Archive for November 7th, 2009

Electric Mole Takes a Bite Out of Energy Costs, with Help from Solar Power

Parkson Corporation will combine a stainless steel Electric Mole with a solar drying chamber to cut energy costs at wastewater treatment plant.Veteran solar installer Parkson Corporation is lending its expertise to a new wastewater treatment plant upgrade for the town of Berlin near the Maryland coast.  When it’s finished, the new plant will almost eliminate the use of fossil fuels for drying and converting biosolids, also known as sludge, into a lightweight Class A soil amendment or sustainable fuel.  The process is pushed along by a stainless steel “Electric Mole” that automaticaly mixes, aerates, and granulates the sludge as it dries.

The $16 million upgrade project is funded by ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).  Parkson’s Thermo-System Active Solar Sludge Drying Chambers will enable the sludge conversion process to operate under more than 90% solar power rather than using gas or oil.  For disposing sludge in landfills, that translates into a significant savings in preparation and transportation costs.  Even better, it makes sludge products more cost-competitive with conventional soil amendments and fossil fuels, effectively taking the “waste” out of wastewater.

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Visit the original post at: Energy News

Swing Door WaveRoller Generates Up to 300KW of Energy in the Surge Zone

One of the simplest ideas of harvesting the ocean power was developed by Rauno Koivusaari, a fin diver who got inspired by exploring the depths of the seas and lots of shipwrecks.

Visit the original post at: Energy News

What’s Florida Worth?

What’s Florida Worth?

An inter-agency work group headed by the White House Office of Management and Budget is trying to find the real cost of a ton of carbon emitted. It turns out to be a hard number to agree on.

Would our grandchildren really miss Florida if it was under water? How about no more fruit or nuts from California? What about the loss of our breadbasket? Would the end of corn and soy from the Midwest really bother the grandchildren of our children? How much?

Cost/benefit analysis. Economists do it all the time. So, just what is the cost to society of a ton of carbon?  The Institute for Policy Integrity consulted 144 top economists and released the result: (pdf) Economists and Climate Change: Consensus and Open Questions. By sensibly limiting the sample to economists with the most expertise on climate change, the survey was able to avoid the ignorance of economists who have not studied climate change.

84 percent agreed that the environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions, as described by leading scientific experts, create significant risks to important sectors of the United States and global economies. A near unanimous 98 percent agreed that putting a price on carbon through a tax or cap-and-trade will increase incentives for efficiency and innovation. 55% preferred a tax, and 35% preferred cap-and?trade.

But they came up with very widely divergent numbers for both the costs and the benefits. The cost estimates ranged from $10 a to $10 million a ton, with a median of $50 a ton. The benefits of prevention also ranged between $383 billion and $5.5 trillion over the next five decades.

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Visit the original post at: Energy News

EVI Launches New Medium-Duty Electric Truck, Allies with Freightliner Custom Chassis for Electric Walk-in Van, Selects Valence for Exclusive Battery Supplier

Electric Vehicles International (EVI) has introduced its new medium-duty truck, the MD EVI. (Earlier post.) EVI also has formed a strategic alliance with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation to build a fully electric Walk-In Van, the WI EVI.

At the unveiling of the vehicles at the Grand Opening ceremony for EVI’s new US headquarters and production facility in Stockton, California, EVI also announced an exclusive supply agreement with Valence Technologies for Li-ion energy storage systems.

MD EVI. With Gross Vehicle Weight ratings (GVWR) of a class 4 (15,000 lbs) up to a class 6 (25,950 lbs), the MD EVI can meet most commercial needs. The electric motor application—occupying less space than a conventional engine—also allows for a 55-degree wheel cut, making the MD EVI one of the most maneuverable trucks in its class.

Powered by a 360 Volt 3-phase electric motor with a rated power of 100 kW (max 146 hp) and 450 ft-lb (610 N·m) of torque at 0 rpm and using an Eaton 6-speed Ultrashift automatic transmission, the MD EVI is capable of top speeds of up to 60 mph.

The high-density top-of-the range Valence U-Charge XP Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries allow for an average range of up to 115 miles (MD 115)—a more than adequate number for most return-to-base commercial applications—and can be charged overnight. Smaller, more cost efficient battery packs with slightly smaller range choices are available for the MD 60 and MD 80 models. Production of the MD EVI will start in late 2009 and first deliveries to customers are expected in the first quarter of 2010.

