This Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothes instead of fossil fuels

November 24, 2017 by  
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A Swedish power plant northwest of Stockholm hopes to go fossil fuel free by 2020 – and they’re turning to recycled wood and trash for alternatives, including discarded apparel from retail chain H&M . This year they’ve already burned around 15 tons of H&M clothes. A power plant owned and operated by Malarenergi AB in the town of Vasteras, Sweden is working to transition away from oil and coal, and are turning to a fuel source you might not expect: discarded garments. Head of fuel supplies Jens Neren told Bloomberg, “For us it’s a burnable material. Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels.” Related: Garbage from Hurricane Irma will now help power Florida Sweden boasts a nearly emission-free power system, according to Bloomberg , due to wind, nuclear, and hydro plants. But some local municipalities do use oil and coal for heating on winter days. The country hopes to move away from fossil fuel units by converting old plants to burn trash and biofuels instead. Where do the H&M clothes come in? Malarenergi has a deal with nearby town Eskilstuna to burn their garbage, and some of that comes from a central warehouse of H&M’s. The clothing company’s head of communications Johanna Dahl told Bloomberg, “H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use. However it is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed.” The Vasteras plant, which supplies power for around 150,000 households, has burned around 400,000 tons of garbage this year. Bloomberg reported earlier this week, the last coal ship docked in the area to drop off supplies to last until 2020 for the plant’s last two fossil fuel generators, which date back to the 1960s. In 2020, the plant will add a wood-fired boiler to help trash- and biofuel-burning units meet demand. Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos and Per Nyström, Scheiwiller Svensson Arkitektkontor AB/Malarenergi AB

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This Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothes instead of fossil fuels

New smart grid solution heals itself amid central grid outages

November 1, 2017 by  
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Renewable energy may offer emissions-free electricity , but it isn’t always easy for electrical grids to integrate that energy. Dutch company Alfen is launching their answer to the dilemma. The Cellular Smart Grid Platform (CSGriP) allows a central grid to be divided into smaller cells that can operate independently, if necessary, and even self-heal . CSGriP provides energy from sources like biogas , solar power , or wind power for local consumers. It includes “a 0.5 megawatt energy storage system and complex algorithm used for local energy management.” Should the central grid go out, local cells would take over to restore power for local customers. According to Alfen, “Once the grid balance within a cell is restored, it automatically reconnects to other cells, and, as such, quickly rebuilds the larger power grid” to reduce the duration of central grid outages. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: How a smart electric grid could reduce emissions by 58 percent in the US Alfen energy storage specialist Evert Raaijen said in a statement, “Unique about this solution is that the local cells are intrinsically stable through self-adjustment of supply and demand based on the frequency of the electricity grid. This makes the grid truly self-healing in cases of central grid outages. The self-healing mechanism based on frequencies sets it apart from many IT-related smart grids that require relatively vulnerable data and ICT connections for balancing local grids.” In developed countries, the point of the platform is to decentralize the grid and make it more ready for renewables. But the platform could also be deployed in developing countries that still need to be electrified, allowing them to avoid constructing central grids obtaining power from large fossil fuel -burning plants in favor of these local cells with storage systems for renewable sources. Alfen has worked in countries from the United Kingdom to the Czech Republic to Nigeria, on projects for electric vehicle charging , transformer substations, energy storage, smart grids, and grid automation. They are currently field testing CSGriP at the Application Center for Renewable Resources in Lelystad, the Netherlands . + Alfen Via Alfen Images via Alfen on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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This pop-up prefab cocoon can immerse you in the heart of nature

November 1, 2017 by  
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Immersing yourself in nature without leaving the comfort of the hotel room may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what French architect and civil engineer Christophe Benichou sets out to achieve in LUMISHELL . Created in the shape of a cocoon, this prefabricated curved dwelling blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor space with LUMICENEs, a patented reversible window concept. The LUMISHELL is designed for placement in a variety of exotic environments—even in Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat that experiences below freezing temperatures. Clad in a protective aluminum skin, the 40-square-meter LUMISHELL comprises all the needs for a comfortable, long-term stay including a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. The bedroom and living room are located at opposite ends of the curved dwelling and wrapped by LUMICENE , a curved glass sliding door that opens up to transform the room into an outdoor space. Curtains attached to the LUMICENE rails allow for privacy and protection from solar gain, while the shape of the structure is optimized for natural cross ventilation. Related: Cover installs its first prefab dwelling “for the masses” in L.A. “Both rooms provide unique panoramic views and can be occasionally transformed into outdoor spaces to enhance the feeling of being transplanted in the middle of vast scapes,” wrote the architect. “Various mirrors also create reflections that diffuse the landscape in the heart of the dwelling.” The self-supporting and prefabricated LUMISHELL can be assembled on site in as little as four days—not including hookups—and does not require foundations. The LUMISHELL is currently available for pre-orders and is expected to ship out for first installations in 2018. + LUMISHELL

