Monday, March 1st, 2010
BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Sunday it will spell out greenhouse gas emissions goals and monitoring rules for regions and sectors in its next five-year plan, with monitoring to show it is serious about curbing emissions.
The Chinese government said in November it would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activity, emitted to make each unit of national income by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.
That goal would let China’s greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, but more slowly than its rapid economic growth.
The policy was a cornerstone of Beijing’s position at the Copenhagen summit on climate change late last year when governments tried with limited success to agree on a new global treaty on fighting global warming.
The United States and other powers said China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from industry and other human activities, should have offered to do more to bring its domestic “carbon intensity” goal into an international pact that would reassure other governments.
Friday, February 26th, 2010
By now, many have heard algae being proclaimed as the fuel source that could potentially replace a large percentage of the petroleum we use.
However, non-fuel uses of algae that can further lessen our dependence on petroleum have not gotten the attention they deserve. One such usage, while far less visible and but whom some would argue is just as important, is creating plastics.
Cereplast , a renewable plastics company, is looking into using algae as a new and renewable source of this seemingly ubiquitous material. In October 2009, it announced that algae-based resins “could replace 50 percent or more of the petroleum content used in traditional plastic resins.”
In a recent interview, Cereplast CEO Frederic Scheer explained that there are several benefits to switching over to algae-based plastics over traditional petroleum based ones. One reason is that it has the potential to help cut down the United State’s reliance on foreign oil.
“Traditional plastics are made from oil and the entire plastic and chemical industry is using up to 8 percent of our fuel and energy resources,” Scheer said. “In diverting to new [plastic] feedstock we are reducing our dependency [on foreign oil] accordingly.”
Friday, February 26th, 2010
Wal-Mart officials have vowed to cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015, a sweeping strategy by the retail giant to reduce the carbon footprint of its network of suppliers and stores.
Company leaders say the cuts will more than offset the expected growth of its carbon emissions globally, and represent the equivalent of taking 3.8 million cars off the road.
Initially the company will target the suppliers and producers that emit the highest levels of carbon dioxide. Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability, said initiatives will include cutting the CO2 emissions within the company’s massive transportation operation and reducing waste for fresh foods.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new concepts, approaches, and technologies — fascinating, exciting, even hope-inspiring at times. And, to top it all off, so many of these are truly Energy COOL as well.
Innovative combinations of rather straightforward, well-in-hand technologies can offer real solutions to problems while creating new opportunities.
Several weeks ago, a group of researchers published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences documenting how relatively low-powered solar systems offer the potential to increase food supplies in impoverished arid regions while reducing demands for fertilizers and other costly (in fiscal and other terms)additives. (more…)
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
Bloom Energy has unveiled its long-awaited and much-hyped fuel cell technology, which it says can convert natural gas into electricity through an electrochemical process that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and at a price competitive with far-dirtier coal-fired electricity.
With California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in attendance, Bloom co-founder and chief executive K.R. Sridhar unveiled his Bloom Energy Server at the Silicon Valley headquarters of one of its first customers, eBay.
Taking up no more room than a parking space and looking like a large refrigerator, the servers (at left) — which cost roughly $750,000 — convert natural gas or another fuel into electricity by creating an electrochemical process on a series of small, stacked disks.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
A rising Asian nation leverages labor advantages to adapt Western technology to lower cost fabrication, and its leading companies rise as no-frills leaders in an emerging global market.
Thanks to free trade policies – kept in place, in part, to satisfy Western consumer demand for the product in its most afforable form — the Asian nation finds a ready export market that helps to build a worldwide brand and return immense profits.
Then, given a generation to develop a domestic engineering and technical workforce worthy of their place in the industry, the Asian nation’s concerns soon come to surpass their Western competitors and they bypass the godfathers of the business in innovation and quality, while retaining an edge in affordability.
Ring any bells?
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
The personal care industry has long demanded stricter standards for products labeled “natural,” and in February, the Natural Products Association (NPA), the group representing retailers and manufacturers including Whole Foods and Clorox Co., has released new standards for home-care products.
These include household cleaners for bathrooms and kitchen countertops and laundry detergents. Up until now, there has been no definition of the term “natural” within the home-care products industry.
Daniel Fabricant, NPA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, has been quoted as saying that many so-called natural cleaning products contain largely synthetic ingredients. And consumers are already confused about what makes products natural as well as organic.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Facing growing opposition from members of Congress, the Obama administration says it will gradually phase in controls on heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other large sources of CO2.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (at left), said that beginning early next year the EPA will regulate CO2 emissions from roughly 400 large emitters of greenhouse gases, mainly coal-fired power plants.
Other major sources of CO2, such as refineries and large factories, will be subject to EPA regulation in late 2011, Jackson said in a letter to eight moderate Democratic senators concerned about the effects of the regulations on their states.
Saturday, February 20th, 2010
Two of the largest companies involved in natural gas drilling have acknowledged pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel-based fluids into the ground in the process of hydraulic fracturing, raising further concerns that existing state and federal regulations don’t adequately protect drinking water from drilling.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., who released the information in a statement Thursday, announced that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which he chairs, is launching an investigation into potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing.
The process, which forces highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals into rock to release the gas and oil locked inside, gives drillers unprecedented access to deeply buried gas deposits and vastly increases the country’s known energy reserves. But as ProPublica has detailed in more than 60 articles, the process comes with risks. The fluids used in hydraulic fracturing are laced with chemicals — some of which are known carcinogens. And because the process is exempt from most federal oversight, it is overseen by state agencies that are spread thin and have widely varying regulations. (more…)
Friday, February 19th, 2010
AguAgro Fund LP has acquired water technology incubator Kinrot Technology Ventures from Canada’s Stern Partners Inc. in a share-swap deal, reports Globes.
Stern Partners, run by president Ronald Stern, will reportedly get a stake in AquAgro, an Israeli venture capital fund focused on innovative water and agriculture technologies, although terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor regulations governing Israel’s Technological Incubators Program require that AquAgro inject at least $3 million into Kinrot over three years.