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APR 22

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Enhanced Plant Oil Production May Boost Biofuels
Written by Philip Proefrock on 22/04/13   

A new development using genes from algae to engineer plants to store oils in their leaves could lead to improvements in both biofuel production and viagra cheapest pharmacy the manufacture of animal feed. Researchers from Michigan State University have made plants with oily leaves, which were demonstrated when worms fed these leaves grew fatter than worms fed the cheapest propecia pharmacy online unmodified version of the plants.

Most plant oils are stored in the seeds of the plant, and can be difficult to extract. But plants that store oils in their stems and leaves can be more easily processed to extract those oils. They also may produce greater quantities of oil than the original plants.

In addition to the potential use in biofuels, producing plants that store more oils in their leaves could also be a benefit for animal feed. Greater nutrition density from the same amount of crop could help feed more animals from the same area of soft viagra tablets cropland.

The lead scientist, MSU professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Christoph Benning, stated, "Many researchers are trying to enhance plants’ energy density, and this is another way of approaching it. It’s a proof-of-concept that could be used to boost plants’ oil production for biofuel use as well as improve the nutrition levels of animal feed."

Ongoing research will next move from demonstration of the concept to begin to explore specific applications "to enhance oil production in grasses and algae that have economic value."

image: by Rosendahl/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

 

APR 14

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Electrolysis Catalyst Could Produce Inexpensive Hydrogen
Written by Philip Proefrock on 14/04/13   

Two Canadian researchers have announced a breakthrough that could produce catalysts for electrolysis at a fraction of current costs. The University of Calgary scientists are working to commecialize their discovery by 2014.

The FireWater Fuel (FFC) catalyst is more efficient at releasing breaking water into hydrogen and oxygen, and can be produced at a fraction of the cost of usefull link price of levitra other exotic material catalysts. The FFC catalyst is based on ferrous oxide - rust. And, according to the researchers, the cost could be 1000 times lower than the cost of current materials.

With an efficient and inexpensive means for cracking water into hydrogen and oxygen, the feasibility increases for fuel cell batteries that can readily charge from renewable sources such as wind and solar when those sources are available and viagra headaches then discharge to provide electricity when demand is high.

The electrolytic catalyst is just one of the components that would be required for an entire system, but it has been an exepensive component of the system. With the FFC catalyst, hydrogen power takes another step towards being a greater part of the power mix in the coming years.

via: CBC News

 

MAR 20

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New Record Setting Wind Turbine
Written by Sarah Rich on 20/03/13   

A new construction at a test center in Østerild, Denmark has become the largest wind turbine in the world.

Well, that title depends on which criteria determine "largest." If rotor diameter is your rule, Siemens's latest, the SWT-6.0-154, has surpassed the previous holder, the second-generation Enercon E126, by over two dozen feet. While the E126 has approximately a 127-meter rotor diameter, Siemens's new offshore wind turbine boasts a 154-meter rotor diameter--and its immense 75-meter long blades combined with its 4-meter wide hub means a massive swept area of 18,600 square meters.

With a 6MW turbine, under the most optimal conditions, the new model will produce around 65 percent more electricity than earlier models from the company. This SWT-6.0-154 won't be a lonely giant for long; according to Gizmodo, Siemens plans to construct 300 more of these massive machines.

The massive blades for this new turbine are built as a single piece, without heavy fittings and connections, allowing a weight savings of 20 percent.  This will likely be a greater benefit for offshore turbines like this, since enormously long single piece blades are hard to transport over land.

The size isn't simply for world-record showiness. The larger the levitra professional online buy wind turbine, the more energy produced, according to a study by Swiss and Dutch Scientists, accounting for both size and the improved technology over time. Constructing massive offshore wind farms makes scaling up easier and makes harnessing wind energy more cost effective. Since expensive underwater foundations are needed to support these turbines, having larger but fewer wind turbines will reduce production costs.

Image via Siemens

via: Wired.co.uk

 

MAR 18

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Bacteria May Provide More Sustainable Biofuel Production
Written by Sarah Rich on 18/03/13   

Biofuel, like many alternative energy sources that are on the rise, faces its share of criticism. While it sounds ideal to create fuel from plants rather than limited fossil fuels, many methods of generic levitra mexico producing biofuel come at a high environmental cost all their own. Land used for biofuel production, for example, could be better put to use growing consumable crops instead of “sustainable” power for our cars.

