When most people look out on the hot, dry desert, they see the potential for a serious sunburn and probably a mirage or two. When Chilean entrepreneur Mario Llanis looks out on the cactus-riddled desert of his native country, he sees the possibility for a bio-energy source that could change the industry forever. (more…)
The best way to slow the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice is to reduce soot emissions from burning fossil fuels, wood, and dung. This is the conclusion of a Stanford University study published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres).
The paper, authored by Mark Z. Jacobson, (more…)
On Tuesday, we hosted a lively forum at the White House, which brought more than 130 stakeholders– civilian and uniformed officials from the Department of Defense (DOD) and our armed services, policy makers from the Department of Energy (DOE), think tanks, and business entrepreneurs – together for a discussion on the importance of clean energy for our (more…)
Energy investors and entrepreneurs often refer to the period between technologies being developed in the lab and making their way to the marketplace as a "valley of death" due to the multitude of factors that can prevent those advancements from reaching the consumer. Last week, just miles from the real Death Valley in Nevada, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and I announced a venture that will help promising solar technologies make that journey to the market. The Nevada Test site, which was once used to test nuclear weapons, will now be dedicated to testing new (more…)
“Plastics are bad but it’s impossible to avoid them completely”. This is my conclusion after 30 days of staying away from plastics. I was almost rebellious when I was refusing to use plastic materials for the past month. However, I have to admit I have violated my rules more than once.
Within the past month, I was served plastic straws two times with my drinks, used four plastic garbage bags for throwing away my ‘wet’ garbage, purchased shaving (more…)
I was recently asked by a friend whether I was able to create an impact through my anti-plastic propaganda. I told him how easily I was able to reduce my plastic consumption in a couple days and how supportive the people that I spoke to are. He kept asking me whether my individual environmental care would result in a dramatic reduction of global plastic usage. Good question.
For one month, I have talked to managers of stores and restaurants who sell plastic forks, knives, bags and (more…)
From a comfortable distance the BP oil disaster is depressing and horrific. But up close, it’s worse.
Two days in the Gulf of Mexico left me enraged – and deeply resolved. Both the widespread damage and the inadequacy of the response effort exceeded my worst fears. I’d spent a full day on the Gulf and we ended up soaked in oily water and seared by the journey.
By Tuesday night, I was home. My throat burned and my head was foggy and dizzy as I showed my pictures and video to my wife, Fran, and my 13-year-old (more…)
I wasn’t thinking about my plastic diet, when I walked into the store and bought a chocolate bar yesterday. Obviously eating chocolate is not the healthiest thing to do for your body, but today I learned that the packaging material of chocolate bars is also not the best for the environment. It’s tricky because it is difficult to determine what materials were used in the production of the chocolate and candy wrappers.
Similar to milk and juice cartons or potato chip bags, the candy wrappers are generally laminated foils which are prepared by coating a paper base with wax, bonding a thin metal foil layer with an adhesive and dampening with a plastic solution. (more…)
For almost two weeks, I have been consciously reducing my plastic use and advocating a plastic-free life. I stopped buying plastic bottles or plastic bags and every time I go to grocery shopping I carry my own reusable bag or containers. By doing so, I have been quite successful to reduce my plastic consumption compared to last month. In fact, it started becoming an addiction to re-use everything that I have, including the plastic zipper bags and containers. As a good alternative to conventional plastics, I started believing in compostable plastics that would replace most areas in our daily life. (more…)
Imagine a world where you can buy electricity from your choice of vendor (not the utility) at prices that can be negotiated with the vendor. Kind of like shopping at eBay or Amazon. Want to buy a week’s worth (1,000 kWh) of power from SebaSolar at 9 ¢/kWh? Just click here. How about switching to WindyWelly for the weekend (300 kWh) at 8.5 ¢/kWh? Click! Wait, NeoGeo just announced it has a ‘fire sale’ at 7 ¢/kWh for next Tuesday through Thursday. Click!
Well, imagine no more. This electricity world exists today. To see this new architecture of energy at work I went to Wellington, New Zealand.
Powershop is a unit of Meridian Energy, the largest electricity generator and retailer in New Zealand. “The vision of Powershop is to be like eBay for electricity,” says CEO Ari Sargent. “Any electricity generator in New Zealand, including Meridian’s competitors, can offer their own brands of electricity at different prices and different times.”