WI EVI. The fully electric WI-EVI built upon the FCCC chassis will use the same drivetrain as the MD EVI. The WI EVI also comes with three different battery packages offering three different ranges, the WI 60 (60 miles range), WI 80 (80 mile range) and WI 115, which offers a 115 mile range. All three WI models use Valence Technology’s U-Charge XP battery system for best reliability and safety. Manufacturing of the WI EVI, too, is expected to begin in late 2009.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Global Power Company AES Raises $1.58B Through Stock Sale to China Investment Corp; Approx. 15% Stake

Global power company AES Corporation entered a binding stock purchase agreement with a wholly owned investment

subsidiary of China Investment Corporation (CIC) to raise $1.58 billion of new equity to fund growth opportunities and extend its global leadership in the power sector.

At close,

CIC will acquire 125.5 million shares of AES stock for $12.60 per share for an

approximate 15% stake in the company. AES also announced the signing of a

letter of intent with CIC to raise an additional $571 million of equity for an approximate 35% interest in its wind generation business.

AES, with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, owns and operates a diverse portfolio of power generation and distribution businesses in 29 countries. More than two-thirds of AES’ revenue is generated outside of the United States. AES seeks to invest in highgrowth areas of the power sector, including renewable energy and emerging markets.

CIC is a long-term institutional investor operated on a commercial basis. Following the closing, CIC will nominate a director to join the AES board, which currently has ten members.

The stock purchase agreement is subject to completion of regulatory reviews and receipt of applicable approvals, including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the antitrust review under Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. Approvals are expected to be completed during the first half of 2010.

Final execution of the terms in the letter of intent for the investment in the wind business would be subject to additional due diligence, completion of final documentation and regulatory approval.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Dow Video on Partnership with Algenol for CO2-to-Ethanol

Dow has posted a short video clip outlining its partnership with Algenol Biofuels to build a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will produce ethanol, located at Dow’s Freeport, Texas site. (Earlier post.)

Steve Tuttle, Global Business Director, Biosciences, Ventures & Business Development for Dow, provides a brief overview of the direct-to-ethanol process, along with some infographics and a few shots of the biorefinery under construction.

In addition to land and providing an industrial CO2 source, Dow will provide the advanced materials, specialty films and water treatment solutions that will be used in the photobioreactor (PBR) system.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Three reasons you should follow Climate Progress on Twitter

To follow Climate Progress on Twitter, click here.  Here’s why you should:

  1. It’s a modern, portable version of a news teletype.
  2. I will be in Copenhagen and tweeting.
  3. Your (online) neighbors are doing it!

Let me elaborate:

1.  It’s like a modern news teletype.  Some may think Twitter is only for dishing out 140 characters of trivial information to the kind of people who are interested in what Ashton Kutcher had for lunch.  But in fact, for a blog, Twitter is more akin to an old fashioned “teleprinter (teletypewriter, Teletype or TTY),” which for much of the second half of the 20th century was a must-have in newsrooms and anywhere else that wanted to keep up with the latest breaking news.

As Climate Progress articles are posted, Twitter followers get the headline plus a TinyUrl to access the whole piece.  Since the next several months will likely to see lots of breaking news on the climate bill, Copenhagen, and clean energy, you’ll get the news delivered immediately to you ahead of everyone else.  And I promise to work on shorter headlines, too!  Not only won’t this cost you a penny, it’s surely a lot better than this ever was:

2.  I’ll tweet from Copenhagen.  I will actually start doing “real” tweets at home and abroad.  Yes, I’m aware that Twitter purists don’t consider the headines from blog posts to be genuine tweets.  In particular, I’ll be in Copenhagen December 14 – 21 covering the big international climate conference.  Thousands of delegates, climate experts, activists and journalists will be there, and I’ll be interviewing, reporting, blogging, and tweeting.

3.  Your (online) neighbors are already following Climate Progress on Twitter! Since going on Twitter in April (see “How tweet it is“) I have amassed 2,066 followers (as of noon today), which I’m told is a lot.  I’m also told that latest behavioral psychology research says the best way to persuade people to adopt a certain behavior is to make sure they know that their neighbors and people are doing it.  Well, they are.  All the time.  Do they know something you don’t?  Do they also have more compact fluorescent light bulbs and a bigger solar PV system and a smaller carbon footprint than you?  Get with it, readers.

To follow Climate Progress on Twitter, click here.  Do it for your kids.

Visit the original post at: Environment News

“Let’s Learn About Coal”: Industry front group distributes coloring book on the “advantages” of coal

This is a Think Progress repost.  Click on cartoon to see the whole coloring book.

Coal Coloring Book

Friends of Coal (FOC) is a front group created by the West Virginia Coal Association. Its mission is to “inform and educate West Virginia citizens about the coal industry” and “provide a united voice” for the industry. To make dirty coal seem appealing, FOC has sponsored or initiated license plates, football games, basketball practices, plane jumps, fishing events, and scholarships.

FOC is now selling coal to children. ThinkProgress obtained the “Let’s Learn About Coal” coloring book, which asks children to unscramble statements about the “advantages” of coal, such as “Than coal other cheaper is fuels” (”Coal is cheaper than other fuels”). Kids also learn that coal is “important” and “provides jobs for lots of people!”

