Right state of mine: How mining can bring clean energy to the developing world

June 28, 2018 by  
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Energy usage in extractions is notoriously unsustainable, which presents a new opportunity for local communities.

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Right state of mine: How mining can bring clean energy to the developing world

Hiding in plain sight: The carbon cost of everyday products

June 28, 2018 by  
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Richer nations may import the products, but they’re not held accountable for the emissions.

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Hiding in plain sight: The carbon cost of everyday products

NET Power’s zero-emissions natural gas plant could change the game

June 4, 2018 by  
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Last week, NET Power officially began operations at its 50-megawatt, emissions-free  natural gas power plant in La Porte, Texas . If all goes well, the plant’s design could pave the way to a cleaner energy future. Instead of using air to drive a turbine and generate electricity, the plant uses heated carbon dioxide; the pure carbon dioxide emissions are then captured and stored rather than released into the atmosphere. Testing thus far has proven to be positive. “We’re still smiling,” lead designer and chemical engineer Rodney Allam told Nature . The goal is for NET Power’s technology to be as effective and affordable as conventional, emissions-producing natural gas production, but with added benefits for the environment and the company. Designed by Toshiba, the plant’s innovative turbine and carbon capture system is capable of storing carbon long-term or for use in other industrial applications. For example, nitrogen and argon captured in the process could be contained and transferred elsewhere. NET Power claims that its plant is so efficient that it will become profitable before it even starts to sell captured gases. Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land “If the plant does everything they say, it’s hard to imagine why you would want to build a traditional power plant,” atmospheric scientist Daniel Cohan told Nature . “But there are still a lot of ifs ahead.” The major imminent challenge is refining the combustion process for oxygen and methane , which must contend with carbon dioxide, typically an inhibitor of combustion. The company is otherwise on track to deliver, with a 300-megawatt power plant potentially being built by 2021. The company’s plan is to achieve clean, profitable natural gas energy without the assistance of subsidies, which can be subject to the whims of changing governments in Congress and the White House.” We don’t like to rely on policy around here, we like to rely on science,” NET Power CEO Bill Brown told Nature . Via Nature Images via NetPower

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NET Power’s zero-emissions natural gas plant could change the game

5 ways the maritime industry can steer toward emissions reductions

April 19, 2018 by  
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Now that there’s finally a target (albeit a weak one), it’s time to pour on the steam.

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5 ways the maritime industry can steer toward emissions reductions

New Arval HQ uses geothermal and solar energy to achieve complete power self-sufficiency

December 26, 2017 by  
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The new headquarters for car rental company Arval uses geothermal and solar energy to achieve complete self-sufficiency and a zero-emission status. Pierattelli Architetture designed the building with huge photovoltaic steel wings lined with over 1000 flexible solar panels to maximize solar-collecting capabilities. The architects designed the headquarters , known as the Photovoltaic Bolt, as a Climate House Class A building without emissions. The complex is characterized by huge photovoltaic wings with about 1000 solar panels , realized with a steel frame. Together with the panels installed on the roof, these structures can generate enough power to activate the geothermal pumps in the subsoil and make the building completely energy self-sufficient. Related: OVG’s TNT Centre is an Energy Positive, Zero Emission Office in The Netherlands The office spaces and common areas are distributed across 3 floors and a basement, accommodating about 200 employees per floor. Spaces are articulated around a central dorsal on a north-south axis to provide an east-west direction and guarantee optimum sunlight positioning. Natural light is available throughout the complex. The architects placed ceiling lights of different dimensions to guarantee maximum diffused lighting capability. Large open spaces and colorful furniture help humanize the spaces and enhance socialization. Color coding by program makes navigation more intuitive and fun. + Pierattelli Architetture Photos by Max Lisi

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New Arval HQ uses geothermal and solar energy to achieve complete power self-sufficiency

Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

December 15, 2017 by  
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Wireless charging electric roads just took a big step forward, as Tel Aviv transit service Dan Bus Company announced plans to invest $2.2 million in ElectRoad . ElectRoad’s technology buries electric coils beneath roads to wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they drive. Future EV drivers may never have to worry about stopping at a charging station with ElectRoad’s technology. Several months ago, investment management company Biomedix Incubator Limited announced an intention to acquire ElectRoad, and just signed a cooperation agreement with Dan Bus Company. Should the merger be completed, Dan Bus Company will invest as much as 8 million Israeli New Shekels (NIS) (around $2.2 million) in ElectRoad. Related: Israel to test electric roads that wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive According to Globes , “The agreement with Dan includes an initial NIS 3.1 million investment and options for Biomedix shares amounting to NIS 5 million at a company value of NIS 90 million.” ElectRoad’s technology uses conduction coils to power electric cars via magnetic induction. They point to zero emissions , high efficiency, and low costs as benefits of their technology. They also say the system could allow for energy sharing between vehicles and the grid . The startup plans to gradually penetrate the market by focusing on public transportation , such as bus lanes. Globes said in their article, “The investment by Dan and the agreement between the companies indicates that public transportation companies are indeed interested in the technology.” Dan Bus Company has already rolled out some electric buses that could be charged via cable at departure stations in two to three minutes for a range of 30 kilometers , or almost 19 miles, which they said was enough for the longest urban line. Electric road technology could make such charging unnecessary. + ElectRoad Via Globes/ElectRoad Images © ElectRoad

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Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

Atlanta says all new construction must be "EV ready"

