Sunday, December 29, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 29 December 2013

Green revolution of a concrete kind
December 27, 2013 - Chennai is seeing a spurt in development of green building spaces – commercial and residential space – earning it the qualification to be called a green city. Increasingly homes and offices are seeing the benefit of sustainable construction techniques and operation and maintenance of built-up space.

Sustainable building, also known as Green building, is the practice of creating structures created using environmentally responsible and resource-efficient systems and processes. It encompasses factors such as site selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. The aim of designing a green building is to reduce the overall impact on the environment, on human health and the natural environment.

Interest in the green building concept rose from the requirement for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction methods in the 1970s. The construction of a green building brings social, economic and environmental benefits. Modern design proposals provide ideas for both new constructions as well as renovation of existing structures. read more>>>

Eco-Friendly Construction Giant LEED Faces Challenges From Policymakers
12/28/2013 - An eco-friendly building rating system that has powered a green arms race across the nation now faces a challenge from policymakers and an upstart rival.

LEED, the longstanding king of green construction and renovation projects, has become a de facto brand in cities such as Portland, Ore., where sustainable growth has been the rage for years.

But that could change as legislation and executive orders in several states have all but banned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design from public contracts, and a new system known as Green Globes has emerged and marketed itself as a simpler, less expensive alternative. read more>>>

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Ten Finalists Named in 2014 Green Car Technology Awards
December 18, 2013 - Ten technologies that enable improved environmental performance in vehicles have been named as finalists for the 2014 Green Car Technology Award™. This recognition of environmentally-conscious automotive technology will be a feature of the Washington Auto Show in the nation’s capital in January 2014.

Presenter of the award, the “Green Car Journal,” will announce the winner during the show’s second Policy Day on Wednesday, January 22.

“Advanced technology plays an increasingly important role in the development of cars and trucks capable of achieving significantly greater levels of efficiency and improved environmental impact,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. read more>>>

House of the Week: Green Showcase
December 27, 2013 - A ranch-style home built last year on Underwood Way is a showcase for the latest in green building techniques.

Two brothers, Victor and Slava Borisuk of construction company Build New York Green, designed and built the home to show off the leading edge in environmentally friendly construction.

The home's energy efficient nature starts with its 12-inch thick exterior walls. They were built with insulating concrete forms.

The hollow forms, similar to large Lego blocks, are stacked, reinforced with metal bars and then filled with concrete. The result is a well-insulated, quiet home, Victor Borisuk said.

In addition to providing energy efficiency, the forms use no lumber, saving trees that would normally be cut down to build a typical wood-frame house. read more>>>

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Researchers Design New Catalyst to Produce Hydrogen from Water, Sunlight
Dec. 13, 2013 — Researchers at the Institute of Energy Technology (INTE) of the Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya· BarcelonaTech (UPC), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) have developed a system to produce hydrogen from water and sunlight in a way that is clean, renewable and more cost-effective than other methods. The scientists behind the project have fused the optical properties of three-dimensional photonic crystals (inverse opals of titanium dioxide, TiO2) and 2-3 nm gold nanoparticles to develop a highly active catalyst powder. The research paper has been published in Scientific Reports, the open-access journal of Nature.

This new photocatalyst produces more hydrogen than others developed so far by harnessing the properties of both photonic crystals and nanoparticles of a metal. read more>>>

Endangered Species, Climate Change and Sales; Green Jobs of the Future
December 28, 2013 - It isn’t every college student’s dream to save endangered species, stop climate change and make record sales, but it looks like that’s where the future industry of “green” jobs is headed. Traditionally, students who wanted to find work with an environmental group would need a degree in biology or chemistry, today they should also be focused on business degrees. Why? Global giants like Facebook and Google are hiring business-savvy environmentalists who can help make profitable changes to the company.

Conserving the Earth’s natural resources, rebuilding diminished animal and plant populations and constructing new ways in which modern humans can nurture their world is an amazing and laudable feat – but it hasn’t always been easy for an entrepreneur to keep his or her high level of morality and actually make a living. read more>>>

New Caney students offered in-depth look at green living
December 27, 2013 - Students of New Caney High School will be participating in a project that will allow them to hone their skills in welding and carpentry while also teaching them the basics of “green” living.

