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Environment

Magenn's MARS floating wind generator

Wind power is notoriously flighty, particularly at ground level. Most turbine-on-a-post wind powered generators operate at around 20-40% of their rated generation capacity, simply because wind is intermittent and changes direction. But a generator situated 500-1000 feet above ground level would enjoy much more consistent strong wind - which is why the Magenn MARS system makes so much sense. It's a helium-filled rotating airship that spins in the wind on the end of a variable-length tether that also acts as a power transmitter, and it's expected to operate at more like 50% of its rated capacity. Each MARS system will be cheap and portable, which will make them extremely useful in rural, camping and emergency situations. A prototype has successfully been flown in North Carolina. A great idea that makes economic sense.  Read More

A coal-fueled power plant

While we are constantly covering advances in alternative energies the hard fact is that we are heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels to meet our energy needs - and in the medium term, given that the political will and economic benefits of finding green solutions is only just starting to gather momentum, we are stuck with them. That means we have to clean them up. We recently covered the discovery by Indian scientists of naturally occurring bacteria that convert CO2 into calcium carbonate and could be used on existing fossil fuel fired power plants and now Colorado based company, ION Engineering, have developed technology that could be used in a similar way to economically remove CO2 and other contaminants from fossil fuel power plant emissions and raw natural gas.  Read More

The solar rechargeable battery

From the files of “why don’t they make that?” comes a rechargeable battery with integrated solar cell charger. The “SunCast” prototype uses flexible solar cells from IFE and some C sized NiMH rechargeable batteries. Scientists at IFE have been experimenting with the production of flexible solar cells and were kind enough to send some samples to the “SunCast” battery designer Knut Karlsen.  Read More

Printable plastic solar cells

Scientists developing flexible, large area, cost-effective, reel-to-reel printable plastic solar cells have announced that trials have commenced which promise a new era of solar cells that are printed like money. These printable solar cells offer advantages over traditional solar technology because of the potential to mass produce the cells cheaply using polymer printing technology, a process which has already been used in banknotes in more than 20 countries.  Read More

Calcium carbonate in powder form

Expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are gaining momentum around the world as a way to combat greenhouse gas emissions (or is that sweep them under the carpet?), India’s Economic Times has reported that a team of Indian scientists have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria that could help fight global warming by converting CO2 into calcium carbonate (CaCO3) - a common compound found as rock all the world over.  Read More

Febot wind charging concept

We're always on the lookout for new, ‘greener’ ways of saving or renewing energy. South Korean designers Ji-yun Kim, Soon-young Yang and Hwan-ju Jeon have developed the Febot, a small, easily-assembled portable battery charger concept that harnesses the power of the wind rather than using electricity. Place a rechargeable battery inside the Febot and stick it on the outside of a window or wall, or any other outdoor surface, using the suction cap at the base of the unit.  Read More

A similar Heliostat array already operating in Australia

If ever there was a perfect candidate for solar power, the north-west Australian town of Cloncurry is it. The town has long claimed the title of Australia's hottest recorded day - 53 degrees Celsius in the shade in 1889 - and is now is gearing up to produce solar thermal power capable of supplying all of ts electricity needs, 24-hours a day. The system will use up to 8000 mirrors will reflect sunlight onto graphite blocks through which water will be pumped to generate steam that will operate a conventional steam turbine electricity generator. Because heat stays in the graphite, the system will work through the night and on overcast days.  Read More

80% of wars occur in biological hotspots

Since the rise of the state some 5,000 years ago, large scale warfare has been a permanent global fixture. History shows that the motivations for war are different for those ordering the conflict than for those undertaking it and now a startling new study has found 80 percent of the world's major armed conflicts occur in biological hotspots. That is, the richest storehouses of life, the areas essential for both biodiversity conservation and human well-being, are also the regions of the most human conflict. Millions of the world's poorest people live in hotspots and depend on healthy ecosystems for their survival. Is it time for civilization to take political and social responsibility and protect these places? It certainly makes more sense than fighting over oil!  Read More

The Microcycle bioreactor

We live in a society that is creating more toxic chemicals everyday. In nearly all forms of production many undesirable chemicals get produced which cannot simply be disposed of, even in industrial settings. If these chemicals are tipped down the sink or flushed down the toilet they will end up back in our water streams and pollute our precious and already strained environment. The standard solution is to transport harmful chemicals to distant chemical treatment facilities where they can be broken down and disposed of responsibly, but these processes use a lot of energy and often produce many undesirable byproducts such as oily polluting residues that end up in landfill. That's where this ecologically friendly bacterial treatment from Microbial Solutions' comes in. Microcycle, as it's known, turns toxic exhausted metal working fluids into grey water that is safe to dispose of into the sewerage system.  Read More

T-Solar's facilities

Solar panel manufacture is a costly process making it difficult for solar electricity to compete with power generated from fossil fuels. One way of driving these costs down is through the production of larger panels, enabling installation costs to be reduced. To this end, Solar Panel Manufacturer T-Solar Global S.A. has just announced that it has begun volume production of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) modules. The solar panels are sized at 5.7m2 or 2.3m X 2.6m - that's the equivalent to the combined area of over six 42 inch plasma TV’s and T-Solar says that they are ideally suited for solar farm applications where installation costs can be reduced by about 20% over smaller scale panels.  Read More

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