This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs

April 5, 2017 by  
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Wildpoldsried , a Bavarian village of about 2,600 residents, is leading the way in Germany’s extraordinary renewable energy transformation . Over the past 18 years, the village has invested in a holistic range of renewable energy projects that include 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics , five biogas facilities, 11 wind turbines and a hydropower system. As a result, the village has gone beyond energy independence – and it now produces 500% more energy than it needs and profits from sales of the surplus power back to the grid. Renewable energy projects in Germany have gained enormous traction in recent years, propelled by government subsidies that are designed to lower costs, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and move the nation entirely away from nuclear power; this transformation is known as the Energiewende . As a result, Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable sources—that’s twice as much as U.S. households receive. On a local level, Wildpoldsried has far exceeded the successes seen across Germany. The villages’s commitment to renewable energy began in 1999, when the city council crafted a document titled “Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend” (WIR-2020, or Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership). The document looked at how the town might encourage growth and invest in new community facilities without incurring debt. As Biocycle explains, the WIR-2020 contained three main areas of focus: “1) Renewable Energy and Saving Energy; 2) Ecological Construction of Buildings Using Ecological Building Materials (mainly wood-based); and 3) Protection of Water and Water Resources (both above and below ground) and Ecological Disposal of Wastewater.” Related: Renewables Recently Provided 74% of Germany’s Energy Demand Through these three areas of focus, Wildpoldsried sought to produce 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. But in a relatively small, engaged community where, as one resident explained , there is a notion of “thriftiness… I don’t need to buy what I can make,” the projects advanced much faster than anyone might have expected. By 2011, the village was producing 321 percent of the electricity it needed, and was receiving $5.7 million in payments for the surplus. The entire list of Wildpoldsreid’s projects is pretty remarkable: in addition to the five biogas plants, 4,983 kWp of photovoltaics, 11 wind turbines and the hydropower system, the town is also home to several municipal and residential biomass heating systems and 2,100 m² of solar thermal systems. Five private residences are heated by geothermal systems and passivhaus techniques have been used in some new construction. One is also likely to see a fair number of electric cars dotting about. Related: German State to Receive 100% Renewable Power This Year With such a diversity of renewable energy sources, the town operates a smart grid that, as Siemens explains “maintains the balance between energy production and consumption and keeps the power grid stable.” As Windpoldsreid’s Deputy Mayor, Günter Mögele, explained to the Financial Times : “I think people were surprised that the Energiewende is happening so fast,” and certainly it is not without it’s headaches for those looking at the issue on a national level. But Windpoldsried is a spectacular example of what can happen on a local level when residents and municipalities take matters into their own hands. + Windspoldried Lead image via Shutterstock

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This German village generates 500% more energy than it needs

Cambridge scientists use light and plants to make cheap, clean hydrogen

March 15, 2017 by  
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Everyone from startups to car companies as big as Toyota have seen the potential of hydrogen as a clean fuel source for vehicles, since its only byproduct is water. But hydrogen is often made with natural gas , which may be less polluting than oil but isn’t exactly clean, so six University of Cambridge scientists developed a way to make the fuel source using sunlight and biomass like leaves. The researchers created clean hydrogen with biomass as a starting point. They suspended biomass in alkaline water and added catalytic nanoparticles. In a laboratory, these components were placed in light mimicking light from the sun , and the nanoparticles got to work, using the light to begin the chemical reactions necessary to produce hydrogen from lignocellulose, part of plant biomass. The university notes the process is both sustainable and relatively cheap. The journal Nature Energy published their research online earlier this week. Related: Startup creates renewable hydrogen energy out of sunlight and water In the past, to turn lignocellulose into hydrogen scientists had to use high temperatures in a gasification process, but the Cambridge scientists say they could simply use sunlight in their method instead. Joint lead author David Wakerley pointed out biomass stores lots of chemical energy, but since it’s unrefined, it’s not feasible to just burn biomass in car engines, for example. He said, “Our system is able to convert the long, messy structures that make up biomass into hydrogen gas, which is much more useful.” The scientists were able to make hydrogen with leaves, paper, and wood. Co-author Erwin Reisner said, “Our sunlight-powered technology is exciting as it enables the production of clean hydrogen from unprocessed biomass under ambient conditions. We see it as a new and viable alternative to high temperature gasification and other renewable means of hydrogen production. Future development can be envisioned at any scale, from small scale devices for off-grid applications to industrial-scale plants.” A United Kingdom patent application has already been filed for the process and thanks to Cambridge Enterprise , which helps academics bring their concepts to market, discussions with a possible commercial partner are ongoing. Via New Atlas and the University of Cambridge Images via Wilerson S Andrade on Flickr and the University of Cambridge Department of Chemistry

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Cambridge scientists use light and plants to make cheap, clean hydrogen

Israeli solar power plant to generate electricity around the clock

February 16, 2015 by  
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Israeli alternative energy company Brenmiller Energy has solved one of the biggest issues with solar technology — how to generate electricity when the sun sets. The Tel Aviv-based company announced on Monday that it will build a 10-megawatt solar facility in the Negev desert city of Dimona that will generate renewable electricity for around 20 hours per day through an energy storage technology the company has been developing for the past three years. Biomass will be used as a backup during the four hours when the solar power system is not generating electricity. Read the rest of Israeli solar power plant to generate electricity around the clock Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biomass , Brenmiller Energy , energy storage , Israel , solar , solar power plant Dimona

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Is Apple working on its own electric car?

