Washington coal plant to be converted into solar farm

June 14, 2018 by  
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Situated next to what was once the largest coal pit in Washington state , the TransAlta coal plant near the city of Centralia is turning into a source of clean energy. While TransAlta’s 2011 agreement to shut down the coal plant by 2025 will go a long way towards Washington’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 – the emissions produced by the Centralia plant represent 10 percent of the state’s total emissions – TransAlta is going even further, converting 1,000 acres of the former mine area into a solar farm. The farm will compensate for the loss of 1,340 megawatts from the shutting of the coal plant and will be called Tono Solar, after the long-gone pioneer town of Tono that once existed at the site. TransAlta’s deal with Washington State to convert the former polluting plant into a clean-energy production site is a win-win for both parties involved. “This is a good-news story about moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewables,” NRDC senior attorney Noah Long told Ecowatch . The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 requires coal companies to clean up a former coal plant or mine after it is shut down. “By putting solar on the land, it maintains an industrial use. This good use of a brownfield brings the costs of reclamation down quite a bit.” Related: Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year The existing infrastructure at the site also eases the conversion process. “The location is good because it’s close to transmission lines,” TransAlta lead developer Ryan Schmidt said in a March 2018 presentation . “We know exactly what’s in the ground, because we put it there when we reclaimed the site.” While Tono Solar will produce only about 15 percent of the power once generated at the TransAlta coal plant, it is one of many renewable energy projects in the region that will serve Washington’s goals of reducing emissions and encouraging economic growth. The Centralia model of renewal could serve other communities around the United States as they attempt to rebuild after decades of industrial job decline. “There are lots of places in the Rust Belt of our country, not just coal mines,” Long said. Via Ecowatch Images via Robert Ashworth/Wikimedia

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Washington coal plant to be converted into solar farm

American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

June 14, 2018 by  
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Plastic is part of so many products in our day-to-day lives, from obvious ones like plastic bags to ones you may not often think about, like your plastic credit card. American Express plans to offer the first credit card ever made with ocean plastic in a collaboration with Parley for the Oceans . The company is also committing to reduce single-use plastics in its operations worldwide. We’re collaborating w/ @parleyxxx to combat marine plastic pollution. Learn abt our plans to introduce an Amex Card made primarily from plastics recovered from the ocean & our journey to reduce single-use plastic globally https://t.co/tAWsHPjWES #AmexLife #KeepItBlue #AmexParley pic.twitter.com/7WdNeGBz3H — American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 7, 2018 American Express’s ocean plastic card will be manufactured primarily with recovered plastic from coasts and the oceans and is intended to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution . In a press release , the company said the card is a prototype at the moment, but could be ready for the public in around 12 months. Related: Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic Parley’s Avoid, Intercept, Redesign (AIR) philosophy is also inspiring an American Express corporate pledge to “limit single-use plastics, intercept plastic waste and redesign existing materials and plastic products.” American Express provided six steps it will take, including phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers for Centurion airport lounges and major offices in about a month, and phasing out single-use plastics for the airport lounges by the end of 2018. It will also undertake annual company-run river and coastal clean-ups. American Express aims to lower virgin plastic in card products, and create what it described as a comprehensive waste reduction strategy to up recycling rates and cut single-use plastic in its operations by the end of 2018. Finally, the company will pursue a zero waste certification by 2025 for its New York City headquarters. “Every second breath we take is created by the oceans ,” Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch said in a statement . “Without them, we can’t exist. American Express is creating a symbol of change and inviting their network to shape a blue future, one based on creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation.” + American Express + Parley for the Oceans Image courtesy of American Express

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American Express to offer credit card created with upcycled ocean plastic

Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

June 23, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been working since the 1970’s to transform algae into biofuel . Now a new breakthrough could make this alternative energy source a more viable option. Researchers from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil were able to edit algae genes to produce two times more lipids. Those lipids can be turned into biofuel that isn’t too different from the diesel we use today. Researchers figured out how to tune a genetic switch to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the alga Nannochloropsis gaditana . They used multiple editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9. They were able to boost the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to over 40 percent – and importantly, did so without stunting the algae’s growth rate. The modified algae can produce as much as five grams of lipid per meter per day. Related: New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80% Vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Vijay Swarup said the milestone confirms their belief algae can offer a source of renewable energy . Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said carbon dioxide and sunlight are two major components necessary for algae production, and both are plentiful and free. According to ScienceAlert, a past report indicated biofuels from algae could become a $50 billion industry , with the potential to offer transport fuel and food security. But we still could be years away from pumping this particular algae-based biofuel into our cars at gas stations. Researcher Imad Ajjawi of Synthetic Genomics told ScienceAlert this step was just a proof of concept, but did describe it as a significant milestone. According to Greentech Media , organizations have been working on making biofuel from algae for years, without much progress towards commercialization. In fact, they cited former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who back in 2009 said the work on turning algae into biofuels might not come up with real results for 25 years. The journal Nature Biotechnology published a study on the concept online this month. Via ScienceAlert and Synthetic Genomics Images via ExxonMobil and Wikimedia Commons

