Archive for January, 2010

Stored Solar Energy Just Peachy with Georgia’s Suniva, Inc.

Suniva, Inc. is building the first grid connected stored solar energy array in the state of GeorgiaSuniva, Inc., a solar manufacturer based in Georgia, is aiming to bring a commercial, grid-connected, stored solar energy system to the state for the first time.  The company has just announced a partnership with Georgia-based GS Battery USA Inc., that will combine Suniva’s solar modules with high tech batteries on a 30 kilowatt solar plant at GS Battery’s headquarters in Roswell, Georgia.

To make it a trifecta, a third Georgia-based company, First Century Energy of Atlanta, is the designer of the solar array.  It’s an interesting sustainable energy threesome given that GS Battery is a subsidiary of GS Yuasa Group of Japan, which is a global battery technology leader that has just contracted with NASA to assemble lithium ion battery cells in Roswell — and there’s a couple of other U.S. government connections, too.

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Obama Orders the Largest Energy Consumer in the Nation (US Government) to Cut GHG Emissions by 28% by 2020

That’s right, the US government is “the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy.” In 2008 alone, it spent $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel.

This 28% reduction target Obama is ordering is equivalent to $8-11 billion in avoided energy costs. Additionally, it is far beyond the 17% reduction Obama has pledged to the international community for the US as whole, making the US government a leader by example on this issue.

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Visit the original post at: Energy News

Hollywood Getting into the Action [Video]

Hollywood, as a whole, is one of the most powerful entities (can I call it that?) in the world. Some of its biggest stars are getting involved in the politics of climate and clean energy now.

A great new video on the web featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Felicity Huffman, Forest Whitaker, Ed Norton, Justin Long, and others nails the key points of climate and energy legislation with the most popular language.

One of the stars even decides to drop his pants because of the heat (climate change).

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Who’s More Powerful than Obama?

Who’s More Powerful than Obama?

Probably the biggest news piece this week was Obama’s State of the Union address. David Roberts of grist seemed to hate it. Whereas often like-minded and equally critical Joe Romm of Climate Progress actually seemed to love it.

Dan Harding of CalFinder had mixed reactions, first “feeling passion stir deep within [him] and tingles of inspiration buzz beneath [his] skin,” then thinking that “[Obama's] speeches have grown more and more centrist.”

Immediately after reading those first two reviews (David and Joe’s), the idea for this article came to my mind. Who’s more powerful than the President of the United States of America?

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Visit the original post at: Energy News

Experts Advocate International Geo-enineering Research and Governance
Geoengineering Las Vegas Clouds image
Image: Clouds Seeded Over Las Vegas Flickr, Saschapohflepp

In an opinion piece in the Jan. 27 online issue of Nature (paid content), scientists from Canada and the United States argue that internationally coordinated research and controlled field-testing of geo-engineering options to block the sun should start immediately. Most likely, you heard the economic benefits already on the <a href=”… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Experts Advocate International Geo-enineering Research and Governance
Geoengineering Las Vegas Clouds image
Image: Clouds Seeded Over Las Vegas Flickr, Saschapohflepp

In an opinion piece in the Jan. 27 online issue of Nature (paid content), scientists from Canada and the United States argue that internationally coordinated research and controlled field-testing of geo-engineering options to block the sun should start immediately. Most likely, you heard the economic benefits already on the <a href=”… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Ferrari Hybrid Heads to Geneva

Ferrari Hybrid Heads to Geneva

Ferrari 599 GTB

Ferrari will show its first hybrid production car this March at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The high-end hybrid specimen will be a gas-electric version of the carmaker’s eye-popping 599 GTB. It will also be the world’s first ready-for-market exotic hybrid.

The exact specs will not be known until the car is unveiled, but it will most likely unite a lithium ion battery pack with a pair of electric motors fixed at the rear axle, along with Ferrari’s outlandishly powerful 600-plus horsepower V12 engine. Other fuel-saving features will include start-stop capabilities and Formula One-based regenerative braking technology known as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). Fuel economy is expected to increase by about 30 percent over the non-hybrid 599 GTB. In other words, it will go from about 9 miles per gallon to about 12 miles per gallon.

