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
College students have long been at the forefront of political and environmental change. The bright young minds at the Oregon Institute of Technology are no different, demanding sustainability efforts put into place by their school.
The Oregon Tech administration finally complied, accommodating their students’ wishes by outlining a plan to build a $7.6 million geothermal power plant on campus.
The plant will become the sole power source for the school in a few years, making Oregon Tech the only university to be powered completely by geothermal energy.
Since Klamath Falls, the home of Oregon Tech, sits near a fault line, heat and energy can be easily extracted from the earth.
In addition, the city of Klamath Falls operates a geothermal heating utility, using the energy to heat buildings, melt snow on the streets, and more.
Read more from cleantechnica.com
As the world shifts its ideological views from cheaper to greener, how do the folks running the coal industry, possibly the dirtiest business in the world, react? Do they clean up their product? Do they produce cleaner energies? Or maybe even donate money to an environmental foundation? Of course not.
Instead, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) spent a staggering $45 million last year on their “America’s Power” campaign, which many believe is a deception touting the benefits of so-called “clean coal.” And if that weren’t enough, the coal and electric industries spent a jaw-dropping $125 million lobbying against federal legislation promoting clean energy and a cap on global warming pollution.
As these industries spend millions running ads implying that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is here or just around the corner, the industry refuses to spend much of anything to turn its overheated rhetoric into reality. And it’s not for lack of funds. The 48 companies that make up the ACCCE front group earned a combined $57 billion in profits in 2007 alone, yet over a period of several years they have invested just $3.5 billion in research into CCS.
Find out more at alternet.org
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday announced that an estimated US $3 billion will be made available for the development of renewable energy projects around the country and made issued the guidance businesses will need to submit a successful application.
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.
The San Jose Mercury News reports: After two sharp quarterly declines, worldwide venture funding for clean technologies rebounded in the second quarter of 2009 amid rising confidence — particularly in Silicon Valley and throughout California.
From April to June, venture investments in clean tech totaled $1.2 billion across 94 companies, according to preliminary results released Wednesday by The Cleantech Group, a San Francisco research and strategy firm, and Deloitte & Touche.
The Breakthrough Institute reports: While the US mires itself in controversy over the weakened cap-and-trade bill working its way through Congress, China and India have begun to look ahead with new government investment policies that rapidly expand solar power capacity in each country.
China recently announced a dramatic increase in its expected solar capacity target for 2011, planning to reach 2 GW within the next two years. Already, China’s new renewable energy stimulus plan has expanded the nation’s 2020 target from 1.8 GW to 20 GW–that’s more than triple the amount of PV solar power installed in the entire world during 2008, the industry’s best year ever.
The higher targets will be met by enhancing government subsidies and other deployment incentives, which currently stand at US $2.93/watt capacity for roof-mounted systems greater than 50 kW. Government officials have suggested that the current US $.16 per kWH feed-in tariff for ground-mounted PV systems may be adjusted in order to make solar power production profitable.
Last month, India also signaled that it sees solar as a crucial component of a future clean energy economy, when its New and Renewable Energy Committee announced a massive National Solar Mission. In what one Greenpeace India representative called “the most ambitious solar plan that any country has laid out so far,” the National Solar Mission matches China by setting a new target of 20 GW solar capacity by 2020. What’s more, India estimates that the plan could bring the now-prohibitive cost of solar down to US $.08-.10 per kWh by 2017-2020, making it cost-competitive with fossil fuels.