Although biofuels from wood or grass may have a better future than less sustainable sources like corn, they are much more difficult to produce. The first step in turning biomass from grasses, trees, and certain algae into biofuel is getting through lignin, the tough material of their cell walls, and the compound isn’t an easy one to break down.

However there are some bacteria that digest lignin quite well, and harnessing the chomping power of these microorganisms could eventually lead to easier and more sustainable biofuel creation. While researchers at Mississippi State University had focused on identifying the digestive bacteria in panda poop, researchers at Brown University are also studying microorganisms that can break down lignin--and have figured out the chemical switch to start the lignin digestive process in the bacteria Streptomyces.

One of the few microorganisms that can consume lignin, Streptomyces begins the canadian pharmacy overnight tramadol digestion process by releasing enzymes to break lignin down into its constituent compounds. This lignin-derived carbon, which the bacteria uses for growth and reproduction, is also where the magic begins for biofuel production: Streptomyces converts some of it into triglycerides, essential components of biodiesel, as well as other useful compounds. The Brown researchers’ previous work showed which genes encode enzymes to break down one particular compound: protocatechuate. When Streptomyces was grown where protocatechuate was present, PcaV, a protein usually attached to the DNA that stops those genes clusters from encoding, lost its affinity for DNA--and those unblocked genes gave the green light for enzyme production.

While being able to kickstart the lignin digestion process could lead to an easier transformation of cialis overnigh woody biomass into biofuel, producing biofuel through Streptomyces on a commercial scale is still a long way away. Nevertheless, this research is a step forward for bacteriology as well as sustainable bioenergy.

Image via Sello lab/Brown University

via: Inhabitat

 

MAR 07

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Mapping a Better Walking Route
Written by Sarah Rich on 07/03/13   

We've discussed the pedestrian resource Walk Score before, but there's a new company taking a different angle on rating the walkability of communities. While Walk Score rates addresses, Walkonomics rates streets. The UK-based company has only covered locations in England as well as US cities New York and female cialis pills San Francisco so far, but Walkonomics has the ambitious goal to rate every street in the world, according to criteria that go way beyond distance traveled. Using publically available data and user ratings to fill in the gaps, Walkonomics attempts to account for everything from hilliness and crime statistics to how much fun or relaxing it is to walk in any given area. Eight criteria are rated individually and tallied into a street's total score, so if some factors are more important than others to users, the score's breakdown is readily available.

Adam Davies, the company's founder, envisions Walkonomics will eventually offer customized directions based on each user's needs. Unfortunately, as Pando Daily reports, the company has a long way to go before this is possible. If they continue to rely heavily on publicly available data, opening in places like my small Connecticut city seems to be far off. However, if the cialis no doctor company can continue to expand and gain more resources, they'd serve as another widely-available source that helps pedestrians, encourages walking, and emphasizes the importance of designing more pedestrian-friendly communities.

That last one's a stretch, to be sure--of course no app alone can engender or even promote changes in urban design. However, the more pedestrians literally take to the (safe to walk) streets, perhaps the more communities will increase their walkability and make structural changes to accommodate. Any technology that can empower pedestrians seems (pardon the obvious pun) a step in the right direction.

If you happen to live in New York City, San Francisco, England, or plan on walking through these places anytime soon and have a smartphone, you may find some use in their iPhone or Android app. According to their website, they've rated over 600,000 streets in these locations.

image: screen capture via Walkonomics website

via: Treehugger

 

MAR 07

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Cree LED Light Bulb Hits Milestone Price Point
Written by Philip Proefrock on 07/03/13   

Several years ago, the $10 level was a turning point for the widespread adoption of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). Once the bulbs were priced that low, people were willing to take a chance to try one or two and buy ultram no prescription see how they liked them and how they performed. Now, the same point has been reached in the development of LED lights.

A couple of years ago, 60-watt equivalent LED bulbs were priced around $30 to $40, and a couple years before that, they were closer to $100. Now, Cree is offering three LED bulbs with a price close to $10 (though only one of the three is actually under $10 retail price).

Cree is offering three different LED bulbs: a warm white 60-watt replacement, a daylight 60-watt replacement, and a warm white 40-watt replacement. These bulbs have the http://www.bsd-berlin.de/viagra-tablet performance we've come to expect from LEDs, with a 25,000 hour lifespan rating and use only about 15% of the energy used by and equivalent incandescent bulb.

The Cree bulbs also have a "normal" looking package as compared to the now-familiar curly CFL. These LED bulbs also have a coated glass bulb, rather than a plastic covering like many other LEDs have had. Although the LED bulbs are not drastically more efficient than CFLs, the LED bulbs are also instant-on and are dimmable, which are features many CFLs do not have.