The World’s Fastest Eco-Cars

The days of fuel economy only coming in small, slow and stripped-down cars are over. Every major auto show these days brings the unveiling of another green super car using hybrid or electric car technology to conserve fuel while delivering Ferrari-like performance.

Nobody expects the Ferrari 599 GTB to save the earth from global warming—especially when you consider how few Ferraris there are, and how little they are actually driven by their owners. Ultimately, this move serves more as a sign of the times and a testament to technology, rather than having any kind of tangible impact on the environment. “It sends a message,” said Ben Davis, roadtest producer for PBS’ MotorWeek. “It’s a ripple effect that starts at the upper echelon of the auto industry, and echoes a theme that green is good.”

Reports of Ferrari testing a hybrid powertrain first surfaced in June 2009, but details were sketchy. Ferrari’s plans to reduce carbon emissions have been making news for the last few years, mainly due to Europe’s resolution for more stringent emissions standards to take effect in 2012. Still, it is unclear what route Ferrari and other ultra-luxury brands will take. Hybrids are just one possibility in a field of options that included diesels, electric cars, biofuels, and hydrogen. Ferrari may explore these other areas, but gas-electric technology is the carmaker’s first concrete initiative on the green front.

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Visit the original post at: Transportation News

New Coaxial Nanocables Show Enhanced Rate, Energy and Cycling Performance as Li-ion Electrode Materials; Yin-Yang Principle Extensible to Other Electrochemical Storage Devices

Comparison of the rate performance of CNT@TiO2, TiO2-free CNT, and CNT-free TiO2 sample between voltage limits of 0.01-3 V. Shaded areas represent the capacity contribution from TiO2 or CNT in the nanocables. Credit: ACS, Cao et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers in China and Germany have coated carbon nanotubes (CNT) with a nanoporous layer of TiO2 to create coaxial nanocables for use as electrode materials in Li-ion batteries (LIB). The CNT@TiO2 coaxial nanocables show excellent rate capability, energy and cycling performance compared with both pure CNT and pure TiO2 when used as anode materials for LIBs.

Both the specific capacity in the CNT core and that in the TiO2 sheath are much higher than that of the TiO2-free CNT and that of the CNT-free TiO2 sample, respectively. A paper on the work was published online 22 January in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials.

While the carbon nanotubes assist the storage in TiO2 by providing electrons, the nanoporous TiO2 sheath assists the storage in the carbon nanotubes by enabling rapid access of Li+ from the liquid electrolyte. As the roles of ions and electrons are very different but complementing (compare acid-base activity
with redox activity), the mutually beneficial role of the two intimately connected components TiO2 (providing Li+ for CNT) and CNT (providing electrons for TiO2) finds a picturesque metaphor in the Chinese yin-yang principle.

—Cao et al.

HRTEM images of the
nanocable. Credit: ACS, Cao et al. Click to enlarge.

A key problem in Li-battery research is guaranteeing sufficiently rapid transport of both ions and electrons, the researchers say, noting that only “a few exceptional materials” such as Ag2S provide fast ionic and electronic conduction even at room temperature that is sufficient to enable rapid chemical transport even in big crystals. Carbon provides sufficient electronic conductivity but lacks sufficient ion conductivity.

Among the many different approaches under investigation to addressing this problem is the use of carbon nanotubes (CNT).

CNT is also a fine Li-storage host as well as a fast Li insertion-extraction host at a low voltage, which makes it an attractive
anode material for lithium-ion batteries. However, the practical applications suffer from a high level of irreversibility (low columbic efficiency) and poor cycle life because of the pronounced surface reactions between
CNTs and electrolyte.

The basic point in our paper is the mutually beneficial,
i.e., symbiotic, role of the two intimately connected
phases CNT and TiO2. CNT is not just a metallizer for
the storage material TiO2, it efficiently stores Li as well. In
turn, for the storage of Li in CNT, the TiO2 proves
helpful, too. It allows for a rapid access of ions to the

—Cao et al.

Among the results of the testing of the material, the researchers found a total reversible capacity (per total mass) of about
406 mAh g-1 in the voltage range of 0.01-3 V for the CNT@TiO2 nanocables under a current
density of 50 mAg-1; acid-treated CNTs showed a total reversible capacity of around 367 mAh g-1 under the same experimental

At a current density of as much as 3,000 mA g-1, CNT@TiO2 can still deliver a specific capacity of 244 mAh g-1 between the
voltage limits of 0.01 and 3 V. CNTs without TiO2 coating layers deliver 74 mAh g-1, and the CNT-free TiO2 has nearly no capacity under those conditions.

