These amazing towers, which reach up to 164 feet 50 meters in height, bring together the best of solar technology and vertical gardening. The Bay South Garden will showcase 18 Supertrees, which will also function as air ventilation ducts for nearby conservatories and collect rain water during Singapore’s frequent storms.
By Gretchen Cuda Kroen (NPR) Pouring water into clear plastic bottles and placing them in the sun can kill disease causing organisms in about six hours. It’s a simple and cheap method that’s been around forever, and it helps. (Who says sun tea isn’t safe?)
But there’s a hitch – the water has to be clear enough for the sun’s rays to penetrate – and much of the world’s water supply is murky from the clay soils in riverbeds and lake bottoms that mix with the water. Enter the scientists.
“Basically, you need to be able to read a newspaper through it. That means it’s clear enough for the UV radiation to penetrate and kill the pathogens. If you can’t see through it, it just won’t work,” explains Joshua Pierce, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Tech.
Pierce and his colleagues discovered that by adding a little table salt to this murky water, they could get the particles of clay to stick together and settle to the bottom, making the water clear enough to purify using the solar disinfection method. They also found that the addition of salt works best for certain kinds of clay soils, namely bentonite, and not so well with others. But when they added a little bentonite along with salt to water that contained other types of clay soils, it worked just as well.
By Tiffany Hsu (Los Angeles Times) Instead of sending its employees to space, NASA is building them an office of the future closer to home.
The curvy, space-age building at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley incorporates technology used by astronauts and will be one of a few structures in the state that can generate more electricity than it consumes. Construction won’t be complete until mid-July, but the federal government has already chosen the $20-million facility its green building of the year.
It has a name only government officials could love — the Sustainability Base — but it is generating a lot of buzz among businesses and government agencies trying to be more green. The structure, near San Jose, was designed to be a model of eco-friendly architecture.
“Buildings of the future could actually produce more energy than they use and reverse the trend of being a big, sucking drain without compromising anything,” said Steven Zornetzer, Ames’ associate center director.
Compared to other office buildings of similar size, the Sustainability Base will be about 6% more expensive to construct, he said. But NASA expects to recoup the expense within a decade because the building will cost less to operate.
By Lora Kolodny (GreenTech) The United States Marine Corps completed its largest solar installation to date — a 1.4 megawatt ground-mounted system — that will generate electricity for Base Camp Pendleton outside of San Diego, Calif. The system was installed atop an inactive landfill.
(CNet) Algae oil maker Solazyme picked a time of rising oil prices and oil over $100 a barrel to signal it plans to go public on the stock market. The San Francisco-based company on Friday filed its S-1 document to the Securities and Exchange Commission, outlining its plan to raise up to $100 million through an initial public offering. Solazyme grows algae with sugars in closed fermentation tanks to create oils, which can be used for liquid fuel and chemicals, foods, or personal care products.
New York City’s sewage presents a daunting and costly challenge: it creates foul odors and often contaminates waterways.
But the city is now casting its sewage treatment plants and the vast amounts of sludge, methane gas and other byproducts of the wastewater produced by New Yorkers, as an asset — specifically, as potential sources of renewable energy.For the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which is to issue its strategy on Wednesday, it is a shift. Until now, the agency has mainly played the role of water utility and environmental steward rather than energy producer.
But like other cities around the country looking to reduce both the costs of sewage treatment and disposal and the heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted in the process, New York is beginning to look at its waste as an untapped resource.
Heating fuel can be extracted from sludge and butanol, an alternative fuel to gasoline, from the algae generated by wastewater. Sewage treatment plants could sell methane gas to provide power to homes. Such projects represent a more sustainable long-term approach to managing a wastewater treatment process that costs the city about $400 million annually, not including capital investments.
Paul Montgomery’s simple heat-powered fan could help to make biomass stoves more efficient and combat the serious health problems associated with cooking in unventilated spaces.
His device, still at the experimental stage, captures some of the stove’s waste heat and converts the heat into sound waves in a simple thermo-acoustic engine. Then the acoustic energy is converted into a tiny bit of electricity in an electro-acoustic transducer.
The electricity in turn can partly charge a battery delivering well-needed lighting after dark and operate a fan directed at the combustion of the stove’s biofuel, making the whole process more energy efficient. The more efficient combustion, the less biomass must be burned to cook and the less smoke produced.
The target price for the device that attaches to the stove is 25 dollars, says Montgomery. He will report on it at the 2nd Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics in Cancun, Mexico.
Read the rest Heat-powered fan to make stoves cleaner.
By John O. Blackburn and Sam Cunningham
(NC Warn—Duke) Solar photovoltaic system costs have fallen steadily for decades. They are projected to fall even farther over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, projected costs for construction of new nuclear plants have risen steadily over the last decade, and they continue to rise.
In the past year, the lines have crossed in North Carolina. Electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants. This new development has profound implications for North Carolina’s energy and economic future. Each and every stakeholder in North Carolina’s energy sector — citizens, elected officials, solar power installers and manufacturers, and electric utilities — should recognize this watershed moment.
Commercial-scale solar developers are already offering utilities electricity at 14 cents or less per kWh. Duke Energy and Progress Energy are limiting or rejecting these offers and pushing ahead with plans for nuclear plants which, if ever completed, would generate electricity at much higher costs — 14–18 cents per kilowatt-hour according to present estimates. The delivered price to customers would be somewhat higher for both sources.
(Bloomberg) — China, the world’s biggest polluter, may spend about 5 trillion yuan $738 billion in the next decade developing cleaner sources of energy to reduce emissions from burning oil and coal, a government official said.
The government will submit plans to develop cleaner energy, including nuclear power and gas from unconventional sources, in 2011 to 2020 to the State Council, or Cabinet, for approval, Jiang Bing, head of the National Energy Administration’s planning and development department, said in Beijing today.
China needs between 500 billion and 600 billion yuan annually to develop energy-conservation and low-carbon technologies, according to the government’s 2050 China Energy and CO2 Emissions Report published last year. The country attracted $11.5 billion of asset financing in clean-energy technology in the second quarter, more than Europe and the U.S. combined, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said on July 13.
By Jessica Shankleman
(BusinessGreen) A “bladeless” wind turbine that has been designed to pacify protestors who dislike the visual and noise impact of traditional three-blade turbines could soon be launched.
US startup Solar Aero Research claims its soon-to-be-released Fuller Wind Turbine circumvents many of the objections to the traditional three-bladed wind turbine by reducing noise levels and avoiding any form of radar interference or injuries to wildlife.
“As we see more and more of the population rising in opposition to the windmills due to noise and wildlife injury concerns, we see more opportunities for our system, so we are… redoubling our efforts to make people aware that there is an alternative,” chief executive Howard Fuller told BusinessGreen.com.
The completely enclosed device secured a patent last month and after six years of development Solar Aero is now looking to start manufacturing from next year and is in talks to find licensees around the world which can produce the units.
Fuller said that the company ultimately planned to target both the micro-generation and the utility-scale wind farm market.