The partnership between the school district and Piney Woods United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will involve the construction of a demonstration home made from recycled shipping containers.

“The entire project will be self-sustaining,” said Sergio Grado, owner of GradCo Structures and Homes, LLC, a company that specializes in green construction. “It will be totally off the grid — solar panels and rainwater recapture. The intent is that it will be serving as an education piece for the students, and when the project is done, it will be open to the general public.”

The completed home will consist of two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. It will also have storage closets. It will feature a variety of amenities specifically designed for green living, including roof-mounted solar panels, which will provide all of the electrical power necessary for the small home. read more>>>

Resistance Makes Waves
Dec. 23, 2013 — Even physics can give pointers for energy saving. An international team working together with the Centre for Quantum Materials, run by the Max Planck Society in conjunction with the University of British Columbia (Canada), is now in a position to provide materials scientists with tips for the development of high-temperature superconductors, in a bid to make them earn their name. The term is currently used to describe materials including ceramic cuprates, which lose their electrical resistance at significantly higher temperatures than conventional superconductors, but still well below the freezing point of water.

In two complementary studies, the physicists have now established that superconductivity in cuprates collapses at a maximum of minus 135 degrees Celsius due to the formation of charge-density waves. read more>>>

Solar Activity Not a Key Cause of Climate Change, Study Shows
Dec. 22, 2013 — Climate change has not been strongly influenced by variations in heat from the sun, a new scientific study shows.

The findings overturn a widely held scientific view that lengthy periods of warm and cold weather in the past might have been caused by periodic fluctuations in solar activity.

Research examining the causes of climate change in the northern hemisphere over the past 1000 years has shown that until the year 1800, the key driver of periodic changes in climate was volcanic eruptions. These tend to prevent sunlight reaching Earth, causing cool, drier weather. Since 1900, greenhouse gases have been the primary cause of climate change. read more>>>

Pedal power helps fuel New Year's Eve ball lights
December 28, 2013 - The 30,000 LED lights on the New Year's Eve ball at Times Square are being fueled in part by pedal power, CBS New York reported Saturday.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, six stationary Citi Bikes were have been set up to supply the electricity for the lights. April Campo of Maryland was spinning away on one of them.

"I'm loving this," Campo said. "Isn’t this a great idea? This is so fun."

The bikes pump out about 75 watts per hour, according to Citi spokesman Ed Skyler. read more>>>


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 26 December 2013

New York Regulators Bring the Holiday Cheer
December 20th, 2013 - At today’s New York Public Service Commission meeting, the Commission voted to approve a petition from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to fund the state’s transformative NY-Sun program through 2015. The Commission’s approval of $216 million will support roughly 260 megawatts (MW) of residential and commercial solar projects over the next two years. Taking NY-Sun a step further, the Commission also directed NYSERDA to submit a funding request to support a long-term NY-Sun program post 2015. This will provide invaluable policy certainty for solar companies and consumers alike as New York continues its charge to solar scale. We’ll put a bow on that! read more>>>

The Future of Solar Power
December 19th, 2013 - Businesses and homes around the country are making a valiant effort to use solar power where possible but Japan feels it is time to step up the game. They aim to create a 400km-wide and 11,000 km-long solar panel on the moon which would transfer the energy back to earth via lasers. So is this plan a viable solution for the future of solar power, or is simply a shot in the dark?

The ‘Luna Ring’ as it is being called is a concept dreamt up by the Shimizu Corporation. The plan is still in its initial stages but if it was to go ahead would start the construction as soon as 2035. Although this is a long way off, this could be an innovation in energy and could make a dramatic difference to the way in which we live throughout the globe. read more>>>

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3 States Offering High-Paying Green Jobs
Dec 21st 2013 - Some of the most challenging and well-paid jobs are emerging from the "green" economy, as alternatives to fossil fuels, environmentally sound building concepts, and solar and wind power projects gain traction as desirable -- and profitable -- endeavors.

Green jobs are attractive for several reasons, not the least of which is that there is incredible growth potential. In addition, most of these jobs pay very high salaries, and there are positions available for those with two-year, four-year, and graduate degrees.

