Archive for August 21st, 2009

Dam Plans, and Protests, Spread Across Turkey
coruh river yusufeli turkey photo
The Çoruh River at Yusufeli, in northern Turkey. A proposed dam on the river is one of hundreds planned for the country. Photo by Jean & Nathalie via Flickr.

The trouble the Turkish government has faced in getting political and financial support for its Il?su Dam project in the southeast doesn’t seem to have made a dent in its determination to build hundreds of dams across the country — including eight in Turkey’s sole UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserve. As three recent articles in the lo…
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Actress Julia Stiles Parodies Celeb Designers With Mock Eco-Fashion Line
Julia Stiles Styles photo
Screenshot credit: Styles by Stiles

Actress Julia Stiles, whose oeuvre runs the gamut from drippy rom-coms (Down to You, The Prince and Me) to blockbuster thrillers (the Bourne trilogy), busts out her comedic chops in an online lampoon of celebrities-turned-fashion-designers, specifically skewering stars who paint themselves as paragons of altruism and virtue.

Stiles teams up with The Vacationeers, a Los Angeles-based comedy troupe, to introduce Styles by Stiles, a 100 percent recycled men’s fashion collection that includes an ensemble comprising… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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The Week in Pictures: Zombie Attacks, Sockeye Salmon Disappear, Fiji Water, and More
week-in-review-20090821.jpg

From 9 million Sockeye Salmon mysteriously disappearing from Fraser River to Peta’s latest ad “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber. Go Vegetarian.” — that has feminists and progressive health groups outraged — a lot happened this week. An exposé in Mother Jones confirmed the common sense notion that drinking bottled water shipped from the South Pacific is a wasteful idea; scientists say an attack from zombies would “lead to the collapse of civilization unless dealt with quickly and aggressively,” and a Thai elephant got a new prosthetic leg. Find out what else happened in the world of green this week in our photo roundup of most popular, most important, and most o…
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China Crashing Forward into Renewable Future

renewablechinaIn a world of monster energy consumers, there isn’t any monster quite as scary as China. Already they’ve surpassed even the United States as the leading emitter of CO2. And while China is still building more coal-fired power plants in a week than America has built in the last two years, there are some signs that China is actually interested in renewable energy.

The first of those signs is China’s commitment to be 20% powered by renewable sources by 2020. The Three Gorges Dam, of course, helps them reach this goal. But it doesn’t get them all the way. So should we have any faith? Well, China’s goal is already to begin to decrease CO2 emissions by 2050 and a recent report from top Chinese scientists calls for the cap to be reached around 2030. This doesn’t sound very impressive, really, but with the way China’s carbon footprint has grown in the last ten years, it’s downright inspiring to think that it could, someday, start to shrink.

The most encouraging thing, however, is what’s actually happening right now. China has just broken ground on a 500 MW wind power project and they plan to be done in 2010. That is a ridiculously quick turnaround for a wind power project of that size, and another 1000 MW is planned as a second stage of the project. If the second stage gets completed, China would have one of the world’s largest wind farms on its hands.

Even more exciting is today’s news that China will be creating a feed-in tariff for utility-scale solar power. China has huge amounts of prime solar land but, until now, hasn’t had any incentives in place. The tariff will decrease the cost of solar power by between 16 and 22 cents per kW/h. This is significantly larger than almost all other government subsidies for solar power and should be enough to make financing solar projects make sense.


Visit the original post at: EcoGeek.org

China Crashing Forward into Renewable Future

renewablechinaIn a world of monster energy consumers, there isn’t any monster quite as scary as China. Already they’ve surpassed even the United States as the leading emitter of CO2. And while China is still building more coal-fired power plants in a week than America has built in the last two years, there are some signs that China is actually interested in renewable energy.

The first of those signs is China’s commitment to be 20% powered by renewable sources by 2020. The Three Gorges Dam, of course, helps them reach this goal. But it doesn’t get them all the way. So should we have any faith? Well, China’s goal is already to begin to decrease CO2 emissions by 2050 and a recent report from top Chinese scientists calls for the cap to be reached around 2030. This doesn’t sound very impressive, really, but with the way China’s carbon footprint has grown in the last ten years, it’s downright inspiring to think that it could, someday, start to shrink.

The most encouraging thing, however, is what’s actually happening right now. China has just broken ground on a 500 MW wind power project and they plan to be done in 2010. That is a ridiculously quick turnaround for a wind power project of that size, and another 1000 MW is planned as a second stage of the project. If the second stage gets completed, China would have one of the world’s largest wind farms on its hands.

Even more exciting is today’s news that China will be creating a feed-in tariff for utility-scale solar power. China has huge amounts of prime solar land but, until now, hasn’t had any incentives in place. The tariff will decrease the cost of solar power by between 16 and 22 cents per kW/h. This is significantly larger than almost all other government subsidies for solar power and should be enough to make financing solar projects make sense.


