Archive for January 9th, 2010

Will Google’s Data Centers Go Green?
Here’s a quickie on search company “Google” wanting to sell and purchase renewable energy. The company has started a new company called “Google Energy.” The current theory that Google will use the green credits to power up their data centers. So far they’re making vague comments about their exact plans.

More at Data Center Knowledge.

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Canadian Olympic hockey team captain gets Honda FCX Clarity

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The latest lessee of one of Honda‘s FCX Clarity fuel cell sedans is Scott Niedermayer. As captain of both the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL and the Canadian Olympic hockey team, Niedermayer is the first athlete to get one of the hydrogen-powered Hondas. The hockey star currently lives in Orange County near Los Angeles, making him eligible to get one of the fuel cell machines since he has access to fuel.

American Honda’s executive vice president for sales, John Mendel, handed the car over to Niedermayer earlier this week. As an athlete, Niedermayer lives an active lifestyle and loves the outdoors. He cites his desire to protect the environment as a reason to drive a zero emissions vehicle like the Clarity. Now, if only more than a handful of wealthy people in Southern California could get access to cars like the Clarity, we might get somewhere.

[Source: Honda]

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EU to Push for International Climate Deal Through G20

World Leaders Gather To Discuss The Financial Crisis At The G20 Summit

Noting the failure of the Copenhagen Talks to produce an internationally agreeable climate change treaty, the European Union is looking to push for more concentrated negotiations at the G20 meetings. The EU reportedly feels that taking the G20 route would help iron out the major issues between the developed and developing countries which were one of the major reasons for the shameful failure of COP15.

The G20 includes developed nations like the US and Australia as well as developing countries like India and China could prove crucial to in the formulation of a final framework treaty. Precious time was lost at Copenhagen as a plethora of discussion drafts were presented by various groups of countries. The G20 could prove beneficial in that it could produce a draft treaty formulated by by developed and developing countries which could be signed by the world leaders at COP16 at Mexico City this December.

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U.S. Navy Brings Solar Power to Pearl Harbor

The U.S. Navy is installing solar panels on five rooftops at its Pearl Harbor, Hawaii base.Catch an aerial view of Pearl Harbor and it’s easy to see the potential for rooftop solar energy.   Parts of the U.S. Navy base in Hawaii are open space but much of it is a dense conglomeration of buildings and facilities, and every roof could be a potential sustainable energy generator.

The Navy is turning the potential into reality by contracting with a local company, Niking Corporation, to install solar panels on five rooftops at the base.  In terms of the available roof space that may seem like more of a demonstration project than a full scale installation, but it’s still significant.  The Navy expects the five roofs to bring in enough solar energy to power 440 homes, and for a state that’s not rich in fossil fuels, that’s a clear demonstration of the potential for growth in sustainable solar energy.

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CES 2010 – Martin LaMonica Leads Panel on Getting Gadgets (and Consumers) to Go Green
green panel at ces photo

On Saturday afternoon, CNET senior tech tech reporter Martin LaMonica hosted a panel at the “Sustainable Planet” zone entitled Making Electronics Greener One Consumer at a Time. On the panel were Jeff Omelchuck, executive director of EPEAT; Jason Linnell, the executive director of the National Center for Electronics Recycling; and David Katzmaier, CNET editor and expert on TV energy efficiency. The panel discussed everything from issues in the electronic industry around Energy Star certification, to how to get buyers to care more about gre… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Do you have a fallen tree in your yard or perhaps one needing to be removed for safety reasons? Save time, cash, make better use of the tree and prevent it going to landfill – see if you can treecycle it!

Visit the original post at: Green living tips

Peugeot Launches New Marque Plan with Downsizing, Hybrids and Plug-ins for Two-, Three- and Four-Wheeled Vehicles; Unveils SR1 Hybrid Concept

The new SR1 hybrid concept indicates the Marque’s style direction. Click to enlarge.

