How to Make E-waste Processing Easier in the US

| Wednesday July 9th, 2008 | 10 Comments

Goodwill.jpgImagine you have a TV that is no longer seeing service in your home. Or a computer. Or a monitor. You know that tossing it in the garbage is a big no no. Where do you take it? More than likely, if you’re in the US, to Goodwill. Or if you’re really progressive, you make a little money by going through Second Rotation or Tech Forward. A fine step forward, for sure. But what happens to donations to your local Goodwill?
Depending on where it is, a number of things: If it’s functional, it may get resold. If it’s not, it could get recycled. Or “demanufactured,” that is, disassembled and the parts sold to vendors who can use them to create new machines. Or in some cases, especially with old CRT televisions, consumers don’t have options via their local waste management company or charitable organizations, and it ends up dumped. Goodwill, which makes a point to recycle them, generally has to pay per pound for the right to do so. 17 cents in the case of Austin, Texas, apparently one of the lower fees in the US.
Now do the math: Each television is at least 30 pounds. Austin processes a truckload worth each month. 48 pallets. And in 2009, with the plug being pulled on non HD TV signals, there will be millions of televisions rendered useless, unless people make the effort to buy a signal converter. And where will those go? You guessed it…

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LCD Chemical Found to Have 17,000 Times the Climate Impact of CO2.

| Tuesday July 8th, 2008 | 5 Comments

cracked-lcd.jpgDubbed the “missing greenhouse gas,” nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) was found by a recent study to have a global climate impact 17,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. The chemical is found in the LCD panels of cell phones, televisions, and computer monitors, as well as in semiconductors and synthetic diamonds. The chemical is not one of the greenhouse gases monitored by the Kyoto Protocol, due to the fact that LCDs were not produced in significant quantities when it was drafted.
What kind of impact is this suppose to have, you ask? The chemical is found to stay in the atmosphere for 550 years and there is no force of nature known to remove it. This year, nitrogen trifluoride emissions are expected to have an impact equal to Austria’s CO2 output. Production of the chemical may double in 2009. The study points to a number of NF3 manufacturing facilities opening up in the US, Korea, and China. The production increase is due in part to the switch to digital television which will lead to increased LCD consumption and the disposal of older sets, some of them early LCD models.

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Business Development Manager Needed for Solar Energy Company

| Tuesday July 8th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Prospectro - green energy sector recruitersI was contacted this morning by Jerry Witt of ProSpectro.com, an alternative and renewable energy recruiting firm placing technical, sales, and marketing positions within the “Western Triangle” of the U.S. West, from Denver to San Diego to Seattle.

Jerry wanted me to know he is looking to place a Business Development Manager within the solar energy sector. TriplePundit doesn’t normally act as a job board or employment agency, but when Jerry asked if I could get the word out about this position, the obvious resource of potential candidates for this opening is right here on 3P.

Here are the details:

  • Qualifications/Experience:  5+ years successful sales/marketing experience with solar energy products, including PV cells, modules, inverters, and integration.  Commercial, residential, utilities sales experience preferred.
  • Compensation:  Base Salary $90K-$100K; total compensation $150K+
  • Reason for Vacancy: Rapid growth of leading multi-vertical alternative energy company, branching into new vertical solution, for $5B vendor.
  • Education/Training: B.S./B.A. Degree required, or special extra experience or career background may be considered in lieu of no B.S./B.A. Degree.
  • Location/Travel:  Based in Northern or Southern California, 50% travel to clients, sales, trade show events.

If this interests you and you think you have the chops, or know someone who does, contact Jerry at: jerry at prospectro.com. You can also find Jerry at Linkedin.com.

Green jobs for everyone!

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Global Leaders Need to Forge Consensus and Act Now, Climate Change Experts

| Monday July 7th, 2008 | 1 Comment

leoprsa.jpg Government leaders need to act quickly and establish clear, consistent, inclusive and long-term climate change policies, according to a global survey of key climate change decision makers and scientists conducted by GlobeScan.
Consensus is lacking and actions taken to date to mitigate climate change by national governments and other key institutions has been inadequate, according to GlobeScan’s WAVE 1 survey, for which 1,351 climate change experts were polled in an effort to foster meaningful action and consensus among world leaders as the G8 Summit opens in Hokkaido, Japan and as the UNCCC’s December 2009 15th Conference of Parties in Copenhagen approaches.
National governments and other key institutions need to take a holistic approach to climate change decision making within the context of sustainable development, provide political support, policy development and regulatory clarity in their own countries and internationally, according to respondents.
Protecting biodiversity is viewed as a key element of effective climate change mitigation plans. Technology development and transfer – particularly when it comes to demand management, energy efficiency and conservation – are other key elements that should be addressed by nations individually and consensually, according to the survey results.

