Worlds first negative emissions power plant opens in Iceland

October 13, 2017 by  
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Go, Iceland! On Wednesday, the nation flipped the switch on the world’s first power plant that eliminates more CO2 than it produces. The pilot program, which is operated by Climeworks , can remove an estimated 50 metric tons of CO2 from the air each year. The gases aren’t just contained; rather, they are turned into limestone where they will remain for at least one million years. The process works by capturing the CO2 from ambient air using Climeworks’ patented filter. The geothermal power plant then heats up the filter using low-grade heat; this extracts pure carbon dioxide . The gases are then bound to water and sent 700 meters deep into the ground. When CO2 reacts with basaltic bedrock, it forms a permanent solid mineral. Quartz reports that by burying the harmful greenhouse gases in rock, the odorless gas is prevented from being released for at least one million years. The project is still in its pilot stage, but scientists with Climeworks are optimistic that similar negative emissions plants could be rolled out across the globe. There are some challenges to this vision, however. The process isn’t exactly cheap, for instance. Climeworks estimates that it costs $600 to extract just one ton of CO2 from the air. Related: Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day By the end of 2017, the full capacity of the plant is expected to be 900 tonnes per year — but that’s only the equivalent of the annual emissions of 45 American people. Nonetheless, the company remains hopeful that this is the beginning. Said Christoph Gebald, the founder and CEO of Climeworks, “The potential of scaling-up our technology in combination with CO2 storage, is enormous.” By 2025, the company seeks to cut costs to $100 a tonne and capture 1 percent of man-made carbon emissions each year. There are no details on how this will be accomplished, but with investors such as Bill Gates and the European Space Agency throwing money into research for “direct air capture,” it could be accomplished. Of course, it’s still important — now more than ever — that the general populace adopts sustainable habits , as data from the UN shows that humans are far from reaching the 2 degrees Celsius limit set by the Climate Agreement. + Climeworks Via Quartz Images via Climeworks , Arni Saeberg , Sandra O Snaebjornsdottir

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Worlds first negative emissions power plant opens in Iceland

How the upcoming solar eclipse will affect 7 million homes and businesses

August 14, 2017 by  
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A total solar eclipse will block sunlight from reaching parts of the Earth for an estimated three hours on August 21. As a result, at least 7 million U.S. homes and businesses that rely on solar power will be directly affected. But there’s no reason to be nervous: electric grid and skilled operators are well-prepared. A total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon which occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun . Though it will disrupt solar generation during times of peak generation, the event is not one to fear. According to Julia Prochnik , the Director of Western Renewable Grid Planning, people will not notice any change in their electrical service as electric grid operators across the country have made appropriate preparations. The last time citizens in the U.S. glimpsed a solar eclipse was in 1979, when solar energy was in its infancy. In the time that has passed, the energy system has changed significantly. Wind and solar energy are now the fastest-growing sources of renewable electricity in the U.S. Prochnik says that some states will see a larger drop in solar power than others; it all depends on how much the sun is blocked by the moon in their specific location. Fortunately, there are plenty of energy resources available to “fill the gap,” and they include geothermal , wind and hydropower. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say NASA reports that the solar eclipse will block a 70-mile-wide path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The longest period of total darkening will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. Nationwide, the moon will still block at least a portion of the sun. At any one spot, the longest period of partial darkness may last three hours. Arizona can expect to experience a brief interruption in 70 percent of its rooftop solar generation. New York follows with 68 percent, Utah can expect a 39 percent, and Nevada a 24 percent interruption. California and North Carolina may experience the biggest impacts from the eclipse, as they are both major solar producers. The difference can be compensated by reducing energy use and/or by temporarily drawing electricity from the grid. A few things environmentally-conscious individuals can do to prepare for the eclipse is replace all light bulbs with LEDs , turn off lights, unplug chargers and appliances, and turn down their thermostats. All of these steps will help save energy and reduce load grid pressure. All in all, the celestial event is one to celebrate, as it is one few will likely witness again. Via NRDC Images via Pixabay

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Affordable home geothermal energy systems come to upstate New York

