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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11 Ways to Use Solar Energy Besides the Home

This app helps corporate buyers evaluate solar and wind projects

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

New service from the Business Renewables Center simplifies the comparison of contracts, including virtual power purchase agreements.

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This app helps corporate buyers evaluate solar and wind projects

Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

June 15, 2017 by  
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Researchers at  RMIT University in Melbourne have created a revolutionary new  solar paint that can be used to produce endless amounts of clean energy. The innovate paint draws moisture from the air and splits it into oxygen and hydrogen. As a result, hydrogen can be captured as a clean fuel source. The paint contains a recently-developed compound that looks and feels like silica gel — commonly used in sachets to absorb moisture and keep food, electronics, and medicine dry — but acts like a semiconductor. Additionally, the synthetic molybdenum-sulphide material catalysis the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen. The researchers’ discovery was recently  published  in Science Daily. Lead researcher Dr. Torben Daeneke elaborated on the invention, saying, “We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air.” According to colleague Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, hydrogen is the cleanest source of energy on the planet and can be used in fuel cells in addition to conventional combustion engines as an alternative to fossil fuels . Because of this, it is accurate to say that the development of the solar paint will have grand implications. Related: Mercedes Benz Unveils Hybrid Car Powered by Solar Paint In fact, because Titanium oxide is the same white pigment commonly found in wall paint when it is combined with the new material, the solar paint can “convert a brick wall into an energy harvesting and fuel production real estate,” said Daeneke. This means there is no need for filtered or clean water to feed the system. And, any location that has water vapor in the air — including remote areas — can produce fuel. “This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight and the vapour can then be absorbed to produce fuel,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. “This is an extraordinary concept — making fuel from the sun and water vapour in the air.” Via Science Daily Image via UnderstandSolar

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Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

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

Dreamy treehouse hidden by Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views

June 15, 2017 by  
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A perfect getaway surrounded by nature is hidden away near the town of Woodstock. UK-based Antony Gibbon Designs crafted this blissful retreat, called Inhabit Treehouse, that’s nestled within dense forest less than a two-hour drive from New York City. Built from locally and sustainably sourced reclaimed timber , Inhabit treehouse offers beautiful and cozy digs with stunning views of a lake and the Catskills mountain range beyond. Built for a family with plans of opening the treehouse up to rentals, Inhabit Treehouse is a small and efficiently designed space with all the comforts of home. FSC-certified reclaimed cedar sourced from the Catskills valley clads the treehouse , while FSC-certified reclaimed pine lines the interior. The timber facade will develop an attractive patina over time to help the building blend into the landscape. Large windows open the treehouse up to natural light and views of the outdoors. Guests can also reconnect with nature from the two balconies on either side of the building. The treehouse interior comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room with a wood-burning stove ; a spacious loft bedroom; shower and bathroom; and a second bedroom in the rear that could easily be transformed into an office. A large terrace beneath the treehouse leads down to the lake and a hot tub. Related: Incredible teepee-shaped ORKA house is made from 24 interlacing beams “Inhabit Treehouse contrasts geometric forms against the organic forms of the forest but still blends into the surroundings with its timber materials,” Antony Gibbons told Inhabitat. “New trees were also planted close to the structure to help strengthen the idea that the building cuts through the forest and is semi-camouflaged into its surroundings. The sharp geometric angles of the Interior also created an interesting layout that pushed away from 90 degree corners as much as possible.” + Antony Gibbons Design Images via Antony Gibbons Design

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Dreamy treehouse hidden by Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views

