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FEB 14

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NASA Searching for Green Propellant
Written by Megan Treacy on 14/02/12   

NASA has announced that they're seeking proposals for green propellant alternatives to the currently-used and cod tramadol pharmacies highly-toxic fuel hyrdrazine. The space agency is asking for demonstrations of propellant technology that can perform as well as traditional fuels in future spacecraft, but have a much smaller impact on the environment and are less hazardous for those handling the fuel.

Hydrazine is efficient, can be stored for long periods of time and is used widely in satellite and science and exploration missions, but it costs the agency in processing times and extreme operational hazards because of its highly corrosive and toxic nature. NASA is hoping that a new propellant technology can be found that eliminates those hurdles (i.e. saves money) and possibly even improves performance.

Through its Technology Demonstration Missions Program, the agency will be accepting proposals until April 30 and then giving out at least one award to the best among the submissions that could be worth up to $50 million.

via NASA


FEB 13

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Germany is Powering Cars on Food Scraps
Written by Megan Treacy on 13/02/12   

A pilot project in Germany is collecting food waste from wholesale fruit and tramadol no rx online vegetable markets and cafeterias to ferment and make methane, which will then be used to power vehicles that have been converted to run on natural gas.

The pilot plant has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and is located next to Stuttgart's wholesale produce market for easy access to food waste. The plant will make methane from the waste by using microorganisms to break down the food in a two-stage digestion process over a few days.

Because the canadianpharmacy food waste being fermented on any given day can be more or less acidic depending on what was tossed out, the pH levels have to be constantly monitored in order for the microorganisms to best do their thing. The waste is held in several tanks that feature a management system that monitors many parameters, including pH level. The software then calculates how many liters of which waste should be mixed together to feed to the microorganisms.

The plant produces about two-thirds methane and one-third carbon dioxide from the process, but nothing goes unused:  the filtrate water which contains nitrogen and phosphorous, and the carbon dioxide produced from the fermentation are both used to cultivate algae for another project, while the sludge left behind from the fermentation is sent to other institutes that are capable of making methane from it.

The pilot project has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and has partnerships with energy company Energie Baden-Württemberg, which is processing the biogas, and with Daimler, which is supplying natural gas-converted vehicles to run on the fuel.

via Gizmag


FEB 10

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Tesla's Model X Unveiled
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/02/12   

Tesla Motors has unveiled the prototype for their Model X, a larger, family-oriented vehicle (though not really a mini-van nor an SUV) that will be beginning production along with the Model S sedan. The body sits on the same battery-pack platform frame used for the Model S. The Model X does, in fact, look much like a taller, plumper version of cialis generic best price the Model S in many respects.

The rear seats are accessed through gull-wing style doors (which the cialis canadian company calls Falcon Wings) that offer a large opening for back seat passengers and access to third row seating, which makes the Model X a seven-passenger vehicle.

Not unexpectedly, the focus from Tesla is on the performance of the vehicle (0 to 60 in under 5 seconds) rather than on range and economy. The Model X will have two battery options (60 kWh and 85 kWh) and three drive-train options (rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive). Tesla's announcement states that they expect to begin production in late 2013 and have deliveries begin in 2014.

Chevy's EcoLogic Label Goes Beyond MPG
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/02/12   

While the EPA mandated window sticker on a new car is a familiar feature, and we have become well acquainted with the testing that gives us comparative MPG (or now MPGe) ratings, those metrics are only one portion of how green a car may be considered. Other factors that are being taken into account with products like computers, consumer electronics and cell phones are now also being given consideration with the introduction of the EcoLogic label Chevrolet is putting on its cars, starting with the 2012 Sonic and extending to all Chevrolet vehicles in 2013.

The EcoLogic label provides a third-party verified review of the company's claims about other factors surrounding the materials and performance of the vehicle.

The Sonic example label (PDF) lists information about "Fuel-Saving Technology," "End-of-Life Recyclability," and "Responsible Management" and then notes the particular features the car has in these categories and viagrabest viagra explains how each is accomplished. As with the EPA's improved window stickers, more information will help consumers make better, more informed choices.


FEB 10

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Black Silicon Boosts Solar Efficiency
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/02/12   

A process called "Black Silicon Nanocatalytic Wet-Chemical Etch" is allowing increased solar panel efficiency by reducing the light that reflects off of the panels instead of being absorbed. Any light that is reflected away from the solar panel lowers the amount of cialis buy overnight electricity it produces. The black silicon is especially good at capturing early morning and late afternoon light, which helps improve the overall effectiveness of the panel throughout the day.

