If I were the new CEO of Chevron, I would stop listening to the lawyers and bring the engineers into the boardroom to develop a strategy to invest a good portion of last year’s record $24 billion profit into inventing solutions to the adverse environmental and social impacts of the company’s operations around the globe.
It is clear that Chevron’s historical reliance upon litigation to get what it wants is being eclipsed by new activist strategies that have effectively boxed Chevron into a corner.
“Ah-ha moments”, those times when something is triggered in one’s mind that opens up a new understanding or way of seeing things. Day three of West Coast Green 2009 brought together some of the brightest minds in the “green building” movement and provided the platform for the cross-pollination of innovation and ingenuity that led many to “ah-ha moments”.
One attendee, Jason Lear of Batt + Lear Designers and Builders who traveled from Seattle, Washington to attend the show shared some of the information that led to a complete rethinking for the way he conducts projects at his family-run business. During a previous show, Mr. Lear sat through a presentation given by Rick Chitwood, President of Chitwood Energy Management. The presentation by Mr. Chitwood was so simple yet so powerful, it changed Mr. Lear’s business overnight. The subject of the inspiration; properly sealed attics.
A U.S. company and its Chinese partner will test electric buses using ultracapacitors that would be chargeable at stops every few miles. The latest ultracapacitors store only 5 percent of the energy that lithium-ion batteries can hold, making them impractical for passenger vehicles. But proponents say the fact that buses have to stop frequently — and at predictable locations — make them a more logical use of the technology.
Virginia-based Sinautec Automobile Technologies and Shanghai Aowei Technology Development Company, a partnership that has run 17 similar runs outside Shanghai for the last three years, will test the technology this week at American University in Washington, D.C.
Unlike traditional trolleys that stay connected to electric lines throughout their route, there is a collector on top of the Sinautec vehicle that would connect to a re-charging line at bus stops every two or three miles. Within three minutes, banks of ultracapacitors located beneath the seats of the bus would re-charge.
Ormat Technologies, Inc., announced today that its Israeli subsidiary, Ormat Systems Ltd., has signed a Joint Venture Agreement (“JVA”) with Sunday Energy Ltd. (“Sunday”), an Israeli solar integration company, to construct and operate solar-photovoltaic (“PV”) energy systems in Israel with a total capacity of 36 megawatts (MW).
Under the JVA, Sunday will contribute the rights to all of its property and roofs required to develop solar energy systems above 1 MW to special purpose entities (“SPEs”). Ormat will own 70% of each SPE and will also have control of it. Under the terms of the agreement, Ormat and Sunday will act, jointly, as the engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) contractor and the operator of each project in accordance with each company share in the SPEs .
For more than 40 years, scientists have dreamed of collecting the sun’s energy in space and beaming it back to Earth. Now, a host of technological advances, coupled with interest from the U.S. military, may be bringing that vision close to reality.
Despite the enormous promise of solar power, the drawbacks of the technology remain significant. People need electricity every day, around the clock, but there’s no part of the United States that is cloud-free 365 days a year — and no solar radiation at night. You have to find some way to store the energy for those sunless periods, and there’s not yet a large-scale way to do that.
Moreover, the best locations for solar arrays — the deserts of the American Southwest — are far from the centers of population, so even under the best of circumstances you’d have to send electricity many hundreds of miles through transmission lines that don’t yet exist.
A group of recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates has developed a roof tile that remains white in summer to reflect the sun’s energy then turns black in winter to absorb the sun’s rays and heat buildings.
The so-called “thermeleon” (rhymes with chameleon) technology uses a common commercial polymer trapped between layers of plastic, including a black layer at the back. When the temperature drops, the white layer disappears, exposing the black layer.
The MIT graduates say the tiles reflect about 80 percent of the sun’s heat when they are white, translating into a 20 percent savings in cooling costs. When the tiles turn dark, they absorb about 70 percent of solar energy.
There had been rumors about it earlier this weeks on Globes, Israel’s financial newspaper. But the story was took down, I guess because of a leak.
Now General Electric has unveiled its good news finally, according to ABC News, that it is investing in the Israeli solar technology company SolarEdge. The company allows photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight into power, to operate up to 25% more efficiently.
The importance of doing nothing well will play a big role in the conservation of energy and the fight against climate change.
According to a 2007 study by the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, an energy-efficient computer server consumes 50 percent of its peak power when idle. The article pushed for energy-proportional computing, in other words, to consume more power as you compute more.
This may sound intuitive, but it is not how designers of many computers and more importantly, computer networks implement their systems today. The relevance to climate change becomes apparent when one considers that computers contribute the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as aviation according to a report published by the Climate Group, and overall percentage from computers will grow by 2020 if business as usual continues. (more…)
Does that headline grab you? If not, these numbers should:
If that has not grabbed your attention yet, consider that in January of this year, Continental Airlines completed a test flight using a biofuel mixture, which included fuel derived from algae. The test flight yielded a 1.1 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to a jet engine using traditional jet fuel.
That isn’t exactly a great leap forward, but achieving incremental increases in fuel efficiency coupled with the latest engine technology, as well as use of new materials in aircraft production, such as the Boeing 787, could signal a dynamic shift for the airline industry. (more…)