Energy-generating ‘artificial plants’ turn greenhouse gases into clean air

April 27, 2017 by  
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Groundbreaking research from scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida State University could help in the fight against climate change . The researchers were able to trigger photosynthesis in metal-organic frameworks (MOF) with a little help from blue light , and the process turned carbon dioxide (CO2) into solar fuel . UCF assistant professor Fernando Uribe-Romo described the find as a breakthrough. Scientists have been seeking such a breakthrough for years. The trick is getting visible light to set off the chemical reaction; ultraviolet rays can do it but only comprise four percent of the light hitting Earth from the sun. Most materials that can absorb visible light to set off the reaction are too expensive or rare. The Florida scientists, however, found they could use the common nontoxic metal titanium added with organic molecules that can be designed to absorb certain colors of light. Uribe-Romo set them up to absorb blue light. Related: MIT Scientists Create Artificial Solar Leaf That Can Power Homes The team tested the MOF inside a photoreactor – or glowing blue cylinder lined with LED lights to mimic blue wavelengths shining from the sun – and the resulting chemical reaction turned CO2 into solar fuel. Uribe-Romo said, “The idea would be to set up stations that capture large amounts of CO2, like next to a power plant . The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process, and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant.” He said it may even be possible for the material to be put in rooftop shingles to both clean the air and generate energy usable for homeowners. He aims to keep working with the synthetic material and see if different wavelengths of visible light can set off the reaction. The Journal of Materials Chemistry A published the find online earlier this month. Via The Independent and EurekAlert! Images via UCF: Bernard Wilchusky and University of Central Florida

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Energy-generating ‘artificial plants’ turn greenhouse gases into clean air

Why can’t utility execs stand up for the climate?

April 5, 2017 by  
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The electricity industry historically has played the biggest role in the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions problem. It has an even greater potential to be an even bigger part of the solution, but its leaders must speak up.

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Why can’t utility execs stand up for the climate?

How One Plant in India Learned to Turn Carbon into Baking Soda

February 23, 2017 by  
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As far as environmentalists are concerned, carbon dioxide and baking soda sit at entirely opposite ends of the eco spectrum. One is a greenhouse gas we have far too much of, an unfortunate by-product of our modern lifestyle; the other is a beloved…

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How One Plant in India Learned to Turn Carbon into Baking Soda

Canada announces plan to kill coal power by 2030

November 23, 2016 by  
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Canada has just announced it will kill coal power 10 years sooner than previously planned, with a goal of shutting down all coal-fired plants by 2030. The CBC reports that the move is a key part of the Canadian government’s plan to meet its Paris climate summit commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent less than 2005 levels by 2030. Getting rid of the country’s coal power plants means a reduction of about 66 tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions . It also means that by 2030, 90 per cent of Canada’s power will come from non-carbon-intensive sources, including hydroelectricity, nuclear, wind and solar power. Canada is also in the midst of introducing a nationwide carbon tax that can be imposed on provinces that don’t come up with their own plans for mitigating carbon emissions . Despite animosity from several provinces that held out up until a recent deadline, all provinces with the exception of Saskatchewan have now agreed to create their own carbon plans. Related: France will shut down all coal power plants by 2023 Yet, while the country is cutting out coal, it is looking favorably on other projects that will result in greenhouse gas emissions. This includes a major liquid natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia, and the potential approval of more oil pipelines to move bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands to market. Canada’s plan comes on the heels of recent announcements by France to shut down all coal power plants by 2023 , and Germany’s plan to cut carbon emissions by as much as 95 per cent by 2050. Via CBC Images via PDTillman and Sherco Generating Station , Wikimedia Commons

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Canada announces plan to kill coal power by 2030

Barn-inspired contemporary home ages beautifully over time

November 23, 2016 by  
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Topped with a steep gabled roof, House for Beth is a conspicuous landmark in the flat agricultural fields of Door County, a picturesque Wisconsin county located on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The house is mostly wrapped in natural cedar siding with a portion near the bottom of the home clad in dark-colored Richlite, a paper-based fiber-composite material that will protect the wood facade. Square windows of varying sizes punctuate the facade on three sides and are framed in white to complement the timber facade and to match the white picket fence and the light-colored standing-seam metal roof. Related: Amazing Passive Home in Freezing Wisconsin Uses Less Energy Than a Hair Dryer to Stay Warm! The interior is filled with natural light and views of the agricultural landscape and forest beyond. White-painted walls complemented by timber floors and window trim feature prominently throughout the contemporary home. A black wood-burning stove and a long black strip located above the large windows provide a visually grounding effect. The home is divided into two parts: the open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen on one side that’s surrounded by large windows and, separated by a centrally located bathroom, the bedrooms on the other with smaller windows for privacy. All furnishings in the home are from IKEA. + Salmela Architect Via Dezeen Images via Salmela Architect , by Paul Crosby

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Barn-inspired contemporary home ages beautifully over time

