Archive for July 11th, 2010

Maine Plans Climate Quantum Leap: Weatherization To Hit International Markets
georges restaurant waterville maine photo
Georges’ Restaurant, Waterville ME. Image

Creative leaps like this one from the State of Maine are what we need more of. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which Maine participates in has already generated more than $20 million. Where are the opportunities for more returns? As reported in the Bangor Daily News, MaineHousing, the state’s affordable housing agency, has developed a plan to make more mon…
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Tata Power Planning India’s Largest Solar PV Power Plant with 50 MW Capacity

Tata Power, a subsidiary of the famous Tata Group, is planning to set up India’s largest solar PV power plant with a generation capacity of 50 MW. The company will set up this plant in Mithapur, Gujarat.

Tata Power is working on several projects to expand its generation capacity and even though most of those projects are directed towards coal-based power generation, the company has made significant progress as far as adding renewable energy sources to its portfolio is concerned. The company has announced massive expansion of its solar-based power generation in addition to several large and micro-scale wind energy generation schemes.

The project in this case would probably be used both for captive and export purpose. A part of the power generated would probably be used by the manufacturing plants of other subsidiaries of the Tata Group while the rest could be fed into the national grid. (more…)

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Catalyst for Hydrotreating of Diesel Distillate from Shale Oil Under Moderate Conditions

A study by researchers in China has identified a catalyst—NiMoW—for the hydrotreating of the diesel distillate fraction from Fushun shale oil under relative mild conditions to produce a product that can be directly used as a transportation fuel. Their study appeared online 8 July in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

Shale oil has high levels of nitrogen, sulfur, and unsaturated hydrocarbons, limiting its potential use as a substitute fuel, the authors noted.

In China, reserves of oil shales account for about 500,000

billion tons. It is distributed mainly in Fushun, Liaoning

province, Huadian, Jilin province, and Maoming, Guangdong

province… However, the shale oils produced from oil shales contain a considerable amount of heteroatomic compounds, especially unsaturated hydrocarbons, which may cause many troubles, such as, instability of fuel during its transportation or storage…Catalytic hydrotreating may be considered as the only convenient way to remove heteroatomic compounds from shale oil. However, many papers showed that severe process conditions were needed during catalytic hydrotreating of shale oils. The concentrations of heteroatomic compounds in shale oils could be reduced, but they were still too high to be used as

a transportation fuel. Denitrogenation was more difficult than

desulfurization for shale oils.

—Yu et al.

The team investigated catalytic hydrotreating of the diesel distillate from Fushun shale oil was investigated using three types of catalysts at

different conditions. The degrees of sulfur removal were high for all of the three catalysts, even at moderate conditions, indicating that most of the sulfur species in this distillate were reactive, which can be easily

converted during the catalytic hydroprocessing. Denitrogenation was much more difficult than desulfurization, even at severe conditions, the authors found.

The NiMoW catalyst was the most active for heteroatom removal of the three.

Under relative mild conditions, it was possible to produce very stable

oil from the Fushun shale oil distillate. After hydrogenation,

produced oil had low contents of sulfur (41 µg g-1), nitrogen

(195 µg g-1), and alkene, reduced density, and increased

cetane number. The hydrotreated product can be directly

used as a domestic transportation fuel.

—Yu et al.


  • Hang Yu, Shuyuan Li and Guangzhou Jin (2010) Catalytic Hydrotreating of the Diesel Distillate from Fushun Shale Oil for the Production of Clean Fuel.

    Energy Fuels, Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/ef100531u

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Sinfonia Entering Market For Plug-in Vehicle Quick Chargers in Japan

Nikkei. Sinfonia Technology Co.—formerly known as Shinko Electric Co. Ltd.—is developing a plug-in vehicle quick charger that can fit in narrow spaces.

The system consists of two 25 kW bases. As a 50 kW system it can recharge a single electric vehicle to 80% of capacity in 15 minutes. A reservation function allows a second vehicle to be plugged into the second station and recharged as soon as the vehicle at the first station is finished. The system can also be configured to charge two vehicles simultaneously at the lower 25 kW level.

The company’s offering features a charging station that can be as far as 10 meters from the power source base. This charging station contains the charging plug and control board in a unit with a footprint of just 30cm square. It can easily fit into a parking space in an existing parking lot.