Cree is rolling out a selection of slogans to try to promote these bulbs, including "The Biggest Thing Since the Light Bulb," and "Its non-weird shape emits non-weird light." The company also is touting the below $10 price, although both of buy generic levitra from india the 60-watt equivalents are priced somewhat higher. Nevertheless, this is still a big move in the lighting market.

Hat tip: Studio Z

 

FEB 23

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Motor Vehicle Companies Team Up on Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research
Written by Sarah Rich on 23/02/13   

Automakers Ford, Daimler, and Renault-Nissan are joining forces to develop the technology for fuel cell vehicles and to make it more cost effective. Investments in the research will be spread evenly among the companies, who hope their alliance will produce a fuel cell system to power new electric vehicles that can travel further between refuels than the battery electric vehicles currently available on the market. Furthermore, Ford aims to have a hydrogen fuel cell car on the mass market in as little as four years.

Sharing both research and resources, this new partnership gives the canadian levitra for sale trio a chance to do what no single motor vehicle company has done yet: craft a mass market hydrogen-powered vehicle. Costs have been too high so far to make this possible. If they succeed, however, it could be a step forward in reducing our dependence on oil to fuel our travels. The hydrogen fuel cell technology also promises less pollution than fossil fuels produce, as hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles only emit heat and order viagra online water vapor.

The companies have a combined 60 years of experience working on this technology, and their test vehicles have gone over 6.2 million miles. The engineering work ahead for the partnership will be spread throughout their worldwide facilities. The companies will also work to develop other parts for fuel-cell powered vehicles, in addition to the individual fuel cell development, in order to reduce costs further.

image: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Lars Plougmann

via: Huffington Post

 

FEB 22

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Support for Continued Use of LEED in US Military
Written by Philip Proefrock on 22/02/13   

The LEED green building certification program created by the US Green Building Council has become something of a political football for the past several years. But a recent report from the National Research Council, as well as analysis from the Department of Defense, show that the military should use LEED, despite political pressure opposing it.

Congress has been explicitly hostile to LEED in recent years, with the program specifically called out in the Congressional Prohibition on Use of Funds for LEED Gold or Platinum Certification, which states that "No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2012 may be obligated or expended for achieving any LEED gold or platinum certification."

According to Building Green, "A long-awaited report from the National Research Council gives the nod to LEED Silver ratings "or equivalent" for military buildings. The report looked at a variety of methods of comparing costs and benefits and ultimately confirmed that LEED Silver certification is the preferred model for limiting costs and maximizing benefits."

The military is the largest single consumer of energy in the country. It also controls more square footage of cialis 20 mg buildings than any other organization. So having a cleaner, more efficient military is not a small matter.

Previously on EcoGeek: US Military Embracing Green Energy

image: US Archives

via: Building Green

 

FEB 22

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Best of Both Worlds Power Storage from Graphene Supercapacitors
Written by Sarah Rich on 22/02/13   

If UCLA researchers are correct, a new supercharger could transform both the way we power our electronics and recycle their old sources of energy. Bringing together the quick-charging qualities of a capacitor and the energy-holding capacities of a battery, graphene supercapacitors could replace the cheap viagra site often toxic batteries we currently use to power our electronics.

Batteries and capacitors are relatively similar devices, functionally speaking. Standard batteries consist of two chemicals that react with each other, separated by a barrier, and have a circuit between them; capacitors are composed of two oppositely charged metal plates, separated by an insulator, with a circuit between them. When electrons flow through the circuits of try it buy levitra overnight batteries and capacitors alike they provide electricity. Although capacitors can be charged very quickly, they don’t hold nearly as much energy as batteries.

Graphene supercapacitors would solve the energy holding problem of capacitors. Graphene conducts electricity better than any other common substance, and the one-atom thick material has more going for it than capacity: it’s also thinner, lighter, and can be turned into cheaper energy-holding devices than batteries. Because it’s carbon-based, it’s also biodegradable. Considering the care we need to take when disposing of batteries that are often made of toxic metals, how much would it rock to be able to compost our disposable charge holders instead?

