy. A new development makes it possible that these solar panels can be built with ecological materials, and so obtain a doubly positive for the environment..

Solar panels are essentially devices that trap solar energy and turn it into direct current of electricity. The work of solar panels is based entirely on the photovoltaic effect, hence the called photovoltaic panels.

This brief introduction is to explain the photovoltaic effect required to occur in elements semiconductors. Semiconductor materials mainly used are single-crystal silicon and polycrystalline silicon, which is found in each of the solar cells and are covered by glass or other materials to waterproof.

All these layers comprising solar panels are placed on a substrate or bottom layer usually contains materials such as polyester or Tedlar (a type of thermoplastic).

Solar panels can become a "greener" device, when they are made with organic materials. This is the proposal of the new BioSolar Backsheet Solar Panels.

These solar panels have a substrate (backsheet) are not built with chemical based products?in materials such as polyester and Tedlar, the most common currently. Instead this lower layer of the panel is made with a material completely ecological, obtained from castor seeds.

In addition to its ecological advantage, new panels of BioSolar substrate material shows a better thermal performance than conventional materials. The operating temperature is lower, which is also one of the highlights of this type of solar panels.

In general, this type of solar panels provides a better performance in terms of mechanical strength, electromagnetic properties, durability of long-term and adaptability to the climatic conditions. Apart from that, recycling of solar panels proposed by the manufacturer also makes this solar panel advanced and according to the demand of the contemporary world.

The almost any dependency BioSolar Backsheet solar panels towards the products of petroleum makes it - not only more suitable for environmental security – but also more economical. Given that oil prices are increasing day by day, the greater stability of the value of its raw material and a lower cost of production also are points in favour.

One of the criticisms which this type ofecological solar panelsis that it requires a specific and precise monitoring in order to provide an optimum temperature of work during the process of generation of energy solar.

More articles featured on solar energy:

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

High efficiency solar cells

Solar cells with efficiency of 45 %

A Virus improves the efficiency of solar cells

Solar cells cheaper and more efficient with low-quality Silicon

Solar Cell film fine record of 28.2% efficiency

View the original article here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Association of producers of renewable energies (APPA)

The Association of producers of renewable energies (APPA) was established in 1987, 24 years ago, and is composed of five hundred companies related to the sector of renewable energies.

APPA is the only Association of national level related to renewable energies, which represents companies related to biofuels, biomass, wind, photovoltaic, geothermal low enthalpy, hydraulic, marine, and high enthalpy geothermal minieólico and thermoelectric solar.

Its objective is the creation of conditions favourable for the development of renewable energies, in order to achieve what works in different ámbito:uno of the most important objectives of APPA is raising awareness in society about the need to use and produce renewable sources which respect the environment and ensure sustainable development.No less important, is its process of dialogue with public and private entities (autonomous agencies, environmentalorganizations, chambers of Commerce, trade unions and any collective interested) on different aspects involved in its activity.Another important objective of APPA is coordination with educational institutions to disseminate and investigate everything related to renewable energy.Its presence as an expert in the field of renewable sources was memorable in the development of the Royal Decree 2366 / 1994 on production of electricity with renewable energy sources, with the sole purpose of better place this type of energy against the old Decree. For those of you who are interested in making you partners, you need to know the Services offered by APPA as Association to its members:

APPA offers legal advice and criteria for action in different areas.

It keeps informed its members about updates on the legal provisions that are generating in the official newspapers of the State, autonomous communities of the European Union.

The APPA is a medium of communication itself as reported on the activities related to the sector, organizes conferences, seminars and conferences through which disseminates news and advances.

The APPA struggles to get the best conditions for its partners, negotiating insurance, Civil liability, loss of production or breakdown of machinery, etc.

Something important this Association, is that despite being State-level presence in Europe due to their membership in different associations allow you to defend their interests:

AEBIOM(European Biomass Association)EBB (European Biodiesel Board)EGEC (European Geothermal Energy Council)EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association)ESHA (European Small Hydropower Association) EUFORES(European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources)EU-OEA European Ocean Energy Association)EWEA European Wind Energy Association)GIA (Geothermal Implementing Agreement)Finally, APPA is represented in the Power of the National Energy Commission Advisory Council and is part of the Committee of agents of the Spanish market of electricity, of the EREN, and others.

There are people who care for you and what you need, supporting a cause as important is everyone's responsibility.

