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Global Warming

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

A London black cab

May 23, 2008 While improvements in engine technology have led to a marked improvement in fuel efficiency and carbon emissions in vehicles running on internal combustion engines in recent years, even greater cuts in emissions need to be made to tackle the global environmental problems associated with them. We’ve seen commercial airlines turning to biofuels, trucks running on liquefied natural gas and buses using ethanol engines. One of the most promising solutions for the humble car of the future could is hydrogen fuel cell systems, with a number of car manufacturers investing heavily in development.  Read More

Tore Skjetne and Viking Venture's  Joar Welde with the snow-like crystals
 Photo: Svein Tø...

April 2, 2008 Traditional water-purification techniques such as filtration or distillation attempt to remove the contaminants from water by fluid flow. Reversing this thinking, a new Scandinavian spin-off company is researching a new method of purification that takes the clean water molecules out of the contaminated matter using carbon dioxide gas.  Read More

Waterfront Toronto - West Don Lands design perspective

March 18, 2008 Waterfront Toronto, a 2,000 acre area of largely publicly owned land, is one of the largest urban developments currently underway in North America. As part of the project, a 3500 square meter District Energy Centre is under development which will consist of an interconnected network of underground pipes which that be extended to every area in each of the waterfront precincts. The plant will initially be powered by natural gas but the design will incorporate the necessary features for easy conversion to more sustainable, alternative fuel sources when they are approved for urban use. This "future-proof" system will make the new waterfront neighborhood a more efficient and sustainable user of energy in years to come.  Read More

Beijing National Aquatic Center

February 6, 2008 Construction work on the Beijing National Aquatic Center began in December 2003 in preparation for the 2008 Olympics and four years later, a stunning piece of architecture has been completed. The “Water Cube” is a rectangular-shaped steel building covered by a membrane of brightly lit blue bubbles which is incredible to look at but it is also important on an environmental level. The Water Cube consists of 100,000 sq m of ETFE, (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) a unique transparent plastic which absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss. This is the first time EFTE has been used in China and it is the world’s largest and most complex EFTE building ever constructed.  Read More

Eco vision: carbon neutral and zero waste community
 Image: Foster + Partners

February 5, 2008 Following on from last year's announcement of plans to create the world’s first world’s first zero carbon, zero waste city as part of the Masdar Initiative, the Abu Dhabi government has committed a US$15 billion to help explore, develop and commercialize clean energy sources.  Read More

Air Launcher JET Alpha nozzle

February 1, 2008 In an era where the need to reduce, reuse and recycle is a the top of the agenda, any innovation that helps in this regard is a welcome one. In providing a solution to the specific problem of recycling aerosol cans, Tokyo-based company CC Medico has developed the Air Launcher JET Alpha nozzle, a new type of aerosol nozzle which is easily removed and separated from the can by hand, which makes recycling the cans much easier.  Read More

Kenworth Truck Company plans fleet of LNG vehicles

January 29, 2008 Kenworth Truck Company and Westport Innovations Inc have announced that production of a line of liquefied natural gas vehicles will begin in 2009. The Kenworth T800 LNG trucks will use Westport’s LNG fuel system technology adapted for the Cummins ISX 15-liter engine.  Read More

Energy Island sketch

January 29, 2008 Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion uses the temperature difference between surface and deep-sea water to generate electricity – and though it has an efficiency of just 1-3% - researchers believe an OTEC power plant could deliver up to 250MW of clean power, equivalent to one eighth of a large nuclear power plant, or one quarter of an average fossil fuel power plant. Architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis and his son Alex, along with Trevor Cooper-Chadwick of Southampton University are developing the concept with plans of putting the theory to the test on an unprecedented scale by building a floating, hexagonal Energy Island that will harness energy from OTEC, as well as from winds, sea currents, waves, and the sun.  Read More

Konarka's 'Power Plastic(R)' organic photovoltaic
 material

October 11, 2007 Traditionally, solar panels for buildings have predominantly been stand alone systems mounted to roofs in order to capture sunlight. The growing focus on "green" energy and a move away from reliance on fossil fuels is driving smarter and more integrated methods of procuring alternative energy sources such as solar, and in line with this, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has invested $4.7 million to develop technology that would allow windows and other building applications to be converted into solar panels.  Read More

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