Indian Railways installing rooftop solar panels on 250 trains

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Some of the world’s most polluting cities may be found in India, but the country’s government, as well as private corporations, are working hard to transition the economy into a more sustainable one. Indian Railways, for instance, is installing flexible solar panels on 250 local trains. The intention is to reduce fuel costs and benefit the environment while lowering the company’s own emissions to meet government standards. The railway has not yet decided which trains will receive the solar panels but has floated the money to install the systems, which will be used to power lights and fans on the trains. According to The Economic Times , companies selected through the process will need to install flexible solar panels and battery systems on six trains. Following a two-month trial period, large-scale implementation will take place. The initiative is expected to give another boost to India’s rapidly growing renewable energy program, especially since the trains would primarily run in areas where tracks have yet to be electrified. Related: New project could see UK electric trains powered by off-grid solar As Clean Techies reports, Indian Railways has undertaken numerous initiatives to shift to clean energy sources. Earlier this year, it was announced by the Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that “7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity.” The news was shared during the union budget speech on February 1, 2017. Minister Jaitley also said that work to set up rooftop solar power systems at 300 stations has already begun and that the number will increase to 2,000 stations. Because of initiatives such as these, Indian Railways could potentially source up to 25% of its energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2025, according to a study conducted by the United Nations Development Program. The report reads, “The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) has found that Indian Railways could set up 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity, through rooftop and utility-scale projects, to significantly increase its consumption of renewable energy over the next few years.” As a result of solar prices declining in recent months, India has canceled plans to construct nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations . Experts now expect a profound shift in global energy markets. Via The Economic Times , Clean Techies Images via Pixabay  and Unsplash ( 1 , 2 )

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Indian Railways installing rooftop solar panels on 250 trains

Eviation Aircraft unveils all-electric aircraft with 600-mile range

June 23, 2017 by  
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Though flying via airplane is a fast and fun way to travel, it is one of the least environmentally-friendly methods to do so. That may soon change, however, as Eviation Aircraft (a member of NASA’s on-demand mobility program) recently unveiled the first prototype of an all-electric aircraft that has a range of up to 600 miles (965 km). Presented at the 52nd International Paris Air Show, the prototype could be ready to move into certification and commercialization as soon as next year. “At a time when we are more connected than ever, our mobility options must adapt to reflect this new, efficient future,” said Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation Aircraft, in a statement. “Whether it is zero emissions , low-cost trip from Silicon Valley to San Diego, or Seoul to Beijing, our all-electric aircraft represents a chance for people to move with the speed and impact our global economy now demands.” The electric aircraft could potentially fly six to nine passengers, in addition to two crew members on long distances. With the intention to commercialize the plane by 2018, Eviation by far has the most aggressive timeline of any company intent on producing an electric plane. Due to the energy density of batteries, electric air transport has been limited. However, the company says it has developed a new aluminum-air battery that will make it possible for consumers to fly without harming the environment . Related: eGenius Plane Sets World Record for Electric Aircraft Speed “Based on an aerial application of  Phinergy Ltd’s Aluminum air battery, coupled with a high power rechargeable battery buffer, and managed by a clever mission specific power analytic algorithm, EViation’s energy system is unique. Providing a true solution to both energy density and utilization, at a cost that beats gas, and with zero emissions,” said Eviation Aircraft. Rather than compete with traditional aviation companies, Eviation will position itself as an Uber-like on-demand transport service. Mark Moore, Uber Engineering Director of Aviation, commented on the Eviation  technology : “We are witnessing a new age in aviation as advances in energy storage and aircraft design bring electric, on-demand air transit within reach. Our focus at Uber is in galvanizing the ecosystem necessary for urban VTOL electric vehicles to thrive for 20-60 mile trips that can provide massive time savings over ground transportation for long trips in cities. In parallel, we are encouraged to see bold new players like Eviation tackling challenges in different sectors using electric aviation; these players will help catalyze demand for new battery and rapid recharging technologies that are crucial to enable electric flight.” Via Elektrek Images via  Eviation Aircraft , Pixabay