Peugeot launched a comprehensive new Marque plan, with the objectives of moving up three places in the world car market by 2015 (it is currently in 10th place); establishing Peugeot as a benchmark for style; and becoming the leader in mobility services.

To achieve its goals, Peugeot is relying on a new products strategy that includes electric propulsion (the i0n i-MiEV-derived electric car) and E-Vivacity scooter from 2010; diesel hybrid in the 3008 from 2011 (earlier post); e-HDi (microhybrid) from 2011 on the entire diesel range; and a plug-in diesel hybrid in 2012. Peugeot said that it is also designing a vehicle which will embody all of the spirit of the BB1 concept car: 2.5m, 4 seats and 100% electric. (Earlier post.)

Peugeot said it will also target new markets. The Marque is investing in the Crossover, SUV, and MPV market by developing a special range of products for international markets. Due to this product offensive, in its core markets and in new markets, Peugeot will launch 14 new models worldwide between 2010 and 2012.

Included in its product strategy are:

  • Cleaner engines. Peugeot continues to improve engine efficiency with a downsizing strategy for its gasoline and HDi FAP diesel engines. The Marque is also developing a new 3-cylinder gasoline engine.

  • 100% Electric vehicles. Peugeot will initially launch the i0n in Europe into the private electric vehicle market from the end of 2010. Offering good response when starting off, excellent acceleration and a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph), it is designed for the urban and suburban traffic of Europe’s large cities. Its Li-ion batteries give it a range of 130 km. They recharge fully in 6 hours via a household electrical socket or in 30 minutes with a rapid charging terminal.

    Peugeot will also offer a 100% electric light commercial vehicles (LCV) based on the Partner Origin, with a load capacity of 3 m3, from the spring of 2010.

  • Micro-hybrids. The e-HDi system will be widely introduced across the Marque’s models from the end of 2011. This technology reduces both fuel consumption and

    CO2 emissions by up to 15%.

  • Full Hybrid.The 3008 HYbrid4 will launch in the spring of 2011. Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology uses a parallel architecture combining a diesel engine, electric motor, 6-speed electronically controlled manual gearbox (MCP) and a stop-start system. The 3008 HYbrid4 offers a reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on the order of 35%—3.8L/100 km (62 mpg US) and 99g of CO2/km. Peugeot says this will be the first diesel hybrid on the market and will be followed by other Peugeot HYbrid4 models.

  • HYbrid4 Plug-in. In 2012, Peugeot will introduce plug-in HYbrid4 technology for a further reduction in emissions levels: the target is less than 50 g of CO2/km and 2.0 L/100 km (118 mpg US).

This environmental strategy followed by the Marque also applies to its two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

  • Peugeot is proposing a power-assisted bicycle developed in partnership

    with Ultra Motor. Its electric motor is powered by a removable 36V Li-ion

    battery offering a range of 70 km.

  • The E-Vivacity, a 100% electric scooter with a power equivalent to that of a

    50 cm3 machine features a Li-ion battery can be fully recharged in 4 hours and recharged to 80% capacity in 2 hours, offering a range from 80 to 100 kilometers (50 to 62 miles). The production model will be unveiled to the general public at the end of

    2010 and will go on sale in 2011.

  • Peugeot Scooters, which provides a range of mopeds and scooters ranging from

    50 to 500 cm3, is presenting two concepts. The HYbrid3 Evolution is a 3-wheel drive hybrid scooter with a naturally-aspirated engine at the rear combined with two electric motors housed in the two front wheels. It offers a CO emissions level of 48 g/km, or

    zero in electric-only mode.

Peugeot cycles. Peugeot is also back in bicycle market via a an

exclusive worldwide partnership with Cycleurope, Europe’s leading bicycle

manufacturer. Peugeot is introducing a new range of bicycles comprising four models: a racing bike, an urban cycle, a mountain bike and a hybrid. This range will be

available from the spring of 2010 and new models will be added from

September 2010.

