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AUG 05

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In India, Cost of Wind Power Competes with New Coal
Written by Sarah Rich on 05/08/13   

According to a recent report by HSBC Global Research, wind power has become cost competitive with new coal capacity in India. Solar is not far behind; the report also claims it is likely to become cost competitive between 2016 and 2018.

While policies like the reinstatement of the Generation Based Incentive for wind power projects have made them more financially viable, as HSBC reports, this specific change in the relationship between wind power and how to get cialis no prescription coal-based power can be partially attributed to water shortages. In India, thermal power plants account for almost 90 percent of industrial water demand. Coal-fired power plants use significantly more water than renewables like wind and solar, and water shortages have been affecting coal-based power production in India during the soft cialis past three years, causing some power plants to close partially during the pre-monsoon season.

India already ranked number five for global wind power capacity as of buy cheap viagra soft 2011. While improvements to the power grid infrastructure would be necessary to get new wind power generation sources linked to businesses and homes, this change in relative cost likely coincides with, and perhaps will directly cause, an increase of wind power projects in India. As the HSBC report states, “India currently has 1.2GW of installed solar capacity and over 4GW of capacity is at various stages of tariff bidding. We expect commissioning of selected projects within two years.”

via: IEEE Spectrum

image CC BY 2.0 by brownknows

 

JUL 25

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Rubbee TurnsRegular Bicycles into Electric Vehicles
Written by Sarah Rich on 25/07/13   

Joining other developments in electric bike technology, a compact electric drive called Rubbee electrifies most regular bicycles in less than a minute. Cyclists looking for the occasional extra boost on the the best choice levitra pfizer 50 mg road can clamp the electric drive just below the seat (fitting tubes ranging from 22-35 mm), where its polyurethane cast friction wheel meets the bike’s back tire. A throttle, installed on the handlebars, stays on the bike with or without the drive. Pedaling is optional once Rubbee is switched on; its wheel turns the back tire, allowing the cyclist to travel for 15 miles and reach a top speed of 15 miles per hour without needing to pedal.

Its integrated battery pack ensures easy travel on level terrain or at an incline, and can be charged every day for 5 years without loosing range. Its integrated suppression system, enabled by a removable fixation pin, keeps a constant force on the tire. Rubbee can stay on the bike without touching the http://webstuff.nl/buy-online-prescription-viagra back tire with the pin put in place, useful for when Rubbee’s out of juice or when a cyclist would rather travel by pedal power alone.

The London-based company, currently seeking funds via Kickstarter, states that Rubbee gets its name for the way the friction wheel rubs the bicycle tire without significant wear. It weighs 14 lbs, which could take some getting used to for those keeping Rubbee installed while it's turned off, but only takes 2 hours to fully recharge, and includes an LED tail light for more visible travel at night. While it costs £699 (roughly $1073), for those who can afford it, a drive like this would give cyclists some help up those hills.

via: EarthTechling

image via Rubbee Ltd

 

JUL 24

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Considering the Environmental Impact of 3D Printing
Written by Philip Proefrock on 24/07/13   

Manufacturing with 3D printing is now a fast-growing field, with the technology becoming more accessible and affordable. Some think that it will revolutionize all kinds of manufacturing. But, while it offers some advantages, the process can be energy intensive and canadian pharmacy scam wasteful of www.soulard.org material. A recent study has a comparison of some 3D printing and conventional milling methods.

There are many different kinds of 3D printing, and this study is only an early examination of a few methods. The environmental impacts between different printers (different printing methods) were not as great as the those between occasionally operated printers and ones in more consistent production (which is more efficient). "In cases like this, job shops legitimately can argue that they provide both economic and environmental advantage to their customers."

Equally importantly, the kind of object being produced can make a huge difference in the amount material used. An object with a great deal of hollow space will be easier to produce by 3D printing rather than milling. In some instances, "an inkjet 3D printer (which lays down polymeric ink and UV-cures it layer by layer) wastes 40 to 45 percent of its ink, not even counting support material, and it can't be recycled."

Regardless of method, 3D printing is not going to replace other methods of mass production, any more than laser printing replaced all conventional printing. "3D printing is not going to replace injection-molding for mass-manufactured products (plastic parts made in the millions). It is replacing machining for smaller runs (1 unit, 10 units, maybe 1,000 units)." Each has its advantages, for its appropriate application.

link; Is 3D printing an environmental win?