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Eviation Aircraft unveils all-electric aircraft with 600-mile range

EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

June 21, 2017 by  
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Although 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a real threat, the Trump administration maintains that global warming is a “hoax” – and it’s gutting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . Under administrator Scott Pruitt the EPA has scrubbed climate science from its website, and now it’s eliminating thousands of employees — including dozens of scientists — by failing to renew their contracts in August. The Washington Post reports that members of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) were alerted via email that their terms will not be renewed in August. While they do have the opportunity to re-apply by September, the news came as a shock to many – on average, scientists serve three terms and are re-elected to a fourth if they are willing to serve. Peter Meyer, an economist with the E.P. Systems Group, resigned from the board’s sustainable and healthy communities subcommittee as a form of protest. Meyer said: “We were told quite explicitly by the leadership of the sustainable and healthy communities group … that our assignment was a four-to-five-year assignment. That was what we were told at our first meeting. That produces an assumption that you’re going to get reappointed so that you can complete the job.” Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the board’s executive committee and professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota, added, “It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment.” Related: EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board Because this is the second time this year the agency failed to renew scientists’ terms, some claim the Trump administration is politicizing the agency, which exists to benefit wildlife and preserve the environment. In response, EPA officials stated that the cuts provide a new opportunity to reach out to a broad array of applicants and draw on their expertise. “ EPA is grateful for the service of all BOSC members, past and present, and has encouraged those with expiring terms to reapply,” said agency spokeswoman Amy Graham. “We are taking an inclusive approach to filling future BOSC appointments and welcome all applicants from all relevant scientific and technical fields.” The BOSC advises the agency’s Office of Research and Development on whether its research can adequately address important scientific questions. Due to cuts, only five scientists remain on the executive committee. The ultimate fear is that the EPA could eliminate members that hold different opinions than the Trump administration , and fill those positions with people who are more favorable to the communities being regulated by the agency. Reportedly, the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will also be changed in the near future. “This gives me a great deal of concern about the erosion of science in this administration,” said Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability . “It’s hard to understand the rationale behind a decision like this. I understand they might simply want to repopulate [the board] with people of their own choosing. However, this could also be a way of just weakening advisory boards, of diminishing their role by not replacing members.” Via Washington Post Images via EPA , PBS

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EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

11 Ways to Use Solar Energy Besides the Home

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Solar panels can be installed on your home and save you thousands a year in energy. However, your house is not the only place they can be applied. You can save money and help preserve the environment by using solar panels in a number of…

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Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

June 15, 2017 by  
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U.S. President Donald Trump may believe coal is the future , but newly-released statistics by BP Statistical Review of Energy state otherwise. According to the data, global coal production fell by an astonishing 6.2 percent last year — the largest annual decline on record. Additionally, consumption decreased for the second year in a row, dropping 1.7 percent. In wake of these findings, it should come as no surprise that once again, renewables were the fastest growing energy source, growing by a whopping 12 percent — a statistic which represents the largest annual incremental increase in output on record. The report , entitled “Energy markets in transition: BP Statistical Review shows long-term shifts underway,” concluded that the oil market is declining because fast-growing markets are shifting “towards lower carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly and coal use falls.” The report also showed that the shift from coal is widespread. The UK, for instance, consumed 52.5 percent less in 2016, the U.S. experienced an 8.8 percent dip in consumption and China’s reliance dropped by 1.6 percent. Evidence to support these conclusions abound. For instance, the UK recently experienced its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. India also intends to halt all coal plant production in the near future, as renewable technologies have become more affordable. Related: U.S. coal production dips to lowest point in 35 years due to rise of renewable energy sources Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said, “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions . At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years.” As was previously mentioned, renewable energy was the fastest growing of all energy sources, increasing by 12 percent. Though solar, wind and other renewable energy sources provide only 4 percent of the world’s total energy, the increase represents almost one-third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016. Despite certain leaders’ opposition to renewable energy investments, it seems clear the future is green and that consumers will continue to invest in energy sources that are beneficial for the environment, wildlife, and future generations – and their bottom line. + BP Statistical Review of Energy Images via Pixabay