Visit the original post at: EcoGeek.org

CVI to Partner with Alice’s Now & Zen – a FREE Music Festival on 9/27 in Golden Gate Park

I’m thrilled to report that Conservation Value Institute (CVI) has been selected to be the non-profit partner and beneficiary of Alice Radio’s 2009 ‘Now & Zen’ festival, to take place in Golden Gate Park’s beautiful Sharon Meadow on Sunday September 27.

We love partnering with friends in the music industry to both educate their audiences and raise crucial funds for supporting our programs.

Please consider joining with Alice in supporting CVI by making a donation to support our sustainability research and education programs. Even a few bucks makes a difference — we will be grateful!

Fundraising Target – Web Site Redesign
This year, a top priority educational project is to complete a revision of our ‘online library of sustainability’ web site, which we estimate will cost between $3,000 – 8,000 (including both the redesign and the integration with a CMS like Drupal or Ruby on Rails). We are currently seeking estimates from web developers and have a spec sheet ready to send to interested candidates. Please drop us a line if you’re interested in this opportunity! We seek a high quality, reliable team with whom we can establish a long-term working relationship.

Cheers,

- JLG

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

Nissan and Showa Shell partner to test solar quick charge system

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2010 Nissan Leaf EV – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan is preparing to make a major push, starting next year, with its new LEAF EV and the ability to quick charge it is one of the primary selling points. However, doing 480V charging on a wide scale is problematic. First of all, there are almost no such charging stations in existence today. Secondly, the presence of public charging stations pulling down high voltage current like that would put a significant load on the grid.

In an effort to address these potential problems proactively, Nissan is partnering with Showa Shell to test that company’s latest solar photovoltaic panels in conjunction with the automaker’s lithium ion batteries. Although few details are available, it appears that the companies will evaluate quick charging systems that use solar energy to charge a bank of automotive-grade batteries. The batteries would then be used to charge cars. If it is effective, the system would reduce the load required from the grid, eliminating one of the concerns of electric vehicles while also making the use of solar more practical.

[Source: Nissan]

Continue reading Nissan and Showa Shell partner to test solar quick charge system

Nissan and Showa Shell partner to test solar quick charge system originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 21 Aug 2009 08:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Clean Coal to Hydrogen and West Virginia?

A few days back I talked about West Virginia opening the first leg (meaning hydrogen fueling station) of a hydrogen corridor from Charleston to Pittsburgh, PA. According to Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper the vehicles they were considering to convert to run on hydrogen could be from the sheriff’s department, Solid Waste Authority, recycling department, ambulance service and public transportation.

The Air National Guard, at the Yeager Airport in Charleston, in fact wants to use a hydrogen-powered forklift for testing purposes. Now, this is all well and good and a fine promotion for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The problem with this scenario, however, is that hydrogen is to be generated from water plus electricity supplied from the local power plant. Kanawha County is the third largest coal producing county in West Virginia and so even though the hydrogen itself would be clean burning inside the vehicle, how it is produced will not be so clean.

Now, it just so happens that the Department of Energy (DOE) is giving out grant money to develop novel hydrogen production technologies using clean coal. According to the Hydrogen and Clean Fuels program, “The goal of the Hydrogen and Clean Fuels program is to develop advanced and novel energy technologies which will facilitate the use of our nation’s abundant coal resources to produce, deliver, store, and utilize affordable hydrogen in an environmentally clean manner.

“The program helps to reduce environmental concerns associated with energy use in automotive and stationary power applications through clean production of hydrogen from coal in tandem with carbon sequestration, and will ensure availability of hydrogen in sufficient volumes for fuel cell-powered vehicles expected to enter the transportation market sector in the future.”

Now, the Hydrogen and Clean Fuels program may not make any impact at the beginning of the Charleston, WV project. But, it does address the overall issue of creating hydrogen from coal cleanly and may one day impact West Virginia hydrogen fueling stations.

I’m not advocating for using either coal or nuclear energy to create hydrogen, but I’m also willing to keep an open mind to consider alternatives to create H2 in a clean and green manner on a massive scale, no matter what the methods may look like at first glance.


Visit the original post at: Fuel Cell News

Water Stocks Sector Close-Up on Water Stocks Following a Recent Survey Reporting Water Issues are the Top Environmental Concern Worldwide
POINT ROBERTS, WA and DELTA, BC – August 21, 2009 – www.Water-Stocks.com, an investor and industry portal for the water sector within Investorideas.com, presents a sector close-up on water stocks following a recent survey reporting water issues are the top environmental concern worldwide. Investors following the sector can find research tools, news and global water stock directory to find opportunities within the growing sector.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

U.S. Hydrokinetic Installation Squeezes More Clean Power from Mississippi River

The first FERC-licensed hydrokinetic power plant in the U.S. produces energy without building dams.With the flick of a switch, the first ever commercial-scale hydrokinetic power plant in the U.S. officially commenced operation in the Mississippi River yesterday.  The hydrokinetic turbines, manufactured by Hydro Green Energy LLC, are located below an existing hydropower plant at Hastings, Minnesota.  The initial turbine has a capacity of 100KW.  When fully operational, the new facility will have a capacity of 250KW, adding more than 5.7% of sustainable energy generation without the need to expand the existing dam or build a new one.