The SR1 Hybrid Concept

Through the Peugeot SR1, the Marque is revealing the stylistic design trends

for its future models. The concept car embodies the new world of Peugeot,

reflected by the new Lion badge. The use of HYbrid4 technology allows the Peugeot SR1 to offer 230 kW (313 bhp) with emissions of 119 g/km of CO2 (0 in electric mode), 4 wheel drive and


In the SR1, a 160 kW (218 bhp) 1.6-liter THP gasoline engine in the front is combined with a rear electric motor developing 70 kW (95 bhp). In electric only mode, the car becomes a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), while its combined cycle fuel consumption is

4.9 L/100 km (48 mpg US) or 119 g/km of CO2.

The Peugeot SR1 concept car will be unveiled to the general public at the

next Geneva Motor Show, in March.

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President Obama Awards $2.3B for Tax Credits for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs; GE Gets Largest Battery-related Award

President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. The 183 projects in 43 states include several for the manufacturing of advanced batteries; biomass projects; and vehicles. The projects were competitively selected through a merit review process.

GE claimed the largest of the battery-related awards, with a $25.5 million tax credit to refurbish a pre-existing GE manufacturing facility in Schenectady, New York to produce sodium metal halide batteries for various markets, including electricity grid support and regulation services to help support renewable energy penetration levels, enable remote power systems based on renewable energy sources, and help increase efficiency by reduced peak power demands.

GE has already invested more than $150 million in developing battery technologies, and the tax credit will supplement GE’s investments in the new product line that will serve the rail, marine, mining, telecommunications and utility sectors.

Scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2011, the facility will be in close proximity to GE Global Research in Niskayuna, where advances to the battery chemistry were developed. The batteries will rely heavily on new materials, new manufacturing technologies and intelligent controls.

At full capacity the plant could produce approximately 10 million cells capable of generating 900 megawatt-hours of energy per year—the equivalent of the battery power required for 45,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with an 80-mile range or enough energy to support 1,000 GE Evolution Series hybrid locomotives.

Other battery awards were:

Grantee Description Award
Aerovironment, Inc Aeroenvironment plans to manufacture a Mobile Charger that combines a battery pack with a Level 3 DC connector. It is designed for on-road service trucks to provide a quick charge to stranded battery electric vehicles similar to an “out-of-gas” situation.

Aerovironment, Inc Aeroenvironment plans to purchase equipment for manufacturing 25 kWh LiTiO advanced battery packs and battery management systems.

Porocel Industries, LLC Porocel Industries, LLC will construct and operate a plant for drying, grinding, calcining, and packaging process steps for the production of intermediate material used in the production of Conoco Phillips’ CPreme Anode. The result will aid in competitive domestic battery manufacturing capability. $2,880,000
Rogers Foam Automotive Corporation Rogers Foam Automotive Corporation will manufacture a component to be used in the thermal management system of Lithium-ion battery assemblies for electrical vehicles. This sub-component consists of an outer gasket, which locates the component in the assembly, a multi-layer pressure conformable membrane,which provides the constant pressure and a bonding agent, which attaches the outer gasket and membrane. The resulting product will aid domestic battery manufacturing for electric vehicles. $300,000

Biomass. In the biomass sector, Novozymes Blair, Inc. was awarded a $28,401,000 credit to support the installation of equipment at a new manufacturing facility to produce biocatalysts (enzymes) used in manufacturing cellulosic ethanol from corn stover by the biochemical platform (biomass pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, distillation). These biocatalysts will aid the production of biofuels as a renewable energy source.

RE-Gen LLC will receive a $903,480 credit to support building a factory to produce Biomass Gasification Furnaces with a capacity of 250 systems/year.

Vehicles. Among the vehicle credits, Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC requested a $150-million tax credit for its plant in the area, and Think North America will receive a $16,970,145 credit to support the establishment of a US manufacturing operation/facility (a vehicle assembly operation as well as facilities for fabricating vehicle components) for the Think City light-weight EV-dedicated vehicle for sale throughout North America.

