Friday, February 1, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 1 February 2013

DOE invests $9M to speed solar energy deployment
January 30, 2013 - The Department of Energy has announced that it will make a $9 million investment across seven data-driven projects to uncover opportunities for reducing costs and accelerating solar energy deployment in the United States.

Part of the DOE's SunShot Initiative, the projects will result in viable methods for transforming the operations of solar researchers, manufacturers, developers, installers, and policymakers, and speed the commercialization and deployment of affordable, clean solar energy.

"Through powerful analytical tools developed by our nation's top universities and national labs, we can gain unparalleled insight into solar deployment that will help lower the cost of solar power and create new businesses and jobs," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. "Projects like these will help accelerate technological and financing innovations." read more>>>

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John Kerry, Climate Champion, Next U.S. Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, DC, January 31, 2013 (ENS) – Combating climate change is important to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was confirmed by the Senate 94-3 on Tuesday as the Obama Administration’s new Secretary of State.

“Global climate change and energy security are two of the greatest challenges facing the United States today. America’s contributions to global climate change and our oil dependence are endangering our national security, our economy and our environment,” Kerry says on his website. “But the global climate crisis is more than an urgent scientific imperative; it is also a tremendous economic opportunity to secure America’s leadership in creating the low-carbon global economy and our future prosperity.”

This view corresponds with that of President Barack Obama, who said, “I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed John Kerry as our next Secretary of State with overwhelming bipartisan support. read more>>>

Polluted Air Linked to Poor Birth Outcomes, Early Deaths
January 31, 2013 - Long-term exposure to fine particles of pollutants in the air can trigger adverse birth outcomes, childhood respiratory diseases and atherosclerosis, the World Health Organization warned today.

The report on particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, or PM2.5, also suggests a link with neurodevelopment, cognitive function and diabetes, and strengthens the causal link between PM2.5 and cardiovascular and respiratory deaths.

Particulate matter consists of a mixture of solid and liquid particles suspended in the air a mix of sulphates, nitrates, ammonium, and other substances. The main sources of man-made PM include heating in households, industrial activities and road traffic. read more>>> - Buy Best Electronic Gadgets, Laptop Parts, Computer Components, Cell Phone Accessories!

New CleanTech Curriculum Launches with Professional Development Training for 50 Teachers
January 30, 2013 - CleanTech Energy is an innovative, multidisciplinary high-school level curriculum that was designed to increase student knowledge, awareness and understanding of the rapidly evolving field of energy. Beginning with the fundamentals of energy and energy sources, the curriculum follows the arc of energy production, distribution and usage, investigating the environmental, social and economic impacts of each. CleanTech’s unique holistic approach incorporates science, engineering and economic models to examine energy issues such as global trends and consequences of our energy systems and climate change, while local energy use is explored through the lens of building science. Using the school building as a learning laboratory, students will have the opportunity to assess the building with an eye towards increasing efficiency and reducing negative impacts on human health, the environment and climate. Finally, CleanTech introduces the science, emerging technologies and policy of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass. Complete with a wealth of hands-on activities and student-led investigations, each CleanTech Module contains concepts that support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills with an emphasis on problem-solving, design, innovation and pathways for career exploration. read more>>>

Microgrids May Power Entire U.S. in Future
January 2013 - Mechanical engineers play a key role in designing renewable energy systems that safely provide peak performance, often enduring hostile environmental conditions. Significant mechanical engineering contributions include spinning shafts, large gearboxes, twisting blades, wave energy converters, power equipment mounting design for shock and vibration abatement, and motor and generator controls and simulations.

Many of these components can be integrated to form microgrids—distributed generation systems that operate as self-contained, local electrical power grids with a combination of sources and loads. They operate equally well when connected to or disconnected from the utility grid, often incorporating on-site renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels, as well as electrical energy storage systems. read more>>>

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Biochar Cookstoves Boost Health for People and Crops
January 29, 2013 - Like many of her neighbors in Amubri, an indigenous community at the southern tip of Costa Rica, Gloria Torress Buitrago relied for years on a fogón for cooking. The traditional open-fire stove is common in Amubri (map), and so are the dire health effects. "It was hard to look around and just breathe without feeling the smoke burning the eyes or throat," Buitrago said. One cousin suffered from asthma, and everyone in her family was constantly tearing up from the wood fire's smoke.

Buitrago was just one of three billion people worldwide who rely on such open-fire cookstoves. A recent global health study found that the fumes from those stoves was the largest environmental health threat in the world today, killing 3.5 million people a year—more deaths than caused by malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. read more>>>

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