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What’s the difference between Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy Credits, Anyway?

| Monday July 7th, 2008 | 4 Comments

scales992.jpgYou think you understand renewable energy credits (Renewable Energy Credits 101). You’re sure you understand Carbon Offsets (Carbon Offsets, Why No Two are Created Equal). You are fuzzy on the details about how they differ and when the purchase of one or the other might be appropriate. Never fear! If you can tackle those two monstrosities, this one will be a cakewalk. If you don’t understand those other monstrosities, go skim those articles and come back to me.
The first difference is the way that offsets and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are measured. Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of C02 or C02 Equivalent. Renewable Energy Credits are measured in kilowatt hours, which are a standard electricity measurement metric. A kilowatt hour is the amount of work that can be performed by one kilowatt of energy in one hour. Picture a lonely, dim lightbulb hanging from the ceiling that turns on for one hour each day by which you feverishly darn socks in a carbon constrained world – that’s a watt, and for the privilege of its use, you’ll be charged for 1/1000 kwh of electricity each day. These days, you probably use a several kwh per day.

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ClimatePULSE: Using Software to Manage Climate Change

| Monday July 7th, 2008 | 0 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgFor years environmental management for businesses has been focused on the task of ensuring compliance with environmental regulations. Traditional business and financial analysis was not a critical component of their decision-making as much as simply ensuring that the organization was maintaining compliance status. Paper-based systems, Excel spreadsheets, and Access databases often satisfied the needs of most environmental professionals.
GHG management is most often still the domain of environmental professionals, but because GHG emissions may be viewed as potential liabilities, and present financial opportunities for some, in the near future, company executives are increasingly looking for greater visibility into the data.

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The Backroom Biofuel Processors Are Meeting Online On A Professional Exchange

| Thursday July 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

biofuelelijk.jpgBiodiesel processors are in strong demand now that the price of petrol is going through the roof. (Small) businesses are increasingly beginning to produce their own biofuels and in an effort to breath more life into the new market, the U.S. Biofuels Exchange Inc. (USBE) has launched a biofuels platform. The new platform matches biofuel producers of all sizes with buyers.
The USBE is internet based and works very similar to eBay; it has a rating system to track and follow deals, display real time pricing and quantities on sale.
A board member of the exchange, James Kaufman, told Ethanol Producer Magazine that “the efficiency in the [biofuels] marketplace doesn’t exist because there are too many ‚Äòback room’ small deals and no central exchange.” The new exchange is set to change this and Kaufman has had and overwhelming amount of reactions from interested parties, he said.
The ‘back room producers’ of biofuels range from domestic people to small or large companies and they’re doing nothing secretive. Biofuel processing equipment being marketed comes in various shapes and sizes and levels of sophistication. It¬¥s easiest to brew your own bio diesel from used vegetable oils and producer kits that allow you to do this make one gallon to 300 gallons of bio diesel, says Muna wa Wanjiru, an expert at Merpet Sales, which sells various brands of biodiesel production equipment to individuals and businesses.

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Retooling a Developed Economy’s Energy Base: Germany at the Head of the Class

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

The European Union has been far more united and proactive than the US federal government when it comes to policies ushering in post-petroleum and fossil fuel era by restructuring and retooling its energy and industrial infrastructure.
Germany is at the forefront of this wave of change. Energy consumption in Germany dropped 5.6% – the equivalent of 18.5 tons of oil – in 2007 as its economy grew 2.5%, according to BP’s latest statistical review of world energy, illustrating that economic growth is possible while clean technology is put in place and alternative, renewable energy resources are developed.
The BP report and latest figures were released just days after Germany’s cabinet passed legislation committing the country to reducing CO2 emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
In contrast, world energy consumption increased 2.4% in 2007, led by rapidly developing China and India while US energy consumption rose 1.7%.

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How to Green Your Swag

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2008 | 8 Comments

Picture%204.jpgWith an abundance of companies going green, and a corresponding explosion of green themed conferences sprouting up, this is to be applauded. And yet, there’s a remnant of the old paradigm that sticks up like a weed out of the smooth green path: Swag. You know, those little things that companies give away at conferences with the hope they’ll stay in your mind. Those little things add up to a lot. Multiply each attendee with a bag full of knick knacks, many of which are made from non renewable materials, are not recyclable, and you’ve got the potential for an enormous amount of waste, and resources used.
Eco Imprints shows a different way. Rather than being a quantity driven tschotske pimp, they are a company committed to sourcing and creating memorable, sustainable, and custom tailored eco friendly promotional items that will serve their clients, recipients, and the planet equally well. And they have a few tricks up their sleeve:

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Venture-backed IPOs Hit Record Low as VCs Look to Cleantech

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

cleantech.jpgFor the first time in 30 years an entire quarter went by without a venture-backed company going public, according to numbers released by the National Venture Capital Association this week. The industry group plans to analyze its findings and share its thoughts with the press next week, but in the meantime, analysts and pundits are speculating that everything from the recession to Sarbanes-Oxley rules to the mortgage crisis are to blame.
While economic downturns and expensive, complicated regulations may well be part of the equation, it’s also likely that investor interest in cleantech is playing a role. Nearly every name-brand venture capital firm now has its own cleantech fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and after a few years getting to know the space, venture capitalists have come to realize that investing in a cleantech company is nothing like investing in a dotcom, particularly when it comes to a quick and lucrative IPO.