View the original article here

Friday, November 18, 2011

As climate change affects biodiversity

Climate change It has become one of the main threats to the balance of nature and this means in particular that what is at stake is something as vital as the biodiversity and the maintenance of the ecosystems. In this issue we turn this article from Erenovable.

Climate change is the set of changes that are occurring in the Earth's climate system. Among them we can mention:

the increase in temperature, changes in precipitation, which become more extreme climates, increases in the level of the sea, changes in water resources

This set of imbalances affecting the flora and fauna in multiple ways: individual agencies, entire populations, the geographical distribution of species, to the functioning of ecosystems, etc.

In future, if they continue aggravating these climatic imbalances many species will be in a critical situation. In these situations the survival depends largely on the ability to adapt to new conditions: that is migrating to another Habitat, changing patterns of behaviour or through genetic modification.

But not all the species have this capability or these possibilities. The most vulnerable populations are due to its location (Islands, mountains and Peninsulas) are more difficult to migrate and those that are already weakened and have few individuals.

When this cannot be achieved the consequences will be serious. Reduction of population, decline in biodiversity in many areas and even the extinction of a worrying number of species. Future forecasts reflect this and are certainly alarming: the third part of the natural habitats are at risk of change or even disappear by the end of the 21st century (anticipation of the World Wide Fund for nature - WWF).

As I said many species will be affected by climate change and - therefore - this will have impact in biodiversity.. Here we have some cases already documented:

The golden toad native Costa Rica suspected that it was already extinct, the cause is the lack of ability to adapt to the temperature change that occurs in its Habitat.

Some birds being altered their behaviour, as for example with the Blue charas that they live in Arizona and that they are playing ahead of time.

Many plants in habitats mountain are migrating, i.e., moving to higher latitudes to find a less warm environment, and has been, for example in the Austrian Alps.

The mammals in the Arctic are the decrease of the ice, among them one of the most affected is the polar bear.

Due to the increase in the surface temperature of the seas, coral populations are shedding the algae responsible for give color to the coral. The result is bleaching of corals and the alteration of its production of nutrients.

In many areas of the Antarctic , there are serious reductions in populations of penguins, which in some cases have declined by 33%.

View the original article here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade biodiesel

The first thing I have to tell you is that ye have care when carrying out this experiment since it is not any kind of game.

Take special care with the eyes, skin, and vapors to be broadcast with the reaction, therefore recommends the use of gloves, glasses and apron. Pile-ups involving children and previously turn all fires which may be lit (candles, kitchen...)

Biodiesel is a liquid biofuel that can be obtained through vegetable fats, animal fats or natural lipids. This is obtained by subjecting to the vegetable oil to a chemical reaction known as Transesterification.

Today we'll talk about the process through the sunflower, oil can use the new that will be much more easy but expensive or used (of Fryer) that finally is a benefit for you and the environment.

You need to prepare biodiesel, sunflower oil and methanol with soda dissolved caústica (sodium methoxide). Mixes two ingredients and you troubled for several minutes with a steel spoon, once you have done this, you leave it sit for an hour. Finally you will see as a glycerine is in the background.

The ideal is to separate them, extracting the biodiesel to a liquid container and leaving the Glycerin in the first container.

The packaging of the Glycerin will find compounds such as methanol, soaps and the used catalyst. You can use to make soaps.

Retrieved biodiesel would still not be ready to use because it can damage the engine, must be cleaned to Remove remains of hydroxide, methanol and soaps.

Wash only you need to Add water to the biodiesel through a stone grinder and an aireadora bomb. The water will go to the Fund and biodiesel flotaría, thanks to bubbles that would produce the bomb, they realize wide impurities.

They must make several washes, between 3 and 4 until the water is not Tinea. In the first you can see as the water is stained white quickly due to the impurities that would have been extracted from the biodiesel.

On completion of this process again to extract biodiesel to another clean jar trying to not get water and repeats the cleaning process.

The last step so you are ready to use, is to remove any remaining water that may have the biodiesel. This biodiesel with care and without flame is heated to 40-50 ° during one or two hours, then leave you it.

To know that the process has done well, after the rest must acquire a pale yellow amazing clarity .

Experts in this field recommend to biodiesel in summer when warm temperatures favour the process.

Perhaps a change is closer than you think, if we are able to do so and all us priceless, homemade biodiesel can cease to be an option to be a solution.

View the original article here

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recycling of plastic bags

Much we talked about on our blogs the need to address the problem of plastic bags so much damage caused to the environment.. Today we will stop over in detail to meet one of the possible ways for solution: recycling.

