Archive for February, 2010

Pedal Powered Lawn Mower Is Talk of Handmade Bike Show
lawnmower bike custom photo
Images by Justin Steiner at Dirtrag

If you are going to have a lawn, TreeHugger Mike recommends a reel (or push) mower. (But then, he is an addict) If you are going to have a really big lawn, talk to Ted Wojcik. He built this mower, seen at the North American Handmade Show. He normally builds more conventional bikes at Ted Wojcik Custom Bicyc… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Al Gore Op-Ed in New York Times: "We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change"
extra extra header image

Expect a hundred comments about how climate change is a hoax, reminding us of how much snow fell this month, the non-shrinking glaciers or hacked emails. They will probably be from people who will not even bother reading Al Gore’s long op-ed in the Sunday New York Times. If they did, they would find that he addresses all of these issues.

To summarize it, he writes:

  • If only it were true, it would be a great relief;
  • The errors in the reports and the emails are embarrassing, but do not change the overall picture;
  • Global warming puts more moistu…
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iPhone App Aids Electric Vehicle Charging
Image credit: Coulomb Technologies

From San Francisco’s plans to be the EV charging capitol of the US to serious efforts to build a national electric vehicle charging network, Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint concept seems to be making waves. But how can EV owners easily access this ne… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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13% of Utilities Believe Centralized Electric Generation Will be Obsolete by 2050

By 2050, 69% of utilities expect that a combination of central power stations in tandem with distributed renewable energy (typically rooftop solar PV and small wind) will supply most of the nation’s electricity, according to a survey by Black and Veatch.

But a surprising 13% of utilities believe that an “Al Gore Electra-net” model of distributed rooftop power will be the dominant way we get our electricity in the US by 2050.

“Most of our respondents (69%) see a hybrid electric utility industry model embracing a combination of both central generation and distributed resources evolving by 2050. Such a system would include both centralized base-load generation and distributed renewable generation made feasible by advanced smart grid technology.”

Imagine if you believed your whole industry would be obsolete by 2050. That’s only forty years from now!

If you believed your industry would be gone in forty years, would you make long term capital investments in electric power generation? I sure wouldn’t. Expect more blackouts on the central grid as we get closer to the half-century!

Visit the original post at: Energy News

Climate Skeptics’ Leading Scientist Funded by Dirty Energy

If you are gardening, you have to pay attention to the plants you want to grow, but you also have to pay some attention to the weeds. We seem to be at the beginning of a true clean energy revolution, but even as we admire the nutritious, delicious-looking clean energy crops sprouting up, we have to spend a little time keeping an eye on the weeds.

Climate change and the breakthrough of clean energy technologies are linked, since climate change is a major factor spurring clean energy development and growth.

And one of the leading ways dirty energy titans of the past (and present) who do not want to lose their business or their income try to keep clean energy from growing is through continual attempts to undermine the scientific findings of some of the world’s greatest scientists.

Well, it is no surprise to find out that one of the climate skeptics’ leading scientists — probably the “independent” scientist most often used by the media to present the climate change deniers’ arguments — makes quite a bit of money working for dirty energy companies. But it took a little investigative research (not by me, I have to admit) to uncover this carefully guarded information.


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Al Gore Electranet Begins in California

Yesterday the California legislature just raised the allowable limit on rooftop power from 2.5% of our grid to 5%, because we were in danger of exceeding the 2.5% – within a matter of months. The net-metering limit was about to be breached.

Net metering is like roll-over minutes on cell phones. It means our utilities must credit us for our excess generation while we are at work on sunny afternoons, so that our night time electricity use is credited by the afternoon’s excess electrons stored on the grid in our “account”.

Under prior law, any net energy generation remaining at the end of each 12-month period was granted to our electric utility. (We got no end-of-year roll-over kilowatt-hours.)

But yesterday that got better, for us.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Can Animals Foresee Natural Disasters?

