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U.S. Environment Not the Best for EVs
May 27, 2010 09:16 AM - John Gartner, Matter Network

The enthusiasm is building -- we’re just a few months from the U.S. launch of the first electric vehicles aimed at mainstream consumers. Nissan is touting the success of the registration program for its upcoming Leaf EV, boasting 13,000 orders for its vehicles. It is hoped across the industry (and in Washington DC) that sales of EVs will revive the American auto industry. While Pike Research believes that sales of EVs will grow relatively quickly, EV sales would likely grow much higher if it weren’t for our relatively cheap gasoline.

Colorado Law Will Retire or Retrofit Coal-Fired Power Plants
April 24, 2010 09:16 AM - SustainableBusiness.com, Matter Network

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter on Monday signed into law the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act--legislation that requires Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80% from several Front Range coal plants by the end of 2017, most likely sooner. Xcel will work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to submit a plan to the Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, detailing how it will retire or retrofit 900 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity. Xcel will give primary consideration to replacing or repowering those plants with natural gas, renewables, greater efficiencies and other cleaner energy sources. "This law is a template for tomorrow that allows us to transform our energy portfolio, our economy and our environment by working strategically and collaboratively," Gov. Ritter said. "By shifting our oldest and least efficient coal plants to cleaner, Colorado-produced natural gas, we send a strong message to the rest of the country that we absolutely can cut air pollution and protect public health while also creating jobs and protecting ratepayers." Governor Ritter was joined at the Capitol signing ceremony by members of a broad coalition that supported House Bill 1365, including Xcel Energy Chairman and CEO Dick Kelly, lawmakers, power producers and conservationists.

Target Opens Recycling Centers in All 1,740 Stores
April 12, 2010 11:41 AM - Timothy B. Hurst, Matter Network

Minneapolis based Target (NYSE: TGT) announced Tuesday that it is rolling out a massive nationwide recycling initiative with centers at the front of each of its 1,740 U.S. stores. The recycling stations will accept aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges. "The launch of store recycling stations allows us to continue to partner with [our guests] to curb unnecessary waste in our stores and our communities," said Shawn Gensch, vice president of brand marketing, Target. Over the course of the last several months, retail chain Target has ramped up its sustainability programs and image, partially in response to retail giant Walmart's big push to become more sustainable, which includes programs to green its supply chain, use less energy and produce less waste. But Target isn't just copying the sustainability programs their friends down in Bentonville, Arkansas are rolling out (though they should probably copy some of them), they're forging their own path with some unique programs of their own, recently announcing they would no longer sell farmed salmon.

Canadian Cement Plant Becomes First to Capture CO2 in Algae
April 6, 2010 07:02 AM - Timothy B. Hurst, EarthandIndustry, Matter Network

A Canadian company called Pond Biofuels is capturing CO2 emissions from a cement plant in algae — algae the company ultimately plans on using to make biofuel. It’s no secret that the process of manufacturing cement is both energy intensive and dirty. Global cement production alone emits roughly five percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually, both as a byproduct of limestone decarbonation (60%) and from the burning of fossil fuels in the cement kilns (40%). And as the demand for concrete-intensive infrastructure soars in developing countries like China and India, global emissions from cement plants–and other industrial sources–will continue to rise. But a Canadian company called Pond Biofuels sees some real opportunity in all those industrial greenhouse gas emissions. At the St. Marys Cement plant in southwestern Ontario, Pond Biofuels has become the first to successfully use carbon dioxide emitted from a major industrial source to produce high value biomass from microalgae.

Waste Management To Deploy First Plasma Gasification System
March 17, 2010 07:29 AM - SustainableBusiness.com, Matter Network

S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture by Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) and InEnTec LLC, announced plans to develop a plasma gasification facility at Waste Management's Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington, Oregon. The planned facility will convert municipal solid waste into fuels and energy. Construction is expected to begin in the early summer, with startup scheduled by year end. With the S4 system, waste materials are prepared and fed into a first phase gasification chamber that operates at temperatures of approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. After the first phase, the waste materials flow into a second closed chamber where they are superheated to temperatures between 10,000 and 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit using an electricity-conducting gas called plasma. The intense heat of the second stage plasma gasifier rearranges the molecular structure of the waste, transforming organic (carbon-based) materials into a synthesis gas (syngas).

$100 Billion Opportunity for Waste-To-Energy Companies in Developing World
December 30, 2009 07:45 AM - Susan Kraemer, Matter Network

Here’s an opportunity to wisely spend some of the $100 billion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised at Copenhagen to cut the greenhouse gases of developing nations by aiding in the development of renewable energy infrastructure to by-pass fossil fuel dependence. Apparently one in four Chinese cities and seven out of 10 counties are without sewage-treatment plants, according to the People’s Daily. While there are many ways to treat sewage or municipal waste; one of the newest is the use of municipal solid waste to make renewable energy.

Nanofarming Offers a Kinder Way to Get Biofuel from Algae
December 7, 2009 09:34 AM - Tina Casey, Cleantechnica, Matter Network

In conventional biofuel production, algae are harvested and killed in order to extract their oil. It's not a very efficient process - sort of like uprooting a tree and stripping off the apples to make cider. By coaxing out the oil on a molecular level, nanofarming enables algae to give up their product while continuing to grow.

Ford Creates 62 MPG Gas Cars in Europe
December 3, 2009 03:50 PM - By Susan Kraemer, Gas 2.0, Matter Network

In the US, Ford is still behind the 5 major foreign auto makers in fuel efficiency, surpassing only GM and Chrysler. Yet Ford of Europe already achieves dazzling mileage that we Americans can only dream of.

Tidal Power Turbines Producing More Energy Than Expected
November 17, 2009 11:08 AM - Timothy Hurst, Earth and Industry, Matter Network

Marine Current Turbines' SeaGen, the world’s only commercial scale tidal stream turbine, is running reliably and delivering more energy than originally expected. The generators can produce enough energy to meet the average electricity needs for 1500 UK homes during each ebb and each flood tide.

$30.6M in Stimulus Funds Give US Hydroelectric Projects a New Spark
November 5, 2009 09:28 AM - Renewable Energy World via, Matter Network

Up to $30.6 million in economic stimulus funds will be used to finance seven hydroelectric projects nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The additional funding means Voith Hydro, a manufacturer of hydroelectric turbines, will be able to retain 40 jobs at its manufacturing facility in York, Pennsylvania

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