The FOC Ladies Auxiliary has been handing the coloring book out to children around West Virginia as part of a “Coal in the Classroom” campaign. Coal officials go into schools and give presentations about the importance of coal. “We’d really like this to be statewide, that it be mandatory in the schools that they learn about coal,” said FOC ladies auxiliary president Regina Fairchild in January. The ladies auxiliary is also recruiting members for its “junior” FOC group, open to “girls and boys ages 8 to 16.”

Additionally, FOC ladies auxiliary members have visited children in West Virginia hospitals to give them a “special present“: Mr. Coal, “a small, black Labrador stuffed puppy meant to bring a smile to kids’ faces during hospital stays.” (Coal pollution kills 24,000 Americans each year.)

Last year, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), another industry front group, also tried to make coal seem warm and fuzzy by creating the “coal carolers” — illustrated lumps of coal singing Christmas carols whose altered lyrics praised coal power. After widespread scorn, ACCCE took down the carolers. Find out more on what coal is really doing to Appalachia at Appalachian Voices.

Visit the original post at: Environment News

Nitrogen Pollution Impacting Alpine Lakes

Rocky Mountain National ParkA new study recently published in the journal Science discussed the effect of nitrogen pollution on alpine lakes. James Elser, who works at Arizona State University, led the study regarding 90 alpine lakes around the world, including Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

The park is home to an array of species, including elk, deer, mountain lions, bears, bighorn sheep and eagles. Sixty of the mountains in the park are above 12,000 feet and it has countless alpine lakes. Alpine lakes were once thought to be too isolated from other areas to have their pristine waters impacted. However, studies have proven that even global pollution can impact the lakes and surrounding areas.

The recent study by Elser indicated that nitrogen pollution is causing algae in the lakes, a main food source, to essentially become fish versions of junk food. Elser stated: “It’s like eating marshmallows all day and expecting to grow. You can’t do it.” The increase in nitrogen is causing algae to be low in phosphorous and therefore less nutritious.

Not only does increased nitrogen directly impact the species consuming it, it can also cause biodiversity to drop. The lack of nutritious food will kill off many species relying on the algae and therefore leave fewer species in the lakes, drastically impacting ecosystems. Elser plans on further studying the impacts the algae are having on entire ecosystems in the future.

The problem is not occurring just in Rocky Mountain National Park, 16 parks in the United States have reported an increase in nitrogen levels just this year. Elser also found the “junk food” algae effect occurring in Norway and Sweden during his study.

The sources of the nitrogen-rich pollution include vehicle exhaust and fertilizers being used on farms. Livestock feed lots and power plants are also to blame. In the Rocky Mountain National Park area, agricultural lands not far from the park along with pollution from Denver are being blamed for the increase in nitrogen.

Visit the original post at: Environment News

How to tell your child about global warming
I’ve been grappling with how and when to tell my six years old about man-made global warming, its claimed effect on his climate, and the implications for his world when he is my age. He has natural interest in weather events, and can tell me the geographic differences between tornadoes, cyclones and hurricanes, for example. Knowing he has gleaned all this under his own steam, driven by his own

Visit the original post at: Environment News

Shrinking ozone hole heralds success of global treaties
In 1987 the world came together via the UN, and signed the historic Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. The participating countries passed legislation banning industry from using chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC) and other ozone depleting substances. CFCs, scientists told us in peer-review research, gobble up the ozone layer by releasing chlorine

Visit the original post at: Environment News

Imagine H2O Prize Competition to Drive Water Innovation
As 3p readers know, the growing scarcity of freshwater is causing significant social and environment problems around the world.  From a rise in cholera in parts of Africa to chronic water shortages in Australia as a result of drought, people everywhere are feeling the impact of the global water crisis. 
??Imagine H2O, a non-profit that [...]

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350 Barcelona Update (+ Video)

350 Barcelona Update (+ Video)

The last official UN negotiating session prior to climate talks in Copenhagen this December, has been taking place in Barcelona this week.

Some of the 350 crew are over there ensuring delegates from around the world are aware of their cause and the aims of the organization. Their actions are also keeping up the momentum created by the hugely successful climate action day in October.

350 have a display situated in the central square of the conference venue displaying photos from their previous events. According to their newsletter, repsonse from delegates has been positive.

Teresa Nino, of 350 says:

“Delegates …

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Thanks to Triple Pundit’s Sponsors

Thanks to Triple Pundit’s Sponsors
As November rolls along, we’re happy to see our community of readers, contributors, and sponsors growing. Our sponsors in particular are what make it possible to continue to publish great content and continue to build the 3p movement. Please take some time to check out what they’re doing and if you’re in a [...]

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