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Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

June 14, 2017 by  
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Gallivanting across Africa in search of majestic and fascinating wild animals is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, and thankfully, there are more ways than ever to safari with an eco-friendly and socially conscious mindset. We found seven safari lodges that were created with heavy consideration for conservation and community: the only heavy footprint left is that of a gentle, gigantic elephant as he passes by. Chem Chem Safari Lodge This Tanzanian lodge , located within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, prides itself on a “slow safari” ethos, with options including wilderness picnics, walking safaris with a private guide, and lessons in identifying wildlife tracks, as well as meetings with the lodge’s anti-poaching team . The tent-style suites and main house toe the line between rustic and glamorous and were crafted to bring to mind vintage safari lodges. A pool, spa , gourmet restaurant, and viewing tower make returning after a day of flamingo watching and safari-going a little easier. Greystoke Mahale Operated by Nomad Tanzania , one of East Africa’s original safari companies, Greystoke Mahale will make visitors feel as if they have ventured to a magical place where beaches, forests, and mountains exist in harmony. The native chimps are the main attraction here, but with the beach of Lake Tanganyika at your feet and Mahale Mountains behind you, it’s an ideal location for exploring waterfalls, swimming, and having kayaking adventures. Image © Exploring Tourism Zimbabwe Pamushana Lodge Pamushana Lodge , part of the conservation-focused Singita resorts family, has won multiple Leading Safari Lodge awards, and this Zimbabwe retreat gives back in a major way. As the ecotourism arm for a 130,000-acre reserve, Singita manages the lodge on behalf of an environmental trust: all proceeds from the lodge benefit conservation and community partnership efforts. The local culture is honored in small ways, such as the beaded and adorned throw pillows , as well are more dramatic ways, including the preservation of a diversity of habitats from grasslands to broad-leaf forests. Related|Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Not that you could ever get tired of seeing the usual suspects (giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc.) in real life, but the Grootbos Nature Reserve in South Africa offers alternate experiences including a marine safari to see the marine Big 5, a botanical 4 x 4 tour, or shark cage diving. The land is home to 791 plant species , including 100 endangered plant species, and milkwood forests that are over 1000 years old. Duba Plains Part of the Great Plains Conservation Camps, Duba Plains opened in March 2017, but it is already gaining a following for both its conservation and environmental stewardship as well as its proximity to plentiful wildlife (lions and buffalo are common sights). The rooms at the camp, located in Botswana ’s Okavango Delta, were built on recycled railway sleeper decking to provide prime and varied animal viewing access. Campi Ya Kanzi The only safari lodge on a 283,000 Maasai -owned reserve, Camp Ya Kanzi (aka Camp of the Hidden Treasure) shouldn’t remain hidden to you or your fellow safari adventurers: the expansive view of Kilimanjaro is reason enough to plan your visit. Stay in a tented cottage or tented suites or rent an entire private villa with a swimming pool supplied by rainwater . Image © SteppesTravel UK Camp Nomade Camp Nomade , located in Zakouma National Park in Chad , is exclusive in more ways than one: it’s only available from mid-December to mid-April each year when the park dries up, and can only host a maximum of eight visitors per week. With 360-degree views and the feeling of being plopped down in the middle of all the safari action, lucky visitors can look for buffalo, elephants , lions, leopards, baboons, and more. Lead image via Camp Nomade

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7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa

Researchers successfully made a battery out of trash

June 14, 2017 by  
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If there’s one thing that abounds on planet Earth , it is man-made trash . Fortunately, researchers have developed a method of using discarded goods to create sodium-ion batteries. Made from recycled materials and safer than lithium variants, the battery is the latest step in renewable energy storage. To create batteries out of trash, the scientists accumulated rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh. Then, they used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — the same solution used in fertilizers and in wine production — to dissolve the ions out of the rust layer. Ions such as nickel and iron then bonded with other ions in the solution. This created a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanotubes that store and release potassium ions. As Engadget reports , “The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.” Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars More often than not, lithium batteries are used for renewable energy storage. However, the type of battery is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Additionally, lithium batteries have been known to explode. Not only are the new sodium-ion batteries safer, they boast a high capacity, discharge voltage, and cycle stability. Developing the battery was step one of testing the concept. Now that scientists have successfully created renewable energy from trash, the battery can be improved upon to maximize its potential. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Luxurious solar home wraps around a sloped green roof