This gigantic floating Manta Ray could naturally purify Seouls river

June 12, 2017 by  
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What if our city infrastructure could also repair the damage we’ve done to nature? Vincent Callebaut’s Manta Ray is an experimental landscape design that aims to sustainably restore the natural environment in Seoul . Developed for an international competition, Manta Ray is a floating ferry terminal proposal that uses marshland plants to naturally purify the Han River and produces 100% of its energy needs through renewable sources. The Manta Ray is the latest design in Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ extensive portfolio of green utopian designs. His striking proposal for Seoul takes a multilayered approach to the landscape , beginning with the transformation of the existing Yeouido Park on the banks of the Han River into a “genuine cultural hub” reinforced with resilient design principals. A forest of willow trees is proposed for the park, as are marsh-like filtering strips to protect the banks against flooding . Pedestrian paths, large terraces, bicycle lanes, and an amphitheater would be added along the river. The Yeoui-Naru floating three-level ferry terminal juts out of the park and would be suspended above a marina and gardens. On the lower docks is a marina comprising linked steel dikes integrated with equipment to charge boats with water, electricity, and biofuels. Atop the marina is a flared, manta ray-shaped structure that houses the reception, leisure areas, food courts, exhibition space, and educational spaces. Tree-shaped structures made from cross-laminated timber sourced from “eco-responsible Korean forests” crown the building. The top-most level also includes an observation deck with views towards Ban island, as well as a rooftop orchard. Related: How the Cheonggyecheon River Urban Design Restored the Green Heart of Seoul The Manta Ray would produce all of its energy needs from a mix of renewable energy sources. The first includes solar energy harvested from 49,000 square feet of rooftop solar cells installed on the laminated glass facade, as well as 37,300 square feet of opaque photothermal panels. The 52 CLT trees are topped with wind turbines . Organic and biodegradable waste from Yeouido Park would be collected for use at a biomethanation plant to provide energy for Manta Ray, while oscillating-foils hydrokinetic turbines (HAO) would be integrated along the hull of the large floating barrier encircling the marina. “Seoul is finding new ways to invest in this kind of soft infrastructure, helping to foster social cohesion with a greater sense of community among diverse socio-economic groups,” writes Vincent Callebaut Architectures. “With an eye toward increasing equitable access for everyone to these new facilities, this floating vessel is an example of biophilic and resilient architecture, demonstrating that it is possible to build with nature rather than against it, by respecting the life of the river and allowing the local fauna and flora to flourish. The “Manta Ray” project promotes the permeability and renaturalization of river banks in cities with rivers running through them. The banks become new playgrounds for social innovation, and for urban “consumers-actors” seeking to promote urban farming, agroforestry and permaculture. The goal is to make them less vulnerable to climate change, and to the subsequent dramatic flood and urban heat island events witnessed over the past decades.” + Vincent Callebaut

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This gigantic floating Manta Ray could naturally purify Seouls river

Tesla to power ‘almost all’ Superchargers with solar after disconnecting them from the grid

June 9, 2017 by  
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Tesla wants the world to switch to renewable energy – and the company is leading by example by taking “almost all” of its Superchargers off the grid. The stations have been criticized in the past because they rely on dirty fossil fuels to power up electric vehicles. In response, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that “almost all” Superchargers will be disconnected from the grid as solar and battery arrays are installed at the company’s 800 stations. Since the Superchargers were unveiled in 2012, Musk has been talking about adding on solar arrays. Now, he’s preparing to launch ‘Version 3’ of the Supercharger while deploying even more battery and solar systems – and he wants to take them off the grid. In response to a negative comment on Twitter, Musk said, “All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.” All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2017 As Elektrek reports , a recent study concluded that the average electric car in the United States now gets the same efficiency as a (non-existent) 73 mpg gas-powered vehicle . In retrospect, Musk could have made this point and ended the argument. However, he went one step further by unveiling the company’s ambition to take Tesla’s Supercharger network off-grid. Related: Tesla is doubling its Supercharger network by the end of the year to 10,000 chargers The logistics still need to be worked out, as Tesla would need solar arrays as large as football fields at some stations. However, the intention has been set, and if Elon Musk has proven anything, it’s that he’s an innovative leader who consistently takes action. Expect to see improved Supercharger stations that are disconnected from the electric grid in the future. Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Inside EVs

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Tesla to power ‘almost all’ Superchargers with solar after disconnecting them from the grid

Renewable energy powers half of the UK

June 9, 2017 by  
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The UK is not slacking in its goal to slash carbon emissions by 57 percent (based on 1990 levels) by the year 2030. Such was made evident on Wednesday, when the country successfully generated 50.7 percent of its energy from solar, wind, hydro and biomass. Another first was recorded when nuclear, wind and solar each generated more electricity than gas and coal combined. The National Grid tweeted the good news and said, “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.” According to Engadget , favorable weather conditions helped the UK reach this milestone. Clear skies and very strong winds resulted in wind farms contributing 9.5GW of power and solar panels around 7.6GW of electricity. If nuclear sources were added to the equation, Britain would have sourced 72.1 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources. As a result of the surge in renewable energy , coal production was entirely stopped for the rest of the day. Aware that “dirty” fossil fuels contribute to climate change which may propel natural disasters, the UK government has begun lowering coal production with an intention to abandon it completely by 2025. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy The sovereign state is making notable strides in its goal to become a leader in renewables. At the end of 2016, the UK was able to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewables and other low carbon sources. Reportedly, wind, solar and hydro energy contributed about one-fourth of the total energy; 25 percent was derived from nuclear reactors. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Renewable energy powers half of the UK

Episode 76: Energy productivity and green banks gain traction

May 19, 2017 by  
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On this week’s podcast: Navigating renewables in the age of Trump, green banks fill the void, and EP100 turns one year old.

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Episode 76: Energy productivity and green banks gain traction

The business of solar and the next ‘long tail’

May 17, 2017 by  
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The home solar industry is alive and well, though it could use a new business model.

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The business of solar and the next ‘long tail’

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