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This pop-up prefab cocoon can immerse you in the heart of nature

CA communities sue Exxon, Shell and 35 other fossil fuel companies over climate change

July 27, 2017 by  
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A trio of California communities are standing up to fossil fuel peddlers and holding them to account for their role in climate change . San Mateo and Marin counties and Imperial Beach filed an unprecedented suit against 37 companies, including major players like Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil. The complaint states that these companies have knowingly caused billions of dollars worth of damage and have caused sea levels to climb, putting lives and property in serious danger. The lawsuits state that the 37 defendants are responsible for hundreds of gigatons of carbon emissions – about 20 percent of the total emissions from the mid-1960s to today. The suit alleges that the companies knew about the impact they were having on climate change, and have worked to not just avoid reduce their impact but to deny the threats altogether in a “co-ordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny their knowledge of these threats”. Related: Shell predicted the effects of climate change in its own 1991 film California isn’t the first to sue fossil fuel companies. An Alaska community sued after being forced to relocate their village , but the case was dismissed as being a political question, not a legal one. The lawsuits may comprise the first step towards a future that holds fossil fuel companies to account, much like citizens held tobacco companies responsible for their role in peddling dangerous chemicals. Via The Guardian images via Flickr and Depositphotos

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First fully-integrated sustainable smart energy system promises to democratize renewables for all

July 27, 2017 by  
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Solar might be the future, but few people and businesses can afford to invest in the technology. This is why SolPad’s latest innovation is so newsworthy. The new SolPad Mobile is the first personal, portable solar energy generator capable of providing power anywhere. Developed to “democratize” renewable energy for all consumers, the 25-pound invention has built-in battery storage and output power that exceed any other portable solar device in its class. Additionally, it is capable of providing clean energy to the “untapped market” of home renters, including tiny home dwellers and van-lifers. In essence, the one device makes clean, reliable power accessible to everyone and provides the tools required to collect, store, convert and manage solar energy. SolPad was founded in 2012 with a mission to “disrupt the conventional sustainable energy landscape” by ensuring off-grid power environments and sustainable smart homes have access to quality and cost-effective renewable energy. The company recognized that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68 percent, but fails to be adopted by consumers on a mass level due to economic challenges. Equipped with this knowledge, the minds behind the California-based company decided to develop the first fully-integrated system that can provide an all-in-one, scalable solution to renewable energy . “The reality is that SolPad completely shifts the energy paradigm, delivering comprehensive management and control for daily power usage,” said Christopher Estes, CEO of SolPad. Though the units cost $1,795 (monthly payment options are available for $150), the investment is well worth it. This is because the SolPad Prox X is a permanent solution to obtaining solar energy , and the purchase and installation costs are as least half of other market alternatives. Additionally, the power system generates as much power as one needs and ensures minimal energy is wasted while increasing the available AC power. Because the software integrates solar generation and energy storage, energy management becomes an automated process. From a phone app , you can track, manage and automate your energy usage. SolControl also prioritizes which appliances and items should receive personal solar power based on one’s habit of turning them on and off. The SolPad panels can store both solar and grid energy. According to the press release, “By placing storage at the source of solar collection, inefficiencies in transmission and conversion are reduced or eliminated entirely. Because collection and storage are adjacent within each SolPad Pro X panel, low voltage battery power is used to make the panels safer and more efficient than legacy solar systems.” “Everyone is responsible for their impact on the environment . SolPad Mobile allows people to take energy management into their own hands, reducing carbon footprint and giving access to AC electricity anywhere,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital, past CEO of Carbon War Room. “Whether you’re in an industrialized nation trying to decrease negative impacts on the environment or in a developing nation looking to save money versus fossil fuels, this disruptive portable panel provides unparalleled access to clean and easy-to-use power.” Related: SolPad residential solar panels come with built-in battery storage and an inverter The unique invention will ensure more people have access to clean, renewable energy and, as a result, will provide innumerable benefits to the environment. + SolPad Images via SolPad

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Oil giants are waking up to carbon bubble risks

March 15, 2017 by  
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Statoil releases a “climate roadmap” as Shell warns that public faith in fossil fuel industry is disappearing.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

March 8, 2017 by  
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One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the relatively drama-free embrace in many corners of the private sector of the concept of environmental externalities. Arguments over the indirect costs of fossil fuel combustion — climate change, mercury contamination, ground level ozone and the like — have been a form of hand-to-hand combat in utility rate cases and other regulatory actions for years.