The panels made this way are slighly less efficient than the best uncoated panels currently made, but they have an overall efficiency increase of about 1 percent due to the improved performance early and late in the day. A one percent gain may not seem like much, but all these incremental improvements add up. The process is likely to gain widespread use if, as NREL hopes, it turns out that it actually reduces the buy tramadol europe cost of manufacturing the solar panels by 1 to 3 percent overall.

The black silicon process has other benefits in reducing the amount of equipment needed to fabricate the panels, and being simpler than the present fabrication methods. It also reduces the need for some particularly dangerous and damaging chemicals which are currently used in producing solar panels.

The process was developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the technology is now being licensed to Natcore Technology Inc. for commercialization. The company expects to begin commercial sales with the black silicon panels this year.

Previously on EcoGeek: Breakthrough Coating: Solar Absorption "Near Perfect"

image credit: NREL/Dennis Schroeder

via: Solar Thermal Magazine


FEB 10

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First Phase of Giant London Array Offshore Wind Farm Underway
Written by Megan Treacy on 09/02/12   

The first phase of what will be by far the world's largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, has begun construction. The first two 3.6 MW turbines were installed on January 27 and 28 and will be generating electricity by March.

The first phase will have a total of 175 turbines and should be completed by the end of generic cialis next day delivery the year. At that point, the London Array will have a capacity of 630 MW. Phase two will begin shortly after, ultimately bringing the wind farm to a 1 GW capacity, capable of powering 750,000 homes.

Wind power capacity is adding up fast in the U.K. The world's current largest offshore wind farm, the Walney project off the original cialis coast of Cumbria, just finished opened today. The 100-turbine wind farm has a capacity of 367 MW and will be able to power 320,000 homes.

Next up will be the 133-turbine, 500 MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm that should be completed before the end of the year.

via Business Green and The Guardian

Image via London Array


FEB 09

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Gowanus Canal to Become "Sponge Park" for Storm Water Runoff
Written by Megan Treacy on 08/02/12   

As the EPA begins its decades-long superfund clean-up of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY, a landscape architect has plans to make the area a beautiful, natural sponge for storm water runoff. The designs for creating the Sponge Park out of the 1.8-mile long canal was just approved by the city's Design Commission on January 30.

The first phase of the park has begun, which will include a series of bioswales leading up to a bioretention basin at the end of Second Street. These initial natural elements will allow the park to absorb 4,500 cubic feet of water from Second Street on a rainy day, which easily meets the demands of the best site online cialis nine out of 10 typical storms that shower New York, without the need for costly new underground tunnels and enter site 5mg viagra tanks. The cost of traditional storm water infrastructure upgrades is a major motivation for the city to try and implement some new, greener options.

The next phase will include planting a variety of plant species that can handle large amounts of rain, periodic drought and also help remediate the toxicity of the soil surrounding the site. Some of the species that have been chosen include tulip poplars, northern blueflag iris, holly, yarrow, honey locust, American sweetgum, switchgrass, sunflowers and sassafras. The plants will not only serve a great environmental benefit, but also make the current eyesore a nice place to take a walk.

The Gowanus Canal could be just one of 100 of these sponge parks put in place throughout the city over the next 20 years, which could save the city $2.4 billion over traditional storm water infrastructure.

via Huffington Post Green

Image via dlandstudio


FEB 07

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Solar Panel Startup Achieves Amazing 33.9% Efficiency
Written by Megan Treacy on 07/02/12   

Semprius, a startup company manufacturing tiny concentrated solar cells that forgo any cooling systems has achieved a truly amazing leap in solar cell efficiency. The company was able to hit 33.9 percent efficiency with their solar panel, the first time a commercially-viable solar technology has passed the one-third mark.

Semprius's solar cells use gallium arsenide, rather than silicon, which is able to absorb sunlight and dissipate heat far better. The solar panel that scored this major efficiency record is made up of hundreds of these tiny cells that are about the width of a pen-drawn line. Lenses atop the cells concentrate sunlight 1,000 times.

To capture a better chunk of the solar spectrum, Semprius uses three layers of gallium arsenide, each one tweaked to convert a different part of the spectrum into electricity. Silicon solar cells, by contrast, only absorb a narrow band of sunlight and have efficiency rates that typically fall somewhere in the sub-15 percent area. The record for silicon cell efficiency is 22.9 percent and the previous record for commercial-level solar technology was 32 percent.

