Archive for the ‘GREEN ENERGY SOURCES’ Category

Skyline Solar recently emerged from stealth mode, after an impressive 8-month R&D program from prototype to product, with the announcement of one of the first new high-gain solar (HGS) arrays on the market. The new HGS technology includes some well-known components of the more highly technical mega-arrays that brighten the arid regions of the globe, including motorized solar tracking, solar concentration, and thermal cooling.

According to Chief Executive Bob McDonald, the new arrays generate 10 to 50 times the yield of traditional systems as just a fraction of the cost. He also noted that this is accomplished using only one-tenth of the amount of silicon and less than half the parts of comparable systems. A trial installation is already generating electricity in San Jose, CA. This is one we’re definitely keeping an eye on!

For more information see: http://www.rdmag.com/ShowPR.aspx?PUBCODE=014&ACCT=1400000101&ISSUE=0905&RELTYPE=IDN&PRODCODE=00000000&PRODLETT=AI&CommonCount=0


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Renewable energy company Genifuel Corporation today announced a license from Pacific Northwest National Labs for a process to turn algae into natural gas.  The company began as an algae biodiesel company, but discovered that making liquid fuel wasn’t feasible, given the problems presented by genetic modification requirements, leftover biomass, and the arduous water separation process.  A few companies in the space are devising techniques to work around this, but Genifuel has taken its technology and done something even cooler.

Now it takes algae that grows in ponds and actually cooks it, which produces a synthetic gas that is 65% methane and 35% carbon dioxide.  The carbon dioxide is pumped back into the algae ponds as food, and voila!  We’re left with a natural gas that will actually require lower subsidies than its liquid algae counterpart to be competitive with fossil fuels. 

Genifuel is still looking for funding (isn’t every innovator these days?), but these guys definitely deserve at least a second look from a VC.  Way to take lemons (or in this case, slimy green plants), and turn them into… well, energy.

Read more:  http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-new-use-for-algae-natural-gas/

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The EPA released its list of the top 50 purchasers of green power today, naming Intel as number 1 due to its purchase of 1,301,200,000 kWh of wind power a year in order to run 46% of its total operation. This is Intel’s second year in the number one spot. Other tech bellwethers on the list include Dell at number 4, Cisco at number 9, Motorola at number 44 and AMD at number 46.

Here are the Top 10 green power buyers listed by company, number of kilowatt hours bought, percent of energy needs met by green power, and kind of clean power used.

1. Intel Corporation 1,301,200,000 – 46% – Wind
2. PepsiCo 1,144,773,154 – 100% – Various
3. Kohl’s Department Stores 600,990,000 – 50% – Biogas, Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
4. Dell Inc. 553,708,000 – 158% – Biogas, Solar, Wind
5. Whole Foods Market 526,995,000 – 100% – Solar, Wind
6. The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. 470,216,838 – 100% – Various
7. Johnson & Johnson 434,854,733 – 38% – Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
8. U.S. Air Force 426,233,001 – 5% – Biogas, Biomass, Solar, Wind
9. Cisco Systems, Inc. 400,996,000 – 46% – Wind
10. City of Houston, TX 350,400,000 – 27% Govt. (Local, Municipal) Reliant Energy Wind

For more information see: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/purchase-green-power-top-50-buyers.php

Complete list: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top50.htm

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Illustration by Pelle Mellor


As a biofuel, the advantages of coffee over alternative biofuels are numerous: it does not diverting crops from being a food source because it’s made from the left over coffee grounds. it’s consistently available globally, it can easily yield 10-15% of biodiesel by weight, it requires little or no tinkering because it has lower viscosity, manufacturing costs are at about $1 per gallon, and when burned it leaves a smell many of us love!


If you’re interested in producing some coffee-based biodiesel here’s the process, but it’s really better suited for a larger-scale producer:


“The diesel-extraction method for coffee grounds is similar to that used for other vegetable oils. It employs a process called transesterification, in which the grounds react with an alcohol in the presence of a catalyst. The coffee grounds are dried overnight and common chemical solvents, such as hexane, ether and dichloromethane, are added to dissolve the oils. The grounds are then filtered out and the solvents separated (to be reused with the next batch of coffee grounds). The remaining oil is treated with an alkali to remove free fatty acids (which form a soap). Then the crude biodiesel is heated to about 100ºC to remove any water, and treated with methanol and a catalyst, so that transesterification takes place. When cooled to room temperature and left to stand, the biodiesel floats up, leaving a layer of glycerine at the bottom. These layers are separated and the biodiesel is cleaned to remove any residues.

