Energy

GE hopes to cut mercury in "green" light bulbs
October 24, 2007 05:22 PM - Timothy Gardner,

NISKAYUNA, New York (Reuters) - General Electric Co is working to cut the amount of mercury in energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs which have soared in popularity.

Residents and businesses are buying up compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) because they reduce power bills as well as emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming. CFLs use only one-fourth to one-fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs producing the same light and can last 10 years.

The corkscrew-shaped devices are made by many companies and on average contain about 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic metallic element, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Five milligrams is tiny amount, about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, and much less than the amount that was held in old thermometers. But with sales of CFLs hitting 150 million units last year, and more expected this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most of the bulbs are ending up in landfills instead of being recycled.

Fires create electricity 'island' in San Diego
October 24, 2007 04:01 PM - Bernie Woodall

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California wildfires created an electricity "island" of San Diego County on Wednesday as one major power transmission link to the U.S. West grid was shut and the other flickering on and off, said San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

This makes the San Diego area susceptible to major blackouts unless customers conserve power, said Michael Niggli, chief operating officer of SDG&E.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders implored residents to cut power use.

"You've got to conserve today. You have no choice," Sanders said.

About 20,000 homes and businesses were without power late Wednesday morning, down from 33,000 on Tuesday, SDG&E spokeswoman Rachel Laing said.

Australia's Biggest Wind Farm Starts Moving
October 24, 2007 07:51 AM - , Green Progress

AUSTRALIA - NSW renewable energy company Epuron today announced its proposal to develop Australia’s largest wind farm near Broken Hill in western NSW. In a typical year the wind farm would be able to contribute up to 4.5% of the total energy needs of NSW and would be amongst the largest projects anywhere in the world.

 

Spain's hydro-electric reserves fall to 55 pct
October 23, 2007 10:09 AM - Reuters

Water levels in Spain's hydroelectric reservoirs dropped almost three points to 55.0 percent of capacity in the past week as little or no rain fell over northern and central areas, official data showed on Tuesday.

US Govt Study: Source of Nitrate in Precipitation Is Coal Power
October 22, 2007 03:09 PM -

Denver, CO - Nitrate found in precipitation occurring in rural areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States is primarily caused by emissions from stationary sources located hundreds of miles away, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.

 

 

Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.

 

China Needs More Than Electric Cars: Toyota
October 22, 2007 11:04 AM -

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Toyota is working to improve its hybrid cars and develop electric cars for the future, but an official said on Monday that these vehicles would not help reduce CO2 emissions in China.

"In France, 80 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear stations so if electric cars replace fossil fuel cars then you have a clear reduction in the emission of CO2," said Tatehito Ueda, a managing officer at Toyota Motor Corp.

"But in China they make electricity by burning coal, so China is not the place for electric cars," he told the Nikkei International Automotive Conference in Tokyo.

Mazda Prepares for "Hydrogen Society"
October 22, 2007 09:31 AM - Reuters

Researchers at Japanese carmaker Mazda think cars will in future run on a water component -- hydrogen.

"We have to prepare for sustainable zoom-zoom," Mazda executive Nobuhiro Hayama said on Monday.

Carmakers Seek Engine of the Future
October 22, 2007 01:38 AM - Marcel Michelson

TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil is getting scarce and the internal combustion engine adds to pollution, therefore the car of the not too distant future needs a new motor. But what?

Delegates at the Nikkei automotive conference here, in the week of the Tokyo Autoshow, reviewed the industry's sputtering progress towards new power systems in the knowledge that if they do not come up with a solution the sector may come to a halt.

"In the long-term, it's very clear that on-road transportation has to decouple from petroleum for both dependency and greenhouse gas emissions reasons, and the pathway for that is electric drive," Michael Milikin, editor of the Green Car Congress publication, told Reuters.

Solar cars race from Australia's top to bottom
October 21, 2007 11:41 PM -

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sun-powered-car enthusiasts from around the world raced into the Australia outback on Sunday at speeds nearing 100 kilometres-per-hour at the start of the World Solar Challenge.

Thousands of onlookers crowded the streets of Darwin in Australia's tropical north for the beginning of the 3,000-km (1,863 mile) race, a biennial event since 1987, gawking at the sleek foil-like vehicles resembling giant microchips.

The only rule over the mostly straightaway course through Australia's "red centre" in temperatures that can exceed 50 degrees Celsius is that the custom-built vehicles run on nothing but the sun.

"The drivers will be sitting on between 90 and 100 kilometres per hour as much as they can, though most are capable of going faster," said race coordinator Chris Selwood.

"But this really is not just about who is the fastest, it's more about energy efficiency and management," he said.

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