November 24, 2017 by  
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Several countries have already stated that within the next decade or so combustion vehicles will no longer be allowed, but here in the United States, the government hasn’t really made any significant mandates around EVs. Except for the city of Atlanta, which recently passed a new law that mandates all new residential homes and public parking facilities to accommodate electric vehicles . The new ordinance requires 20 percent of parking spaces in new commercial and multifamily parking structures to be EV ready, and new residential homes must also be equipped with the infrastructure needed to install EV charging stations. Related: California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030 “Today, the City of Atlanta has taken a historic step to increase our EV readiness and to ensure we remain a leading city in sustainability. I want to thank Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms for introducing this legislation and the Atlanta City Council for their work to pass this ordinance,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a Tuesday statement . “I am proud of our City’s commitment to energy conservation, as well as our efforts to ensure that EVs and EV charging stations remain accessible to everyone.” The new “EV Ready” ordinance will go into effect immediately. This isn’t the first time that the Atlanta has made efforts to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road. The city already has a fleet of 60 electric vehicles and even its police department has a small fleet of electric vehicles. + City of Atlanta Via Treehugger Images via Honda, Chevy and Ford

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Atlanta says all new construction must be "EV ready"

Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

November 24, 2017 by  
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Two of Antarctica’s glaciers are holding our civilization hostage, meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote in a piece for Grist . Pine Island and Thwaites are among the continent’s biggest and fastest-melting glaciers , together holding back ice that could unleash 11 feet of sea level rise . If they collapse, every coastal city on our planet could flood. Thwaites and Pine Island sprawl across a plain over 150-miles-long, and inland widen to a reserve of ice two-miles-thick that’s about the size of Texas, according to Holthaus, who says there’s no doubt the ice will melt. The question is not if, but how soon. Should the two glaciers collapse, every shoreline and coastal city could be inundated with water, leaving hundreds of millions of climate refugees homeless. And those events could happen in 20 to 50 years – too fast for humans to adapt. Related: Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf Two climatologists, in a study published in Nature last year, said an increase of six feet in ocean levels by 2100 was more likely than three feet – but if carbon emissions continue increasing in a worst case scenario, all 11 feet of ice held back in Antarctica could be freed. But if these glaciers are miles thick, wouldn’t it take an incredibly long time for them to collapse? That may not be the case in our warming world. Holthaus pointed to new evidence saying once we reach a certain temperature threshold, glacier ice shelves extending into the sea – like those of Thwaites and Pine Island – could melt from below and above, quickening their demise. Holthaus noted not every scientist thinks there’s cause for panic. National Snow and Ice Data Center lead scientist Ted Scambos said the two glaciers may not collapse all at once – and rapid collapse would still produce several icebergs that could slow the rate of retreat and act as a temporary ice shelf. But the scientific community is starting to think we need more research into the risk of rapid sea level rise, according to Holthaus. University of Michigan leading ice sheet scientist Jeremy Bassis said, “Every revision to our understanding has said that ice sheets can change faster than we thought. We didn’t predict that Pine Island was going to retreat, we didn’t predict that Larsen B was going to disintegrate. We tend to look at these things after they’ve happened.” Via Grist Images via Wikimedia Commons and NASA

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Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse without saving energy

November 24, 2017 by  
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LED lighting was supposed to help save the environment with its lower energy requirements and more specific light direction. But new research published in Scientific Advances reveals we are now being smothered in worse light pollution than ever before — without the energy savings we expected. As a result, we are not only failing to reduce our carbon footprint, but our health could be suffering as well. Scientists examined satellite imaging to determine if the planet’s surface appears to be brighter than it used to be. If LED lights were working as we’d expected, the skies in wealthy countries would be remaining the same or getting darker at night. But the opposite seems to be taking place. “[W]e observed wealthy countries staying constant, or in many cases increasing,” said Christopher Kyba, lead author of the study in an interview with Gizmodo . Related: This village in Arizona has a simple solution to light pollution Part of the reason for the increase is because many cities have added more lighting because of the energy savings from LED bulbs, a phenomenon known as the “rebound” effect. Not only has this increased light pollution, but it has negated the energy savings that would be seen by simply switching an incandescent bulb for an LED one. Light pollution is considered to be a serious health threat , akin to air pollution, not only for humans but for wildlife as well, because it disrupts biological circadian rhythms. Half of Europe and a fourth of North America have compromised night skies that can impact health. + Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent Via Gizmodo Lead image via Arturo Castaneyra

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Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse without saving energy

Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

November 9, 2017 by  
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Siemens just launched a one-mile long demonstration site for its electrified eHighway system, the first of its kind in the United States . The eHighway demo is being run in California  near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The demonstration system includes an overhead catenary system, through which three electric big-rig trucks can recharge, that is similar those found above trolley or streetcar lines. Through the eHighway system, select highway lanes could be electrified, allowing electric vehicles to charge as they move and empowering a zero-emissions transportation system on existing port infrastructure. Siemens, in collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), is hoping to address a serious source of air pollution  with the new eHighway system. Large trucks, such as those used for shipping goods across country, are the largest contributing source of smog-forming emissions in Southern California. “This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.” Currently, a battery-electric truck, a natural gas-hybrid-electric truck, and a diesel hybrid truck are being tested for effectiveness at the demonstration site on South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson, California. While this may be the first eHighway site in the United States, the first such system on public roads opened in Sweden in June 2016. Related: World’s first electric dump truck stores as much energy as 8 Tesla Model S cars The eHighway system is designed with the future in mind. “Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, head of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions , and keep these ports, one of our country’s major economic drivers, competitive.” + Siemens USA Images via Siemens USA

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Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

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