Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

October 21, 2016 by  
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A new nuclear reactor went online in Tennessee recently, making history as the first commercial reactor in America to go online in the 21st century. Watts Bar Unit 2 is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant , and cost $4.7 billion. The unit can power 650,000 homes. There hasn’t been a new nuclear reactor brought online in two decades. TVA says Watts Bar Unit 2 was finished “the right way – with safety and quality” taken into deep consideration every step along the way. The company says the unit underwent ” an extensive series of power ascension tests ” as it began to operate. This week they announced the new reactor is officially operational after it functioned properly and generated power for three weeks. TVA CEO Bill Johnson said the energy generated by Watts Bar Unit 2 will be reliable, low-cost, and will protect the area’s natural resources. Related: First new US nuclear power plant in 20 years scheduled to open in Tennessee The company emphasizes the power generated by Watts Bar 2 is clean energy

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Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

California’s BrightSource Energy inks deal for massive new solar farm in China

September 28, 2016 by  
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As part of the country’s ongoing bid to invest in renewable energy, China’s state-run utility this week inked a deal with Oakland-based BrightSource Energy to build a massive new solar mirror farm. The technology, which uses thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat water to power a steam turbine, is the same design used in BrightSource’s Ivanpah power plant outside of Las Vegas. The main advantage of thermal solar plants over traditional solar panel arrays is that they’re able to generate far more power that photovoltaic panels. These power plants can be massive, producing hundreds of megawatts of energy – an advantage that makes them competitive with coal-burning plants in a way that many renewable plants aren’t yet. The Ivanpah plant produces a whopping 392 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 140,000 California homes. Another mirror farm under construction in Morroco, slated to the be world’s largest when complete, will generate 580 megawatts and serve 1.1 million people. Related: Ivanpah: The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Plant Just Switched Online for the First Time This deal certainly won’t be the last of its kind for the Chinese government. Right now, BrightSource Energy is committed to a 135-megawatt pilot project in China’s northwest Qinghai province. It’s also going to include energy storage in the form of molten salt tanks, which are able to retain heat and produce power even after the sun has gone down. Another American company, SolarReserve, is also in the process of building a mirror farm in China. Related: Morocco switches on phase one of the world’s largest solar plant If it seems strange that these American companies are focusing on exporting their expertise abroad, it’s because the US has been slow to adopt the technology. Apart from a few high-profile projects like Ivanpah, thermal solar farms haven’t really taken off. That’s due in large part to a drop in costs for traditional solar panels and natural gas. Hopefully, as thermal solar plants gain acceptance in China and the rest of the world, they’ll see a resurgence in the US as well. Via Fortune Images via  BrightSource Energy

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California’s BrightSource Energy inks deal for massive new solar farm in China

Norway’s most stunning hydropower plant is now a tourist destination

September 14, 2016 by  
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Most of Norway’s electricity comes from hydropower, geothermal power and wind, and now the government is aiming to use those very industries to draw in additional tourist traffic. The Øvre Forsland hydroelectric power plant in the forested mountains of Helgeland, a Norwegian province just south of the Arctic Circle, is one of those such destinations. The 30-gigwatt-hour plant, designed by Stein Hamre , complements the surrounding natural environment, rather than standing out as an eyesore. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 “The plant has been designed to reflect the characteristics of the landscape, which is located on the river bed in a clearing at the edge of a spruce forest,” said the architects in a statement. “The main inspiration for the design was the verticality and the irregularity of the spruce trees.” The government hopes that hikers will come to the gorgeous plant and want to learn about hydroelectricity. Who wouldn’t want to visit this idyllic mountain scene? + Stein Hamre Architecture Via The Guardian Images via Bjørn Leirvik

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Norway’s most stunning hydropower plant is now a tourist destination

