Energy

Smarter U.S. power usage could save $120 billion: study
January 9, 2008 06:45 PM - Reuters

Technology to help Americans reduce electricity use when the grid is stressed could help utilities save $120 billion on spending for new power plants and transmission lines, government officials and researchers said on Wednesday after a study in the Pacific Northwest. A year-long "smart grid" study showed consumers saved 10 percent on power bills and cut power use 15 percent during key peak hours, the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced.

'Green' Energy Efficient Mobile Home Designed
January 9, 2008 09:45 AM - Wiley-Blackwell

But "green" is exactly what Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Endowed Professor of Architecture at Mississippi State, wants mobile homes to be. He hopes to toss traditional thinking about the structures into the recycling bin, salvaging the traditional "mobile home" perception one national award at a time. Working in the Carl Small Town Center--a part of MSU's College of Architecture, Art and Design--Berk created an award-winning, next-generation factory-built unit he calls the GreenMobile. Unlike other lower-end housing, Berk's applies sound construction methods, as well as energy-saving concepts for lower utility costs.

LED Lights may light homes in less than 3 years
January 9, 2008 09:29 AM - University of Glasgow

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), already used in electrical equipment such as computers and mobile phones, are several times more energy efficient than standard light-bulbs. However, because of their structure and material, much of the light in standard LEDs becomes trapped, reducing the brightness of the light and making them unsuitable as the main lighting source in the home.

Switchgrass fuel yields bountiful energy: study
January 8, 2008 05:45 PM - Reuters

Switchgrass, a crop touted by venture capitalists and environmentalists alike as a next-generation ethanol feedstock, yields about five times more energy than it takes to grow it, making the plant a far more efficient fuel source than corn, a new study said. In addition, the life cycle of the switchgrass ethanol -- which includes growing the crop, making the fuel, and burning it in vehicles -- emits about 94 percent less of planet-warming carbon dioxide than the life cycle of gasoline, said the study, published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Renewables supply 14 pct of German power: industry
January 8, 2008 10:19 AM - Reuters

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Renewable energy made up more than 14 percent of Germany's power consumption in 2007, up from almost 12 percent in 2006, with wind as the main contributor, the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) said on Tuesday. Energy derived from wind, solar, water, biomass and thermal heat accounted for 9 percent of Germany's total primary energy consumption last year, reducing the country's CO2 emissions by 115 million tones, the association said.

Beijing Introduces Strictest Fuel Standard Yet
January 7, 2008 03:26 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

On January 1, China’s capital city of Beijing introduced its toughest vehicle fuel standard yet. The rule requires that gasoline and diesel sold in the city must comply with the new China IV emission standards, equivalent to the European Union’s Euro IV standards. Under the elevated standard, motor fuels are permitted to contain only 50 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, compared with the previous China III level of 150 ppm.

NOAA: Sunspot is harbinger of new solar cycle, increasing risk for electrical systems
January 7, 2008 02:46 PM - NOAA Research

A new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, bringing with it increased risks for power grids, critical military, civilian and airline communications, GPS signals and even cell phones and ATM transactions, showed signs it was on its way late Thursday when the cycle’s first sunspot appeared in the sun’s Northern Hemisphere, NOAA scientists said.

Environmentalists Up In Arms Over New $2600 Car
January 7, 2008 02:25 PM - , Environmental Graffiti

An Indian firm is selling new cars for under $2,600, a move that has been criticized as a ticking time bomb by environmental groups. The so-called “People’s Car”, the RS 1 Lakh, is manufactured by Indian giant Tata, which is reportedly in talks to buy British carmaker Jaguar from current owners Ford. Tata is marketing the car as a safer alternative to motorbikes for Indian families. Tata chairman Ratan Tata said: ‘That’s what drove me - a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads - a family in potential danger.’

South Korea to ban single-hulled tankers after spill
January 7, 2008 02:38 AM - Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will ban single-hulled tankers from traveling in its waters by 2011, earlier than the international regulation that calls for a ban from 2015, Seoul's maritime ministry said on Monday. A single-hulled tanker was involved in South Korea's worst oil spill in December, leaking around 10,500 tons of crude oil after a seabound crane mounted on a barge punched holes in the tanker's hull.

High oil a blessing and a curse for farmers
January 5, 2008 02:25 AM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Sky-high crude oil prices are both a blessing and a curse for U.S. farmers, who have seen a sharp jump in their energy-based input costs but also higher revenues from crops used for renewable fuel production.

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