3p Contributor: Bill DiBenedetto

writer, editor, reader and general good (ok mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by

Recent Articles

Distill Those Used Plastic Shopping Bags for Fuel

| Monday March 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

plasticbagsResearchers at the University of Illinois have developed a way to make those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags that litter both land and seascapes useful — by converting them into diesel, natural gas and other petroleum products.

According to a ScienceDaily article, the conversion “produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels — diesel, for example — that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels.” Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags, researchers said.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Carbon Capture Technologies More Welcome in U.S., Norwegian Firm Says

| Thursday March 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

TCMCarbon capture and storage technologies designed to reduce emissions are getting a better reception in the U.S. than in Europe, according to Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), a Norwegian firm that tests CCS technology.

A CNBC report based on interviews with TCM executives says the U.S is a “more welcoming place” for CCS technology, at least at the moment, because Europe is recovering from a debt crisis and recession.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Seattle Company Plans First Offshore Wind Farm on Pacific Coast

| Wednesday February 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Windfloat-large_03The nation’s first offshore wind farm on the Pacific Coast cleared a crucial federal hurdle after Seattle’s Principle Power received approval to move forward on a commercial lease for the proposed $200 million, 30-megawatt project.

Principle Power received the go-ahead this month from a Department of the Interior agency to lease 15 square miles of federal waters, 18 miles from Coos Bay, Ore. If the lease request gets final approval, the WindFloat Pacific project would anchor the first offshore turbines in federal waters on the West Coast. It also would be the first in the nation to use triangular floating platforms instead of single piles driven into the ocean floor.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

ExxonMobil CEO Cites Fracking Concerns in Homeowner Suit

| Monday February 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Rex TillersonMaybe we should just file this one from the continuing fracking saga under the “just do as I say, not as I do” file.

But it’s still pretty delicious: According to various news reports, including the Wall Street Journal, Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s chairman and CEO, is part of a lawsuit seeking to block construction of a 160-foot water tower adjacent to his and his wife’s Bartonville, Texas home. The tower will supply water to a nearby hydraulic fracturing site.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Lockheed Martin Riding a Big Wave Energy Project

| Monday February 17th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Power_Buoy2 Lockheed Martin has hooked up with Australia’s Victorian Wave Partners LLC to begin the development of what’s billed as the world’s largest wave energy project.

The 62.5-megawatt peak power wave energy generation project will be built off the coast of Victoria, Australia, using the PowerBuoy wave energy converter technology of Ocean Power Technologies (OPT).

Project construction will occur in three stages, with the first stage producing approximately 2.5-megawatt peak power. Once completed, the project is expected to produce enough electricity to power 10,000 homes. Because it also contributes to Australia’s goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, the project is getting “significant grant support” from ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency).

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Chew on This: WSU Researchers Sticking Gum to Lithium Batteries

| Friday February 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Battery+ZhongIt’s usually a bad thing to “gum up the works,” but in the case of the safety issues confronting lithium ion batteries, maybe gum is the solution.

Washington State University researchers have developed a chewing gum-like battery material that could dramatically improve the safety of lithium ion batteries.

A WSU group led by Katie Zhong, Westinghouse Distinguished Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, recently reported on their work in the journal, Advanced Energy Materials. And they have filed a patent on the substance.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Is Solar Hot or Not?

| Wednesday January 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

crawfordsville solarThe conventional wisdom these days is that solar is a very hot play indeed. A list of cleantech stock picks for 2014 has First Solar (a solar manufacturer) and SolarCity (a solar installer) at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and further down the list are a solar holding company, Renewable Energy Trade Board, and a solar equipment company, Meyer Burger.

There are many reports that the solar market is heading for a “second gold rush” this year; there’s little to dispute the fact that solar is definitely in, especially for investors.

It could be that the gold rush is already on.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Money from ExxonMobil – Who’s Hoaxing Who?

| Tuesday January 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Mellow PagesExxonMobil is not the kind of company that throws money away. There’s always a plan behind its largesse.

When the oil giant stepped into a small Brooklyn library’s crowd-funding campaign in a big way, suspicions immediately arose about the motives of both sides—including whether Mellow Pages should accept the donation, and even whether it was real—and a somewhat complicated view of life in 2014 ensued.

Mellow Pages is an independently-run library and reading room located in Brooklyn, NY; it focuses on providing limited-print fiction and poetry to the neighborhoods of Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The story of how this unlikely pair found each other was told in a recent article in The Awl.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Hey Good Lookin’! You Should Be a CEO

| Wednesday January 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CEO_JohnParker2012They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it just might be that beauty is also in the eye of the shareholder.

