FuelMeister II: Personal Biodiesel Processor

| Wednesday February 27th, 2008 | 9 Comments

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One problem consumer’s face when wanting to use biofuels is building an in-house processor for creating biodiesel to further shave costs. This is no small feat so Renewal Biodiesel has created a second generation do-it-yourself system that makes it a snap. The system is aptly coined the FuelMeister II. The biggest benefit to this system is cost savings, producing your own biodiesel fuel can bank you as little as .70 cents a gallon!!
The FuelMeister II is faster, safer, and easier to operate than its older sibling. The FuelMeister creates biodiesel out of used cooking oil, methanol, lye, electricity and tap water. With these ingredients properly blended the FuelMeister can kick out 80 gallons of clean-burning fuel every day. This fuel can be used to power your vehicle or even your home or both.

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How to get clean water: Play on a merry-go-round!

| Tuesday February 26th, 2008 | 7 Comments

We in the West take it for granted that you turn on the faucet, and water comes out. But for many people, it’s not a given. In fact, in many places, you have to walk for miles, scooping it into a large jar, then carry it back. And there’s no guarantee of it’s cleanliness. This results in a large number of deaths each year. But it simply doesn’t have to be that way. The irony is, for many, water can be found, right where they are, albeit deep in the ground. How? Not via an electricity or generator powered water pump. Too expensive, and generally there’s a lack of infrastructure in many places to support such a thing. What then?
How about a merry-go-round and a prefab water tower. Come again? Yes, it’s called the Play Pump. What is it? Basically, it’s a water pump, that utilizes the energy of children (and anybody else who cares to play on it) spinning around on a playground style merry-go-round, that serves as the motor behind the pump. Rather then give them away, these reasonably priced devices whose water tower has nice large flat surfaces could double as a billboard, providing income to cover the maintenance of them, and publicity for local businesses.
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What happens as a result of these?

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Coming Soon to Your Home: Wireless Sensors

| Monday February 25th, 2008 | 3 Comments

There will be some 14 million U.S. households equipped with wireless sensor networks come 2012. With the cumulative total worldwide WSN node market estimated to number 6 billion, the residential sector is an essential target for industry participants, according to recently released ON World research.
Energy management, along with lighting, security, entertainment control and home health are among the largest and fastest growing segments of the wireless sensor, “smart home” market, which ON World expects to expand nearly six-fold worldwide, from $470 million in 2007 to $2.8 billion in 2012.
Increasing energy costs, emerging standards and technological innovations are driving development, according to ON World researchers, who looked into more than 100 home installers, vendors and suppliers in conducting their research, published in the “WSN for Smart Homes” report.
“While proprietary WSN systems have been used by professional installers in luxury homes for over a decade, wireless protocols such as Z-Wave and ZigBee will make smart home solutions affordable for the average household,” Darryl Gurganious, senior research analyst for ON World, stated in a media release.
Ongoing development and success of wireless mesh networking protocols, such as the competing ZigBee and Z-Wave protocols, and the respective industry alliances promoting them, are credited for accelerating growth. OnWorld’s report provides in-depth chip level evaluations of the two competing standards, global market forecasts, primary research of installers and competitive analysis of 70 companies in the WSN smart home value chain.

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AskPablo: Should I get rid of my standard light bulbs for those curlicue fluorescent ones?

| Monday February 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Should I discard my still-working standard incandescent bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescents, or wait until they die a natural death and then replace them?

There are several reasons to get rid of those incandescent bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs turn less than 5 percent of the electricity they use into light; the rest is wasted heat. Besides being annoyingly inefficient, this can increase summertime air-conditioning costs and present a higher risk of fire. CFLs, on the other hand, are over three times more efficient, meaning they put out the same amount of light but use one-third as much electricity; they also put out much less heat.
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/02/25/ask_pablo_lightbulbs/index.html

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Hycrete Admixture: concrete waterproofing solution

| Monday February 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

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Michael Rhodes was one of the masterminds behind solid rocket fuel over 40 years ago. Today he is throwing his chemical genius into the concrete arena. Welcome Hycrete Admixture, a blend of metallic ions and calcium moleculesthat react to seal the capillaries in concrete.
The result is a waterproof concrete through and through. Hycrete eliminates the need for external membranes, coatings, and sheeting treatments, which means that old concrete does not need to lay to rest in a landfill, it can be crushed and recycled. Hycrete concrete provides a valuable and sustainable approach to corrosion protection and waterproofing through a advanced yet simple evolution in performance concrete construction.

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Communicating Sustainability Effectively Within the Workplace

Shannon Arvizu | Monday February 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

earthpeoplelogo.gif As leaders in the corporate sustainability movement, it is important to be able to share our ideas with others who may not exactly “get it” yet. Anna Clark, president of EarthPeople (a sustainability consulting firm in Dallas, TX), shared her strategies for getting others in your workplace on board on ClimateBiz.com. Implementing these suggestions the next time you discuss why eco-efficient lighting works best at your next board meeting can help guide your company further along on the sustainability path.

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Fiber Nanogenerators Put the Power in Power Walking

| Saturday February 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

Truly amazing advances are being made in nanotechnology and electrical energy generation, one of which is highlighted in a
Renewable Energy World
article by John Toon.
Researchers led by Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Materials Science and Technology, are developing power fibers that can be used to manufacture shirts and other clothing that can convert energy released during physical motion into electrical energy capable of powering small electronic devices in the field. Applications are widespread and extend beyond soldiers and other military personnel using such power generating clothing to scientists, engineers and other researchers, as well as everyday people eventually wearing them to sustain our ever expanding reliance and fascination with portable electronic devices.
Moreover, the concept applies to all types of physical motion, not just human movement. Fiber-based nanogenerators – made of fibers coated with cultured zinc oxide nanowires – may be used to generate low voltage electric current from wind, sound or other forms of mechanical energy.