 

JUL 22

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New Seawater Desalinating Process in Development
Written by Sarah Rich on 22/07/13   

In general, removing salts from water is an expensive, energy intensive process. But a team of chemists at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany are developing a new method to produce freshwater from briny that doesn’t involve reverse osmosis or thermal desalination. A small electrical field does the trick.

As UT Austin states, researchers apply 3.0 volts to a plastic chip filled with seawater. The chip has a microchannel with two branches, and an electrode placed at the fork. The electrode neutralizes some of the chloride ions in the water, changing the electric field nearby by creating an “ion depletion zone.” This funnels the salts into one branch, leaving the desalinated water to flow into the www.tenasys.com other.

Electrochemically mediated seawater desalination, as it’s called, is in the early stages of development. The prototype chip only removes about 25 percent of salts from water in testing and only produces about 40 nanoliters of desalinated water per minute. The chemists developing this technology say that with further research this can be scaled up from its current nanoscale size and generic viagra online 99 percent desalination--the amount necessary to produce drinking water--may be achieved.

via: TreeHugger

image via University of Texas at Austin

 

JUL 18

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Microbes Thriving on Plastic Ocean Pollution
Written by Sarah Rich on 18/07/13   

From the Great Pacific garbage patch to more disperse bits of the best choice order cialis canada trash, immense amounts of plastic and other garbage continue to amass in the ocean. However, some of that plastic pollution is harboring life. Scientists have discovered colonies of microbes thriving on tiny fragments of plastic floating in the open ocean. The team of scientists studying these new ocean habitats--called the "plastisphere"--collected marine plastic debris using fine-scale nets at locations in the North Atlantic Ocean. They discovered at least 1000 kinds of bacterial cells, forming a variety of complex microscopic communities.

Many microbial species on the debris samples remain unidentified, and identifying the microbes present isn't the only task at hand. As Science Daily reports, scientist Linda Amaral-Zettler says, "We're not just interested in who's there. We're interested in their function, how they're functioning in this ecosystem, how they're altering this ecosystem, and what's the ultimate fate of these particles in the ocean ... Are they sinking to the bottom of the ocean? Are they being ingested? If they're being ingested, what impact does that have?"

One debris sample studied mostly contained certain strains of controlled drugs list tramadol Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera; disease-causing bacteria thriving on plastic instead of something less durable like driftwood may have a better chance of spreading disease across the ocean. However, some of the microbes found on the plastic debris may be capable of degrading hydrocarbons. The team found microscopic pits in the plastic surfaces on samples made of different kinds of resins. Genetic sequencing will identify these microbes, and further research will explore whether some of these microbes can actually digest the plastic garbage they find so appealing.

The plastisphere study was published online in Environmental Science & Technology.

via: Science Daily

image credit: Erik Zettler, Sea Education Association

 
Solar Impulse Plane Completes Across America Mission
Written by Sarah Rich on 17/07/13   

While a flyby of the Statue of Liberty had to be canceled due to a rip in the left wing, the solar-powered Solar Impulse plane has successfully finished its journey across the United States, landing at JFK International Airport in New York City on July 6.

The coast to coast series of flights kicked off in San Francisco in May, with stopovers in Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, DC. During the transcontinental mission, the single-seat HB-SIA prototype plane was piloted by CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse, André Borschberg, and at other times by Bertrand Piccard, the company's president and initiator.

The 11,628 solar cells that cover HB-SIA charge its 900 lb (400 kg) of lithium-ion batteries, which allow the plane to fly night. During the Phoenix to Dallas leg of the mission, the plane set a new world record for absolute distance traveled during a solar-powered flight--958 miles (1,541km).