They plastic bags are composed of a material thermoplastic, i.e., a material that is capable of being repeatedly ablandado by applying heat and then hardens to cool down. Therefore it can be recycled.

Let's see what happens with plastic bags since we left them in the containers for recycling:

First, separate the bags of other types of plastics that will follow a different process. Then usually do a quality control of the material. A check of the material is also performed to see if it is contaminated with waste from food. In that case derived you in first step to a "cleaning process". The next step is to melt the plastic. The softened plastic is forced through an extruder. What would this be? then something similar to what happens in mass games for children, that they pass through a kind of "sieve" and then leave as if it were spaghetti. Then gives way to the plastic before being cut with a blade. The final result obtained generally are a few small pieces or balls of plastic, which are then used in the manufacture of other plastic products.

Something important to take into account is the basic rule of the "3 R", according to her, recycling is only a part of the solution. What is crucial is to reduce and Recycle.

When we talk about reducing the idea is to avoid as much as possible, the use, delivery, or the purchase of these bags. Some practical suggestions so that we can lower the amount of plastic bags:

Search for other types of bags or equivalents that are not disposable. For example, bags of cloth or rope, baskets, baskets or boxes. If you have a plastic bag her not tire after the first use. Use this as many times as possible. For example, use them to store food, for storing clothing or other objects. Once broken bag (in fact not often resist much) make sure that it will not dump, and instead leave it in the container for plastic recycling.
Something important to keep in mind is that there are two different types of plastic bags, according to the type of material of which they are composed: 1. HDPE plastic bags - high density polyethylene. They are the thinner bags. These bags are in most cases aptar for recycling.
2. plastic LDPE bags - low-density polyethylene. They are thicker bags, which are usually not suitable for recycling.

Another good alternative is to use bags of plastic biodegradable. We told you more about them:

View the original article here

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

VII course of expert professional wind energy

With the passage of time wind power has been surpassing nuclear energy in the nominal capacity of installation at Spain.

For this reason, every time you will find more formations that can Recycle you and train you on this important topic but you will find one better?

Within the program that offers the UNED you learn:

Description of wind energy systems:

The wind and the location. Wind resources
Components of eólicosTipología systems and dimensioning of wind systemsinstallation of Eolian systems:

Security in installations eólicasTodos the master and courses offered by the UNED distance, you can communicate with your tutor or teacher through a tutoring telematics through the internet.

You can also enjoy another kind of energy and green building courses as:

Twelfth course of expert professional Energy photovoltaic III course of expert professional analysis, operation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems connected to RedVIII course of expert professional in home automation and Inmotics VII course expert professional equipment and Electrical facilities II course of professional expert in Biomass energy VII course of expert professional in Wind energyII master's degree in renewable energy and system EléctricoII course of University expert in Building energy Manager IV course professional expert in Efficient maintenance of facilities in major buildingsin what would you like to specialize?

View the original article here

Monday, November 14, 2011

Solar energy for all

Martifer Solar is a company specialized in offering all its customers all kinds of solar photovoltaic solutions adapted to each of needs requiring cover, delivering a product with a high investment photovoltaic energy presenting high guarantees for the future and profitability.

Development of renewable energies and the growing need for new sources of this type of energy has favored the growing offer in this field it is taking place by large enterprises, offering us an alternative rather than feasible to a way of life as we know only too well and, fortunately or unfortunately, needs an evolution and change.

Therefore, we bring you all the possible information about Martifer Solar, with the aim of facilitating as much as possible to find the necessary solutions to the problems or challenges in this field arise.

This company is notable as a company vertical solutions for the solar industry photovoltaic;offering those services more suited to the needs of various clients, including services of very diverse categories such as engineering or financial advisory services, are incorporated with all kinds of professionals qualified with extensive experience.

Comprehensive service promotes the proper functioning of your system, taking into account each of the variables that affect directly, so it is important that when it comes to exposing the needs which you want to cover us don't any of them, since they implemented since that time his engineering team, technical and commercial in order to adapt a form exact to them.

View the original article here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All Is Not Quiet on the Nuclear Front

NY Times OP ED asks if nuclear power has a future?

An interesting question is posed by a guest opinion piece published in the New York Times on October 10. Stephanie Cooke, a respected nuclear industry analyst and book author, asks whether there is a future for nuclear energy in the post-Fukushima era.

Ms. Cooke, who is an editor at Energy Intelligence, a trade press agency, surprises a casual reader by starting off with a Halloween type scare tactic of saying the Fukushima crisis is a “fearful reminder” of what can go wrong.