Possibly the greatest thing about the Semprius solar panel is that it's not some far distant future technology. It's been designed to be commercially produced and a factory opens this summer to start manufacturing the cells.

via MIT Tech Review


FEB 06

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Wireless EV Charging Could Be Embedded in Highways
Written by Megan Treacy on 06/02/12   

Stanford University researchers are working on a wireless EV charging technology that could eventually lead to highways that automatically charge vehicles as they drive over them. Such a technology could lead to a basically infinite range for EVs.

The wireless power transfer that the scientists are working on uses magnetic resonance coupling. Two copper coils are placed a few feet apart and link for you cialis no prescription canada tuned to resonate at the same frequency. One coil is connected to an electric current that generates a magnetic field that causes the other coil to resonate. This process leads to an electric current being transferred invisibly from the first coil to the second.

Previous studies have found the technology to be safe. The current is only transferred between the two in-tune resonators. People or objects standing near or between the coils would not be affected at all and even with obstacles in between, the two coils will still transfer the current without interruption.

MIT researchers have already been working on a stationary version of this technology for EV charging that transfers 3 kW to a parked car, but the Stanford researchers are taking the cialis buy concept and modifying it to transfer 10 kW over a distance of 6.5 feet, or enough to charge an EV cruising down the highway. A series of coils connected to a current would be embedded in the highway with a receiving coil installed on the bottom of an EV. The receiving coils would resonate as the car drove along the road, continuously feeding the battery.

After running different mathematical models, the researchers figured out that a coil bent at 90 degrees and attached to a metal plate can transfer 10 kW to a twin coil 6.5 feet away. They say the efficiency of this wireless power transfer is 97 percent!

The researchers have filed a patent and will now move on to testing it in labs and then in real-world driving conditions to make sure it's completely safe and doesn't have any negative affects on other cars or drivers. Check out a video explaing the technology above.

via Physorg


FEB 02

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Nissan Builds Energy-Efficient Car Transport Ship
Written by Megan Treacy on 02/02/12   

Nissan has unveiled a new energy-efficient cargo ship for carrying its cars around the world. The Nichioh Maru features solar panels for powering the buy real levitra online ships LED lighting system, a low-friction coating on the hull and i recommend levitra next day delivery an electronically-controlled diesel engine that optimizes fuel consumption. Compared to a conventional car carrier of its size, the Nichioh Maru will save 1,400 tons of fuel and prevent the emission of 4,200 tons of CO2 each year.

The Nichioh Maru is the first Japanese cargo ship to be outfitted with solar panels. The ship's deck is covered by 281 panels for powering the LED lights through the hold and crew quarters, eliminating the need for a diesel-fueled generator. The ship began its first voyage on January 27 and will begin carrying as many as 1,380 cars along the Japanese coast to Oppama Wharf, Kobe and Kyushu.

This isn't Nissan's first foray into energy-efficient car carriers. It also uses The City of St. Petersburg ship to transport its LEAF vehicles around Europe. That cargo ship is designed to reduce fuel use by 800 tons and cut CO2 emissions by 2,500 tons per year compared to carriers of its size.

via Nissan

FEB 01

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Warmer Temperatures Will Slash Wheat Yields
Written by Megan Treacy on 31/01/12   

Rising temperatures around the world are affecting many food crops and according to a new study done by a Stanford University scientist, wheat will be particularly vulnerable.

David Lobell looked at nine years-worth of images captured by the MODIS Earth-observation satellite to analyze the growing season of wheat in the Ganges plain of India.  What he found was that in the years with higher average temperatures, the wheat fields turned brown earlier meaning that they were no longer growing.

Previous studies have predicted that wheat yields would fall by about 30 percent by 2050 in places like India, but Lobell thinks that realistic yield losses could be about 50 percent greater than existing models show.  That's a scary figure since other studies have shown a need for wheat yields to increase by 50 percent in order to feed a growing global population.

One solution is breeding for wheat plants that have bigger roots and are less stressed by dryer and warmer conditions.  Another option is to breed for plants that are slower growing and can be planted earlier in the season.  That way the wheat could be harvested before the high spring temperatures while retaining its hardiness.  Scientists are already working on these solutions, but either approach will need to have a breakthrough soon to keep up with growing demand and warming temperatures.

via New Scientist


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