Read more of this story »


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First Hydrogen Power Plant in Italy

First Hydrogen Power Plant in Italy
First Hydrogen Power Plant in Italy

Italy has come up with world’s first hydrogen power plant. This power plant is situated in Fusina, near Venice in the Veneto region of Italy. Enel is constructing this power plant producing no undesirable greenhouse gases. It is Italy’s largest power company with a track record of fifty million power and gas customers. Enel [...]
Posted in: Future Energy, Hydrogen Fuel, Industry



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Disruptive Technologies Are So Overrated
It’s the end of a very long day, but I couldn’t resist commenting on the recent story from Joule Biotechnologies:

Joule Biotechnologies Introduces Revolutionary Process for Producing Renewable Transportation Fuels

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Joule Biotechnologies, Inc., an innovative bioengineering startup developing game-changing alternative energy solutions, today unveiled its breakthrough Helioculture™ technology—a revolutionary process that harnesses sunlight to directly convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into SolarFuel™ liquid energy. This eco-friendly, direct-to-fuel conversion requires no agricultural land or fresh water, and leverages a highly scalable system capable of producing more than 20,000 gallons of renewable ethanol or hydrocarbons per acre annually—far eclipsing productivity levels of current alternatives while rivaling the costs of fossil fuels.

Joule SolarFuel liquid energy meets today’s vehicle fuel specifications and infrastructure, and is expected to achieve widespread production at the energy equivalent of less than $50 per barrel. The company’s first product offering, SolarEthanol™ fuel, will be ready for commercial-scale development in 2010. Joule has also demonstrated proof of concept for producing hydrocarbon fuel and expects process demonstration by 2011.

The press release is a couple of weeks old now, and I ignored it at first. It almost reads like satire. Maybe it is? But I have seen it picked up now and reported at face value by some sites. So I thought I would weigh in.

Seriously, since we starting running cars on oil 100 years ago, how many disruptive technologies have there actually been in this area? None. There have been improvements, but we are still running most of our cars on oil. A disruptive technology would be something that resulted either in us running most of our cars on something other than oil, or something that caused us to abandon our cars for something else.

Cold fusion-powered hovercraft? Now that would be disruptive. A battery with a 200-mile range for a full-sized car? Also disruptive. When we start to run short of oil? Disruptive in a different way. But the press release above? I have seen a thousand others just like it. Eventually maybe one of these disruptive pretenders will pan out. But if I was a betting man…

Tom Whipple elaborated on this story today (which is what prompted me to go ahead and write this up):

The Peak Oil Crisis: More Disruptive Technology?

Yet another potentially disruptive technology has been announced. This time a small company, Joule Biotechnologies, up in Cambridge MA says it has developed a process to produce hydrocarbon based fuels from carbon dioxide and water. As with any too-good-to-be-true announcement skeptics abound – just on general principles.

The process is centered on a “photobioreactor” (think a solar panel with liquid inside) which contains brackish water and a still secret microorganism that has been genetically engineered to absorb carbon dioxide and excrete hydrocarbons when subjected to sunlight.

Somebody with a mathematical bent calculated that if an area the size of the Texas panhandle were covered with photobioreactors, they could produce enough fuel each year that we could say goodbye to oil – drilling, depletion, OPEC, refineries, some forms of pollution, and all the rest. This is sounding much too good to be true for the company estimates the fuel could be produced for $50 a barrel.

The next step, of course, is to get this out of the laboratory and into a pilot plant so we can all see if turning CO2 and water with the help of some sunlight into fuel can really work. A pilot scale plant is planned for the southwest (where they have lots of sunlight) early next year which would be followed by a large scale demonstration plant in 2011.

These people haven’t even built a pilot plant, yet they are talking about widespread production at $50/bbl. Please. Just once I would like to see one of these far-fetched press releases end with “Product is currently for sale for $50/bbl.” If you notice, this is always what is expected. It just never materializes.



Visit the original post at: Energy News

California Group Announces Transmission Plan to Access Renewable Energy
08/21/2009 – The Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) recently announced
the availability of its Phase 2A Report — a conceptual transmission
plan that evaluates the usefulness of potential transmission lines in
accessing and delivering renewable energy…


Visit the original post at: Energy News

California Group Announces Transmission Plan to Access Renewable Energy
08/21/2009 – The Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) recently announced
the availability of its Phase 2A Report — a conceptual transmission
plan that evaluates the usefulness of potential transmission lines in
accessing and delivering renewable energy…


Visit the original post at: Energy News

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