Dell is now recycling everything Dell makes
...for free...no matter
what. You don't have to buy a new Dell, you don't have to pay for
shipping. You just send it to them, and they re-use or recycle it. The best part is that a lot of the materials, if not the
components themselves, will be immediately re-used, not just recycled.
The effort that Dell is putting into ensuring that it's production
cycle is circular, and not just a straight line from the mine to the
dump, is extremely important. Frankly, they're making every other big
electronics company look pretty darned bad.
(thanks to Elizabeth for the tip)
EnOcean is developing micro-power sources that derive energy from
ambient conditions including light, vibrations, and temperature
differentials. These little power sources should be enough to power
peel-and-stick electronic devices including RF transmitters, sensors
and switches. Deriving power from ambient light or heat could allow a
house to be retrofitted with new light-switches, volume nobs,
information displays and sensors without re-wiring anything. There
could be one RF transmitter in a lightswitch, and a receiver in the
light fixture, and they would be linked wirelessly.
Additional applications could tie in your house's sound system, climate
control, and energy monitoring, again, without any new wires, and
without pulling in excess energy. Right now, EnOcean products are used
mostly in industrial applications, monitoring warehouses and the like.
But with a few years of research, programmable houses might be a matter
of simply picking up a few things at WalMart.
We talk about all kinds of new fuels and how they will alleviate our
dependence on oil. But why don't we just make an engine that can run
on anything? Well, Russell Henning, a student at San Jose University
did just that. The Grasshopper, shown here, is a walk behind tractor
that has an engine that will run on anything
. Slash from a field, hay,
coconut shells, dried food waste, anything, as long as it's organic
and dry, can but put into the Grasshopper and the thing will run.
This is the first run-on-anything engine I've ever seen. Not only does
it find a use for all that trash, it's also a simple and inexpensive
machine that can increase productivity of farmers across the world.
This doesn't prevent CO2 emission, but it does lessen the amount of
mining and drilling needed to run a tractor.
Via ID Online
We're very good at turning hydrocarbons into CO2. We're very bad at
turning CO2 into hydrocarbons. Of course, CO2 has a much lower energy
state than hydrocarbons, so that makes perfect sense. But what if we
could do it. First take the power out of the hydrocarbons, then put
the power back in, then take it out, then put it in, indefinitely.
I'll tell you, we'd prevent the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere
without having to completely restructure our society. Now I'm not
sayin' I wouldn't mind a bit of restructuring, but it certainly
couldn't hurt to try to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons.
And researchers at the University of Messina in Italy are trying.
Exposing CO2 to a platinum-paladium coated nanotubes and the protons
from water split by the sun in the presence of a titanium photocatylst
can produce five and six carbon long hydrocarbons. These can then be
efficiently converted into gasoline.
This is basically just a new kind of solar power that immediately
stores the power extracted from the sun in a hydrocarbon chain, but it
is an elegant, though complex, process. It is, however, a slow process
and only around 2% of the CO2 is converted to hydrocarbons, but the
researchers believe that this number can be improved substantially by
adding heat to the reaction (I assume, some renewable heat source, or
just the heat left over at the power plant) and also by increasing the
surface area of the nanocatylist.
The process is certainly far to expensive to implement right now, but
researchers are confident that a viable version could be ready to
produce hydrocarbons industrially "within a decade."
Via New Scientist