New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells

October 4, 2017 by  
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Hydrogen can be obtained from seawater to power fuel cells , but the process is typically costly because of the electricity required. Researchers created a nanomaterial that can do the job more efficiently. According to the University of Central Florida (UCF), the advance “could someday lead to a new source of the clean-burning fuel .” UCF assistant professor Yang Yang has been working on solar hydrogen splitting for almost a decade. In the process, a photocatalyst sets off a chemical reaction with energy from light . But the photocatalysts don’t work as well in seawater – they don’t stand up well to salt and seawater’s biomass. Yang’s research team came up with a new catalyst that’s not only good for splitting purified water in a laboratory, but can better endure seawater and even harvest light from a broader spectrum. Related: Scientists develop new way to generate electricity via seawater Yang said, “We can absorb much more solar energy from the light than the conventional material. Eventually, if it is commercialized, it would be good for Florida’s economy. We have a lot of seawater around Florida and a lot of really good sunshine.” He said in many cases it’s better to use the sun’s energy to create a chemical fuel than to generate electricity with solar panels . Hydrogen gas can be transported and stored easily. UCF said it’s relatively cheap and easy to make the catalyst, which is comprised of a hybrid material. The journal Energy & Environmental Science published the research the end of September. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington and Tsinghua University in China collaborated on the study. Yang and his team plan to continue researching how to scale up the catalyst fabrication, and to work on splitting hydrogen from wastewater with the catalyst. Via the University of Central Florida Images via the University of Central Florida

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New nanomaterial pulls hydrogen from seawater to power fuel cells

The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

October 4, 2017 by  
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Solar power is helping flower grower Hector Santiago get back on his feet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated much of the United States territory’s electricity grid . Six years ago, he sank $300,000 into 244 solar panels , and said everyone told him he was crazy because of the cost. Today, he has power and is rebuilding his nursery. Santiago’s Cali Nurseries , which sells decorative plants and poinsettias to firms like Cosco and Walmart, suffered tremendous losses during the storm. Hurricane Maria damaged plants and greenhouses , ripping off roofs and flattening trees. Santiago told The Washington Post his losses amounted to an estimated $1.5 million. Related: Puerto Rico electricity crisis sparks interest in renewable energy But he’s been able to begin rebuilding his Barranquitas farm with the help of electricity thanks his investment in solar energy. The storm damaged 25 percent of the photovoltaic panels, but there’s still enough energy to start rebuilding his operation. The power allowed him to keep pumping water from wells, as the business’ 19 employees cleaned up and repotted plants. Santiago was unable to get back to his farm for five days following the hurricane, and when he finally returned he found his employees hard at work, as they had been since the first day. He told The Washington Post, “I just started crying, I choked up, when I saw them working like nothing had happened. They give me the strength to not give up and to do whatever I have to do to continue with my business.” The devastation in Puerto Rico has resulted in an increased interest in renewable energy . Solar installation firm owner Henry Pichardo, who works out of Bayamon, said Hurricane Maria could boost his business by 20 percent per year. He said he’s been flooded with inquiries after the storm. He told Reuters, “People are going to become more conscious of how they are living, and invest more in solar.” Via Reuters and The Washington Post Images via Hector Alejandro Santiago Rodriguez on Facebook and Cali Nurseries on Facebook

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The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power

Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

October 4, 2017 by  
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To mark the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, over 40 Catholic institutions have announced their imminent divestment from fossil fuels, the largest move of its kind by a faith-based organization. The announcement’s timing with Saint Francis’s feast day, October 4, seems fitting for a Catholic Church guided by Pope Francis . He has elevated environmentalism as a key tenet of his papal tenure and chose his title to honor Saint Francis, who is known for his love of the natural world and the poor. Although the specific amount of divestment has not been yet released, the number of participating Catholic organizations is over four times the previous record . In recent years, divestment from fossil fuels has gained in strength as a tool to combat climate change by denying financial support, through investments, to companies and organizations in the fossil fuel industry. The global fossil fuel divestment movement is estimated to be worth $5.5 trillion. “I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit,” said Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief who helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement, “because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.” Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land The Catholic institutions that are participating in the latest divestment include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas. The Italian town of Assisi, Saint Francis’s hometown, also divested from fossil fuels on the day prior to a visit from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentolini. “When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change,” said Assisi Mayor Stefania Proietti. “When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice. But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor.” Via the Guardian Images via Nicola/Flickr ,  Long Thiên/Flickr , and Christopher John/Flickr

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Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

The Biobot 20 is a Tabletop Biodiesel Processor for Waste Cooking Oil

February 11, 2013 by  
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Now there is something better you can do with that viscous mess of cooking oil instead of sequestering it in a can or pouring it down the drain. The UK-based company Biobot offers the Biobot 20, a tabletop processor that converts household oil waste into something a bit more useful. The Biobot 20 helps small producers refine their excess vegetable oils into fatty-acid methyl ester (FAME) through a conversion process known as transesterification . Close to carbon-neutral, biodiesel is a great way to become independent of the fossil fuel industry and take transportation into your own hands. Read the rest of The Biobot 20 is a Tabletop Biodiesel Processor for Waste Cooking Oil Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biobot , biobot 20 , biodiesel , catalyst , fatty acids , fuel , gas , methanol , process , refine , sodium hydroxide , sodium methoxide , transesterification , UK , vegetable oil , Waste

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The Biobot 20 is a Tabletop Biodiesel Processor for Waste Cooking Oil

DIY: How to Make Your Own Shipping Pallet Lounge Chair in 7 Simple Steps

February 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of DIY: How to Make Your Own Shipping Pallet Lounge Chair in 7 Simple Steps Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green furniture” , bridgeman , DIY , diy chair , DIY furniture , diy pallet chair , DIY project , do it yourself , eco design , eco furniture , green design , Recycled Materials , shipping pallet chair , shipping pallet lounge chair , shipping pallets , sustainable design

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DIY: How to Make Your Own Shipping Pallet Lounge Chair in 7 Simple Steps

Zero Carbon Solar-Powered Long Studio Sits Gently Upon the Earth in Rural England

February 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Zero Carbon Solar-Powered Long Studio Sits Gently Upon the Earth in Rural England Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , Design , eco design , England , green design , photovoltaic panels , PV panels , rainwater harvesting , Solar Power , sustainable design , The Long Studio , threefold architects , vernacular architecture , wood-fired stove , Zero Carbon

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Zero Carbon Solar-Powered Long Studio Sits Gently Upon the Earth in Rural England

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