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft

February 8, 2017 by  
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Living in a garage isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but an open-minded couple manages to pull it off with style in Lisbon. Local design studio Fala Atelier was asked to convert a 200-square-meter windowless garage into the couple’s new abode. The result is a dramatic transformation from a lifeless gray garage into a bright and contemporary house that still retains a parking spot for the couple’s car. Since the architects weren’t able to add windows on any of the walls besides the entrance, they painted the walls white and created an open-plan living area to create a sense of spaciousness. The ceiling is also painted white and punctuated with large redesigned skylights. The floor is covered in polished concrete to create a neutral base to balance the vibrant pops of colorful furniture. Decoration is kept to a minimum to reduce clutter and large aquamarine curtains allow the homeowners to cordon off spaces as needed. Related: Old garage is transformed into a daylit, treehouse-like library “The proposed intervention intended the clearest reading possible of the existing structure, emphasising its strength,” write the architects. “While the garage was careless and grey, the house is clean and white; its materiality is flat, its light is abstract.” The L-shaped home is entered through a long hallway that then opens up to a large living area. Two bathrooms are tucked behind a curved wall built to replace a broken corner. Limited furnishings and freestanding elements allow the homeowners to easily rearrange the interior space. + Fala Atelier Via ArchDaily Images © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft

JZA+D transforms a defunct Princeton gas station into a pumping pizza joint

November 9, 2016 by  
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Nomad Pizza is a popular restaurant located near a shopping center in Princeton, New Jersey. Elements of the original modernist structure are still present both in the interior and exterior of the building. However, its current appearance and organization lend themselves to the food industry venue, making the new structure appear as though it was built with its current function in mind. Related: Tulsa Architecture Firm Turns Route 66 Gas Station Into Their Office Before conversion The main challenge that JZA+D, experienced in revitalizing the older structure was adapting the existing drive-through service bays and garage doors to the building’s new use. The team closed off the bays and portals at the rear with cedar and storefront glazing , and installed specialized doors on the front to best utilize the large garage openings. This also facilitated a connection between the dining area and the exterior spaces, creating an awning-covered patio area used when the weather is warm. + JZA+D

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JZA+D transforms a defunct Princeton gas station into a pumping pizza joint

What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good)

November 9, 2016 by  
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In a shocking upset that has warped our perception of reality, climate change denier Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential race. The newly elected 45th President of the United States has indicated he’ll work to reverse the progress made in the battle against climate change. From pulling out of the Paris climate agreement to promoting fossil fuels to limiting the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undoing President Obama’s work on the Clean Power Plan , Donald Trump’s proposed energy policies may gravely impact the environment. Mere days after the Paris climate agreement went into force, the United States elected an individual who has been on a rampage to jerk the United States out of the historic agreement. The Paris climate agreement was 20 years in the making, and offers a starting point for nations to attempt to alleviate the effects of climate change as people from island nations to Florida are already grappling with climate change-caused sea level rise . Trump has said he’ll yank America out of the agreement, but French environment minister Ségolène Royale said it won’t be so easy for Trump to follow through. She told The Guardian the Paris agreement “prohibits any exit for a period of three years, plus a year-long notice period, so there will be four stable years.” Related: Would a Trump presidency undo the UN climate change agreement? While that statement may provide a sigh of relief for many Americans, Trump will likely also work against progress at home. He said during his campaign he will cancel ” billions in climate change spending ,” putting that money towards “clean water, clean air, and safety.” But his proposed appointment of fellow climate change denier Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to head an EPA ” transition team ” signals Trump likely wants to undo many of President Obama’s climate policies. For example, under his new limited EPA, government might not strongly enforce Clean Air Act regulations. In terms of energy, Trump’s plans are dirty. He has said we need ” much more than wind and solar ,” pointing instead to something called clean coal. He’s said he wants to tap into American shale gas and even build the Keystone XL pipeline . He supports fracking and regular old coal. As so many of the lines that come from Trump’s mouth are lies, will he follow through on his threats or will he actually work to move the country forward? Either way, he is likely to have the support of a Republican-dominated House and Senate. President Obama was able to pass many clean energy measures by utilizing executive powers, but now Trump will obtain those powers. Time will show how he chooses to use them. Via Grist and The Guardian Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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19th-Century London Toilet Transformed into a Haven for Coffee Lovers

November 25, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of 19th-Century London Toilet Transformed into a Haven for Coffee Lovers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 19th century toilet , coffee shop , conversion , green renovation , London , london architecture , London designers , public toilet , the attendant , vintage lamps

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19th-Century London Toilet Transformed into a Haven for Coffee Lovers

Why Does Gas Get Cheaper in Winter?

November 25, 2014 by  
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Have you ever noticed that U.S. gas prices are  cheaper on average in wintertime than summertime? Have you got a pet theory as to why that might be? It turns out it’s not a case of market forces trying to entice hibernating drivers out into the cold to hit the road and burn fossil fuels. Instead, it’s due to the different formulations of summer and winter fuels, with the formula for winter fuel being cheaper, sometimes by as much as 15 cents per gallon at the pump. Read the rest of Why Does Gas Get Cheaper in Winter? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon monoxide , emissions , epa , fossil fuels , fuel prices , gas prices , gasoline , gasoline blends , ozone , summer fuel , winter fuel

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Clunky Old School Bus Converted into a Sweet Earthy Home With a Wood-fired Stove

June 11, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Clunky Old School Bus Converted into a Sweet Earthy Home With a Wood-fired Stove Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , bus , Cascades , eco design , green design , green renovation , mobile home , natural ventilation , school bus conversion , sustainable design , usa , wood-fired stove , wpi Creative

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Clunky Old School Bus Converted into a Sweet Earthy Home With a Wood-fired Stove

World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China

April 22, 2013 by  
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Lockheed Martin has announced that it is to partner with the Reignwood Group to construct the world’s largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant off the coast of southern China. The OTEC process—which uses the temperature difference between the cold waters of the deep ocean and warm surface waters to generate electricity—is nothing new, but few facilities have ever been constructed. The floating pilot plant will generate 10MW of electricity, enough to power the Reignwood Group’s planned net-zero energy resort on the nearby mainland. Read the rest of World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , china energy , green energy , lockeed martin , Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion , OTEC , reignwood group , renewable energy , ridgewood , thermal energy , water energy        

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World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China

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