Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 1 April 2014

Green Building in Cold Climates: Inhabitat Interview with Bernat and Kate of Maison Durable Portneuf
03/21/14 - We’ve seen many examples of how well green buildings can work in temperate and warm climates, but what about the harsher conditions that can lash homes in rural Quebec? Inhabitat recently had the opportunity to interview Bernat Ferragut and Kate Alvo of Maison Durable Portneuf about the innovative techniques they used to create their eco-friendly, sustainable, elegant home in the woods of Portneuf, Quebec, and how they can help others do the same.

INHABITAT: How did you get involved in this building project?

It was complete chance that led us there, actually. While on a visit to the Portneuf region, we found a parcel of land that no one else wanted. It was originally listed as agricultural land but it was deemed un-useful for agricultural exploitation, since it was on a slope and was rather small for conventional farming. It had been re-slotted for residential development, so we bought it, planning to do a bit of both with it.

We purchased the land in 2010, and started on plans in January of 2011. Building began in April. read more>>>

H2USA driving infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
March 24, 2014 - A consortium of energy companies, auto manufacturers, government laboratories, and other stakeholders is driving the acceleration of the rollout of an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles and related technologies. H2USA was launched last year by the Department of Energy (DOE) and other stakeholders to focus on furthering the infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as those powered by fuel cells.

So far more than two dozen entities have joined H2USA, including the American Gas Association and national laboratories such as the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne and Sandia. read more>>>


Tri-Tech hopes to lure students with solar panel into sustainable building
March 23, 2014 - Milagro Manzanares wanted to be an architect when she first began taking classes at Tri-Tech Skills Center, she said.

The Southridge High School senior enrolled in some construction trade courses and began learning about alternative energy and green building practices. She and several other students are designing solar-powered cookers that could help communities in developing countries.

Now Milagro, 17, wants to work as a construction manager or engineer. read more>>>

Scientists discover material that can be solar cell by day, light panel by night
March 24, 2014 - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) scientists have developed a next-generation solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity.

This solar cell is developed from Perovskite, a promising material that could hold the key to creating high-efficiency, inexpensive solar cells. The new cells not only glow when electricity passes through them, but they can also be customised to emit different colours.

Picture this: A shopping mall facade could be storing solar energy in the day and transforms into a light display for advertisements that glows at night. read more>>>

Researchers improve performance of III-V nanowire solar cells on graphene
March 24, 2014 - Imagine a field of small wires -- standing at attention like a tiny field of wheat -- gathering the Sun's rays as the first step in solar energy conversion.

A dense array of nanowires grown directly on graphene. The insets show a higher magnification SEM view of the array and a STEM image of a single, axially heterostructured InGaAs/InAs nanowire.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have achieved new levels of performance for seed-free and substrate-free arrays of nanowires from class of materials called III-V (three-five) directly on graphene. These compound semiconductors hold particular promise for applications involving light, such as solar cells or lasers. read more>>>

UK Parliament Floats Plans to Put Solar Panels on Big Ben's Face
03/24/14 - London’s iconic Big Ben clock tower might be getting a solar facelift. The Guardian reports that the House of Commons is looking into plans that would add solar panels to the landmark’s clock face. Last month parliamentary passholders were asked to submit ideas on how the government could improve energy efficiency in the historic area by 34 percent. One passholder suggested adding photovoltaics to the face of Big Ben, which since 2012 has been rechristened the Elizabeth Tower, to generate green energy.

A House of Commons spokesman confirmed the parliament was evaluating the idea. “These ideas will now be discussed, reviewed and prioritised by the Environment Team with a programme of initiatives to be developed in future months.” read more>>>

Nanogrid Market to Reach Nearly $60 Billion in Annual Vendor Revenue by 2023, Forecasts Navigant Research
Developing countries represent the largest and fastest growing nanogrid markets, report concludes

March 24, 2014 - At its essence, a nanogrid is simply a small microgrid, typically serving a single building or a single load. Nanogrids, however, have the ability to fill increasingly important niches within the larger power sector, serving as modular building blocks for energy services that support applications ranging from emergency power for commercial buildings to the provision of basic electricity services for people living in extreme poverty. Click to tweet: According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide vendor revenue from nanogrids will grow from $37.8 billion annually in 2014 to $59.5 billion in 2023. read more>>>

Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people
Mar. 24, 2014 - If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming.

In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human.

'The polar bear is us,' says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice. read more>>>

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Solar Champions seize opportunities, stand up to challenges
March 25, 2014 - Solar policy and utility leaders have been recognized by Vote Solar, a national nonprofit solar advocacy organization, for "outstanding efforts to make solar power a mainstream American energy resource."

"Both the opportunities and the challenges for continued solar growth loom large in this rapidly changing electricity landscape," said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. "The three champions we honor… are leading the charge to embrace innovation, find solutions and drive progress so we can repower our grid with sunshine." read more>>>

Public perceptions of the risks, benefits of power sources changing
March 25, 2014 - The vast majority of the American public claim to be energy efficient, but when it comes to putting words into action, the assertions fall short. Despite the fact that many are not actively trying to conserve energy, they can be critical of the type of energy and where it comes from -- but perceptions are changing, according to a Harris Poll.

For example, when asked whether the risks outweigh the benefits of several mainstream and emerging sources of electrical power, 78 percent said solar and 76 percent said wind have benefits that outweigh their risks.

Natural gas and its scrutiny of hydraulic fracturing have grown slightly in the perception of benefits outweighing risks -- to 68 percent, up from 64 percent in 2011. In regard to nuclear power, however, the 37 percent of Americans believing its benefits outweigh its risks is down seven percentage points from five years ago. read more>>>

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