Joseph Halford and Hung-Chia Hsu, two economists at the University of Wisconsin, say that one way to increase a company’s stock price is to hire a hot or hunky CEO.

Yes, just when you thought that our society could not get more superficial, it does.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Happy Holidays and Minimum Wage Blues from Scrooge Inc.

| Tuesday December 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments

raisetheminimumwage_pbarcasScrooge is alive and bah-humbugging better than ever this Holiday Season in much of corporate America and the Republican Party—especially when it comes to the minimum wage wars. But, unlike the conclusion of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, no redemptive change of heart is at hand.

An HBR Blog item last week by Peter Cappelli notes it was not all that long ago that companies worried about whether their employee practices were fair. “One of the functions of human resource departments was to advocate for the interests of employees.”

Times have certainly changed. Shareholder activism as well as court cases sympathetic to shareholder interests have meant that the vast majority of companies pay more attention to maximizing stock prices, often at the expense of their employees.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Pop the Blue Can for Water in an Emergency

| Wednesday December 18th, 2013 | 2 Comments

bluecancaseswideHere’s a refreshing idea that reaches beyond emergency preparedness for the most precious of commodities – water.

Blue Can Pure Water comes in recyclable single serve aluminum cans with a 50-year, shelf-life.

“Our philosophy is to reduce the use of plastic bottles with a sustainable product rather than legislative bans. Our vision is to scale our technology globally, taking on mounting consumer waste by putting a dent in the 63 billion plastic bottles entering oceans and landfills annually,” says Angela Morente Cheng, a co-founder of Blue Can.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Big Bucks Saved If Aging Hanford Nuclear Plant Closes

| Monday December 16th, 2013 | 19 Comments

CGS_NRCGovRatepayers in Washington State could save a cool $1.7 billion over 17 years if the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant at Hanford is closed.

A 212-page economic analysis released last week by McCullough Research of Portland, OR notes that the CGS on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is the only nuclear facility that was actually completed out of the five plants begun there during the long and tangled history of Hanford. In addition, it contains a General Electric boiling water reactor that’s similar to those that were destroyed during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

But the study is not about the risks of nuclear generation; it focuses on the economics of the CGS and its possible replacement with other energy suppliers.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Carbon Pollution Pricing: Risk and Reward?

| Wednesday December 11th, 2013 | 0 Comments

cdp-logoCompanies are realizing that there is both an internal price and an opportunity when it comes to carbon pollution.

An odd juxtaposition, perhaps, but a white paper from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) North America makes the point that once a company establishes an “internal carbon price,” it can be used as an incentive and a core strategic planning tool.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

The Gates Foundation Promotes Building Better Condoms

| Wednesday November 27th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Condoms_Robert ElyovThis might be the father and mother of all contests from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: a challenge to come up with the “next generation” of condom.

That’s right, wrap your head around this, according to a foundation press release: “Quite simply, condoms save lives but new thinking is needed to ensure that men and women around the world are using them consistently and correctly to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.”

So earlier this year, the philanthropic organization delved into the prophylactic world when it launched the next generation condom contest. People were encouraged to erect a better condom, with an emphasis on new models that “preserve or enhance sensation.” Now that would be sensational, because it’s estimated that just five percent of men use condoms, mainly because they say this type of birth control/safe sex method is a downer when it comes to pleasure.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »

Nestlé: Helping Us Pass On the Salt

| Tuesday November 12th, 2013 | 0 Comments

saltOne could argue that salt and the human obsession with it aligns with the fabric of world history and civilization itself—in trade, production and culinary habits—points that Mark Kurlansky make in Salt: A World History.

We take things with a grain of salt, we work—some of us anyway—in the salt mines, tell salty salacious stories during Happy Hour and what would that potato chip or French fry be without salt? Pretty bland, and even the “salt substitutes” out there don’t quite fill the bill—or at least this Bill. And, fun factoid: did you know that salt is the only rock we eat?

Generally speaking, food tastes better with salt and the food industry, especially the processed food industry, knows this very well.

So when Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage maker, pledges to accelerate the reduction of salt across all of its food brands, that’s a pretty spicy development. Nestlé said this month that its planned reduction supports a World Health Organization salt target of no more than 5g of salt per person, per day, by 2025.

Read Full Article » Discuss This »