To foster investment and job creation in clean energy manufacturing, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included a tax credit for investments in manufacturing facilities for clean energy technologies (the Section 48C program). Because the 48C program generated far more interest than anticipated, DOE and Treasury have a substantial backlog of technically acceptable applications.

Instead of turning down worthy applicants who are willing to invest private resources to build and equip factories that manufacture clean energy products in America, the Administration has called on Congress to provide an additional $5 billion to expand the program.

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Opposed-piston Engine Company Achates Power Closes $19.2M Series B Round

Achates Power, a company developing a new family of opposed-piston engines, has completed a $19.2M Series B round with the addition of a new investor, Triangle Peak Partners. Triangle Peak joins the company’s existing investors: Sequoia Capital Partners, Rockport Capital Partners, Madrone Capital Partners, and InterWest Partners.

The Achates Power engine architecture is modular and scalable to address a variety of end-use applications. With more than five years of dynamometer validation of its single cylinder engine, the company is now testing a 4.2L 4-cylinder engine that rivals conventional engines nearly twice its size, according to Achates.

The A40 engine, as presented by Achates Power president and CEO David Johnson earlier in 2009, is a two-stroke compression-ignition engine, with high efficiency and high power.

Founded in 2004 by National Academy of Engineering Member, Dr. James Lemke and the late John Walton, the company has assembled a team of engine design and development experts from around the globe including a world-class Technical Advisory Board. CEO Johnson, is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience leading engine development for automotive and commercial vehicle industries around the world. The company has generated 8 US Patents with nearly 300 claims, 2 international patents, 10 US Patent Applications, and 31 National Phase Filings in numerous jurisdictions.

We believe that one of the solutions to our future energy needs is to do more with less. Achates Power is a novel company with innovative technologies that do just that. We are confident in the company’s ability to deliver a revolutionary engine that breaks barriers in fuel efficiency, power density and cost. We look forward to using our technical background and finance experience in connection with the Achates board and current investors to help Achates grow and succeed.

—Dain DeGroff founding partner at Triangle Peak Partners and new Board Member of Achates Power


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Study Finds Warmer Climate Could Stifle Carbon Uptake by Trees

A new CU-Boulder study indicates subalpine forests in the West will soak up less carbon dioxide as the climate warms and the growing seasons lengthen. As a result, more of the greenhouse gas will be left to concentrate in the atmosphere.

“Our findings contradict studies of other ecosystems that conclude longer growing seasons actually increase plant carbon uptake,” said Jia Hu, who conducted the research as a graduate student in CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department in conjunction with the university’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).

The study will be published in the February edition of the journal Global Change Biology.

Working with ecology and evolutionary biology professor and CIRES Fellow Russell Monson, Hu found that while smaller spring snowpack tended to advance the onset of spring and extend the growing season, it also reduced the amount of water available to forests later in the summer and fall. The water-stressed trees were then less effective in converting CO2 into biomass. Summer rains were unable to make up the difference, Hu said.

“Snow is much more effective than rain in delivering water to these forests,” said Monson. “If a warmer climate brings more rain, this won’t offset the carbon uptake potential being lost due to declining snowpacks.” Drier trees also are more susceptible to beetle infestations and wildfires, Monson said.

The researchers found that even as late in the season as September and October, 60% of the water in stems and needles collected from subalpine trees along Colorado’s Front Range could be traced back to spring snowmelt. They were able to distinguish between spring snow and summer rain in plant matter by analyzing slight variations in hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water molecules.

The results suggest subalpine trees like lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and Englemann spruce depend largely on snowmelt, not just at the beginning of the summer, but throughout the growing season, according to the researchers.

“As snowmelt in these high-elevation forests is predicted to decline, the rate of carbon uptake will likely follow suit,” said Hu.

Subalpine forests currently make up an estimated 70% of the western United States’ carbon sink. Their geographic range includes much of the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada and high-elevation areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Study co-authors included David Moore of King’s College London and Sean Burns of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and CU-Boulder.

