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Environment

Internet could lower its cooling bills by using hot water

It’s easy to think of the Internet as something that’s just “out there” in cyberspace, that doesn’t effect the physical world in any tangible way. In 2009, however, it was estimated that Internet data centers worldwide consumed about 2% of global electricity production. Not only did most of that electricity undoubtedly come from non-green sources, but it also cost the global economy approximately 30 billion US dollars. Much of the electricity was needed to power the data centers’ forced air cooling systems, that keep the servers from overheating. Now, researchers from IBM Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) have devised a much more efficient method for cooling the steamy Internet - they use hot water.Read More

Puma launches 'Clever Little Bag' packaging

Shoeboxes account for millions of tonnes of waste and sadly, looking at my shoe racks, I've probably made a substantial contribution to that. PUMA on the other hand is on a mission to reduce its carbon, energy, water and waste "paw print", and has decided to do away with the shoebox altogether. It has launched its Clever Little Bag, a single folded sheet of cardboard in a resuable, recyclable PET bag, designed to protect shoes from the time they leave the factory until the customer gets them home.Read More

First step towards carbon-free ‘power-plant’

We’ve looked at recent research into the development of artificial photosynthesis to generate clean power, but now researchers at Stanford University have been successful in harnessing energy directly from plants as they convert sunlight into chemical energy. The researchers say it could be the first step toward generating high-efficiency bioelectricity that doesn't give off carbon dioxide as a byproduct.Read More

GE sheds light on 40W replacement LED bulb

With many countries planning or having already implemented the phase out of incandescent bulbs, lighting company GE has unveiled a 40W equivalent Energy Smart LED bulb that consumes 9W, hence providing a 77 percent energy saving over its old-fashioned technological incandescent cousin. GE says the Energy Smart LED will produce nearly the same light output as a 40W bulb but will last 25 times longer. It is expected to be available to consumers later this year or early 2011.Read More

IBM's solar-powered desalination plant to hydrate the Saudi desert

In spite of the technological age we live in it is reported that one-in-five people on this planet still don’t have access to clean drinking water. To help correct this imbalance, a new, energy-efficient desalination plant with an expected production capacity of 30,000 cubic meters per day will be built in the city of Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia, to serve its 100,000 people. Known more for its computers, IBM has joined forces with KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology) to build the plant that will be powered by ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology - a system with a concentration greater than 1,500 suns.Read More

Breakthrough in low-cost efficient solar cells

The Earth receives more solar energy in one hour than the human race currently consumes in a year. At least, that’s what the scientists at Canada’s Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) tell us. That’s a lot of energy, and it’s going mostly untapped. Why? Because, we are told, solar collection cells are too inefficient and expensive to be more widely used. A researcher at UQAM, however, has come up with new technology that addresses these problems - for the first time in 20 years, according to Professor Benoît Marsan, there is an effective, low-cost solar cell.Read More

Versatile solar Pebble looks to replace dependence on kerosene

Kerosene can be nasty stuff. Kerosene lanterns in particular can lead to fires, explosions, asphyxiation, and toxic fumes. In some of the world’s poorest regions, unfortunately, kerosene lanterns are the standard form of nighttime lighting. The folks over at England’s Plus Minus Solar tell us that every 20 seconds, someone is killed by such a device. That’s why Plus Minus has developed a solar-powered light called the Solar Pebble, that is targeted for humanitarian use in sub-Saharan Africa... or for patio use in suburban London.Read More

New reverse-osmosis membrane to improve desalination

Increasing numbers of countries turning to desalination plants to bolster dwindling water supplies with most new facilities making use of reverse osmosis technology. Unfortunately these systems are susceptible to clogging and membrane damage, which places higher energy demands on the pumping system and necessitates costly cleanup and membrane replacement. Now researchers have unveiled a new class of reverse-osmosis membrane that resists the clogging that typically occurs when seawater, brackish water and waste-water are purified. Read More

SunChips unveils world's first fully-compostable chip bag

The last thing the world needs right now is more discarded food packaging, which is why it’s good to hear that Frito-Lay is about to introduce a 100% compostable bag for their SunChips snacks in the US and Canada. Made with plant-based polylactic acid, the new bags will completely biodegrade within about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin. Read More

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