Anyone who knows anything about probabilistic risk assessment knows that accidents are likely to happen again. There will be more natural disasters in the future that will significantly affect nuclear power plants. The earthquake in Virginia last August took Dominion’s North Anna station offline and the NRC has not indicated when or if it will allow a restart.

Much of the damage to F-D was caused by the tsunami because safety related infrastructure was on the seaward side of the plants and the seawall was inadequate. TEPCO was told years ago to build a higher seawall and ignored the advice. The downfall of TEPCO will be hubris not accidents.

Ms. Cooke notes that Germany, Switzerland, and Italy have all abandoned their nuclear energy programs because of the Fukushima accident. She leaves behind in this sweeping generalization important nuances that make the picture she’d like us to see less compelling and more complex.

For instance, the World Nuclear Association has labeled Chancellor Merkel’s move to renewables as “delusional.” Switzerland’s legislative body hedged its bets in voting to end nuclear energy at least two decades from now.

I have serious objections to Cooke’s views. I emailed them to her earlier this week. She has not responded with even an acknowledgement. I am writing this blog post without the benefit of her input and instead rely on the OP ED as published for my comments.

As it turns out Ms. Cooke’s views place her in camp populated by people like Amory Lovins, Helen Caldicott, and Frank von Hippel, as all of them praise her book In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age.

Booklist refers to it as “adopting a skeptical perspective.” That said following on my comments on the New York Times article.

Germany out Czechs in

While Germany is apparently committing energy suicide, the Czech Republic is getting ready to build at least two or three new reactors at Temelin and two more elsewhere. State owned Czech utility CEZ just reshuffled its executive leadership to do this with the objective of selling electricity to Germany. My bet is the Russians will win a good part of the business since they are current sourcing Czech vendors for parts to build two new reactors in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s new build

Vietnam will build up to eight new rectors with vendors from Russia and Japan to produce electricity to create high value aluminum products from the huge bauxite mines in the central highlands and to attract more high tech manufacturing like the $1 billion Intel chip plant that was completed last year.

Japan will re-start all its reactors

Japan is likely to eventually restart most if not all of its current fleet of reactors for two reasons. First, the country needs the electricity to produce high value manufactured products for export to pay for food imports. Japan is less than 50% self-sufficient on food. Second, it can’t afford long-term to compete with China for fossil fuel imports. See also the New York Times Shunning Nuclear Plants at Home, Japan Pursues Building The Overseas

India & China slower pace

The World Nuclear Association estimates for new reactors may indeed be over-optimistic mostly because both India and China will build fewer reactors in the near term than they current claim to have planned for construction. India will run into internal political headwinds. Areva will build two reactors Jaitapur, but may not build another four elsewhere soon. The Russians will likely complete four reactors at Koodankulam, but plans for another 12-18 units may take a while to mature.

China will have problems with producing both the components and the skilled workers and engineers needed to build the plants. While the official estimate for 2030 is put at 80 GWe, time will tell whether they can meet that objective. See also the New York Times for Oct 10 China Marches on with Nuclear Energy, in Spite of Fukushima

Texas nuclear plans are toast

Texas has probably lost all three of its new nuclear projects. In addition to NRG pulling the plug, Exelon stopped its COL and opted for an ESP for Victoria county which could sit on a back burner for up to 20 years. Luminant is drowning in debt and would likely have to sell Comanche Peak to a new investor group to build the two new reactors planned for that site. Good luck convincing someone to put up with money with untried Mitsubishi reactors referenced in the COL.

Italy’s scandal plagued government

First, with regard to Italy, it isn’t clear the Italians were ever in the nuclear renaissance once Claudio Scajulo, the economic minister, got sacked for taking the bribe of a luxury apartment in Rome in return for government construction contracts. The next minister in charge of the program was an 82 year old retired doctor who pointedly said he didn’t want the job.

Then Prime Minister Berlusconi scheduled a referendum vote shortly after the March 11 Fukushima earthquake. The primary purpose was to absolve him of charges related to his personal conduct in office. The nuclear option was bundled in with two other measures. Italian voters rejected all three ballot items in a response largely seen as a protest vote against the prime minister's excesses and not specifically related to nuclear energy.

UK & UAE are bright spots

The UK will likely get at least 10-15 Gwe of new nuclear generating capacity built else the entire country will go broke paying fossil fuel rates.