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Greening Your Small Business Can Have a Big Impact

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday February 21st, 2008 | 1 Comment

b%20corporation.jpgThe greening of small businesses across the country is a movement all its own. While it may be easy to dismiss the impact of small companies when compared to the big guys, consider the following stats from a GreenBiz.com article published today: “Small Businesses (defined as firms with less than 500 employees) employ half of the private sector workforce and use half of the electricity and natural gas consumed by the commercial and industrial sectors. In 2006, small businesses accounted for 99.9 percent of the 26.8 million businesses in the country.” Imagine the impact small businesses can have by collectively adopting eco-efficient technology and sustainable business practices. But how does a company start on this track, considering that most small business owners can’t afford to hire a “Green CEO” or “Director of Sustainability Initiatives”?

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More Coal in Kansas?

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday February 20th, 2008 | 2 Comments

coal.jpgWho has the final say in whether a new coal plant gets built? In Kansas, a serious debate is brewing over this very topic. Sunflower Electric Power Corp wants to build two 700-megawatt coal plants. Last year, the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, Rod Bremby, rejected the proposal because of “health risks associated with carbon dioxide emissions and global warming concerns.” But lawmakers in the Kansas house are trying to push the proposal through anyway. They voted 77-45 in a vote that took place yesterday, just shy of the two-thirds majority vote needed. Who is driving this push for coal? ENN reported that business groups and a Republican-led contingent of state legislators believe “the project would create jobs, provide badly needed energy for the area, and would keep electricity rates in check.” Is that so?

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Practicing Green: Uncovering and Countering Greenwash

| Wednesday February 20th, 2008 | 4 Comments

future-event.jpg Difficult to uncover, lacking adequate disclosure, regulation and enforcement mechanisms and offering high rates of return now that climate change and environmental degradation are high up on the political agenda, corporate “greenwash” threatens the real and honest efforts of all those taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and minimize environmental destruction.
Discouraging greenwash and rejecting a “perception is reality” mentality is vital if industry and commerce are to avoid provoking general public cynicism and backlash, note industry executives and academic researchers such as IBM’s Maureen J. Baird and United Nations University’s Ruediger Kuehr. The challenges are especially great, and pressing, in an age of instantaneous digital media communications and a growing, globally interconnected economic system of increasing technological and organizational complexity.
Progress on this front is being made, however. The initiative of growing numbers of top industry executives to address energy and environmental issues both inside their organizations and through international and intra-industry agencies, including participating in public and private carbon and greenhouse gas reporting and disclosure initiatives such as the United Nations’ StEP (Solving the E-Waste Problem) program and the Carbon Disclosure Project, are concrete steps that move us toward a global emissions regulatory system that includes adequate checks and balances.

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LED Bulbs: Efficient lighting is here to stay…..

| Tuesday February 19th, 2008 | 23 Comments

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The introduction of LED light bulbs into the market has been hindered due to several factors. Namely: lumens (brightness) color (led produce blue radiance vs. white) market promotion and affordability. Although LED bulbs for residential and commercial applications are not quite where they need to be, they are starting to scratch their way into the market this year with more force than ever before.
Technology has brought the bulbs to a point where they are bright enough to compete with standard bulbs if not better. Also, the color that has plagued the bulbs for some time, being the hazy soft blue tones that are common has been dealt with as well, be it by a diffuser or through bulb technology itself.

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EV4ME: The Electric Vehicle Movement

Shannon Arvizu | Friday February 15th, 2008 | 2 Comments


As many of you know, I have been tracking the electric vehicle movement currently taking place in California. I put together this mini-doc that shows what entrepreneurs, social movement organizations, and policymakers are doing to make electric cars a reality. Enjoy!

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U.S. Cap & Trade, Politics and the Elections

| Friday February 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Analysts at New Carbon Finance foresee a national cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme emerging in the U.S. in 2012-2013, one that by 2020 has the potential to grow to $1 trillion, more than twice the size of the European Union’s.
Though the Bush administration has said that any such legislation would be vetoed, the chances of a national cap-and-trade scheme being put into effect by law, perhaps as soon as 2009, look likely with the election of a new president, though the positions of the candidates, as well as the two houses of Congress, encompass a range of attitudes and approaches, the analysts note.

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Ethanol Ingredients: Garbage and Tires?

Sarah Lozanova | Friday February 15th, 2008 | 1 Comment

coskata%20lab%20small.jpgAs the US consumes 140 billion gallons of gasoline annually, the thought of transitioning to corn-based ethanol is a daunting one. If enormous quantities of land, water, pesticides, and food resources are dedicated to transportation fuel, the ramifications will be significant. Some have even called ethanol from food to be a crime against humanity.
A new technology is being fine-tuned by Coskata that can have global impacts on biofuels, with potential sources of fuel ranging from garbage to agricultural waste to construction debris. I was recently invited to tour the laboratory and I was struck by how this technology has the potential to shift the transportation fuel industry.

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In-house Gray Water Systems: Simple solutions for water management

| Thursday February 14th, 2008 | 21 Comments

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Nearly half the water used in the home is flushed down the toilet. There are many solutions for under sink gray water units that help save and recycle usable water. A strong contender among the competition is the AQUS gray water system which efficiently captures the water from the sink and transfers it to the flusher. This handy unit can save up to 7 gallons of water per person each day, that figure adds up real quick.
The trick? The sink water first runs through a simplified dispenser or filter of sorts that houses bromine and chlorine tablets. These tablets kill the bacteria from the polluted sink water. A 5.5 gallon holding tank lies beneath your vanity and is attached to the dispenser. A modified p-trap directs the water from the sink through the dispenser and into the tank.

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