Extremely flexible and cheap viagra no prescription stronger than steel, graphene has been notoriously difficult to work with, as the Focus Forward video describes. The researchers who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their work with graphene created the substance by carefully peeling graphite with scotch tape--not a method that’s easy or quick to replicate. However, researchers at UCLA claim they have found a better method to craft the the best site buy levitra no prescription substance in a delightfully MacGyver-like way: by using a consumer-grade DVD drive. After pouring graphite oxide onto CDs, popping the CDs into the drive and using the drive’s laser to beam light on the material, the graphite oxide deoxygenates and becomes graphene. Miles ahead of scotch tape, this DVD drive method produces the essentially two-dimensional material easily and quickly. Imagine what could be done with a machine designed to create sheets of graphene on a larger scale.

Graphene supercapacitors have immense potential to revolutionize the efficiency and environmental-friendliness of our electronics. Especially after listening to the researchers discuss graphene’s potential, it’s difficult not to be excited for the future of this technology. Graphene supercapacitors could charge electronic devices, but further research will determine just how much these supercapacitors can charge (are electric car charging stations really a possibility?), and if and when they'll be available for consumers. In any case, here’s hoping the technology can take off.

image: CC BY-SA 2.0 by CORE-Materials

via: Boing Boing

 
Cooling Semiconductors with Lasers
Written by Philip Proefrock on 21/02/13   

Is there anything that lasers can't do? The latest breakthrough comes from a team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) who have developed a method for cooling semiconductor material (cadmium sulfide) with lasers. In an article published in Nature, NTU reserachers report on cooling a semiconductor from 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) to -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F) as an initial proof of concept.

Heat is an unwanted side effect of most energy-using devices. In many cases, ranging from portable electronics to medical magnetic resonance imagery equipment to scientific research equipment, the need for keeping the levitra dosage equipment cooled is vital to continued function. At present, equipment such as MRI systems require liquid helium for cooling, but with laser cooling, the system could be made smaller and would not require the extensive cooling hardware that is currently needed.

Cooling gasses with lasers is a known technology, but cooling a solid has not been done previously, although the theory behind it is decades old. "Our initial results published in Nature, have shown that it is possible to laser-cool a semiconductor to liquid nitrogen temperature, so we are aiming to reach an even lower temperature, such as that of liquid helium," said Prof Xiong Qihua, a member of the NTU team.

Other cooling technologies for computers have been proposed which could lead to significant energy savings. But if laser cooling eventually became widely used for other applications, it would make this even more beneficial. Laser cooled equipment could be more energy efficient, and portable electronic equipment with this technology would also potentially prolong battery life.

In addition to the energy benefits, wide-scale development and viagra professional no prescription application of this technology would also drastically reduce the amount of refrigerants needed in industry and technology. Many of the chemicals used in refrigeration equipment are harmful to the Earth's ozone layer or have a significant global warming potential (and many are both). Reducing the need for these chemicals would be an added benefit laser cooling might someday offer.

image: CC BY 2.0 by Jeff Keyzer/Wikimedia Commons

via: Science Daily

 

FEB 20

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New Database to Help Increase Environmental Responsibility of Ocean Power
Written by Sarah Rich on 20/02/13   

In collaboration with the International Energy Agency, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched a new database that brings together environmental monitoring and worldwide ocean energy development efforts. Called Tethys, the database will show the interrelationship between processes in nature and ocean power technology, and will function as a resource to help keep environmental responsibility at the forefront of ocean-based energy production projects.

Named after the pfizer viagra 50mg Greek titaness of the ocean, Tethys will help industry regulators and energy project developers alike identify possible environmental effects of the efforts to gain sustainable, clean energy from the world’s oceans. Tethys offers real-world data that accounts for the interconnectedness of oceanic ecosystems and technology, and offers insight on the interactions between energy-producing machines, marine wildlife, and the physical processes of the ocean. Having all of this data compiled together-- from tidal current turbines projects to published studies on offshore wind farms and marine mammals--will allow for a safer expansion of ocean power. According to the DOE’s announcement, the database also has an accompanying report that highlights research on ways to monitor ocean energy projects and www.peseta.org possible environmental effects.

The world’s oceans offer immense potential for alternative energy development. As with any alternative energy resource, however, ocean power developers must taken into account any negative environmental impacts from the technology in order for ocean power to be a truly renewable source of energy. As a living document, Thethys will constantly increase our global understanding of the ocean as new projects and new research data arise. In order to expand Tethys’s usefulness for current and future ocean power projects, the DOE encourages researchers to submit their studies to the database.

You can view an interactive map of Tethys here, and check out the technological developments in and environmental research on oceans around the world.

image: CC by 2.0 by Phil Manker

via: US Department of Energy

 


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