Archive for May 9th, 2010

Recurrent Energy – 3rd Largest PV Portfolio in North America
Emerging Energy Research issued a report (subscription required) last week recognizing the recent progress we’ve made at Recurrent Energy. The report, titled Recurrent Distributed PV Strategy Comes to Fruition, notes the string of contracted PV project announcements we’ve made since…

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Pendulum hydro pump concept: it's open source – build it!

My friend David Matos de Matos who is of Portuguese descent living in Angola, has described a possible way to reverse entropy using hydraulics (see Thermoenergetics: Can Hydraulics Reverse Entropy? on this blog). David has now come up with a simple idea of making use of gravity and a pendulum, together with hydraulics, to produce a useful pumping function.


David’s pendulum hydro pump concept is simple and can be built by everyone. It is based on the idea of Milkovich, who says that a suitably heavy pendulum can produce more power than is necessary to expend in order to keep it swinging. The basic idea is described in PESWiki:

Milkovic Two-Stage Mechanical Oscillator

Here is what David says about his invention:

“I [have] just come up with the pendulum hydro pump.

Similar to Milkovic´s device it may be an over unity machine.

I tried with a rudimentary setup in springs, with a rigid rod firmly tied to the bearing. The swing of the pendulum was steady. Looked like the force on the springs where the same on both legs. I did not find any vibrations on the pendulum and the amplitude behaved like the schematic showed on the website.

The pendulum keeps swinging, with the pivot making a parabola. It looks like, if we extend an imaginary line from the rod up, it will have an imaginary fixed pivot.

I am setting up everything for a prototype. Let´s see how it goes.

I am inviting everybody to build small prototypes because we will have different perspectives and improve it.

I am not filing a patent, and wish that a lot of water pumps being installed in Africa, the most needed good in this continent.

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Forget Solar-in-a-Suitcase, the Air Force is getting Solar Power in a Shipping Container

Lockheed Martin wins contract to supply US Air Force with portable solar power arrays built into shipping containersIt was probably inevitable that the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces would try to one-up each other in the race to marginalize fossil fuels, and here’s just the latest example.  Just a few months after the U.S. Marines announce a portable solar power system the size of a large suitcase, the Air Force signs a $3.5 million contract with Lockheed Martin to outfit entire shipping containers as portable solar power generators for rapid field deployment.

It’s just one part of an all-out push by the U.S. Armed Forces to wean themselves – and the rest of us – off fossil fuels, and though we don’t need any more reminders that it’s way past time to do that, here’s the BP oil spill, the Massey coal mine disaster (to say nothing of mountaintop coal mining), the Tennessee coal ash flood, and the Iraq War.  Not too long ago the U.S. ran on firewood, whale oil and raw horsepower, so what’ s the big deal about continuing to move up the energy ladder?


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Cap & Dividend: The Worst Possible Way to Regulate GHG Emissions

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How Smart (or Dumb) is your City on the Sun?
sunburn_red_man.jpgCredit: Flickr via Ian Webb.

You won’t find Lobster Boy in Hartford, Connecticut. Or Salt Lake City, Utah, or Denver, Colorado, for that matter. Those are the top three most “Suntelligent” big cities in the U.S., according to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. The most sun-dumb? Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. … Read the full story on TreeHugger
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How Smart (or Dumb) is your City on the Sun?
sunburn_red_man.jpgCredit: Flickr via Ian Webb.

You won’t find Lobster Boy in Hartford, Connecticut. Or Salt Lake City, Utah, or Denver, Colorado, for that matter. Those are the top three most “Suntelligent” big cities in the U.S., according to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. The most sun-dumb? Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. … Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

How Smart (or Dumb) is your City on the Sun?
sunburn_red_man.jpgCredit: Flickr via Ian Webb.

You won’t find Lobster Boy in Hartford, Connecticut. Or Salt Lake City, Utah, or Denver, Colorado, for that matter. Those are the top three most “Suntelligent” big cities in the U.S., according to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. The most sun-dumb? Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. … Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Bosch Analysis Finds US Light Duty Diesels Had a Consumer Take Rate of About 30% in 2009 When Both Diesel and Gasoline Engines Offered

An analysis by Bosch, using new car registration data provided by R.L Polk & Co., determined that for the 12-month period beginning January 2009, when both diesel and gasoline engine options were offered as options in a car, about 30% of the registrations had diesel engines.

