The Royal Society of Chemistry reports that US researchers have developed an efficient way of producing hydrogen from urine – a feat that could not only fuel the cars of the future, but could also help clean up municipal wastewater.
Using hydrogen to power cars has become an increasingly attractive transportation fuel, as the only emission produced is water – but a major stumbling block is the lack of a cheap, renewable source of the fuel. Gerardine Botte of Ohio University may now have found the answer, using an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine – the most abundant waste on Earth – at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water.
What were you doing when you were 18? Take a second and think about it. You were probably hanging out at the mall, at the skate park, or maybe if you were a hard-worker you had a part-time job at the local take-out spot.
Whatever you were doing, I can almost guarantee that you didn’t invent a solar panel that could possibly solve your entire country’s energy needs. That’s right, an 18-year old from a rural village in Nepal believes he has found the solution to the developing world’s energy needs.
Even crazier, the young inventor, named Milan Karki, says hair is to the key to using solar panels and revolutionizing renewable energy.
“First I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village. Now I am thinking for the whole world,” said Milan, who attends school in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
The teenager already has plans to commercially produce his invention. The panel, which produces 18 Watts of energy, could be sold for about 12 EUR if were to be mass produced, about one quarter the price of the silicon model already on the market.
Read more from Dailymail.co.uk
This week, a consortium led by Samsung C&T Corporation and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced that it plans to invest CAN $7 billion to generate 2,500 megawatts of wind and solar power in Ontario, Canada.
According to the terms of the green energy investment agreement, Samsung C&T and KEPCO will establish and operate a series of wind and solar power clusters over the next 20 years. The clusters, which will be built in several locations throughout the province, will eventually include wind turbines that will generate up to 2,000 MW as well as solar power facilities that will generate up to 500 MW.
The entire project will have a combined power-generating capacity of 2.5 GW by 2016, producing energy equivalent to four per cent of Ontario`s total electricity consumption.
Bacteria gets a bad rep. People avoid it like the plague. In fact, people hate bacteria so much, that antibacterial products like hand sanitizer have become a multi-billion dollar industry. But what if I told you not all bacteria was bad; in fact, what if I said that bacteria could be a key source of renewable energy?
Ok, maybe I can understand why you’d hold a grudge if you suffer from gum disease, strep throat, cholera or any other bacterial illness, but scientists from Penn State University are doing everything they can to bring the single-celled organism back into the public’s good graces.
Sewage is loaded with energy-rich sugars that researchers have struggled for years to convert into useful power. To do so, investigators have experimented with nature’s experts on breaking down waste — bacteria.
“It’s kind of like the movie ‘The Matrix,'” said environmental engineer Bruce Logan at Penn State University. “Instead of wiring people up to generate electricity, we are using bacteria to directly generate electricity.”
All the energy that bacteria could generate from wastewater could help power the considerable needs of wastewater treatment. For instances, in the United States, roughly 33 billion gallons of wastewater are treated daily for an annual cost of more than $25 billion, and some 1.5 percent of the electricity produced every year goes into wastewater treatment alone.
Read more from Live Science.
The Burger King on U.S. Highway 22 in Hillside, N.J., looks no different from any other franchise in the state. Customers pull in and out all day, and at least 100,000 cars visit the drive-thru each year. And now a newly installed, mechanized speed bump will both help them slow down and harvest some of that coasting energy.
“We use the weight of a car to throw a lever,” explains Gerard Lynch, the engineer behind the MotionPower system developed for New Energy Technologies, a Maryland-based company. “The instantaneous power is 2,000 watts at five miles-per-hour, but it’s instantaneous which means some form of storage will be required. The real key is how do I get a million cars to do that for me.”
This demonstration project won’t actually provide electricity to either the Burger King or the grid, but it will employ a mini-flywheel—a mechanical device that stores energy by spinning—to test storage potential. A higher price can be charged for electricity that is fed into the grid at the right moment.
“How do we capture and hold these pulses efficiently so we can dispatch them at the right time when the electricity rate is most advantageous,” Lynch says. “Here in Hillside, the average price when you take delivery is 17.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. It’s double that in peak summer. The idea is: let’s hit it all day and return that power at 3 PM in the afternoon.”
Read more from Scientific American.
Hospitals are generally thought of as a place where you to go to feel better. And yes, they usually do succeed in that regard, despite stealing your paycheck and the rights to your first-born child in the process. But what you probably didn’t know, is that hospitals create a large amount of business for themselves; and that’s not a good thing.