Here are three states that are leading the way in the creation of a variety of green jobs as they embrace energy efficiency, alternative fuel production, and other sustainable projects. read more>>>

Producing Electricity On the Moon at Night
Dec. 20, 2013 — Scientists from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and other international collaborators have proposed a system of mirrors, processed lunar soil and a heat engine to provide energy to vehicles and crew during the lunar night. This would preclude the need for batteries and nuclear power sources such as those used by the Chinese rover that recently landed on the moon.

The lunar night lasts approximately 14 days, during which temperatures as low as -150 ┬║C have been recorded. This complicates vehicle movement and equipment functioning on the lunar surface, requiring the transport of heavy batteries from Earth or the use of nuclear energy, as exemplified by the Chinese rover Yutu. read more>>>

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Soft Costs Now Largest Piece of Solar Installation Total Cost
Dec. 11, 2013 — Two detailed reports from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) find that solar financing and other non-hardware costs -- often referred to as "soft costs" -- now comprise up to 64% of the total price of residential solar energy systems, reflecting how soft costs are becoming an increasingly larger fraction of the cost of installing solar.

"The two new reports, along with previous reports, provide a comprehensive look at the full cost of installing solar, while delineating and quantifying the various contributors to that final cost," NREL analyst Barry Friedman said. read more>>>

An approach to designing energy delivery models that work for people living in poverty
Sep 2013 - Access to modern, safe, affordable and sustainable energy is increasingly recognised as crucial for development. Designing the delivery of energy services that can meet the needs and wants of end-users, in particular those of men and women living in poverty, is a complex task that requires a range of skills (technical, managerial and financial) and cooperation between multiple stakeholders. Equally, successful scaling requires adapting delivery models to different local contexts rather than simple replication.

This joint publication from IIED and CAFOD outlines an approach to designing sustainable energy services for people living in poverty. read more>>>

Global Atlas Web Portal Offers New Innovations
Site Offers New Maps, Data Sets, and Learning Resources for the Global Atlas for Solar and Wind

September 13, 2013 - The Global Atlas for Solar and Wind has updated its web portal to provide easier access to the Atlas GIS interface, catalog of data sets, and an expanded learning center.

The Global Atlas for Solar and Wind, a project initiated by the Clean Energy Ministerial Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group, has updated and expanded its web portal (Global Atlas) to provide easier access to three main products: read more>>>

Ascent Solar To Debut EnerPlex™ Surfr Battery & Solar Case for iPhone 5 and 5s at CES 2014
Dec 26, 2013 - Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), a developer of state-of-the-art, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules, integrated into the company’s EnerPlex™ series of consumer products, announced today the debut of the Surfr phone case for the iPhone 5 and 5s at CES 2014, the world’s first and only case designed for the phones utilizing both battery and solar technology.

The Surfr for iPhone 5 and 5s will be on display at the EnerPlex exhibit at CES 2014 in Las Vegas at booth 35474 from 7th – 10th January 2014, along with the full line of EnerPlex products and accessories. read more>>>

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Solar Plays Key Role in India’s Energy Future, World Bank Says
December 23rd, 2013 - In a recent report, The World Bank said that solar power is one of the key elements of its Country Partnership Strategy with India. The organization said it will circulate the findings of the study to central and state governments to spread an understanding of the issues and analysis presented.

The Bank said in a statement that in just three years India has made impressive strides in developing its abundant solar power potential. It has added capacity at a quick pace and managed to reduce the costs of solar energy to around $0.12 per kWh for solar photo voltaic (PV) and $0.21 per kWh for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). These prices mean India is one of cheapest places in the world for grid-connected solar power. read more>>>

'Green' facility to reuse landfill waste
December 23, 2013 - Construction has begun on a "green" industrial park that will be powered by SWACO's Franklin County landfill.

The Orlando-based Team Gemini LLC, a sustainable project design and development company, recently broke ground on the Gemini Synergy Center, a 365-acre commercial and industrial complex, and the Center for Resource Recovering and Recycling, a 290,000-square-foot facility designed to take refuse out of the waste stream going into the Franklin County landfill and convert into reusable material.

The industrial park will be leased on SWACO property north of state Route 665 and west of Interstate 71. read more>>>