Bosch’s analysis of Polk data shows the average

percentage of registrations for cars with clean diesel engines were:

  • Audi A3 TDI: 20%
  • Audi Q7 TDI: 30%
  • BMW 335d: 8%
  • BMW X5 xDrive x35d: 17%
  • Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC: 18%
  • Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC: 13%
  • Mercedes-Benz R 350 BlueTEC: 12%
  • VW Jetta TDI (Sedan and Sportwagen): 49%+
  • Volkswagen Touareg TDI: 33%

Lars Ullrich, director of diesel systems marketing for Robert Bosch LLC, noted that car buyers chose clean diesel vehicles at higher rates than most market watchers expected.

These rates compare favorably or surpass the percentage of buyers opting for a hybrid version of a vehicle, he said. For example, using Polk registration data for the same 12-month period as the base, Ullrich noted that 8% of Camry buyers chose the Camry Hybrid, which has been on the market for four years, having been introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model. Similarly, the Ford Escape Hybrid introduced in 2004, had a consumer take rate of 10% in 2009.

As we examine this data, we are excited to see that even though clean diesels have been on the market for a shorter timeframe than hybrids, their acceptance by the buying public has accelerated more rapidly than similar hybrid models.

—Lars Ullrich

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DuPont Tate Lyle Bio Products Expanding Bio-PDO Production in Tennessee

DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, LLC, a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle, recently announced an expansion to their Loudon, Tenn., facility to increase production of bio-based 1,3 propanediol (Bio-PDO) by 35%. Construction is scheduled to start in June, and the expansion is expected to be complete by second quarter 2011.

Formed in 2004, DuPont Tate & Lyle produces Bio-PDO from corn instead of petroleum-based feedstock using a proprietary fermentation process. (Earlier post.) Bio-PDO is used as an ingredient in materials in a variety of applications that have traditionally been based on petroleum, ranging from cosmetics and personal care formulations to fluids and polymers, most notably DuPont Sorona renewably sourced polymer. Bio-PDO is sold under the Zemea and Susterra brands.

We are seeing strong demand for our renewable products. We had record sales last year and already are anticipating the need for additional capacity after just three years of operation. This expansion is proof that cutting-edge industrial biotechnology can deliver products that meet the needs of industry and consumers while contributing to a smaller environmental footprint.

—Steve Mirshak, president – DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products

Visit the original post at: Transportation News

EC Releases Communication on European Strategy for Clean and Energy-efficient Vehicles; Special Focus on EVs

The European Commission recently released a Communication to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on a European strategy for encouraging the development and uptake of clean

and energy-efficient heavy- (buses and trucks) and light-duty vehicles (cars and vans) as well as two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles.

Currently, transport is responsible for about a quarter of EU CO2 emissions and also contributes significantly to reduced air quality (particulate matter, NOx, HC and CO) and related health problems, in particular in urban areas.

The strategy builds on the existing 2007 strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles, and complements ongoing and planned activities to decarbonize transport and to reduce their environmental impacts. While it is limited to road transport, road vehicles and the mid-term perspective, it supports the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80-95% by 2050.

The authors note that technological developments in green automotive propulsion technologies can/should have spin-offs to maritime, air, heavy-duty vehicles, urban and light rail transport modes.

The strategy aims to provide a technology-neutral policy framework. Two tracks need to be followed simultaneously, the EC says:

  • Promoting clean and energy efficient vehicles based on conventional internal combustion engines;
  • Facilitating the deployment of breakthrough technologies in ultra-low-carbon vehicles.

The strategy considers three main types of powertrains:

  • Combustion engines burning alternative fuels such as liquid biofuels and gaseous fuels (including LPG, CNG and biogas).

  • Electric vehicle technology. Pure electric vehicles appear to be most promising for urban use, given the relatively limited range provided by batteries and the potentially better cost-benefit ratio of deploying recharging infrastructure first in cities. Lower pollutant and noise emissions also have the biggest social, including health benefits in

    urban areas.

  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. These can also deliver similar environmental benefits to battery electric vehicles. The development and deployment of battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is therefore mutually complementary as they share many similar electrical drivetrain components, the EC communication says.

In addition to outlining EC activities on regulatory frameworks; supporting research and innovation in green technologies; and taking measures to encourage market uptake, the communication outlined a number of specific actions for electric vehicles, including:

  • Placement in the market. Working together with international partners at the UNECE to propose electric safety requirements for vehicle type-approval in 2010; review other type-approval requirements covered by Directive 2007/46/EC by 2011; and review crash safety requirements and consider whether the quietness of these vehicles is potentially dangerous to vulnerable road users by 2012.