June 14, 2017 by  
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Architecture and landscape unite in the MeMo House, a solar-powered home in Buenos Aires built to maximize green space. Located between infill buildings, the MeMo House is the work of local studio Bam! Arquitectura , which based the design on sustainable design principles, such as low energy consumption and native plantings. The light-filled home embraces nature with its back garden and sloping green roof that connects all three floors. Located on a dense urban plot in San Isidro, the compact MeMo House was created for a client with a passion for landscaping and the environment. To minimize the loss of green space, the architects created a system of landscaped ramps that zigzag along the building’s three levels to create a continuous and accessible garden terrace. Planted with native flora, the landscaped ramps are visible from the exterior and interior, where they’re enclosed in full-height glazing . Solar panels top the MeMo House and provide renewable energy for heating, ventilation , and air conditioning. Energy consumption is further minimized with effective insulation. Sun studies informed the building’s site placement to maximize solar energy and natural lighting. Related: Breezy Buenos Aires holiday home embraces nature with a wildflower-growing roof Reduction in water consumption is achieved through efficient wastewater technology and the use of harvested rainwater for irrigation. “We conceive the sustainability of the project as a path, not as a goal,” wrote the architects. “Hence, we base our path on the LEED standards and we incorporate the concepts of durability and economy which are fundamental in our architectural works, thus satisfying the needs of the present generation without endangering the possibilities of future generations since the impact on the environment and its inhabitants is significantly reduced.” + Bam! Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images © Jeremias Thomas

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Luxurious solar home wraps around a sloped green roof

Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

June 13, 2017 by  
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The bond between a human and an animal can be a powerful one, and the following video is a testament to this. After an Argentinian man named Edgardo rescued a condor that fell from its nest as a baby, he proceeded to care for it until it was well enough to be returned to the wild . Then, years after the giant condor found freedom, it returned to “thank” Edgardo. In the video, the condor walks up to his former caretaker and gives him a hug, nuzzling his neck. In response to the affection, Edgardo says, “Hi, how are you, you crazy thing, how do you do? What a beauty you are.” According to Edgardo’s cousin, the man took in the condor because he felt bad for it. “And that was the beginning of the friendship,” he said. The heartwarming footage has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on social media. Gloria Valdovinos, who was moved by the reunion, commented: “Beautiful to have a pet like this.” And, Rei Dom wrote, “What a privilege! Being able to have a magnificent animal such as this.” When humans empathize with other creatures and act out of love, it is not unusual for relationships such as this one to form. Via Daily Mail Images via Miratico

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Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade

June 12, 2017 by  
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Germany, Denmark, and Belgium just announced a landmark agreement to boost their offshore wind power capacity five fold within the next decade. This means that by the year 2027, the countries will increase energy generated via wind from 13.8 gigawatts to more than 60 gigawatts. Because the prices for offshore wind continue to decline (in 2016 alone, there was a 22 percent decrease ), the move is being hailed as an economic and environmental win. To accomplish the task, the governments of all three nations have pledged to work with more than 25 private companies, such as Dong Energy. As The Independent reports, Germany has already proven the viability wind power. In April, bids for offshore wind in Germany fell below the cost of conventional power for the first time — and without the benefit of government subsidies. Related: World’s largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands The agreement, signed on Tuesday in London, builds on a partnership between 10 northern European countries to collaborate on cutting the cost of installing offshore wind turbines. The seven countries absent from the signing will be asked to support the new statement. Some delays are expected as several nations need to wait until after their general elections are held — such as the UK . “With this joint statement, leading businesses and governments are taking the next step by committing to cooperate on the deployment of big volumes for offshore wind energy,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive officer at WindEurope. “Today’s statement is a clear recognition of the strategic importance of offshore wind as a clean, competitive and reliable energy source for Europe.” Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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