Lastly, the UAE will break ground for the first of four new South Korean reactors this December (pending regulatory approval)

& & &

So in the end Ms. Cooke’s negative musings about the future of nuclear energy, while mostly true in the broad sweep of things, appear to require significant clarification once a reader adopts a “skeptical attitude.”

View the original article here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LoyaltyOne tries to influence positive “green” choices by dangling Air Miles in front of consumers — and it works

My Clean Break column this week takes a closer look at Air Miles for Social Change, a new division within LoyaltyOne, which runs the popular billion-dollar Air Miles rewards program. This new business division has spent the past 18 months partnering with government agencies, utilities and environmental groups on programs that get consumers to buy greener products, take transit, consume less energy, reduce their waste and embrace healthier diets and lifestyles. Normally I’m skeptical of anything having to do with loyalty programs, but here’s the thing: it seems to work, and work really well.

For some reason, a large percentage of the population really dig getting Air Miles. There’s trophy value to them, and while they’re worth much less than cash itself, members of the Air Miles program seem to treasure these rewards more than cash. An odd phenomenon, but a good one. That’s because for government agencies and utilities and transit authorities, handing out Air Miles in exchange for good behaviour is much cheaper than handing out cash in the form of discounts and rebates. And because they’re partnered up with LoyaltyGroup, which has direct access to and detailed information on nearly three-quarters of Canadian households (i.e. about 10 million), it gives them a less expensive yet highly more targeted way to reach out to consumers — at least when compared to that relatively ineffective and expensive medium called advertising. The Ontario Power Authority, the first agency to work with Air Miles on such a program to encourage energy conservation, found that it spent two-thirds less but got seven times the results compared to its advertising- and rebates-based approach a year earlier. You’ll get more details on that if you read the column.

Since working with the OPA, Air Miles for Social Change has run with the concept and now has about 25 similar programs on the go across Canada. It’s catching on.

It’s not that issuing rewards for good behaviour is an entirely new thing. It’s what Toronto’s Lowfoot.com is doing, as well as New York City-based Efficiency 2.0 — both focused on energy management for consumers. But what Air Miles brings to the equation, at least in Canada, is unmatched reach into households. And with that comes the power to influence positive change with carrots instead of sticks — not that we don’t need both.

View the original article here

Friday, November 11, 2011

Google Invests in the Power of Pig Poop

Google just announced that it has been carbon neutral since 2007, and the internet giant also recently unveiled plans to invest in pig poop as a form of renewable energy. Working in collaboration with Duke University and Duke Energy, the company will share funding for a poo-powered methane power plant in Yadkinville for five years. Using poop from the 9,000 hogs, the facility can produce enough electric power to run 35 homes for an entire year.

The state of the art facility, located outside of Winston-Salem, burns off the methane gas that is emitted from rotting pig poop. The burned gas is then used to power a turbine, which creates electricity. The model plant is a $1.2 million prototype, built to showcase North Carolina’s quest to promote renewable energy sources.

Aside from providing renewable energy, the Loyd Ray Farms plant also greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The plant operates by burning methane – which is a powerful greenhouse gas that is is naturally released by pig poop as it decomposes. The plant utilizes the methane, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. With Google’s help, the plant will operate at full force, in effect preventing the equivalent of 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year.

Google’s investment in the poo power plant will give the company additional carbon offset credits, make use of excrement, prevent greenhouse emissions equivalent to 900 cars, and create renewable energy. Sounds like a win-win-win to us.

Via Discovery News

Images © Dullhunk and © Elsie Esq

View the original article here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Low Cost Solar Power Gets $145 Million Boost from SunShot Initiative

The Department of Energy is soldiering on with a new $145 million round of SunShot Initiative funding for high efficiency, low cost solar energy technologies, despite the recent bankruptcy of one of its biggest past awardees, Solyndra. The money will go to sixty-nine projects in twenty-four states. The investment of $145 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what the global competition is doing in terms of public financing for solar development, but it’s still quite an achievement considering that the majority party in Congress has been busily cutting clean energy funds out of DOE’s budget.

The SunShot Initiative is designed to bring the cost of solar energy down to parity with fossil fuels – or cheaper – within a few years. The program takes a broad approach to costs, so along with supporting new high-efficiency photovoltaic technology it is also funding projects that lower the cost of manufacturing and installing solar panels. To this end, the new round of funding includes projects that support the adoption of streamlined administrative processes including building codes and zoning laws, as well as projects that shorten the amount of time it normally takes to get new technologies out of the prototype stage and into production.