Villagers in carbon-hungry Thailand tap the sun and dung for clean energy

August 5, 2016 by  
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Thailand is a leader in Southeast Asian energy consumption, second only to Indonesia, with a particular appetite for fossil fuels. But one village nestled in the rural forest , far from the electricity grid, turned to clean energy to keep their community running. Along with using solar panels, the residents have perfected an unconventional way of powering their stoves: cow dung . Pa Deng is an off-the-grid village that saw its first spark of electricity when solar panels were installed ten years ago. They sought help from academics and traded their produce for education on how to maintain and repair the panels, and now one fifth of the village is hooked into the network. Related: Kenyan teenager converts his school’s poop into safe, clean energy Taking things one step further, according to Phys.org , one villager acted on a hunch from a friend that cow dung could be a better energy alternative to burning wood. Bio-gas balloons, fed with the dung and organic waste, create enough methane gas for the resident’s stoves. 100 residents now benefit from the balloons, which means they no longer have to search for kindling in the neighboring forest. Pa Deng serves as an example of what is possible in a land where fossil fuels rule. Not every resident is on board with the clean energy initiatives, however, as some wish to be part of the government-funded grid, while others take what they have learned to other neighboring villages, leaving a cleaner footprint along the way. Via  Phys.org Images via Pexels , Wikimedia

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Villagers in carbon-hungry Thailand tap the sun and dung for clean energy

Innovative new osmosis technology powers up to 50,000 LED lightbulbs

July 21, 2016 by  
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As solar, wind, and hydropower continue to grow, new research into sustainable technology might make these game changers old news. The EPFL’s Laboratory for Nanoscale Biology has found a way to use osmosis , or the naturally occurring phenomenon when saltwater comes into contact with freshwater through a membrane, into a renewable source of energy, and it is surprisingly powerful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3FnfJ2biY4 Researchers published their findings in Nature , detailing the construction of a power generation system that features a membrane only three atoms thick. This semipermeable membrane allows salt ions through to the other side, eventually creating an equilibrium in salt concentration – the very process of osmosis . What the scientists have done is found a way to harness the electrical charge from the salt ions, leading to impressive results. Related: This mind-blowing pen conducts electricity on paper The properties of the membrane only allow positively-charged ions through, leaving the negatively-charged ions where they are and creating an environment for voltage to build between the two cells. The transfer of ions establishes a current, which is helped along by the voltage in the system. Made from molybdenum disulfide, the membrane can be made easily in a lab or found in nature, making the system easy to produce. The researchers estimate that 1MW of electricity , or enough to power 50,000 LED lightbulbs, can be generated by just a 1m² membrane with 30 percent of its surface covered by nanopores, or membrane holes. These systems could be installed in estuaries, where freshwater meets the sea. And, since water flows even when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow, this renewable technology could generate energy around the clock. + EPFL Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology Via  Phys.org Images via  Steven Duensing

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Innovative new osmosis technology powers up to 50,000 LED lightbulbs

Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant

June 6, 2016 by  
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Once again, Dubai is seeking to lead the way in the clean energy sector. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently announced their intention to build a massive concentrated solar power plant that would generate a staggering 1,000 megawatts (MW). That would nearly double the current record holder for the largest concentrated solar plant, the Noor-Ouarzazate complex in Morocco, which will generate 500 MW by 2018. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer announced the plant could be operational in 2030, the year the country hopes to obtain 25 percent of energy from clean sources. Private companies to be selected will build and operate the plant. The first stage, to be finished in 2021, will generate 200 MW. Related: Record-breaking solar prices in Dubai prove cheaper than coal According to Al Tayer, ” several thousand ” heliostats will reflect radiation to a tower. He said a huge advantage of concentrated solar power is the thermal heat generated can be easily stored, so the plant could continue to produce electricity at night. The project will employ thermal storage for ” eight to 12 hours daily .” Al Tayer said , “…we constantly work, led by the vision of our wise leadership who instructed us to prepare to bid farewell to the last drop of oil. This is based on a vision that recognizes the significance of renewable energy in achieving a balance between development and sustainability. DEWA continues building projects to achieve this vision and consolidate sustainability to ensure a brighter and happier future.” The plant could help the country achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The strategy aims for energy from 75 percent renewable sources by 2050. As a step towards that goal, DEWA is working to provide energy from 61 percent natural gas, 25 percent solar power, 7 percent “clean coal,” and 7 percent nuclear power by 2030. Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Facebook