February 16, 2015 by  
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Tesla has done it. Nissan and GM are all over it. Is Apple doing it too? The future is here and, suddenly, it’s full of all sorts of talk about electric cars. That’s right, folks. Rumor has it, according to the Wall Street Journal , that Apple is developing an electric “minivan-like vehicle” of their own. Read the rest of Is Apple working on its own electric car? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple , apple cars , apple electric car , apple electric minivan , apple project titan , apple secret projects , electric car makers , secret car projects

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Costa Rica’s Breathtaking Lapa Rios Eco Resort is Powered by Pig Waste

October 6, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Costa Rica’s Breathtaking Lapa Rios Eco Resort is Powered by Pig Waste Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biogas , biomass , bungalows , compost , composting , cooking , Costa Rica , Costa Rica eco hotel , Costa Rican Eco Resort , eco hotel , eco resort , eco-tourism , eco-travel , Ecoresort , ecotourism , green energy , heating , jungle , Lapa Rios , macaws , manure , manure power , methane , Organic , parrots , pig feces , pig poo , pig poo power , Pig Power , pig powered , pigs , Poo Power! , power , renewable energy , sustainable tourism

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Costa Rica’s Breathtaking Lapa Rios Eco Resort is Powered by Pig Waste

New Biomass Plant for the UK Looks Like a Giant Green Volcano

September 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of New Biomass Plant for the UK Looks Like a Giant Green Volcano Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: BEI-Teeside , BEI-Teesside plant , biomass , biomass plant , biomass power , biomass power plant , Heatherwick , Heatherwick Studio , Heatherwick Teesside , indigenous grass , low carbon technology , native grass , Teeside Power Plant , Teesside , Teesside biomass plant , Teesside UK , thomas heatherwick , UK , volcano , volcano biomass plant , volcano power plant

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New Biomass Plant for the UK Looks Like a Giant Green Volcano

Project Dome Could Power Copenhagen Using Energy From the Sun, Wind, Water, and Biomass!

August 22, 2014 by  
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Project Dome is a design proposal submitted to this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative design competition , a contest that solicits ideas for constructible regenerative architecture in Copenhagen. Designed by Tony Thomas of Rayworks Design Studio, M. Ephraim Thomas, and Saleena Thomas, Project Dome pulls out all the stops by proposing a design that harnesses power from four major renewable energy sources: solar, wind, underwater current, and biomass. Read the rest of Project Dome Could Power Copenhagen Using Energy From the Sun, Wind, Water, and Biomass! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , 2014 LAGI competition , 2014 land art generator initiative , biogas , biomass , copenhagen , lagi 2014 competition , land art generator initiative , M. Ephraim Thomas , Project dome , rayworks design studio , Refshaleøen , Saleena Thomas , semi transparent pv panels , tony Thomas , undercurrent energy , wind energy

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Project Dome Could Power Copenhagen Using Energy From the Sun, Wind, Water, and Biomass!

Michelin Launches ‘Bio Butterfly’ to Investigate Green Alternatives for Tires

December 4, 2013 by  
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Last month, Michelin announced that they would be on the hunt for alternatives to the synthetic, oil-based materials used i n their tires . Concerned with a petroleum shortage, the company launched the program “Bio Butterfly” to investigate the viability of organics like straw, beets, and wood to create their products. Read the rest of Michelin Launches ‘Bio Butterfly’ to Investigate Green Alternatives for Tires Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: automotive tire , bio butterfly , bio-butadiene , biomass , Bridgestone , butadiene , car tire , eni , environment and energy management agency , france , michelin , natural rubber , organic waste , shale gas , synthetic rubber , tpc        

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Europe’s New Biomass Satellite Will Map Earth’s Forests And Calculate Carbon Stores

May 9, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Though they cover 30 percent of Earth’s total land area, we know remarkably little about how much biomass and carbon are contained in the planet’s forests . A new satellite will be launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in an attempt to expand this area of knowledge, and learn more about the viability of current and future conservation tactics. The satellite, named Biomass , will use advanced sensors to map and monitor every tree-covered portion of the planet, “weighing” their biomass and hidden carbon. ESA scientists hope new data collected by the satellites will help researchers understand better the role trees play in the cycling of carbon on Earth and, by extension, the influence this has on the planet’s climate. Read the rest of Europe’s New Biomass Satellite Will Map Earth’s Forests And Calculate Carbon Stores Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biomass , carbon storage , Climate Change , conservation , european space agency , global warming , Satellite , Trees        

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Europe’s New Biomass Satellite Will Map Earth’s Forests And Calculate Carbon Stores

Consumer Reports Gives the Tesla Model S its Highest Test Rating Ever

May 9, 2013 by  
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Consumer Reports recently tried out the Tesla Model S electric car, and after all the testing was done, the magazine found that the Model S outscored every other car in their ratings. “It does so even though it’s an electric car . In fact it does so because it is electric,” Consumer Reports stated. Consumer Reports gave the Model S high marks for its impressive power, overall balance and comfortable ride. Read the rest of Consumer Reports Gives the Tesla Model S its Highest Test Rating Ever Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Consumer Reports , electric car , electric motor , electric vehicle , green car , green transportation , tesla , Tesla electric car , tesla model-s        

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