Across America marks the last mission for the HB-SIA craft. This particular prototype has made great strides over the past few years, from a 24-hour flight in 2010 to an intercontinental journey in 2012. Solar Impulse's future plans involve finishing a larger, two-seat prototype to complete a flight around the world, currently scheduled between April and July 2015.

via: BBC News

image CC BY 2.0 by Charles Barilleaux

 

JUL 08

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MIT's Solar System Estimates City's Solar Power Potential
Written by Sarah Rich on 08/07/13   

Researchers at MIT have developed a new 3D solar potential mapping tool. The first rooftop solar mapping module of the Mapdwell platform, Solar System is available to anyone with Internet access. Incorporating factors ranging from roof angles and surface temperatures to local weather data and physical obstructions,

Solar System has been able to predict within 4 to 10 percent of photovoltaic (PV) panels' annual electricity yield during testing. MIT's home city of Cambridge, Massachusetts is the first to get a complete solar map of its 17,000 rooftops. According to Solar System, if PV panels were installed at all rooftop locations deemed "good" or better, they could provide one third of the city's energy needs for roughly $2.8 billion.

Solar System is inviting to play with and easy to use. But for all of the data it offers on potential expenses, tax credits, and revenue, these estimates cannot replace on-site evaluation for solar projects, as the "important notice" on any "Solar Electric Potential Report" states (example here). As with older solar mapping tools like the San Francisco Energy Map, since Solar System might not incorporate all real-world conditions into its analysis of a potential site, the use-value of the system seems more motivational and real cialis without prescription symbolic than strictly informative and technical.

For those interested in PV panel installation on rooftops in Cambridge, it is an accessible place to start. As a way to generate awareness of solar power potential, Solar System could also offer those who hadn't considered PV panels for their buildings reasons to investigate it further. However, consumers exploring the possibilities on the map can only determine what PV panels may potentially, but not with certainty, generate and cost.

via: Treehugger

screen capture via Mapdwell Solar System

 

JUN 27

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USDOE eGallon Offers Comparative EV Driving Cost
Written by Philip Proefrock on 27/06/13   

The US Department of Energy has introduced a new website to help consumers compare the driving cost for an electric vehicle (or hybrid in electric mode) versus a conventional gasoline vehicle. "The eGallon represents the online prescription viagra without cost of driving an electric vehicle (EV) the same distance a gasoline-powered vehicle could travel on one (1) gallon of gasoline."

In addition to offering a significant savings on a per-mile basis, electricity prices are also more stable over time compared to gas prices, which can fluctuate wildly on a week-to-week basis. The cost to operate an electric vehicle is much more manageable when the price is less susceptible to global market variability.

The DOE has also released its eGallon methodology showing how this figure is calculated. They also point out that in many markets, off-peak charging is available, which makes electric driving even less expensive than the calculated eGallon price.

link: eGallon (USDOE)

via: USDOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy News

 

JUN 26

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President Obama Calls for Reduction of Carbon Pollution, Outlines Climate Action Plan
Written by Sarah Rich on 26/06/13   

President Obama has laid out a new national climate action plan in a speech given at Georgetown University. “I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” the president said. The three-part plan involves cutting carbon pollution, helping states and cities prepare to weather the impact of climate change, and--in distinctly American language--“lead[ing] the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.”

In addition to calling for continuing increased reliance on clean energy, increasing funding for renewable energy development, and reducing energy waste, President Obama spoke in favor of federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release into the air, one of the major sources of carbon pollution in America. “We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free,” said President Obama. “ That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.” As part of this new carbon pollution initiative, the Environmental Protection Agency would set new pollution standards for current and www.aumm.nl future power plants.

President Obama commended states’ efforts in reducing carbon pollution. “More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets. More than 35 have set renewable energy targets,” said the president, stating further that it was “time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country.” The president’s plan, however, did include continued production of fossil fuels. “Transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time,” President Obama said. The Keystone pipeline also gained mention, and the president said that the look there cialis pfizer canada State Department is in the final stages of evaluating the proposal. “The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward,” President Obama said. To applause, the president called for public financing to stop for new coal plants overseas, "unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity."

House Speaker John A. Boehner condemned the president’s proposals, stating “These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs and raise electricity bills for families that can scarcely afford it.” In response to claims like this, the president pointed out that economic growth and limiting pollution are not mutually exclusive. He discussed the history of environmentally-concerned legislation, like the Clean Air Act, fuel standards for automobile makers, and CFC regulation, which did not destroyed the economy: “When we phased out CFCs, the gases that were depleting the ozone layer, it didn’t kill off refrigerators or air-conditioners or deodorant. American workers and businesses figured out how to do it better without harming the operacijatrijumf.net environment as much.” President Obama also mentioned that GM, Nike, and over 500 other businesses recently issued a Climate Declaration that calls for the federal government to take action on climate change, and that if addressing climate change was bad for businesses, shareholders, and customers, these companies wouldn’t rally behind a call for action.