Partly because SunShot is focused on near-term gains, a big chunk of the funding is going into an effort to bring down the cost of “balance of system” hardware. Balance of system hardware refers to everything but the solar cells — inverters that convert DC power generated from the solar cells into usable AC power, racks to hold the solar cells, and other equipment that can add up to 40 percent of the cost of a solar installation. Success in this area will have a significant impact on the cost of installed solar energy, even if new advances in low cost solar cell efficiency are several more years away.

Another big chunk of funding will go to overcome cost and efficiency barriers that are keeping promising prototypes for new solar cell technology locked away in the laboratory (new technology that performs well in the lab prototype phase tends to lose a lot of efficiency when translated into a production model). Four other categories of awards are going to smart grid development, next-generation photovoltaic technology, the aforementioned administrative streamlining, and the “SunShot Incubator” to leverage private investment. Ironically, the Incubator is an expanded version of a program that began under the Bush administration. DOE credits it with generating $1.3 billion in private investment from only $60 million in public funding for solar projects.

DOE’s funding is under a cloud but the Department of Defense has stepped into the breach with a slew of solar power projects and other clean energy projects for military facilities as well as energy, waste and water conservation projects. The list is endless, from rainwater harvesting to solar-enabled smart microgrids, landfill gas, and geothermal. Regardless of what the majority party in Congress does to block public investment in domestic energy research, it looks like DOE’s clean energy efforts are already starting to pay off.

View the original article here

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

UrbanTile: Concept Design for Sustainable Energy Inspires

UrbanTile is an exciting concept piece for sustainable energy use

Look carefully and begin counting the hundreds of types of energy that pass by every day, never captured and never used. Put these observational challenges before students and amazing results can sometimes occur.

Case in point: Meidad Marzan, an industrial design student from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel, has designed a remarkable concept device called the UrbanTile that would harness the solar energy city buildings absorb during the day for their lighting needs at night.

UrbanTile was Merzan’s graduation project for his course in the Industrial Design Dept. at Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem

The UrbanTile is a small solar panel that can be flipped to reveal a light-emitting screen. Banded together into rows, the panels become a window blind that forms a light or an entertainment display.

The panels could be made from aluminum and stainless steel, featuring an OLED screen on one side and photovoltaic panel on the other. Incorporating electrical motors to move them, they could be programmed to turn automatically at different times of the day. Designed to be mounted into windows, the panels could be turned to rest at various angles allowing light in during the day whilst absorbing solar energy.

In the evening, the OLED screens would be turned to face indoors to light up rooms and also provide a bank of screens for media playback. At night, the light emitting side could also be turned outwards to produce engaging patterns of light (SEE THE VIDEO) on the sides of buildings.

According to gizmag, the thinness and brightness of OLED screens, along with their low power consumption and brilliant color reproduction would make them a good fit for this kind of display technology.

The video below shows examples of how large scale uses of the UrbanTile on the sides of buildings might look. The servo motors turn the panels into different formations like a fluid canvas of light. Other uses would be for the display of messages, images and video for advertising purposes.

Concept pieces such as this that explore renewable and sustainable energy solutions should be endlessly encouraged, and funded, if possible, providing either grant money, scholarships, or meaningful internships. In the end, we all come out winners.

View the original article here

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hydraulic energy community

Community energy is increasing. Due to rising energy costs traditional investments are receding, is not surprising that the communities are uniting to take care of this need. Today I will talk about a project of hydroelectricity carried out by a community in the North of England.

Esk Energy Whitby in North Yorkshire, England, It has issued bonds for £ 320,000 (367.000 euros) to install on the River Esk a hydroelectric turbine 50kw Archimedes and "fish friendly" (that is, non-aggressive fish). With it, is expected to generate enough energy to supply 55 households.

The purpose of the project is generating clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, also be able to channel the income generated by the generation of energy to make more local renewable energy projects. And while sales of shares were mainly geared in the local area, the media attention that the plan has won appears to be attracting investors from throughout the country.

View the original article here

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting Off "The Grid" with BioGen

Hi there folks, i thought i'd write a quick article on my current project which i've named "BioGen".

First i'll cover my motivation, what BioGen is and how i came to start building it and then i'll tell you what it does and how it can help us. Then i will compare it to some other renewable energy solutions. Then hopefully you 'Yanks',with your pioneering attitudes, can then have a go at building it for yourselves. You see America has in abundance an energy resource which is mostly absent in the UK (The Sun!!) and for this reason USA is a great place to build a BioGen. BioGen is a project under development so this article contains some theoretical and some practical developments but hopefully no Fantastical ideas.

