The truth about hydrogen, the latest, trendiest low-carbon solution

August 30, 2019 by  
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As misconceptions about the emerging tech abound, we can dispel common myths to encourage hydrogen’s potential for decarbonization.

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The truth about hydrogen, the latest, trendiest low-carbon solution

St. Lucia’s sustainability map: where blue, green and orange economies merge

August 30, 2019 by  
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A Q&A with St. Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development.

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St. Lucia’s sustainability map: where blue, green and orange economies merge

Hype and hope for hydrogen

July 18, 2019 by  
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Hydrogen is inching toward commercial viability and scalability, with new technologies that could support global decarbonization.

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Hype and hope for hydrogen

4 things corporate responsibility teams should ask diversity counterparts, and vice versa

July 18, 2019 by  
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Some guiding questions — and major opportunities.

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4 things corporate responsibility teams should ask diversity counterparts, and vice versa

Preparing for takeoff? Shell and BA step up backing for waste-based jet fuel plant

July 18, 2019 by  
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Velocys secures new investment to complete help plans for Lincolnshire biorefinery project.

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Preparing for takeoff? Shell and BA step up backing for waste-based jet fuel plant

Making drones work for small farmers

July 18, 2019 by  
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Here’s how we can help automation complement agriculture.

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Making drones work for small farmers

Scientists invent a solar panel that produces hydrogen

March 7, 2019 by  
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Scientists in Belgium have invented a solar panel that produces hydrogen as a source of fuel to heat homes. Using moisture in the atmosphere, the solar panel converts sunlight into hydrogen gas, producing about 250 liters of gas every day. The team of scientists, lead by Professor Johan Martens, have been developing their hydrogen solar panel for the past 10 years. When they first started, they were only able to produce small quantities of hydrogen gas, but now the gas bubbles are visible the moment they roll the panel out under the sun. Related: California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses “It’s actually a unique combination of physics and chemistry,” Martens explained. “Over an entire year, the panel produces an average of 250 liters per day, which is a world record.” According to CleanTechnica , Martens estimates that 20 solar panels could provide enough energy and electricity to heat up a home and still have some to spare for the following year. The team is still not ready to build the panels for commercial use, but they are getting ready for a trial run at a home in Flanders. If the tests are successful, the researchers are planning to expand their trials to an entire neighborhood. Being an extremely combustible gas, hydrogen can be dangerous if not handled correctly. While the general public may have some concerns about using hydrogen as a heating source, the Belgium-based scientists said it carries the same risks associated with natural gas. The hydrogen produced by the solar panels is stored in an oil tank that is installed near the home. While this technology is certainly promising — and produces zero carbon emissions — the cost of the solar panels, storage tanks and furnace, plus installation, is a big unknown. That said, the upfront cost may be high, but homeowners would pay off the system over time, especially if they no longer relied on city electricity or natural gas. There is no word yet on when the hydrogen solar panels will be available on the market, but the scientists are very optimistic about the upper limits of this technology. + KU Leuven Via CleanTechnica Image via H. Hach

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Scientists invent a solar panel that produces hydrogen

Anheuser-Busch orders 800 hydrogen-electric semi trucks from Tesla competitor Nikola

May 4, 2018 by  
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Tesla’s made headlines with its electric Semi truck — but Anheuser-Busch is betting big on their competitor, the Nikola Motor Company . The beer company placed an order for as many as 800 hydrogen-electric semi trucks just days after Nikola sued Tesla for patent infringement. Nikola says their zero emissions trucks boast a 500- to 1,200-mile range – plenty to haul Anheuser-Busch’s beer around the country. Anheuser-Busch’s goal is to convert its dedicated long-haul fleet over to renewably-powered vehicles by 2025. 800 hydrogen-electric semi trucks could help them reach that goal. Nikola said their trucks could be integrated into the brewing company’s fleet in 2020. Features of the truck include the ability to refuel in around 20 minutes, and a surround viewing system for improved safety. Nikola could charge around $400,000 on average for their trucks, which are as yet in the prototype phase, according to Reuters . Related: Self-driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run The trucks could help the beer company attain sustainability goals; Nikola said, “Once fully implemented, the carbon reductions gained from these 800 trucks will reduce the brewer’s carbon emissions from logistics by more than 18 percent — equivalent to taking more than 13,000 passenger vehicles off the road annually.” Nikola says on their website they plan to create the world’s largest hydrogen network, and CEO Trevor Milton said they’re excited to partner with Anheuser-Busch to bring this network to the United States. He said in the statement, “By 2028, we anticipate having over 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada. With nearly nine billion dollars in pre-order reservations, we are building to order, not speculation, and are very excited for what’s to come.” Reuters described that last statement as a not-so-veiled jab at Tesla — people have questioned the Tesla Semi’s cost, range, and payload. The expected base prices for Tesla’s Semi are $150,000 for a 300-mile-range truck or $180,000 for a 500-mile-range truck. Anheuser-Busch did place 40 reservations for the Tesla Semi. Although Nikola and Tesla are both named after inventor Nikola Tesla, the companies aren’t exactly on good terms — Nikola recently sued Tesla over design patent infringements. Elon Musk referred to the allegation as a “laughable lawsuit.” + Nikola Motor Company Via Reuters and Mashable Images via Nikola Motor Company