Can Animals Foresee Natural Disasters?
Earthquakes, like the one that struck today in Chile–which, at the time of this writing, is believed to have claimed 147 lives–are all the more devastating for their unpredictable nature. While geologists have resources available to indicate a probability of when a quake will strike, such as measurin… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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A Picture is Worth: Mapping The Chilean Earthquake’s Tsunami
From the Map Room

Extraordinary image showing the projected times that a tsunami would hit other parts of the Pacific from the catastrophic Chilean earthquake this morning. Tsunami warnings have been issued as far north as Vancouver and around the pacific. Height of waves projected below…. Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Curb Your Footprint: Curb Your Appetite
Jeff Garlin book jacket photo
Jeff Garlin weighs in on going green. Image from Simon Spotlight

Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Jeff Garlin is on a carbon and calorie loss diet. His new memoir, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World, released this past week, chronicles his year-long journey to lower both his physical footprint and his carbon footprint. With wisecracks and candid wisdom, he describes facing down his food addiction and the steps he took for the environment. But is the comedian’s two-pronged attack to go lean and gr… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Is Your New Phone (Apple iPhone, Perhaps) Cancer Causing, Too?
My cell phone makes me feel funny. Does yours?

I couldn’t tell if it was my better body awareness from yoga or my generally strong cell phone neurosis (long live the bees!). Every time I held my phone up to my ear, I felt a vibratory drum-like sensation as though something external and vampire-ish was sucking life out of me. Dash in a little of my hypochondria and you can imagine the visions of brain tumors, breast cancer and salivary gland cancer</a… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Kia Crashes the Green Car Party with the Kia Hybrid Car
Kia Crashes the Green Car Party with the Kia Hybrid Car

Remember when Kia first hit the market and other car manufacturers were laughing at them? Well, they haven’t been laughing in quite some time as Kia continues to put out attractive looking vehicles for far less money than anyone else. They have now unleashed their latest entry into the hybrid market at the new [...]
Posted in: Hybrid Cars, Industry, Transportation

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Behind The Scenes, A Green Apple ‘Walking The Walk’
green apple photo
Green apple. Image credit:Aztec International, Inc. candle making scents.

Those of you who have read my previous missives on personal electronics know I have little use for the like of Greenpeace’s electronics rating scheme and am anoyed by the constant hectoring of Apple by NGO’s. Often they are chasing trailing indicators and pushing protocols that miss the big picture. Continuing along those lines, I recently congratulated Apple’s Board of Directors for opposing shareholder demands that Apple publish an ann…
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Many Uses for Super Charge Ion Batteries

We’ve seen Toshiba’s SCiB (super-charge ion batteries) before at last summer’s Consumer Electronics Show, where they were providing the power storage for a battery-assisted bike. SCiB batteries are useful for a wide range of functions, from electric bicycles and hybrid and electric vehicles, to industrial equipment and renewable energy storage. Toshiba has now opened a US-based technical support center to aid in developing the SCiB, particularly for vehicles, grid storage, and wind and solar power applications.

The SCiB has characteristics that make it very appealing. It performs like an ultracapacitor with rapid charge times, reaching 90% charge in about 5 minutes. It is good for thousands of cycles without extensive capacity loss, and it has a life span of 10 years or more. And, of potentially particular interest for vehicle manufacturers, it is able to perform even at low temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).

The SCiB batteries are based on lithium chemistry, as are many other batteries currently in use. However, according to Toshiba, in addition to the other beneficial features the SCiB offers, they also have an internal structure which helps prevent short circuits and avoid “thermal runaway” even if they do develop a short circuit.

Link: Toshiba

via: NA Windpower

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New York State Grid Increases Net Metering


The state of New York has opened up its electrical grid allowing further net-metering with the passage of a bill in the state legislature following a “Net Metering Summit” in the state last year. Among other provisions, the new regulations cap interconnect fees for small facilities under 25 kW, and allow non-residential wind- and solar-power projects to participate in net-metering arrangements.

The new law also helps move New York closer to its ’45 by 15′ goal which targets the State meeting 45 percent of its electricity needs by 2015 through increased energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Net-metering provisions in state laws are one of the fastest ways to speed the adoption of residential and small-scale renewable power production from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. A statement from Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, noted that “Net metering propels us into the 21st century and moves NY forward as our electric meter moves backwards.”

via: NA Windpower

images: / CC BY 2.0 and Martin Bodman / CC BY-SA 2.0

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