While some critical details were absent, like just how much carbon pollution is acceptable from power plants, overseas coal plants, and the proposed Keystone pipeline for it to move forward, President Obama did not sugar coat the reality of the problems at hand. "Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people, and as a society, and as a country on where we go from here." The president urged his audience to "speak up for the facts" and take action: "Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices." A pdf of the climate action plan may be access here. The White House also released an infographic on climate change and the president’s plan to address it here.

image screen capture via White House YouTube Channel

 

JUN 24

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Thermoelectrics May Improve Efficiency in Gasoline-Powered Cars
Written by Sarah Rich on 24/06/13   

For a car that runs on gasoline, just one third of each gallon of fuel actually powers its systems. The rest, turned into heat, is wasted. However, new applications of thermoelectric (TE) power may allow automobiles with internal combustion engines to be built to run more efficiently. Transforming some of this unused heat into electrical energy could help power everything from lights and windows of passenger cars to hydraulics and electric doors of construction vehicles.

Published in the Energy Quarterly section of the June 2013 issue of the Materials Research Society (MRS) Bulletin, Philip Ball's Thermoelectric heat recovery could boost auto fuel economy begins by acknowledging that, because electric vehicles that run on batteries "remain a distant prospect for routine use, especially for long-haul heavy transport and real cialis without prescription construction machinery," internal combustion engines will likely stick with us for a while--along with their inefficiencies and pollution.

TE generators would help put the fossil fuel to better use, by converting some of the wasted thermal energy to electrical energy. Fuel efficiency would also improve with TE generators taking some of the alternators' electricity-generating responsibilities. NASA has shown TE conversion efficiencies up to 15% in high temperature gradients. If similar efficiencies can be achieved in automobiles, turning 5-10% of a vehicle's wasted heat into electricity could mean a 3-6% reduction in fuel consumption.

Creating electrical energy from thermal energy isn't easy. Since only a little electric energy is generated by a lot of thermal energy, increasing the coupling of heat and electrical transport is critical to making TE power practical beyond unique applications like spacecraft. The difficulty of making automotive engineering work with these TE modules, as well as the high cost of the materials needed are also challenges for researchers developing this technology. However, as Ball writes, according to the lead researcher at IAV in Berlin, Daniel Jänsch, “Legislation, especially in Europe, is a driving force, and manufacturers could decide to implement more expensive technologies instead of paying carbon-emissions penalties." Jänsch also states, if TE systems reach their potential, thermoelectric power could be deployed in passenger cars as early as 2020.

via: Cambridge University Press

image CC BY-SA 2.0 by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

 

JUN 21

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Sulfur Makes Safer, More Efficient Batteries
Written by Philip Proefrock on 21/06/13   

Sulfur continues to offer promise in the energy storage realm. Low- cost lithium sulfur batteries were just a research topic a few years ago, and are now moving closer to practicality with new developments that could offer four times the energy storage of lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a technique that uses a solid electrolyte to produce a stable, low-cost, sulfur-based battery. "The new ionically-conductive cathode enabled the ORNL battery to maintain a capacity of 1200 milliamp-hours (mAh) per gram after 300 charge-discharge cycles at 60 degrees Celsius. For comparison, a traditional lithium-ion battery cathode has an average capacity between 140-170 mAh/g. Because lithium-sulfur batteries deliver about half the click now canadian generic cialis online voltage of lithium-ion versions, this eight-fold increase in capacity demonstrated in the ORNL battery cathode translates into four times the gravimetric energy density of lithium-ion technologies."

Sulfur is a plentiful element, and is often a waste product of industrial processes, making it very cheap and readily available. Sulfur based batteries are also said to be less prone to instability and accidental fire than present lithium ion batteries are in part because the electrolytes are solid rather than liquid.

Sulfur has been part of large-scale sodium sulfur batteries for many years, but that technology requires high temperatures, and is best suited for industrial applications. The new developments offer the possibility of bringing sulfur-based batteries to consumer level applications.

image: sulphur and calcite CC BY-SA 3.0 by Didier Descouens/Wikimedia Commons

via: Treehugger (HT: Megan Treacy)

 


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