March 18, 2013 - This week I suffered through a minor, but still frustrating, inconvenience that plagues most people accustomed to the luxury of modern residential electrification: a power outage. Instead of dropping the kids off at daycare and returning home to plunk away on my PC, I spent the day crawling through a giant indoor jungle gym — in hindsight, not a bad way to spend a Thursday. However, if I lived in the community of North York in Toronto, Ontario I might be sleeping now instead of writing to meet my deadline.
North York is the site of Canada’s first community energy storage (CES) project. The Electricity Storage Association defines CES as utility-owned “modular, distributed energy storage systems … at or near points in the utility distribution system that are close to residential and business end users.” In the case of a power outage, “CES can ‘pick up’ end-user demand and can serve that demand while there is stored energy … function[ing] autonomously to provide ‘back-up’ power.” read more>>>
20 March 2013 - A total of 27 new biomass to energy projects will be presented at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in Mineapolis in April
Detailed information on each project will be presented by Biomass Magazine at the conference in the form of a Biomass Construction Update designed to illuminate prominent biogas, pellet, biomass power and advanced biofuels plants which are actively under construction in North America.
“We are very excited about the large number of new projects that are being built this year,” said Tim Portz, read more>>>
21 March 2013 - Kansas State University civil engineers are developing the right mix to reduce concrete's carbon footprint and make it stronger. Their innovative ingredient: biofuel byproducts.
"The idea is to use bioethanol production byproducts to produce a material to use in concrete as a partial replacement of cement," said Feraidon Ataie, doctoral student in civil engineering, Kabul, Afghanistan. "By using these materials we can reduce the carbon footprint of concrete materials."
Concrete is made from three major components: portland cement, water and aggregate. The world uses nearly 7 billion cubic meters of concrete a year, making concrete the most-used industrial material after water, said Kyle Riding, assistant professor of civil engineering and Ataie's faculty mentor. read more>>>
Wind power is booming. Giant, steely turbines now provide 6% of the United States' electricity. 13,000 megawatts worth of wind power—enough to power around 10 million homes—was installed stateside in 2012 alone. Which is huge. Literally. Typical wind turbines now stand at a height of 300-350 feet tall. They're gargantuan and expensive, and the most efficient can now produce over 6.5 megawatts of power alone.
But what if you want your own turbine? Something smaller, something to stick in the backyard, or on your roof, to harness the wind for some clean power of your own? Small-scale wind turbines [SWTs] are nothing new, after all, and farmers and rural landowners have been taking advantage of them for decades. But they've played a meager role in the recent clean energy renaissance because they're less efficient than their hulking brothers. read more>>>
21 March 2013 - “A 20th century budget for a 21st century economy” says Greenpeace in reaction to the Chancellors tax breaks for polluters and meagre interest in the green economy
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has angered green businesses and environmental groups throughout the country by announcing a budget that has given tax breaks to shale gas companies, praised nuclear power and increased exemptions from carbon taxes for industries that are heavy energy users. Energy as a whole was given only a meagre mention in the budget, scarcely a passage, which focused largely on creating a “generous new tax regime” for shale gas developers and selection of two new Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects for the next round of development. read more>>>
March 22, 2013 - On the first International Day of Forests, celebrated Thursday by the United Nations, Jose Graziano da Silva proposed that all countries support a Zero Illegal Deforestation target.
As director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, Graziano da Silva linked illegal deforestation and hunger at a ceremony marking the UN’s newest International Day.
“In many countries, illegal deforestation is degrading ecosystems, diminishing water availability and limiting the supply of fuelwood – all of which reduce food security, especially for the poor,” he said. “Stopping illegal deforestation and forest degradation would do much to end hunger, extreme poverty and bring about sustainability.” read more>>>