…our results demonstrate that very effective synergism could be introduced by using two-phase structures such as the coaxial nanocables reported here.
They can be used for designing superior electrode materials with improved performance in terms of power (rate), energy, and cycling behavior. The cable morphology also allows for a dense packing of electroactive materials.

…In the specific case of CNT@TiO2 core/porous-sheath coaxial nanocable, on one hand, the benefit of CNT for TiO2 storage consists in the electronic wiring principle (i.e., the CNT core providing
sufficient e- for the TiO2 sheath). On the other hand,
the benefit of nanoporous TiO2 for CNT is the almost
unperturbed Li+ supply for the CNT core, most probably
because of the porosity and the small thickness of the
passivation layer. It is the synergism of the two parts that
leads to a high, fast and stable lithium storage material.
The strategy is simple, yet very effective; because of its
versatility, it may also be extended to other electrode
materials for future electrochemical energy storage
devices (LIBs, supercapacitors, or hybrid) combining
high-power and high-energy densities.

—Cao et al.

Their work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Key Project on Basic Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Max Planck Society in Germany.


  • Fei-Fei Cao, Yu-Guo Guo, Shu-Fa Zheng, Xing-Long Wu, Ling-Yan Jiang, Rong-Rong Bi, Li-Jun Wan and Joachim Maier (2010) Symbiotic Coaxial Nanocables: Facile Synthesis and an Efficient and Elegant Morphological Solution to the Lithium Storage Problem. Chem. Mater., Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/cm9036742

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Brazil Ready to Cooperate With Iran on Sugarcane Ethanol, Other Technology

FNA. In a meeting between Head of Iranian Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO) Seyed Majid Hedayat and Deputy Brazilian Science and Technology Minister Czar Gadella in Tehran, Gadella said that Brazil is ready to cooperate with Iran in sugarcane ethanol and other fields of technology, including oil, gas, nanotechnology, microelectronics, information technology and biotechnology.

Hedayat said that IDRO is now working on projects for utilizing plant fuel, and added, “The existence of vast cane farms in southern (Iran), fuel, engine and vehicle research centers and auto-making companies indicates that the organization enjoys the required capability for research, production and supply of plant fuel.”

Brazil is the world’s second largest producer of ethanol fuel and the world’s largest exporter. Together, Brazil and the United States lead the industrial production of ethanol fuel, accounting together for 89% of the world’s production in 2008.

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Chinas Largest Euro-5 Diesel Engine Plant Comes Online; 300,000 Units in Phase 1, 1M Units Targeted

CCTV reports that the Haw Tai Motor Plant, China’s largest Euro-5 diesel engine plant, has gone into production in Inner Mongolia. Initial capacity for the plant, which is a subsidiary of Haw Tai Automobile, is 300,000 units in its first phase, with planned production to reach 1 million units.

It’s China’s first clean diesel engine for autos. And could reduce energy consumption by a quarter, compared with gasoline engines of the same size. Xu Hengwu, Director of Haw Tai Motor Plant, said, “Considering the national energy strategy and the urge to cut carbon dioxide emissions, diesel motor markets will experience rapid growth in the near future.”

Cars powered by diesel engines make up over 50-percent of market share in Europe and the figure is increasing in North America, Japan and South Korea. However, China has lagged behind with a market share close to zero…Zhao Jingguang, Dep. Party Secretary of Foton Motor Co., said, “It is a trend that traditional engines will develop into low-emission and environmentally-friendly motors. At present, new energy vehicles only account for a small percentage in China.”

—CCTV report

Haw Tai Automobile has been cooperating with Italy-based VM Motori on the development of its diesels. Features of the Haw Tai diesels include:

  • Electronically controlled high pressure common-rail direct injection technology, to achieve a cycle of repeated spraying to control the fuel injection time of 1-2 milliseconds.

  • Use of variable geometry turbo and air-cooling technology that can effectively improve the engine compression ratio and air density, effectively raising the engine power.

  • Use of exhaust gas recirculation to improve the quality of exhaust emissions.