Sinfonia plans to market the product to municipalities, public facilities and commercial facilities starting in October, charging 3.5 million yen [US$39,500] for a unit consisting of one power source and two charging stations.

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US Department of Interior to Hold Oil and Gas Lease Sale for 1.8M Acres in National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

The Department of the Interior (DOI) will hold a lease sale for oil and gas parcels in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on 11 August, offering 190 tracts of land, totaling about 1.8 million acres. Currently, there are 310 authorized oil and gas leases totaling 3,026,633 acres in the NPR-A.


The NPR-A is west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

The tracts offered cover land available for oil and gas leasing within the Northeast NPR-A, closest to existing infrastructure, such as the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, and areas of known development potential. Leases issued as a result of this sale will have primary terms of ten (10) years.

This sale reflects the Administration’s continuing efforts to encourage environmentally responsible development of domestic energy resources, including fossil fuels, to reduce our nation’s heavy dependence on imported oil. It also demonstrates our continuing commitment to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitat on sensitive public lands with exceptional ecological value.

—Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

Formerly known as the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, the NPR-A is a 23-million acre area on Alaska’s North Slope that has a history of nearly 100 years of petroleum exploration. In 1923, President Harding set aside these 23 million acres as an emergency oil supply for the US Navy. In 1976, in accordance with the Naval Petroleum Reserve Production Act, the administration of the reserve was transferred to the Department of the Interior, more specifically the Bureau of Land Management, and was renamed to what is now known as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

NPR-A August 2010 Lease Sale
  NE High Potential Tracts NE Low Potential Tracks
Track size ¼ township

(±5,760 acres)

½ township

(± 11,500 acres)

Minimum bid $25 or more per acre or fraction thereof $5 or more per acre or fraction thereof
Fixed royalty rate 16.67% 12.5%
Rental rate and minimum royalty $5 per acre or fraction thereof $3 per acre or fraction thereof

In developing this lease sale, the BLM chose not to offer lands around Teshekpuk Lake in consideration of important fish and wildlife habitats. The lake shore areas contain internationally significant molting habitat for black brant, Canada geese, and greater white-fronted geese.


Lease tracts 2010. Click to enlarge.

The lake’s shoreline has been respected through several Administrations, which have agreed to withhold the lake (219,000 acres) and areas to the north from leasing. The area north and east of the lake (430,000 acres) has been deferred from leasing until 2018. This sale also holds back about 170,000 acres south of the lake because of migratory bird and caribou habitat concerns.

The Teshekpuk Caribou Herd has almost doubled in population in recent years, from about 35,000 to almost 70,000 animals, and BLM has agreed that the herd’s biology justifies holding back a significant number of potential leases south of Teshekpuk Lake so that the agency can update its understanding of the herd’s needs and land use. The herd is particularly important to local village subsistence hunters who take about 5% of the herd in an average year.

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Designing Their Way Out of a Dam Mess

Designing Their Way Out of a Dam Mess
vote for green slowalk korea photo
A previous do-gooding design campaign. Photo via Slowalk

From educating people about food miles and food security to encouraging them to use less paper, the Korean group Slowalk puts its graphic-design skills in the service of do-gooder causes. The latest target of their clean-lined advocacy? A government project to <a href=”http://planetgreen.discovery.c…
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Designing Their Way Out of a Dam Mess

Designing Their Way Out of a Dam Mess
vote for green slowalk korea photo
A previous do-gooding design campaign. Photo via Slowalk

From educating people about food miles and food security to encouraging them to use less paper, the Korean group Slowalk puts its graphic-design skills in the service of do-gooder causes. The latest target of their clean-lined advocacy? A government project to <a href=”http://planetgreen.discovery.c…
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Protect Your Hoofs in TOMS Vegan Shoes, Fall 2010 Preview (Photos)
toms shoes vegan fall 2010 photo
Toms snow leopard print shoes, fall 2010. Image courtesy of Toms Shoes.

Calling all animal and shoe lovers alike, TOMS Shoes has released images of their vegan shoes in new vibrant prints–including the snow leopard-inspired shoes, above–from their fall 2010 collection, made without the use of any animal by-products.

For those who aren’t familiar with TOMS Shoes, the philanthropic footwear brand donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. Recently, TOMS made e… Read the full story on TreeHugger
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Geothermal Energy Could Make the Department of Defense a Supplier of U.S. Energy, Not Just a Consumer

us military installs more geothermal at basesThe U.S. military’s drive to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy could result in an interesting twist: the military could wind up being a net supplier of energy to the U.S. electricity grid, in the form of geothermal power tapped from land owned by the Department of Defense (pdf alert).