CIRES is a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


  • Jia Hu et al. (2009) Longer growing seasons lead to less carbon sequestration by a subalpine forest. Global Change Biology

    Volume 16 Issue 2, Pages 771 – 783 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01967.x

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Polk Forecasts US LDV Sales to Grow 10.2% in 2010

R. L. Polk & Co. predicts the light vehicle market will be 11.5 million units in 2010, according to its most recent US light vehicle forecast. Light vehicle sales in 2009 were 10.4 million, the lowest level in 27 years, and 21.2% lower than 2008.

We believe wealth accumulation and improving consumer confidence added to GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 and we see slow but steady GDP growth in 2010.

—Dave Goebel, North American forecast consultant for Polk

Polk’s forecast for Real GDP US growth in 2010 is 2.9%. Polk’s analysis indicates that the US economy is in a recovery; however, risks to the pace of economic growth remain. As government stimulus programs end, consumers must have confidence to continue spending and businesses need to invest and hire, otherwise the economic recovery could slow in 2010.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Polk Forecasts US LDV Sales to Grow 10.2% in 2010

R. L. Polk & Co. predicts the light vehicle market will be 11.5 million units in 2010, according to its most recent US light vehicle forecast. Light vehicle sales in 2009 were 10.4 million, the lowest level in 27 years, and 21.2% lower than 2008.

We believe wealth accumulation and improving consumer confidence added to GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 and we see slow but steady GDP growth in 2010.

—Dave Goebel, North American forecast consultant for Polk

Polk’s forecast for Real GDP US growth in 2010 is 2.9%. Polk’s analysis indicates that the US economy is in a recovery; however, risks to the pace of economic growth remain. As government stimulus programs end, consumers must have confidence to continue spending and businesses need to invest and hire, otherwise the economic recovery could slow in 2010.

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Following third warmest November, December not even close to contiguous U.S. record for cold

It was relatively cool over CONUS in December, but not closet to record-shattering, as NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported (see below).  And, as Capital Climate notes, this 14th coldest December followed the third warmest November.

Also, Alaska had its 17th warmest December.  It’d be nice if NCDC would combine the two in reporting, since Alaska is getting baked these days.

It was a relatively warm year (again), part of a long-term warming trend even over the tiny fraction of the Earth that CONUS covers, as NCDC reports:


So, no, we’re  not cooling, as inaccuweather meteorologist Bastardi asserts, not even in the contiguous United States.  If you’d like to see just how non-record-breaking December was for CONUS, here’s the chart:

CONUS 12-09

We should get the global data for December and the entire year next week from NOAA and NASA, and again it will be crystal clear that the climate system as a whole is warming unequivocally.

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Staples Invests In Large Solar Rooftop Installment

There are a variety of ways in which to equip the world with solar power and one such way is using roofs. The Staples company has recently decided to turn the roof of one of their fulfillment centers into a solar harnessing site. An agreement with SunEdison is expected to save the company money and reduce emissions.

A Staples fulfillment center in Hanover, Maryland is now the largest rooftop solar power installment in the state of Maryland. The fulfillment center itself is 200,200 square feet and the solar installation is approximately 175,000 square feet. The solar installation is covering an area greater than three football fields.

Due to the immense size of the installment, it is able to provide 1.01 megawatts of power. Such a large system is equivalent to the power needed for 100 homes each year. The system itself will harness 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. Currently, the estimate is for 21 kilowatt hours to be generated over the next twenty years.

Overall, the installment is expected to save 43 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere for twenty years. Such a savings would be equivalent to removing 4,200 vehicles from the road during the same twenty years.

The Environment Protection Agency has praised the solar project. EPA’s mid-Atlantic region administrator, Shawn M. Garvin, stated: “EPA applauds Staples for initiating this solar energy project to power its Hanover facility. I hope this work inspires other companies to use energy in a manner that does not contribute to global climate change. Staples is demonstrating the kind of leadership that is needed to reduce greenhouse gases and move our nation into a clean energy future.”

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