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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 free sample prescription for viagra 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 order prescription viagra 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 only today levitra soft gel 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 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 only now cialis discussionsdiscount priced cialis map can only determine what PV panels may potentially, but not with certainty, generate and follow link where to find cialis 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 buy cialis no prescription 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 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 i recommend buy cialis without a prescription 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 viagra free samples 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 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 State Department is in the final stages of evaluating the generic viagra in canada proposal. “The net effects of pfizer cialis cheap 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 buy levitra on the internet 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 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 indian generic viagra 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 soft tab viagra this unused heat into electrical energy could help power everything from lights and windows of passenger cars to hydraulics and electric doors of levitra uk 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 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 canadian pharmacy online 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 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 tramadol without a prescription 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)


JUN 20

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​Multi-Technology Synergy to Grow Food in the Desert
Written by Philip Proefrock on 20/06/13   

A project in Qatar is putting together a number of different systems in a complex project intended to "produce food, fresh water and clean energy in deserts using seawater." The Sahara Forest Project uses a number of different systems where the waste by-products from one process are used as feedstock for another. It began by focusing on what was readily abundant: seawater, sun, and desert sand, and looking to what was needed: food, energy, and clean water.

"The seawater, pumped from the nearby Persian Gulf, is the system’s lifeblood. It’s used to cool and humidify the greenhouses. It’s also used to grow algae to produce biofuel, with the leftovers from that process going to make animal feed. Some of it is transformed into fresh water by a solar-powered desalination unit. Some of it may even be used down the road to raise fish or shrimp."

The project greenhouse is fed with CO2 from a nearby fertilizer plant, which helps reduce the atmospheric emissions from the manufacturing process as well as providing an environment in which the plants thrive. Seawater is also pumped into the greenhouse to provide evaporative cooling and higher humidity.

"The project’s designers say the concept should work in any low-altitude desert area near a large source of salt water." Addressing the many needs found in these regions of the world makes this an especially compelling project.

The greatest hindrance to this project is its high cost, though the prototype is being funded by Qatar. In the long term, the lessons from this pilot project may be able to be deployed in the many areas around the world where inhospitable deserts can be brought to life.

An audio story about the project along with further images at provides further information about this complex, intriguing experiment.

image: screen capture from

via: The World (PRI)

Former EPA Chief to Lead Apple's Environmental Policy
Written by Philip Proefrock on 19/06/13   

Apple has recently hired former EPA chief Lisa Jackson to be its new Vice President for Environmental Initiatives. While the company has had a strong environmental record, Apple has been criticized in recent years for some of its practices, including producing and briefly leaving EPEAT.

Greenpeace sees the good in Jackson's hiring, calling her, "a proven advocate with a track record of combating toxic waste and cialis order the dirty energy that causes global warming..."

The question is whether Jackson is coming on board to continue to push things forward in groundbreaking new ways, or whether her administrative background will have her instead leading an effort of well-spun greenwashing. Her political background might seem to suggest the latter, although her career at EPA included steps to regulate greenhouse emissions. We hope her tenure at Apple is that of a true ecogeek, and that Apple continues to improve its environmental record.


JUN 18

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Tesla Repays Department of Energy Loan
Written by Sarah Rich on 18/06/13   

While Project Better Place has met its end, the EV company Tesla Motors is gaining momentum. The company, which is gearing up to have its Model X join the cialis now online Model S on the market in 2014, recently made a triumphant announcement: it has repaid its Department of Energy loan in full.

Tesla finally made a profit during the first quarter of 2013, $11.2 million from $561.8 million in revenue. But it was the nearly $1 billion raised in a stock and note sale, not profits, that the company used to pay this federal debt nine years early. The outstanding balance of viagra brand Tesla’s 2009 Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan was $451.8 million, profiting US taxpayers just a bit with roughly $12 million in interest. This massive final payment on Tesla's startup loan makes it the first motor vehicle company to pay back its loan from the ATVM loan program.

via: The Atlantic Wire


JUN 17

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Wearable Combined Power Generation and Storage
Written by Philip Proefrock on 17/06/13   

Most of the new power technology we learn about these days falls on one side or the other of the power-generation/power-storage divide. But a power cell developed by researcher Zhong Lin Wang at Georgia Tech both produces and stores power in the same tiny unit.

The self-charging cell uses a "piezoelectric membrane that drives lithium ions from one side of the cell to the other when the membrane is deformed by mechanical stress. The lithium ions driven through the polarized membrane by the piezoelectric potential are directly stored as chemical energy using an electrochemical process."

According to the researchers, the direct transfer of physical energy (such as a shoe hitting pavement) to chemical energy is as much as five times as efficient as separate generation and storage systems.

The self-charging power cell is only a device the size of a coin, and only provides enough power to operate a small calculator. But the potential for use in wearable computing (as well as the everpresent "military applications," given DARPA sponsorship of the research) make this technology an interesting one to watch for further development.

images: Gary Meek/GT Research News


JUN 14

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New Design for Efficient Concentrating Solar Power
Written by Sarah Rich on 14/06/13   

Scaling up solar energy collection means addressing a critical problem. While additions like anti-reflective coatings can boost efficiency on solar panels, the more solar energy a collector gathers, the hotter it gets--and if temperatures rise too high the enter site order cialis now heat could damage the device.

A group at IBM Research - Zurich is addressing this problem and announced on Earth Day 2013 that they are developing a High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system. IBM says the collector will be able to generate significantly more electrical power from the sun’s rays than comparable systems while staying cool enough to function.

According to IBM, the proposed HCPVT system’s dish contains hundreds of ordering levitra without a prescription photovoltaic chips, and the rate at which it can generate electrical power is about 25kW. With the help of a microchannel water cooling system, the system is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns, on average, and converting 80 percent of the radiation collected.

In a video, a research scientist at Zurich explains the solar radiation concentration methods that will be used in the proposed system.

The design offers other efficiency boosts: the hot water produced in the microchannels can be used for air conditioning or filtered for drinking. More electrical power and a useful hot water byproduct aren’t the only boons; as with many systems designed to increase efficiency, it promises to be more cost effective as well. Although IBM’s press release on the proposed system doesn’t mention any market plans, it does claim that the design is suitable for mass production. If they do go beyond prototype stages, IBM states these systems could be built at a cost three times lower than comparable systems, and may help deliver electricity, fresh water, and cool air to remote locations.

via: Engadget

screencaptured image via IBM Social Media


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