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Anheuser-Busch orders 800 hydrogen-electric semi trucks from Tesla competitor Nikola

Floating solar rig from Columbia University harvests hydrogen fuel from seawater

December 19, 2017 by  
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Engineers at Columbia University have created a “solar fuels rig,” which floats on the ocean, captures solar energy, then uses that energy to extract hydrogen from seawater. Hydrogen is a clean source of energy, though methods to extract it have often proven too costly or energy intensive to be viable. A typical hydrogen extraction system uses water electrolysis, in which H2 and O2 are separated by sending an electric current through water and divided by a membrane, which is usually very delicate. The new floating solar rig does not use a membrane, which makes it resilient enough to deploy on the open ocean . The lack of a membrane is an important design feature that facilitates a more effective extraction system. “Being able to safely demonstrate a device that can perform electrolysis without a membrane brings us another step closer to making seawater electrolysis possible,” said Jack Davis, co-author of a scientific paper on the device published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy . “These solar fuels generators are essentially artificial photosynthesis systems, doing the same thing that plants do with photosynthesis, so our device may open up all kinds of opportunities to generate clean, renewable energy .” Related: Affordable new device uses solar energy to produce hydrogen and electricity Rather than incorporate a membrane, the device uses an asymmetrical mesh structure in which electrodes, coated with a catalyst on one side, collect bubbles of either hydrogen or oxygen. Once the bubbles are large enough, they are pulled into separate collection chambers. Although the team has yet to test its design on actual seawater, they feel confident in the process. “We are especially excited about the potential of solar fuels technologies because of the tremendous amount of solar energy that is available,” said Daniel Esposito, lead researcher on the project. “Our challenge is to find scalable and economical technologies that convert sunlight into a useful form of energy that can also be stored for times when the sun is not shining.” Via New Atlas Images via Jack Davis/Columbia University, Justin Bui/Columbia University and Daniel Esposito/Columbia University

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Floating solar rig from Columbia University harvests hydrogen fuel from seawater

This Iowa home built across a ravine is heated and cooled by the earth

December 19, 2017 by  
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This naturally-ventilated residence spans a ravine in rural Iowa, providing expansive views of the surrounding forest . Architecture studio BNIM designed the Ravine Residence, which is geothermally cooled and heated, to connect its inhabitants to nature and provide optimum privacy using existing topography and vegetation. The house is tucked away in a heavily wooded area in rural Iowa that required a dramatic solution to address the ravine running down the middle of the site. The solution is a raised space the spans across the sloping elevation. The entrance and bedrooms are located on opposite banks, and the primary living areas serve as a bridge between the two sides. Related: Modern Corum Residence Rises Out of the Bucolic Iowa Countryside The clients commissioned BNIM to create a home which would offer privacy, but also offer a strong connection to the surrounding landscape. This requirement determined the articulation of the facades and volumes. Floor-to-ceiling glass on both the north and south sides of the living areas provides expansive views of the surrounding forest, creating a high level of transparency while utilizing the terrain and vegetation to shelter the interior spaces from outside views. The building has optimized solar orientation and shading, geothermal heating and cooling , enhanced natural ventilation , high performance windows, and advanced insulation techniques. + BNIM Via Dwell Photos by Kelly Callewaert | BNIM

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This Iowa home built across a ravine is heated and cooled by the earth

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