With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Did you miss out on any of the year's biggest news? There's only one way to find out. Give that inbox a break, and spend five minutes catching up on the hottest sustainability headlines of 2015.
As we learned earlier this year, the San Diego area will soon be home to the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. But with a steep $1 billion price tag, the question is whether the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be worth it from a financial and environmental perspective. Read on.
Lithium-ion batteries are the star of the energy storage show these days, especially after the launch of Tesla's Powerwall home battery. But back in February, all eyes were on a promising alternative: vanadium. On Feb. 17, Fremont, California-based Imergy announced the introduction of its largest line of vanadium-flow batteries to date. (For those unfamiliar with vanadium, it is a soft element that naturally resists corrosion.) Capable of operating 20 years or more without the need to replace electrolytes, Imergy's ESP 250 series can deliver 250 kilowatts of electrical power for four or more hours. Read on.
A map released in January by the Eco Experts gives us a peek at which countries are likely to best survive climate change -- and which are most at risk. The map visualizes data from the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaption Index, which analyzes 192 countries on 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure. The findings highlight the need for richer countries to do more to support poorer nations and help them prepare for the severe impacts of climate change. Read on.
As California enters its fourth year of drought, all eyes are out West. This year, many predicted that California’s reservoirs have only a year’s supply of water left. Some took aim at lush green lawns and sparkling swimming pools; others pointed the finger at power plants and the agricultural sector; still others sparked protests criticizing the bottled water industry. Last month, the state issued the first mandatory water restrictions in its history.
While the blame-game is likely to continue, one thing is for certain: California will have some tough choices to make if the drought persists. And, lest you think the Golden State will shoulder all the burden of drought-plagued citrus fields kindling-ready forests, the economic impacts of California's water woes could reach across the world. We'll certainly have our eye on this story as it develops, but it's worth catching up on any details you may have missed. Read on.
Earlier this year, Burlington, Vermont, made waves for becoming the first city in the U.S. to be powered 100 percent by renewables. (Some may say Greenburg, Kansas, was the first, but we are talking about a town of 800 people versus 42,000 in Burlington.) Reliant on coal a generation a few years ago, Vermont’s largest city has slowly revamped its energy portfolio, culminating in the purchase of a hydropower plant late last year. Read on.
The Interwebs went wild this month when news broke about Tesla Motors' foray into the energy storage space. With the launch of its home and business battery, the Powerwall, Tesla created a new arm -- Tesla Energy -- that promises to bring the automaker's battery expertise to the next level. The batteries are already sold out until 2016. If you were lucky enough to snag one, this information may be of use. Read on.
Entrepreneurs worldwide are raising a question that goes something like this: What if we decided to think outside our box and imagine that instead of myriad electrical wires joining our houses, we got our household electricity from rooftop solar panels instead? And what if those panels pumped electricity into an array of batteries in our garages? Or into an electric vehicle that had the capacity to store that power and send it back into our homes?
Corn is one of those plants that relies on the wind to cross-pollinate and is subject to the drift from other corn fields. Most of us have heard stories about organic farmers who have found their rows of organic corn infiltrated by genetically-modified pollen from neighbors’ fields. But Frank Kutka, who specializes in plant breeding techniques, may have devised a solution with his 'organic-ready' corn. Read on.
Image credits: 1) Carlsbad Desalination Project 2) Imergy Energy 3) Eco Experts 4) Leon Kaye 5) Flickr/Lizard10979 6) Tesla Energy 6) Flickr/Mike Linksvayer 7) Flickr/Aimee Custis Photography 8) Frank Kutka