My intention is to get as many people interested as possible so i can start an online community to share research, provide support and help to each other.

My motivation for this project is simple, i'm sick and tired of paying hard earned money for something i can generate myself at next to no cost and by Jove i'm going to do something about it. The system i envisaged would be sustainable, cheap to build and easy to maintain while making use of renewable energy sources, like that big bright yellow thing that rises each and every morning without fail but has somehow escaped the attentions of the majority of people for so long. That's right, i was talking about the SUN, the most powerful energy source in our solar system, unavoidably obvious but so wastefully ignored. Why?, i frequently ask myself, How has this happened? the answer is almost as obvious when you think about it, it has happened only because energy companies can't charge MONEY for a supply of free sunshine.

It is time for people to wake up and realise that the very system many of these corporations and politicians perpetuate will be responsible for our destruction.

Their attitude is so very clearly : "Profit is more important than long term survival, hell, profit is even more important than short term survival and as long as i'm getting rich i couldn?t care less that humanity is'nt going to make it out of the 21st century". They are greedy, ignorant fools and they may well be our undoing.

Enough IS Enough.

So, BioGen is a project which will eventually use renewable energy sources and sustainable construction materials to provide OFF GRID electricity for domestic use. BioGen is intended to sever the noose which keeps almost all of us connected to 'The Grid'. But it is more than just a project, BioGen is a lifestyle, its is all about breaking away from the system which could destroy us. BioGen will give us an alternative to reliance upon fools and their foolish systems. It is aimed at anyone in developed countries who wish to utilise wasted resources to help cut their energy bills but also it will be appealing to people in poorer countries because of its low cost and simplistic design.

To give it a complicated name BioGen is a: "Co-Generation device based on the organic rankine cycle". That roughly translates to anyone who did'nt already know as : A device which produces heat and electricity by spinning a turbine and thus turning an alternator. BioGen will operate using a closed cycle which has been tried and tested in many power stations around the world. The most important difference between BioGen and a standard power station being BioGen uses renewable energy sources.

Any electrical output produced by BioGen could be stored in batteries for use via a power inverter or sold back into the grid as a means of reducing household energy bills. However, if you were really keen you could build a BioGen large enough power your entire home.

In a nut shell, BioGen uses a fuel/heat source to heat the fluid inside a boiler which then turns into vapour and drives a turbine. The vapour is then condensed back to liquid and re-circulated to the boiler via a pump. Pictured is a prototype BioGen boiler built using recycled gas bottles and bits of copper tubing.

BioGen can be adapted to suit your local climate, the boiler (pictured) cost under ?100 to build and is designed for use in countries like the UK where there is a supply of wood (biomass) to burn, the advantage of living in southern America is BioGen could be constructed without the need for a wood fired boiler because you have plenty of nice hot sunshine to do the job instead. So rather than have a wood fired boiler you could have solar panels to deliver heated liquid. This means that a BioGen designed and built specifically for the warmer States of America would be far more environmentally friendly than one built for a temparate climate such as the UK.

If you are further to the North of America you could have a BioGen system which uses biomass and solar energy sources. During summer it uses solar and durind cold winters you can burn biomass.

Where does the biomass come from?

It is recycled from the waste stream. Local tips are full of old wood which is on its way to landfill or an incinerator. Local businesses like carpenters create waste wood which is often discarded. The idea is to go and find biomass for free then use it as fuel. Ideally you should buy your own woodland and then manage it.

An important thing to understand is that BioGen is scalable, it could be built as big or a small as you want dependent on how much renewable energy you can harness.

BioGen is a work in progress, to speed that process up and make it as comprehensive as possible i need interested and interesting people to get involved. BioGen is for adventurous people who possess vision and share my vision of a global population who turned to the establishment and said "We don't want your electric grid anymore, it is wasteful, it encourages greed and it is designed to line the pockets of corporate fat cats at the expense of the little

Compare BioGen to micro generation systems like Photovoltaic (PV) or wind generation and hydro:

Biogen is quiet, cheap ,clean and sustainable and it could be used in conjunction with other technologies but really BioGen trumps all others. PV is very expensive and it requires lots of rare earth materials to build, wind is noisy, unsightly and unreliable. Hydro is expensive and it impacts the environment because it often requires a dam. Biomass and solar thermal are the best sources for general use and they are the back bone around which BioGen has been designed. Using Biomass encourages re-forestation which is in turn good for habitat and the environment. Flue gases can be filtered, however, If BioGen is used with a solar boiler instead of biomass it will be unbeatably clean.

