Time to do your bit.
The reason why electric cars aren’t everywhere is simple — at the end of their range, they have to be stationary for hours while the batteries are recharged.
This is a pity, because even cars recharged from ‘dirty’ power stations are three times more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles. That’s because only 20 per cent of the energy from gasoline or diesel actually reaches the wheels; in an electric car, it’s 60 per cent.
What recharging does is to change the state of the electrolyte fluid in the batteries. Now a Dutch government research organisation, the Innovation Network in Utrecht, has come up with a solution by standing the problem on its head.
Just pump the spent electrolyte out and pump in freshly charged electrolyte — literally, liquid electricity. This would take little more time than filling up with fossil fuel and the spent electrolyte can be recharged and re-sold: you would pay for the difference in electric charge.
It gets better. The Innovation Network foresees a new generation of ‘photon farmers’ using wind, solar or waste biomass to make clean electricity to recharge electrolyte and sell it at filling stations.
Nearly all farmers have enough space on their properties to build wind turbines, solar collectors or biomass plants. And it would end the craziness of using food plants such as corn and sugar cane to produce ethanol, a practice that is already driving the price of food almost beyond the reach of the world’s poorest populations.
More information from the Radio Netherlands Earthbeat program.
The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was behind a controversial decision to block California’s attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers, according to insiders at the government Environmental Protection Agency.
Staff at the agency, which announced last week that California’s proposed limits were redundant, said the agency’s chief went against their expert advice after car executives met Cheney, and a Chrysler executive delivered a letter to the EPA saying why the state should not be allowed to regulate greenhouse gases.
EPA staff members told the Los Angeles Times that the agency’s head, the Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, ignored their conclusions and shut himself off from consultation in the month before the announcement.
He then informed them of his decision and instructed them to provide the legal rationale for it, they said.
‘California met every criteria … on the merits,’ an anonymous member of the EPA staff told the Times. ‘The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years … We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts.’
In an editorial, the New York Times described the decision as, ‘an indefensible act of executive arrogance that can only be explained as the product of ideological blindness and as a political payoff to the automobile industry‘.”
(Via Guardian Unlimited)
Cost has always been the burdening factor weighing down the mass application of solar technology at nearly $3 per watt.
In order to compete with the energy produced from coal solar has been in need of finding a way to shrink its costs down to $1 per watt.
Nanosolar’s cells use absolutely no silicon as is the standard for current solar production and the efficiency of the PowerSheet cells are competitive with the traditional systems as well.
The golden kicker, the cost to produce these solar coatings is a mere 30 cents per watt!
Office walls alive with greenery are now possible with vertical gardens invented by Joost Bakker, an Australian sculptor, who uses raw steel and discarded objects among his construction materials.
“I’m not really into luxurious finishes, I like using things that people perceive as ugly”, says Joost.
Vertical garden is a sculptural, almost architectural form, allowing leaf and flower to inhabit spaces, to create spaces, with a natural raw beauty.
An Australian inventor has come up with a novel rooftop wind turbine costing less than $A700 that has now received financial backing from the Western Australian government.
Graeme Attey reckons just five of them could provide all power needs for an average suburban home.
The Independent Online reports that an unprecedented coalition of blue-chip US companies and environmental lobby groups will urge President Bush next week to get serious about global warming, calling for caps on carbon dioxide emissions that would cut greenhouse gases by 10-30 per cent over 15 years.
The group, called the US Climate Action Partnership, will unveil the details of its plan on the eve of President Bush’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
The companies involved include some of the old-fashioned pollution-generating industries normally associated with anti-environmental policies and politicians — the chemical giant DuPont, the bulldozer company Caterpillar, the aluminium producer Alcoa and the US subsidiary of BP.
They, and environmental lobby groups such as Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, said yesterday they will call for “swift federal action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and speeding the adoption of climate-friendly technology”.
After several years of deliberation, what is reportedly the world’s oldest newspaper has decided that it will publish only digitally.
Indeed, the World Association of Newspapers has deemed the world’s oldest newspaper (formed 1645), to be the Post-och Inrikes Tidningar of Sweden.
Although we can’t read Swedish, it appears that the site where the digital version will reside is here . Could this be the destiny of many more newspapers around the world? If so, will we then be burning wood chips to make enough electricity to read them online? Sweden does, after all, have a reputation doing things green with gusto, as if it were the California of the world.
A concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance.
This breakthrough may lead to systems with an installation cost of only $3 per watt, producing electricity at a cost of 8-10 cents per kilowatt/hour, making solar electricity a more cost-competitive and integral part of the world’s energy mix.
Attaining a 40 percent efficient concentrating solar cell means having another technology pathway for producing cost-effective solar electricity.
Almost all of today’s solar cell modules do not concentrate sunlight but use only what the sun produces naturally, what researchers call “one sun insolation,” which achieves an efficiency of 12 to 18 percent.
However, by using an optical concentrator, sunlight intensity can be increased, squeezing more electricity out of a single solar cell.
Looking for that perfect eco-friendly holiday gift? How about a 2007 EcoBabes calendar?
Supporting the California based Climate Protection Campaign, an organization working to reduce emissions in Sonoma County, the ecobabes calendar “portrays passionate, driven women pursing a vision of sustainability by modifying their daily actions and initiating systemic social change… [and] inspires and educates people of all ages to make changes in their personal and professional lives that help create a more sustainable world.”
Curious about the actual calendar? It was printed on 100% post consumer paper, with vegetable based inks, printed by a California printing company. You can purchase the calendar online and find out more about the women featured in it at the EcoBabes website.