Energy

New Solar Panel Technology Stylish and Sustainable
January 31, 2008 09:23 AM - ENN

The key component of the new modules is an organic dye which in combination with nanoparticles converts sunlight into electricity. Due to the small size of the nanoparticles, the modules are semi-transparent. This aspect makes them well suited for facade integration. The new solar cells are being developed by members of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, who will be presenting their new technology in Tokyo at Nanotech 2008, the world’s largest trade fair for nanotechnology.

Less waste urged with energy efficiency gains
January 30, 2008 09:31 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - High oil prices have spurred countries to use energy more efficiently, a report by an energy industry group said, but the authors say concerted government action is still needed to encourage less waste. The World Energy Council, whose members include energy companies and government bodies in 90 countries, said a study it commissioned showed the long-standing trend of countries using less energy to generate each dollar of GDP had accelerated in the period 2000 to 2006, when oil prices hit new highs.

SmartWay: It’ not just a clever name
January 29, 2008 11:36 AM - , Ship Green

Although shipping emissions are one of the largest contributors to total CO2 emissions in the U.S. and beyond, they have only been recently studied in depth. Part of the recent interest in shipping emissions and methods to mitigate them has been sparked by the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport program. Launched in 2004 after a year of study and dialogue with various research groups and consultants, the program engages trucking companies, retailers, rail companies, and individual truckers interested in reducing their emissions and helps them with everything from practical everyday fixes such as proper tire maintenance to financing for new equipment that greatly improves fuel efficiency. We spoke with Mitch Greenberg, Program Manager of the EPA’s SmartWay program to find out how it works, what companies and shippers can do to get involved with the program, and what it has planned for the year ahead.

Economy, Planet in Trouble: Green Energy to the Rescue?
January 29, 2008 09:56 AM - , Private Landowner Network

With a tipping point in climate change maybe a few years out, perhaps triggered by the soon completely melted summertime Arctic ice cap, we’re probably well past the point where a semi-market-based-only approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, like cap-and-trade, will do any good. Government needs to step in. Among the measures that can be done now is to continue to build emission free renewables while dramatically cutting back on power consumption, so that new fossil power plants don’t need to be built until carbon sequestration technology can be implemented. There needs to be some political leadership to put direction in the climate saving effort.

Verenium to build cellulosic ethanol plant in '09
January 28, 2008 05:24 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Biofuels company Verenium Corp said on Monday it plans to begin building a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant early next year, which could make it one of the first U.S. companies to produce the fuel that is expected to be low in greenhouse emissions. Verenium hopes to build a plant in the southeast United States that would make about 30 million gallons per year of ethanol out of sources like sugarcane waste. Once construction begins, output should start flowing in 18 to 24 months, spokeswoman Kelly Lindenbloom said in a telephone interview.

New Techniques Create Butanol, A Superior Biofuel
January 28, 2008 08:55 AM - Washington University in St. Louis

The fuel is butanol; it can be derived from lignocellulosic materials, which are plant biomass parts that range from woody stems and straw to agricultural residues, corn fiber and husks, all containing in large part cellulose and some lignin. Butanol is considered to be a better biofuel than ethanol because it's less corrosive and has a higher caloric value, giving it a higher energy value. Like ethanol, butanol is being considered as an additive to gasoline.

Wal-Mart installs solar power at store
January 28, 2008 08:25 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart and SunPower Corp said on Monday that they have completed a 390-kilowatt solar power system installation at the retailer's Sam's Club warehouse store in Chino. The companies said the warehouse club is the first of seven Wal-Mart facilities in California that will receive SunPower solar power systems.

China's cleaner power firms feel unfairly squeezed
January 28, 2008 04:58 AM - Reuters

Some of China's cleaner but small energy producers said on Monday Beijing does not recognize their efficiency, and with profits squeezed between rising coal costs and falling tariffs they had been forced to halt operations. Jiang Zhangshui, chairman of Zhejiang Tianma Heat and Power Co Ltd, said the on-grid tariff for their electricity was cut by some 10 percent since mid-December, as they are improperly classified as small coal-fired generators.

New Methane Storage Technology Exceeds DOE Goals
January 25, 2008 11:14 AM - American Chemical Society

Hong-Cai Zhou and colleagues note that lack of an effective, economical and safe on-board storage system for methane gas has been one of the major hurdles preventing methane-driven automobiles from competing with traditional ones. Methane stands out among various alternative fuels when its profusion and availability are considered. However, the lack of an effective, economic and safe on-board storage system is one of the major technical barriers preventing methane-driven automobiles from competing with the traditional ones, say the study authors.

PG&E seeking to develop biomethane facility
January 25, 2008 05:27 AM - Reuters

California utility PG&E Corp said on Thursday it is looking for partners to develop and operate a biomethane facility as it looks to increase its use of renewable energy sources. Biomethane is pipeline-quality gas derived from organic material such as agricultural crops, manure or wood wastes. PG&E already has contracts to buy some natural gas captured from cow manure.

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