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Environment

New research stirs corn-ethanol debate
 Photo: Noel McKeegan

A team of researchers from the University of Washington researched the impact on soil fertility and effects on food supply when fuels based on crops such as corn and soybeans are mixed with fossil fuels. They discovered that the large amounts of energy required to grow corn and then convert it to produce ethanol had a net energy gain that was modest and that corn-based ethanol was the worst offender amongst the alternative energy fuels.  Read More

Designer fuel offers more mpg, less emissions, less cost

Now here’s an interesting solution to the problem of reducing emissions using the same fleet of cars we have, but by using different fuel. Airplanes need high octane fuel and the octane rating has until now been achieved by adding tetraethyl lead, but that will be outlawed from 2010. Ethanol achieves the same octane rating boost but is unsuitable for use in aircraft. To solve the riddle, the newly announced SwiftFuel© uses ethanol to produce a designer fuel with a 104 octane rating that has no ethanol in it. It runs fine in any existing plane (or car), and is a low emission, alternative made entirely from biomass that has 15-20% more energy per litre than petrol, so your plane (or car) will get better mpg too. And it costs half as much to make as current petroleum manufacturing cost. What’s the catch?  Read More

Existing Clear Skies solar installation at St. Josephs, West New York, NJ

In yet another example of California's leading role in solar-power, Clear Skies Solar has announced plans to build an 8MW solar farm in Cantil. The project will encompass 34 acres of land and cost around US$44 million.  Read More

Origo to unveil carbon capture system

Origo Industries is set to reveal a new technology designed to capture and recycle a vehicle's CO2 emissions and produce fuel that can be used to re-power your car or even power your house.  Read More

Installation complete: SeaGen tidal energy generator

Construction of the 1.2MW SeaGen tidal systemhas now been completed. The world’s first megawatt scale tidal turbine will now enter a 12-week period of commissioning and testing before it starts regularly feeding power into the Northern Ireland grid.  Read More

eSolar power plant

Following on from an announcement to create a 65 million square foot solar panel installation in California, Southern California Edison (SCE) has announced plans to purchase 245MW of solar power from eSolar through a series of pre-fab solar plants.  Read More

OrignOil patents technology for large scale algae oil production

Los Angeles-based OriginOil has developed breakthrough technology that it believes will enable the transformation of algae oil into a true competitor for petroleum. The company has filed a patent to protect its invention of a scalable system that is critical to achieving high volume algae production required to replace petroleum.  Read More

Varying mixtures of aggregate, sand and other binder materials used to create asphalt conc...

A great deal of effort is being invested towards discovering ways to make our world greener, with cars in particular being the focus of research and development initiatives. But what about the green credentials of the millions of miles of roads which carry our vehicles from A to B? This question is being addressed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) who are investigating ways to make asphalt environmentally friendly.  Read More

Avalanche effect - graphic visualization

Research continues to improve efficiency in solar cells, whilst simultaneously finding ways to lower the costs of module production. The latest research from TU Delft and the FOM Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter surrounds the use of semiconducting nanocrystals (crystals with dimensions in the nanometer size range) to demonstrate a phenomenon called the “avalanche effect” which has the potential to significantly boost solar cell efficiency.  Read More

Plans unveiled for 2.3MW offshore floating wind turbine
 Photo: StatoilHydro

The world desperately needs viable sources of renewable energy and wind power is among the most promising solutions, but one downside is that turbines can be considered a blight on otherwise picturesque landscapes. The solution seems obvious enough - move the towers far out to sea where not only are they out of sight, but where the wind is at its strongest and most consistent. We first encountered this idea back in 2006 when we examined the efforts of MIT researchers to integrate a turbine with a floating platform similar to those used by offshore oil rigs. Now news that Norwegian oil and gas company StatoilHydro plans to invest around US$80 million to build a full scale offshore floating wind turbine.  Read More

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