July 17, 2017 by  
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When you think of home renewable power systems, geothermal energy probably isn’t the first source that springs to mind. But new company Dandelion , which starts after time at Google’s moonshot factory X , aims to power houses with the clean , free source “right under our feet.” They’re offering their systems beginning in northeastern America. The Dandelion team launched their company independent of Alphabet this month, offering geothermal heating and cooling for homes. They come in and replace cooling, heating, and hot water equipment with their geothermal systems, including underground pipes and a heat pump, which gather energy from the earth. The company describes geothermal cooling and heating as the most efficient method of such climate control for the home. Related: St. Patrick’s Cathedral unveils state-of-the-art geothermal plant Affordability was one of Dandelion’s main goals. They say many homes haven’t yet adopted geothermal systems due to the hefty cost associated with setup. In contrast, Dandelion’s system costs $20,000. On their website they say they’ve partnered with a leading financing company to install the systems with zero costs upfront followed by low monthly payments. The company also designed a better drill to install the systems. In the past, geothermal systems were installed with a wide drill that was intended for water wells more than 1,000 feet into the ground. The Dandelion team designed a slender drill that can create one or two deep holes a few inches wide – with less waste. Their new drill lets them put in ground loops in under one day. Overall, putting in their geothermal systems takes two to three days. Dandelion’s heat pumps will last around 25 years, while the closed-loop piping can last for a minimum of 50. The system comes with a smart thermostat enabling homeowners to regulate the temperature inside. The team is starting with 11 counties in New York – they say regions with cold winters and hot summers are ideal for home geothermal systems. + Dandelion Via Kathy Hannun on Medium Images via Dandelion Facebook and Dandelion

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Switzerland votes to ban nuclear power and invest in renewable energy

May 22, 2017 by  
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Switzerland just passed a new energy law that promotes renewable energy and bans nuclear power plants. The landmark vote brings the nation closer to meeting its goal of generating 4,400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy by 2020, and 11,400 GWh by 2035. Over the weekend, approximately 42% of the population turned up to vote in the national referendum, which marks the eighth time in recent history Swiss citizens have voted on the issue. Though the Energy Strategy 2050 was approved by Parliament last year, the country’s right wing Swiss People’s Party challenged the reform to the referendum in an attempt prevent the move from taking place. The move to initiate the reform passed easily with a 58.2% vote, however, shutting down any talk of investment in nuclear energy . At a press conference, Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said “After six years of debate in parliament and at committee level, a new chapter in Switzerland’s energy policy can begin. But there is still a lot of work to do.” Related: Tunnel collapses at America’s most contaminated nuclear waste facility Energy Strategy 2050 mandates that general licenses provided for nuclear power plants (which presently provide 38% of the country’s energy) will no longer be sold, beginning in 2019. Additionally, when existing nuclear power plants reach the end of their lifespan, they will be closed and not replaced. The reform also aims to reduce per capita energy consumption by 16 percent within the next three years, and by 43 percent by 2035. Energy Strategy 2050 intends for electricity consumption to decline by 3 percent in 2020 and 13 percent in 2035. This will be managed by increasing the output of solar , wind, biomass, and geothermal energy. Supporters of the law say that investing in renewables will make Switzerland less dependent on energy imports. At the same time, the country will maintain its highly supply standard. Activists are also celebrating the fact that by phasing out investments in nuclear energy, the environment and future generations will undoubtedly benefit. Via Swiss Info Images via Pixabay

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EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living