From Mar 5th 2009 The Economist print edition  http://www.economist.com/science/tq/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13174477

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With Earth Day coming up tomorrow (April 22nd), it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on how far green technology has come, and to consider where it’s going.

After barely making progress for decades, we’ve finally seen a surge in innovation in green energy technology over the past five years. This progress has been driven by technology revolutions in other industries, like IT and biotech, as well as people’s growing interest in cleaner and cheaper energy.

It’s great to see we’re making progress with innovative energy and environmental products, but we’re still a long way from creating practical technologies that will provide a low-carbon economy and a more sustainable lifestyle for the average person.

Martin LaMonica at CNET has put together a list of areas where he expects technologies to have the biggest impact. The list includes utility-scale solar, energy storage, and carbon capture/storage. Check out Martin’s article at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10222781-54.html?tag=nl.e703

According to Marin, if solar was the favorite technology of venture capitalists in 2007, it’s now energy storage. Despite the number of technologies that store electrical energy, they just can’t seem to be too cheap, light, or environmentally friendly. This is a major impediment to the development of electric vehicles – the cost of the battery is what’s making the cars so expensive. Finding more efficient ways to store wind and solar power to use as reliable power would go a long way towards making power-hungry electronic gadgets (like electric cars) last all day and cost less.

In what areas do you hope green technology will have the biggest impact in the next few years??

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Governments world-wide are scrambling to find safe and efficient forms of alternative energy to combat global warming, rising fuel prices, and other ecological concerns. In this global race, Spain and Portugal are emerging as the surprising front runners – and not everyone is happy about it.

According to a recent article by Gabrielle Pickard, Spain is at the forefront in solar energy techniques, and is ahead of other countries in implementing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. By the year 2015, Spain is expected to generate more than 2GW of electricity with more than 50 new CPS stations.

Portugal is also a leader in the hunt for clean power and ranks as one of the top five traiblazers in the world in developing alternative energy sources. Portugal’s plan for taming global warming comes in the form of a sea snake, which is the world’s first commercial-scale wave power station. At peak output, the wave machine will generate enough electricity for the annual needs of about 1,500 family homes in Portugal.

While this seems like great news, not everyone is enthusiastic about it. According to Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, the fact that Portugal is taking advantage of technology invented in Britain should cause alarm within the British government.

“Wave technology invented in Britain is powering Portuguese homes and making money for Portuguese suppliers,” Parr explains, “because our government has consistently neglected the renewable industry.”

Read Pickard’s article at: http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-04-08/Race_for_renewable_energy_heats_up.html

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As the saying goes, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Or in this instance, it’s a case of artificial trees mimicking those found in nature. London-based SolarBotanic is banking on the concept of Biomimicry, which it describes as “innovation inspired by nature.” Attempting to capitalize on the designs and processes already found in nature, SolarBotanic has taken nature’s design and combined it with high-tech materials to engineer the Nanoleaf, which when put together with other Nanoleaves create a new tree species of sorts called Energy Harvesting Trees (EHTs). Capable of harvesting multiple energy sources, these EHTs take the sun, wind and heat collected in their tree canopies and convert the energies into clean electricity, without causing visual pollution or long-lasting damage to the environment or ecosystems.

The concept is promising, especially when you consider how far reaching the possibilities for this technology truly are. In late March, SolarBotanic announced a plan that would place its aesthetically pleasing EHTs along city highways throughout Europe.

“Each kilometre will be able to generate approximately 350,000 kWh per year, enough electricity to power approximately 60 average size houses and protect the environment by preventing the release of up to 500 tons of CO2 annually…Imagine if you can, highways and freeways lined with beautiful looking trees that not only create a barrier against the elements, but at the same time generate electricity 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

Yes. Imagine, indeed!

Read more at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/03/prweb2246214.htm

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