The fact that BioGen can be built using almost 100% recycled parts makes it very, very green and those parts are in abundance.

Please visit my YouTube channel for more information on BioGen at:


If you would like to get involved with BioGen then please visit www.biogen.webs.com to join up.

Further developments to BioGen include, composting pre-heater, retro fitting guide, electrical generation module, solar pre-heater, solar boiler, large capacity biomass boiler and the use of non flammable refrigerants.

Thanks for your attention friends.

Best Regards,


View the original article here

Sunday, November 6, 2011

AIRE Offers Courses to Fulfill the Anticipated Job Growth Rate in Solar Industry

by Fida Hossain
(San Bernardino, CA, USA)

Solar industry employers plan to increase their workforce by an estimated 26 percent over the next year. According to the report ?National Solar Jobs Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce,? the solar energy industry is on the rapid rise. The collaborative report compiled by The Solar Foundation, a non-profit research organization, Green LMI Consulting and Cornell University all realized the rapid increase in the solar energy industry and examined its current and potential growth by surveying more than 2,400 solar companies.

In our current recession many industries are at a stagnant growth rate, but the Census report claims that the solar energy industry is employing many along the solar value chain, including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities, and all other fields. The solar value chain is represented by over 30 separate occupations, thus there are many different fields to get into if one chooses a career in the solar energy industry.

The surveys conducted concluded that many solar energy industry companies will grow by an estimated 26 percent over the next year, representing nearly 24,000 new jobs. The increasing demand in solar technology requires many solar companies to increase their workforce. Currently there are 16,700 solar employment sites and 93,000 solar energy-related jobs in the United States, as of August 2010. The report showed that over the next twelve months, more than 50 percent of solar companies expect to add jobs. The jobs will be added at a much faster pace in comparison to the general economy. The general job growth rate for other industries is at 2 percent, while the solar energy industry is expected to grow at a rate of 26 percent.

California, the leader in the renewable energy field, is home to about 30 percent of all solar companies in the United States, but many other states are also making an effort to create and expand their solar companies. The average solar installation firm employs 14 workers. The average solar manufacturing firm employs 24 workers. The average solar wholesale trade company employs 4 solar workers. The average utility that generates solar electric power employs four workers.

New innovations such as GoSolarUSA's PREEcharge, a protective skin that utilizes solar cells and wireless radio-frequency antennas to charge smart phones and tablet computers using renewable energy sources, are making solar energy part of everyday power usage. Innovations such as this are driving the solar industry's growth.

By August 2011, there should be almost 120,000 energy-related jobs, and in order to get into the workforce, on-site solar training is required. With the anticipated growth rate in the solar energy industry, many should take advantage of the courses the American Institute of Renewable Energy, a solar training school, has to offer. AIRE offers certificated courses in areas such as sales force training, on-site panel installation training, solar photovoltaic (PV) training, and marketing training. AIRE also offers free renewable energy seminars that give insightful information to those entering the solar energy industry.

View the original article here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

World’s Largest Wind Power Project Moving Forward

Truck with a wind turbine blade on its way to the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind farm under construction in Eastern Oregon.

It’s been a long time since we reported on the largest wind farm in the world, the 845-megawatt Caithness Shepherds Flat project in Eastern Oregon (in Gilliam and Morrow Counties, to be exact). I think the last time we reported on it was in April, after Google announced that it was investing $100 million in the project. While there isn’t any groundbreaking news to report, the project is moving forward according to schedule and Phase 1 (which includes 70 wind turbines) is supposed to be fully completed by the end of November.

Construction is on schedule and on budget. Work on the substations, interconnection facilities, transmission lines, and electricity collection systems has been finished. 338 foundations (for all three stages) have been built. All in all, the project is more than 50% complete. By August 2012, all 338 wind turbines are projected to be up and running.

Wind power is booming across the U.S. and across the world. Being perhaps the cheapest form of new electricity in most places, it is consistently being chosen over development of coal, nuclear, and natural gas power stations by energy companies and corporations (with and without a green leaning) who can do simple math. Total installed power capacity of wind turbines around the world is expected to go from 197, 039 MW at the end of 2010 to 1,750,000 MW by 2030.

The Caithness Shepherds Flat wind farm is owned by Caithness, GE Energy Financial Services, Google Inc., Sumitomo Corporation of America, and Tyr Energy, and it is being built along the Columbia River Gorge (I guess I wasn’t completely exact above).

View the original article here