Since 2004, Fort Drum in upstate New York has been installing geothermal systems in 19 buildings in various stages of completion. Across the country in Texas, Fort Bliss is looking to geothermal for achieving net zero carbon emissions in ten years.  There are many more examples in between, and a study by the the Engineer Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suggests that that the Department of Defense has enough geothermal resources to produce electricity for the national grid as well as its own bases.


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Germany to Get Its Electricity from Renewables by 2050
Germany is planning to become the first G20 country that will generate its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050, being also a leader in this field. According to the Federal Environment Agency, this country currently produces about 16 percent of its electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources.

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Canada: funding for clean transportation projects
Calgary, Alberta – Eighteen clean technology projects will receive $40 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), including hybrid technologies for transportation. The funding is intended to help move innovative technology solutions to market.

“SDTC and the Government of Canada are providing industry the tools they need to become more productive, competitive and efficient,” said Juergen Puetter, chairman of SDTC. “When these companies bring their technologies to businesses and consumers, they create jobs, provide Canada a technological edge and contribute to improving the quality of Canada’s air, water and soil.”

The new investments bring SDTC’s total portfolio value to over $1.6 billion. The SDTC is an arm’s-length foundation created by the government of Canada, and includes the $550 million SD Tech Fund for projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water and clean soil, and the $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund, which supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.

The projects include an advanced battery system for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) by Electrovaya Corporation of Mississauga, Ontario, which will be tested in a fleet of Ram 1500 PHEV trucks; a hybrid auxiliary power unit for tractor-trailers by EnerMotion Inc. of Caledon, Ontario; and a cathode material for lithium-ion batteries by Phostech Lithium Inc. of Candiac, Quebec.


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Zetafax Increases Productivity by 500 Percent for Independent Express Cargo
As communication technologies continue to evolve, fax technology is becoming surprisingly productive with the help of fax over Internet Protocol and integration into the IP network.
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Nissan Introduces Diesel X-Trail with Automatic Transmission

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has introduced a 6-speed automatic transmission option for the diesel X-TRAIL 20GT. (Earlier post.) The new diesel model as well as the new revised X-TRAIL both go on sale 16 July in Japan.

The Clean Diesel GT20 meets Japan’s Post New Long-term Regulations emissions standards.

Post New Long-term Regulations stipulate NOx emissions of 0.08 g/km and PM emissions of 0.005 g/km—reductions by 47% and 64% respectively from the levels required by the New Long-term Regulations (exhaust emission standards) which have been in effect in Japan since 2005 (applicable to vehicles weighing more than 1,265 kg).

These levels are equivalent to the Euro 6 standards for diesels to come into effect in 2014. The Post New Long-term Regulations went into effect for new models in October 2009 and will apply to existing models and imported cars, starting from September 2010.

The Clean Diesel 20GT model is fully exempt from the automobile acquisition tax and the automobile weight tax, and is eligible for government subsidies (a maximum of ¥210k/ US$2,400) intended to promote the introduction of clean diesel cars.

Following a full model change in August 2007, X-TRAIL has held the top position in the annual SUV sales in Japan for three consecutive years.

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Report: Shin-Kobe, GS Yuasa Targeting Battery Market for Stop-Start Systems

The Nikkei reports that Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co. and GS Yuasa Battery Ltd. are increasing their presence in the growing market for high-performance batteries for cars with an stop-start function. The Yano Research Institute estimates that more than 10 million cars worldwide will be equipped with stop-start systems in 2015, compared with some 900,000 in 2009.

Shin-Kobe is expanding a Chinese battery factory this fiscal year, doubling the annual production capacity to 2 million units. It will also build in 2012 a new Thai factory with a capacity of 1 million units a year. The plan is to use a portion of the capacity at both bases to make high-performance batteries for cars with an idling-stop function.

GS Yuasa Battery, a subsidiary of GS Yuasa Corp., is expanding its line of high-performance batteries carried by dealerships and autoparts shops. It has prepared a battery for Mazda Motor Corp.’s recently released Premacy minivan and plans to market batteries that support other makes of cars with the idling-stop function as automakers introduce them.

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