March 27, 2017 by  
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An American agrihood making waves with its sustainable living movement turned heads again with the completion of the first Organic Life House early this year. Located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Ga., the Serenbe community teamed up with Rodale’s Organic Life Magazine to build an EarthCraft-certified demonstration home to teach residents and visitors about healthy living and eco-friendly building practices. Constructed from natural materials, the 6,000-square-foot dwelling draws energy from renewable geothermal and solar sources and features a variety of wellness-promoting spaces. Designed by architect J.P. Curran and built by Bobby Webb, the Organic Life House is a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home that promotes wellness and connection with the outdoors. In addition to the use of natural materials throughout the home, the stone-clad Serenbe house reinforces its ties with nature with views of the preserved woods, edible and medicinal gardens, and a series of outdoor spaces like the labyrinth and multiple porches. Thoughtful choices for the neutral-toned interior, from the flooring to window treatments, create a healthy indoor environment promoting wellness and relaxation. Tall ceilings, ample natural light, and warm textures create a homey feel. “The partnership between Serenbe and Organic Life is the perfect collaboration,” says Steve Nygren, founder of Serenbe. “We are both dedicated to helping people enjoy well-balanced lives that are in tune with their environment and community. The Organic Life House will be an exciting opportunity to introduce the Serenbe lifestyle to the Rodale audience and show how they can apply these practices in their own homes.” Related: America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free The Organic Life House expands on the Serenbe mission to serve as an inspiring leader for agrihoods and wellness communities, and was the first home to break ground in the 1,000-acre community’s newest neighborhood, Mado. Like Serenbe’s other energy-efficient homes, the Organic Life House features renewable energy systems like geothermal heating and cooling as well as energy-saving appliances. The home also includes a yoga and meditation studio, saltwater lap pool, and hot tub. + Organic Life House Images by J. Ashley Photography

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Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

October 24, 2016 by  
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Geothermal energy plants use the Earth’s own heat as a power source – and now Iceland is taking the technology several steps further by harvesting energy from liquid magma . The nation is drilling deep into the planet to tap temperatures from 400 to 1000 degrees Celsius, which could produce ten times more electricity than typical geothermal sources. Iceland already avoids the use of fossil fuels, but that isn’t stopping their pursuit of innovation. The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is drilling 5 kilometers down into the Earth’s crust using its rig named “Thor.” The site is located on the Reykjanes peninsula near an extension of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where heat oozes between Earth’s tectonic plates. Related: Iceland’s geothermal Blue Lagoon is expanding “People have drilled into hard rock at this depth, but never before into a fluid system like this,” Albert Albertsson, assistant director of an involved Icelandic geothermal-energy company, HS Orka , told to New Scientist . By reaching down into the depths of the heated seawater at this location, the researchers behind IDDP are hoping to find “supercritical steam,” which holds more heat energy than either liquid or gas. A potential 50 megawatts of energy could be generated from this steam, making a typical geothermal well’s 5 MW look measly. That means up to 50,000 homes could be powered by the super-hot hole. The worldwide implications are promising, as supercritical geothermal energy could be produced wherever young volcanoes are found. The IDDP’s current project was launched after the company accidentally hit magma back in 2009, yet shut down after corrosion issues. That well generated 30 MW, compared to the new well’s 50 MW. + Iceland Deep Drilling Project Via New Scientist Images via Iceland Deep Drilling Project , Pexels

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Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

Giant bubble “greenhouse” covers this lush new retail center in Turkey

February 24, 2016 by  
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MU Architecture expands Montreal’s Bota Bota floating spa with an eco-friendly oasis

September 17, 2015 by  
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How the United States can be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050

June 11, 2015 by  
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As divided as Americans are, there is at least one issue on which they can agree. 87 percent of Americans believe that renewable energy is an important part of their country’s future, while 74 percent of Americans support a policy of federal tax incentives that encouraged the growth of solar, wind and other renewable energy industries. But translating overwhelming support into action is easier said than done. Americans may be able to imagine a future powered entirely by renewables, but they aren’t quite sure how to get there. A new study published in the online edition of Energy and Environmental Sciences may help. The study describes in detail how each state could reasonably achieve the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. More details after the jump. Read the rest of How the United States can be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , American energy , energy policy , geothermal , green economy , green energy , public policy , renewable energy , renewable energy policy , solar , Stanford report

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Light Origami is a giant 3D interactive kaleidoscope for grown-up play

June 11, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Light Origami is a giant 3D interactive kaleidoscope for grown-up play Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D kaleidoscope , co-creative design , intercative design , light origami , Masakazu Shirane , public dome , Reuben Young , vivid sydney

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