  • Use of a belt transmission, and dual overhead cam system.

  • Cylinder block use of the tunnel-type structure, and greatly improved cylinder block stiffness.

  • Trapezoidal piston ring structure and hard chromium plating process to improve the life of the piston.

Screenshot from CCTV video on Haw Tai plant. Click to go to original.

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UK Climate Secretary Declares a Battle Against Climate Deniers

In an exclusive interview with the UK Guardian’s Observer, UK climate secretary Ed Miliband declared a “battle” against the “siren voices” who denied global warming was real or caused by humans, or that there was a need to cut carbon emissions to tackle it.

“It’s right that there’s rigour applied to all the reports about climate change, but I think it would be wrong that when a mistake is made it’s somehow used to undermine the overwhelming picture that’s there,” he said.

“We know there’s a physical effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to higher temperatures, that’s a question of physics; we know CO2 concentrations are at their highest for 6,000 years; we know there are observed increases in temperatures; and we know there are observed effects that point to the existence of human-made climate change. That’s what the vast majority of scientists tell us.”

…The danger of climate scepticism was that it would undermine public support for unpopular decisions needed to curb carbon emissions, including the likelihood of higher energy bills for households, and issues such as the visual impact of wind turbines, said Miliband, who is also energy secretary.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Jon Bereisa to Join Aker Wade Board of Advisors with Focus on Fast Charging

Aker Wade Power Technologies (earlier post) announced that Jon Bereisa has accepted a position on its Board of Advisors.

Bereisa led GM’s EV1 project as chief engineer. He was responsible for the technology development and production design of the EV1 electric traction system, power inverter, battery pack and charger. Bereisa is also the inventor of the EV1 Inductive Charging System, and he led the original development of GM’s VOLTEC propulsion system (used in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range vehicle).

Bereisa currently serves as president and CEO of Auto Lectrification, LLC, a company which focuses on electric vehicle propulsion systems and infrastructure engineering.

At this year’s Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) meeting in Washington, Bereisa was inducted into the EDTA Hall of Fame by Roger Stempel, former GM and Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) CEO. (Stempel, who oversaw the introduction of the EV1 when Chairman and CEO of GM, is a past EDTA Hall of Fame inductee.)

We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Jon to our company. Jon brings an incredible depth of technical knowledge, a long history of championing the benefits of the electric vehicle, and unique insight into the infrastructure requirements necessary to accelerate consumer adoption of the EV. Most importantly, Jon shares our vision that the deployment of level III fast charging technology is a critical component of the infrastructure required to eliminate ‘range anxiety’ amongst potential EV consumers and accelerate mass adoption of clean electric vehicles.

—Aker Wade CEO Bret Aker

Aker Wade has grown to be the leader in industrial fast charging. I am pleased to join them in bringing fast charge technology and products to today’s emerging EV infrastructure.

—Jon Bereisa

Aker Wade develops and manufactures fast chargers and battery management software for the electric vehicle and industrial forklift markets. Aker Wade is collaborating with battery companies, infrastructure suppliers and EV manufacturers to deliver advanced Level III fast charging solutions for the coming generation of battery electric vehicles. Among the companies Aker Wade is working with are EnerSys, A123, Coulomb Technologies, and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Green Cup Design

Green Cup Design

Origami Inspires Green Cup Design

The Shamrock Green Cup address the service industry’s reliance on two-piece drink cups which use non-biodegradable plastic lids. 

The origami-inspired Shamrock cup design folds together into a single-piece container with a “simple pinch-and-press closure.”

[via PopSop]

This article was originally posted on the PSFK website.

More cool stuff on Celsias:

Consumer Hell

What’s Wrong with Shopping?

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Food Chain Radio Discusses Mitigating the Problem of Pharmaceuticals in Our Drinking Water
photo: J. Novak

We’ve become a nation dependant upon drugs. For better or worse, we use pharmaceuticals for everything from getting to sleep to waking up. We use them to stabilize our moods and to increase our sex drives. But what happens to these drugs once we’re done with them? Lloyd wrote a while back about an AP story that stated that pharmaceuticals are ending up in 41 million American’s drinking water. On a recent episode of Food Chain Radio, Michael Olson talked with Alan Roberson of the <a href=”… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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