  • Standardization. Within the framework of Directive 98/34/EC22, the EC will mandate the European standardization bodies in 2010 to develop by 2011 a standardized charging interface to ensure interoperability and connectivity between the electricity supply point and the charger of the

    electric vehicle; to address safety risks and electromagnetic compatibility; and to consider smart charging (the possibility for users to take advantage of the use of electricity during off-peak hours.

  • Infrastructure. The Commission will provide a leading role in working with Member States at national and regional level on the

    build-up of charging and refuelling infrastructure in the EU; and explore with the European Investment Bank how to provide funding to stimulate investment in infrastructure and services build-up for green vehicles.

  • Energy, power generation and distribution. The Commission will determine and compare the environmental and carbon footprint of vehicles (internal combustion engine, electric, gas fueled vehicles and hydrogen) based on a life cycle approach; evaluate whether the promotion of electric vehicles leads to the additional provision of low-carbon electricity generation via the promotion of low carbon energy sources to ensure

    that the electricity consumed by electric vehicles does not go to the detriment of low-carbon electricity already expected from meeting the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive; and evaluate the impact of the increased requirement for low-carbon electricity on the supply

    system and on the grid.

  • Recycling and transportation of batteries. The Commission will consider what changes may need to be made to existing legislation in relation to the recycling of batteries and end of life vehicles to adjust to the new market circumstances; promote European research programs on recycling and reusing of batteries; and review options for changing the rules on transporting batteries after carefully evaluating

    the costs and potential risks.

The global car fleet is predicted to grow from 800 million to 1.6 billion vehicles by 2030. This doubling of the global car fleet calls for a step change in technology to ensure sustainable mobility in the long term in view of the goal of decarbonizing transport. The strategy should therefore help European industry lead the world in deploying alternative

propulsion technologies. The global trend towards sustainable transport shows that the European automotive industry can only remain competitive by leading in green technologies.

This requires a progressive shift from today’s situation. A new industrial approach based on clean and energy efficient vehicles will boost the competitiveness of the European industry, provide new jobs in the automotive industry and in other sectors in the supply chain and

support restructuring. Hence this initiative builds on the European green cars initiative which was launched as a part of the European Economic Recovery Plan in November 2008.

—“A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles”


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Austria-Germany Research Collaboration Developing Process to Store Renewable Electricity as Synthetic Natural Gas

Researchers in Austria and Germany are developing a process to store renewable electricity as synthetic natural through a combination of electrolysis to produce hydrogen combined with methanation using CO2.

The process was developed by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES. Solar Fuel Technology, the Austria-based partner company, is setting up the industrial implementation of the process. A demonstration system built on behalf of Solar Fuel in Stuttgart is already operating successfully.

The partners plan to launch a substantially larger system—approximately 10 MW—by 2012.

Our demonstration system in Stuttgart splits water using surplus renewable energy using electrolysis. The result is hydrogen and oxygen. A chemical reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide generates methane—and that is nothing other than natural gas, produced synthetically.

Within the development of this technology, ZSW has been guided by two core issues. Which storage systems offer sufficient capacity for compensating fluctuating renewable energies that depend on the wind and weather? And which storage systems can be integrated into the existing infrastructure the easiest?

—Dr. Michael Specht of ZSW

The efficiency of converting power to gas equals more than 60%, the researchers said.

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Louisiana Governor Wants to Build New Islands to Ward Off Oil Slick
Photo by Brian Merchant

After the press jumped on the fact that the first attempt to seal the gushing oil leak with an underwater oil containment dome had failed, other noteworthy news receded into the background: Namely, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s new plan to fight the giant incoming oil slick by dumping dredged materials across the barrier islands off the coast. He says this would strengthen existing islands, and eve…
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BP scrambles after Gulf oil spill fix setback
As a massive oil leak spits thousands of gallons more crude into the Gulf of Mexico, a big box that BP hoped would be its savior sits idle hundreds of feet away, encased in ice crystals.

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If You Want Social Networking for Tap Water Drinkers, JoinThePipe
join the pipe for clean water image
Image: JoinThePipe

Let me first say “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the mothers out there. Then let me share something that seems fitting for this Mother’s Day: a cause my daughter turned me onto, a cause which every mother can support. Yes, it is clean water for those who need it. Again.

But JoinThePipe has done it with a clever twist. They have invented social networking for tap water drinkers, including a JoinThePipe reusable water bottle that users can link with friends, to make the “longest pipe in the world.” The pipe bottles and carafes symbolize bringing clean water to any are… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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