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Why coal country must be part of the clean economy

Groundbreaking technology affordably captures CO2 from fossil fuel plants

February 22, 2017 by  
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What if fossil fuels could be burned without pouring emissions into the air? Many people consider that idea to be wishful thinking, but chemical engineer Rodney Allam doesn’t. He’s been working on carbon capture technology on and off since the 1970’s, and with the help of venture capital incubator 8 Rivers , recently put the finishing touches on the Allam Cycle , an electric-generation system that captures all the carbon dioxide (CO2) made from burning fossil fuels. Allam investigated bolt-on methods during his decades of searching for a way to capture CO2 from fossil fuel plants, but found those methods too expensive. He aimed to make carbon capture affordable, but gave up in the 1990’s. Then 8 Rivers came along in 2009 with a plan to make use of Recovery Act money from the federal government. When Allam returned to the issue, he was at last able to develop the Allam Cycle. Related: Breakthrough technology turns coal plant CO2 into baking powder The Allam Cycle doesn’t utilize steam to create electricity . Instead, CO2 under pressure and in a supercritical state spins the turbines powering the generators. Combustion adds CO2 to keep the process going, and any excess is sent into a pipeline. NetPower , 8 Rivers’ portfolio company constructing the first Allam Cycle plant, describes the technology as truly clean, saying plants that utilize the Allam Cycle are able to “inherently eliminate all air emissions.” That means no particulate matter, mercury, nitrogen oxides, or sulfur oxides either. Plus, Allam’s technology can generate electricity at the same six cents per kilowatt-hour as other gas-fired turbines. NetPower is working with Exelon and Toshiba on the first plant. According to Forbes, such a full-size plant costs around $300 million to construct and can generate 300 megawatts yearly. Once the plant is built, it will take a few months before NetPower can show the cycle is stable. Allam told Forbes they might know for sure in a year. The first plant will run on natural gas ; 8 Rivers says on their website they are also developing a coal -based system. Via Forbes Images via Wikimedia Commons and eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr

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COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

November 7, 2016 by  
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Days after the historic Paris climate deal went into effect, world leaders have again convened to discuss tactics for fighting climate change , this time in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP22 climate talks will offer an opportunity for government leaders from nations around the globe to cooperate in devising goals to reduce the effects of climate change. As Morocco takes advantage of the summit’s timing to launch new nationwide food security programs, controversy ensues following the inclusion of coal and oil interests in the international discussions. Morocco—which relies heavily on local agriculture—has been uniquely impacted by climate change, experiencing highs and lows in the same year as a result of shifting weather patterns. While this year’s regular El Niño season drenched croplands, producing above-average yields, it was followed by an intense dry period during which there was no rain for more than two months. The uncertainty of agricultural yields prompted Moroccan leadership to develop programs to address food security issues, and the nation is launching its Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative, timed with the kickoff of the COP22 conference. Related: UN warns of 3C global temperature increase without swift and aggressive global leadership Morocco’s AAA plan involves improving soil management, as well as water and irrigation management, combined with better weather forecasting and insurance for drought-impacted farmers. Each of these efforts is designed to help support continued agriculture while maximizing its output with efficient methods that can, hopefully, endure some of the unstable weather conditions the nation will see in years to come. Taking swift action to address food security seems like a bold and positive move, but it’s not quite so simple. In addition to world leaders, Morocco’s climate summit also involves representatives of corporate interests —namely coal and oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody, BP, Shell and RioTinto. Critics claim their presence equates to a conflict of interest, while others interpret their involvement as a brave step forward in attempting to partner with fossil fuel industries for cooperative change. It remains to be seen what influence these companies will have on delegates working to construct international climate change plans, as they will have “observer status” to nearly every official conversation as part of the global summit. Via The Guardian Images via Richard Allaway/Flickr and Pixabay

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