Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
During the course of most conversations about electric vehicles (EVs), the phrase “range anxiety” eventually shows up. Many observers believe that EVs’ range of 100 miles or less will keep some consumers on the sidelines, but some studies reveal that fear might be overstated.
For example, take this recent article from NEBusiness in the UK:
“The trial found that so-called ‘range anxiety’ meant drivers were over-cautious when planning journeys. The maximum journey length was 17.8km, just 25 percent of the average range of the vehicles, which was 72.4km. This range anxiety also meant that 93 percent of journeys were begun with the battery charged above 50 percent, and people also begin to modify their driving style when the battery’s state of charge approached 50 percent.”
Friday, May 28th, 2010
It is that time of year again, the sun is shining and solar panels are soaking it up. And Grid Alternatives’ Solarthon on July 31st in the Bay Area is proving to be bigger and better than ever. Solarthon is a solar block party and fundraiser where GRID Alternatives Bay Area will be leading individual and corporate work crews to install solar panels for several low-income families in one neighborhood in one day. (more…)
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
By now, most of us have heard about the infamous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the woes that BP has had in trying to cap it. The exact total amount of the spillage is actually unknown, but estimates keep climbing.
But have you ever considered exactly how they calculate and track that oil spill? Well, there happens to be some very specialized software that does exactly that… and given the current events we thought it would be good to take a look at this software. There are two types of software that we need to look at — one to estimate the size of the spill at the site, and the other to track that spill over a given period of time.
Calculating Spill Size
Released by The Oil Spill Training Company Limited, The Slick Calculator And Reporter uses the Bonn Agreement Code — an internationally recognized system — to generate its information. The software uses the overall appearance of the oil spill to calculate the volume of oil in the water by the estimated oil thickness. (more…)
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
Ted Turner is out once again, ready to lead the world. The media mogul sat down in an exclusive one-on-one with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer earlier this month and spoke about his ongoing interests in renewable energy and green jobs.
Since stepping back from his role in the wheelhouse at Time Warner in 2003, the cable news pioneer has devoted himself to projects he believes in, investing as though the future of the world depended on it – and it just might. (more…)
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
With all the hoopla going around for and against wind farms going up all over the US, including here on the Great Lakes and off of Nantucket Sound, I feel it is important to weigh in with a little fact checking on “not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY) claims. After reading all the comments that are inevitably posted to every article involving the wind industry, I feel it is important to quash all the falsehoods associated with wind power.
I’ll start by saying that I am first and foremost pro-environment before anything else. If “evidence” is ever found during an environmental impact study that a wind farm will harm the local ecosystem, I will be the first in line to oppose it’s construction. Now let’s see some comments from these related links.
First let’s start with the argument that “wind turbines do not produce enough electricity to be a viable investment.” If this was true, then even with government subsidies, wind farm developers would go bankrupt soon. Instead wind farms are a 30 year success story in the US alone. My favorite success story is of farmers in Minnesota and their community owned wind crop.
Monday, May 24th, 2010
Flying dwarfs any other individual activity in terms of carbon emissions, yet more and more people are traveling by air. With no quick technological fix on the horizon, what alternatives — from high-speed trains to advanced video conferencing — can cut back the amount we fly?
In most departments I have excellent green credibility, and my carbon footprint is small. I have not owned a car in more than 20 years and commute to work by subway. I walk to the market and generally no longer buy produce flown in from far away. I recycle. I have an air-conditioner, but use it only on the hottest of days. I have gone paperless with all my bills.
But my good acts of responsible environmental stewardship are undercut by one persistent habit that will be hard to break, if it is possible at all: I am a frequent flyer, Platinum Card. Last year, I traveled nearly 100,000 miles of mostly long-haul travel. And that figure puts me in the minor leagues compared to legions of business consultants, international lawyers, UN functionaries — and even climate scientists — who certainly travel much more.
Friday, May 21st, 2010
At a meeting on May 6 in São Paulo, Brazil, industry stakeholders formed ABRABA to spearhead development of aviation biofuels. The effort signals a growing concern for the growth of the industry within a carbon and oil constrained future.
Earlier this month, aviation companies, biofuel producers, and the sugar cane, algae, and jatropha industries came together to form the Brazilian Aviation Biofuels Alliance (Aliança Brasileira para Biocombustíveis de Aviação, or ABRABA). As the aviation industry continues to feel the crunch from rising fuel costs and price volatility, ABRABA represents the latest multi stakeholder effort to ramp up biofuel production in the commercial aviation sector (see CAAFI). (more…)
Friday, May 21st, 2010
Tony Seba is currently a lecturer in clean energy, entrepreneurship, finance and technology strategy at Stanford University. He is also an internationally known keynote speaker on the future of energy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and cleantech and high-tech market opportunities.
I recently sat down with Tony Seba to discuss his latest book, “Solar Trillions,” which is about market and investment opportunities in the emerging clean-energy economy.
CleanTechies: What is the premise of your book?
Seba: The clean energy economy will provide the largest wealth-building opportunities in history. The world will spend $382 trillion in energy over the next 40 years and every aspect of this industry is up for grabs: from generation and transportation to storage and use. The race for dominance has already started and the entrepreneurs, investors, and countries who win will dominate the 21st century. The problem is that the whole conversation about energy is wrong. (more…)
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
A NASA-sponsored competition to design futuristic, fuel-efficient airplanes has led to a jet prototype that would burn roughly 70 percent less fuel than current aircraft.
Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology designed what they called a D-series “double bubble” jet, which features a wide fuselage composed of two partial cylinders fused together in an aerodynamic shape.
The prototype also has a smaller tail, skinnier wings, and engines mounted on the rear of the fuselage instead of the wings, which allows the engines to suck in slower-moving air and increase efficiency. (more…)
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
I became aware of the great “Pacific Garbage Patch” after I learned about the Plastiki Project. Thanks to the Plastiki boat and its crew who already sailed more than 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about marine debris and other environmental issues.
My background is in the energy sector and I’m not an expert on environmental issues other than what’s related to power generation. I do recycle as much as I can. However, I admit I have no idea what’s going on in the recycling process, where our materials are coming from or what type of materials we should be using. By reading some statistics, I learned that more than 90 percent of plastics are not recycled.
This made me aware of what we are doing to our ecosystems without even being able to clean up. I became annoyed and upset when I went to the grocery store and realized that I can no longer live in a world without consuming plastics. Plastic materials are not only a major packaging item in our food chain, but we are forced to buy most of our daily needs in plastic packages. Perhaps we are saving energy and money by using plastics, especially in packaging. However, maybe there is a way to reduce plastic consumption to a minimum level.
I haven’t used plastic bags for a long time. Instead, I bring my own reusable bag for grocery shopping. I stopped buying plastic bottles after I watched the animated film, “Story of Bottled Water,” which alerted me to the environmental danger caused by plastics. However, I realized that I still keep consuming plastics. Therefore I set up a challenge for myself:
I will not consume plastics for the following 30 days! (more…)