Introducing the fastest electric car in the world

November 23, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1SRpkeJV7E Although the NIO EP9’s top speed is catching all the headlines, the other attributes of the electric supercar are nothing to sneeze at, either. Under the hood, four electric motors generate a combined 4,670 lb-ft of torque from a 777 volt powertrain, making it possible to achieve a range of 265 miles on a single charge. By any EV standards, that’s impressive, but the smooth lines and sex appeal of the EP9 give the accomplishment a special place in automotive history. Related: Tiny electric car smashes world record by hitting 0-60mph in 1.5 seconds One thing conspicuously missing from the company’s announcement of the new model is its claimed zero to 60 time. However, as Jalopnik points out, the EP9 can allegedly accelerate from zero to 124 MPH in 7.1 seconds (which is, let’s just say, super fast), so the time it takes to get to 60 MPH is sort of irrelevant. It’s far too soon to line up for a chance to buy one of these incredible electric supercars, though. Reportedly, NextEV only plans to produce six EP9s for China next year, with no mention of international exports. Like most early releases of electric luxury cars, the EP9 is still very much a work in progress, and its makers have plenty of challenges to tackle before mass production becomes a viable consideration. Although, the company is reportedly working on a mainstream EV to be launched sometime in 2017. + NIO Via Jalopnik Images via NIO

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Introducing the fastest electric car in the world

Episode 49: Young sustainability leader siblings chat; GRI goes modular

October 20, 2016 by  
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This week on the GreenBiz 350 podcast: Companies and NGOs partner up to fight the California drought; HFCs, the potent greenhouse gas, are to be phased out globally.

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Episode 49: Young sustainability leader siblings chat; GRI goes modular

NASA warns of a 99% chance the US southwest will suffer a decades-long megadrought

October 7, 2016 by  
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Scientists are predicting a devastating megadrought to hit the southwestern US states, which will be far worse than the 20th century Dust Bowl and last for decades. The previously rare phenomenon is certain to become business as usual if we fail to correct the trajectory of climate change . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToY4eeWsdLc A study published in Science Advances documents the findings of researchers from Cornell University , the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies . What they found is nothing short of terrifying. If we can somehow stay within the 2 degrees Celsius threshold outlined in the Paris climate agreement, the chance of a megadrought ranges from 30 to 60 percent. At 4 degrees of warming – where we are headed now – megadroughts are practically a certainty. Related: The US isn’t even close to its Paris climate agreement targets “Historically, megadroughts were extremely rare phenomena occurring only once or twice per millennium,” according to the study. “A megadrought occurring again in the Southwest in the coming decades would impose unprecedented stresses on water resources of the region, and recent studies have shown that they are far more likely to occur this century because of climate change compared to past centuries.” California alone is entering its sixth consecutive year of drought conditions. The 4 degree scenario highlighted in the study shows the entire state, save for an itty bitty portion of the southeastern corner, will face a 90-100 percent chance of megadrought. This is mostly due to the reliance on the Colorado River and its tributaries for water. Given that the US isn’t even close to its emissions reduction goals outlined at COP21, the country needs to make drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and improve water efficiency to slow down this life-destroying process. Via EcoWatch Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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NASA warns of a 99% chance the US southwest will suffer a decades-long megadrought

Fun new rolling furniture in France creates gathering spaces along the River Svre

October 7, 2016 by  
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The team proposed a variety of structures-rolling furniture, collective platforms, benches, vehicles and rafts- to connect the waterside and the hillsides and allow people to enjoy the surrounding landscape. As an contemporary interpretation of the old washerwomen’s wheelbarrows, the project creates new gathering spaces . Related: Fermob’s eco outdoor furniture offers a colorful retreat into nature Metallic armature and wooden slates were combined to build benches, tables and rehabilitate the old building named “La Tomate” located on the river bank. Lightweight and maneuverable, the furniture combines uses and pays homage to traditional structures built on and around the river. +  Ferpect + JKA – Jérémie Koempgen Architecture Photos by Jeremie Koempgen – Eric Betschart

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Fun new rolling furniture in France creates gathering spaces along the River Svre

This could be the most important climate action in 2016

July 19, 2016 by  
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After the Montreal Protocol treaty banned chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, almost 30 years ago, world leaders are once again meeting to discuss a possible treaty amendment that would target hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs . Many turned to HFCs to use in air conditioners and solvents after CFCs were banned, but HFCs are said to warm the planet even more than carbon dioxide. Diplomats will meet in Vienna this month to consider an amendment which would ” phase down ” HFCs. HFC-134a, which the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development says is the ” most abundant and fastest growing ” of the HFCs, stays in Earth’s atmosphere for 13.4 years. Granted, that’s not as long as carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere, but over 100 years, HFC-134a results in ” 1,300 times as much warming as carbon dioxide .” A 2015 study revealed if HFC emissions continue to grow as they are today, by 2050, they could contribute the ” equivalent to nine to 19 percent of carbon dioxide emissions .” Related: Antarctic ozone layer shows “first fingerprints of healing” Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan told The Washington Post, “The HFCs effect now is very small. The problem with the HFCs is it’s the fastest-growing greenhouse gas . So by banning HFCs, you prevent another disaster downstream. It could be as high as half to one degree [Celsius] by the end of the century.” According to a press release from the United Nations Environment Programme, if parties agree on an amendment to phase down HFCs, the world could avoid the equivalent of around ” 150 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide .” Paul Bledsoe, Former Director of Communications in the White House Climate Change Task Force under President Clinton, told The Washington Post, “The phase out of HFCs will achieve the largest temperature reduction in this century – 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit – of any available policy action.” Via The Washington Post Images via Schezar on Flickr and Coryn Wolk on Flickr

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This could be the most important climate action in 2016

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