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Georgia Judge Halts Construction of Coal-Fired Power Plant – A Sign of More Battles Over Coal?

| Tuesday July 1st, 2008 | 0 Comments

Georgia judge blocks construction of Longleaf coal-fired power plantIn what is considered as a first-time application from a judge of the April 2007 Supreme Court decision ruling industrial CO2 emissions as a pollutant, Fulton County judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore blocked the construction of what would be the first coal-fired plant in Georgia in over 20 years.

Judge Moore’s decision overturned an earlier ruling allowing construction of the $2 billion 120 megawatt Longleaf Energy Plant stating that the plant’s builders, Dynegy and LS Power, must first procure a permit from state regulators that limit the amounts of CO2 emissions from the plant.

Bruce Niles of the Sierra Club’s National Coal Campaign said of the ruling: 

“We will be taking this decision and making the same arguments to push for an end to conventional coal”

LS Power and Dynegy vow to appeal the ruling.

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McCain and Obama’s Plans to Combat Climate Change

Sarah Lozanova | Tuesday July 1st, 2008 | 6 Comments

Regardless of who is elected next November, both candidates agree that climate change is a fact and not a theory.
“I know that climate change is real,” said John McCain. “We can have a debate about how serious it is, but the debate about climate change is over.”
John McCain and Barack Obama however vary widely in their response to this issue, leaving the American people with a choice of approaches when choosing the next president. McCain’s primary tools include implementing a cap and trade system for emissions and utilizing greater amounts of nuclear power and “clean” coal.

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Pushing the PV Envelope: Organic Solar Cells Moving into Production

| Tuesday July 1st, 2008 | 1 Comment

OLEDscreen.jpg Organic photovoltaic cells, including dye-sensitized cells (DSCs) – may be the ultimate when it comes to offering off-grid, micro-power generation. Initial small-scale technology and market tests – solar chargers for mobile phones in Africa, for example – are under way as researchers continue to try to find ways to boost solar energy conversion efficiencies – which now surpass 5% for small organic PV cells and up to 11% for DSCs – minimize production costs and develop markets for both small- and large-scale applications.
Pioneering industry leaders such as Pittsburgh-based Plextronics envisage wide-ranging uses for its Plexcore line of organic, nano-engineered PV and conductive polymers and inks, from applying printed PV and electronic circuits on plastics, fabrics, glass, concrete and other construction materials, to printing, rolling out and applying them over much larger areas, such as walls and rooftops. They are also being used to create organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) for displays and lighting.
Materials for use in thin-film and organic photovoltaics (PV) will reach $3.8 billion by 2015, according to a recently released study by NanoMarkets. “The three main areas where OPV is expected to eventually outperform more traditional approaches to PV are (1) very low-costs, (2) enhanced ability to operate in dim light, (3) integration of PV capabilities in building materials and fabrics, and (4) the ability to be printed on flexible substrates,” according to the report.

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New Apple iPhone 3G to arrive in Green Packaging

| Monday June 30th, 2008 | 5 Comments

3giphoneofficialpic03.jpgIt’s faster, it’s cheaper, it’s just as beautiful, and now it’s greener–at least its packaging is. Apple, the same company that got bruised in its fistfight with Greenpeace last year, literally just announced that its new iPhone 3G, in all of the glory of its already unprecedented demand, will arrive next Friday outfitted in green packaging.
According to the Register, Apple has ordered millions of potato starch paper trays from PaperFoam, the same Dutch company that supplies Motorola with packaging its products. The result–a 90 percent reduction in carbon footprint over plastic and a tray made entirely from a natural resource, as opposed to the visually appealing but environmentally appalling Styrofoam my MacBook Pro arrived in.

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Carbon Markets Clear the Air

| Monday June 30th, 2008 | 2 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgAs the public debate continues on whether greenhouse gases contribute to global warming or whether we are going through a natural cycle, enormous political pressure and investment dollars are streaming into the solutions aspect of the debate. Discussions in North America on environmental policy and economic benefits are steaming ahead at all levels of government and in the corporate board room.
Putting the debate aside, creating a carbon market that stimulates activity to address climate change provides everyone an opportunity to participate. Whether it is cap and trade, carbon taxes or carbon tariffs, a business case will drive change especially if the end consumer does its talking with its wallet.

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