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Dubai to build the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant

World’s First Supermarket Completely Powered by Food Waste Rises in the UK

July 23, 2014 by  
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Proving that there’s life beyond the dumpster for wasted food, a U.K. store just became the first in the country to be totally powered by leftovers. The Guardian reports that a Sainsbury’s store in the West Midlands of the U.K. is set to leave the national power grid in favor of food power created through the anaerobic digestion of food scraps – via a partnership with waste recycling company Biffa . Read the rest of World’s First Supermarket Completely Powered by Food Waste Rises in the UK Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative , anaerobic , bio , digestion , food , gas , methane , renewable energy , Sainsbury’s , Waste

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World’s First Supermarket Completely Powered by Food Waste Rises in the UK

Richard Wool’s Non-Toxic Eco-Leather Protects Animals And The Planet

December 21, 2013 by  
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For those who love shoes, there’s a constant battle between brands that are high quality and brands that are ethical. Leather has long been the favorite material for making shoes since it’s durable, flexible, and beautiful. But it’s not very kind to the animals who have to lose their skin to make it. Not to mention that tanning  leather  is a toxic endeavor that creates polluted air and water. That’s why University of Delaware professor Richard Wool is working on a leather alternative made from natural fibers and oils. Companies like Puma and Nike are already considering it for new designs. Click the link to learn more. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cruelty-free leather , leather shoes , non-toxic leather , plant-based fashion , plant-based leather , Richard Wool , vegan leather , vegan shoes , vegan sneakers        

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Richard Wool’s Non-Toxic Eco-Leather Protects Animals And The Planet

Australian Researchers Propose Turning Millions of Tons of Pig Waste into Alternative Energy for China

May 20, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Where there are million of animals, there are millions of tons of waste. In a clever solution to a major waste disposal problem, Australian researchers have found a way to convert 1.4 million tons of Chinese pig excrement into fertilizer and a source of alternative energy. The project, which is operated by the Adelaide, Australia Cooperate Research Centre For Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment ( CRC CARE ), has won a national science award for its solution for pig waste in China. Read the rest of Australian Researchers Propose Turning Millions of Tons of Pig Waste into Alternative Energy for China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adelaide , australia , biodigester , biogas , china , cooperative research center for contamination assessment and remediation of the environment , CRC CARE , excrement , federal government 2013 star award , fertilizer , hlm asia pl , huazhong university of science and technology , pig , poocare , prof. ravi naidu , Waste        

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Australian Researchers Propose Turning Millions of Tons of Pig Waste into Alternative Energy for China

Secto Lamps Are Handcrafted by Finnish Cabinet-Makers From Locally Sourced Birch

May 20, 2013 by  
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There are utilitarian lamps that emit light and do nothing more, and then there are lamps that make you want to sit back in your favorite armchair and relax with a book and a hot cup of tea. Secto lamps fall into the latter category. Designed by architect Seppo Koho for the Finnish company Secto Design , these wooden lamps , which have been handcrafted from birch by local cabinet makers, have a modern form, but they also have a classic, timeless quality. Read the rest of Secto Lamps Are Handcrafted by Finnish Cabinet-Makers From Locally Sourced Birch Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: birch lamps , Finnish design , green design , green lighting , lamp design , low-energy lights , new york design week , New York Design Week 2013 , NY Design Week 2013 , Secto Design , Secto lamps , Seppo Koho , Wanted Design 2013 , Wanted Design lamps , wood lamps Wanted Design        

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Secto Lamps Are Handcrafted by Finnish Cabinet-Makers From Locally Sourced Birch

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