Close to 2 million people acquire infections from hospitals each year and more than 250 related deaths occur each day in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That is why professors at the University of Florida have developed a new technology to monitor health-care workers’ hand hygiene by detecting sanitizer or soap fumes given off their hands.
The trademarked system, called HyGreen, logs, down to the second, the frequency of hand cleaning and contact with patients in a database that clinical supervisors can review immediately.
Is this big brother? “No,” says Richard J. Meiker, M.D., Ph.D., and UF College of Medicine anesthesiology professor who helped develop the technology. “This is just another tool.”
“A hospital worker never wants to be responsible for someone getting sick or dying from an infection acquired in the hospital.”
Read more from Science Daily.
Which of these things will happen first: pigs flying, creating water out of thin air, or the Chicago Cubs winning a world series? Some of you might have guessed the third option, but you would be wrong. Steve Bartman, anyone?
Element Four, a small Canadian firm, has applied its water technology to create the WaterMill, a novel electricity-powered machine that draws moisture from the air and purifies it into clean, drinkable water.
In a world where one out of five people are without access to clean drinking water, this new technology could potentially improve the lives of billions of people from third-world countries.
The WaterMill, which retails at $1300, is intended for household use only, but the company is designing a larger version called the WaterWall for the developing world, which would be large enough to supply water to a small village.
It’s early, but the company’s core principle is “to do good as we do well,” CEO Rick Howard says. “That’s part of truly what drives us — knowing that at some point we will be able to do some significant good.”
Read more at CNN online.
Next time your boss sees you throwing away his memo, tell him you’re doing it to help the environment. Unload the break room fridge into the garbage, and you’ll power the office for an hour or two. Surely, your hungry co-workers can’t stay mad at you knowing you are just trying to do your part.
Perfect for office buildings, hospitals, and much more, the GEM3T120 can process up to three tons of paper, plastic, food, wood and agricultural materials daily into pellets. At full capacity, the resulting energy from these pellets is enough to power and heat a 200,000 square foot building housing more than 500 people. With no disposal costs for the waste it processes and the energy produced, IST estimates the GEM creates an annual energy cost savings of about $250,000.
The GEM can save consumers big bucks, but the benefits of using the system are not only financial. The GEM is eco-friendly and carbon negative, diminishing greenhouse gases by 540 tons annually. In fact, the system powers itself with the clean energy it produces.
Stu Haber, president and CEO of IST Energy says: “The GEM has created a value for every bag of trash we generate – first by eliminating the need for disposal and then by converting it into energy.”
Read more from livescience.com
What could the United States do with an extra $465 billion? Free healthcare? Free college tuition? Tax cuts? Heck, they could even buy the Yankees. And the best part, not only would the U.S. be saving all that money, they would radically cut CO2 emissions by 80% over the next 40 years, according to a study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
“We have a historic opportunity to reinvent our economy, tackle global warming, and cut energy costs. Setting a limit on heat-trapping emissions would ensure that we make the necessary carbon emission reductions to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Combining a carbon cap with strong efficiency, renewable electricity, and transportation standards can deliver those emission cuts and save Americans a substantial amount of money,” says UCS president Kevin Knobloch.
Most of the savings would be on energy bills due to better efficiencies in building and industrial processes, a more efficient transportation system, and cleaner cars. Although a more efficient transportations system and cars would likely cost about $35 billion, drivers would potentially save over $120 billion in fuel costs per year.
“Efficiency and renewable energy technologies are ready today to power our economy with carbon-free electricity. Our blueprint shows that these clean energy sources can lead the way in cutting U.S. emissions, while lowering electricity bills and curbing our addiction to dirty, high-carbon coal power,” says Steve Clemmer, research director of UCS’s Clean Energy Program.
Read more at twilightearth.
Fireworks are a centerpiece in the celebration of the fourth of July. All over the country, we naively enjoy these beautiful, dazzling illuminations, gallantly exploding in front of constellation-speckled backdrops, symbolizing our freedom from the British. What we often don’t think about while we take in the piro-spectacular, is the copious amount of toxic chemicals emitted into the environment.
An article published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology in 2009 found that, following a fireworks display, the amount of perchlorate in nearby bodies of water could increase by anywhere from 24 to 1,068 times the amount present before the fireworks, and that it takes 20 to 80 days for the chemical levels to subside.
Fortunately, researchers are developing a new generation of fireworks that can shine just as brightly without negatively impacting the environment or human health. In an article in Chemical & Engineering News, a publication of the American Chemical Society, Bethany Halford says these nitrogen-rich formulas use fewer color-producing chemicals, dramatically cutting down on the amount of heavy metals used and lowering their potentially toxic effects.
Read more from greenbiz.com