Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Torch that uses less energy to produce more light

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics has come up with a torch that uses Gallium nitride transistors in its LED lamp. By  boosting the efficiency of the GaN driver to 86 percent – better than its silicon equivalent - the Institute's scientists have been able to more than double the output to to 2090 lumens, compared to 1000 lumens in one based on silicon.

As around 20% of electricity is consumed in providing lighting, this advance could lead to significant energy savings. With Incandescent light bulbs are now banned in the EU and halogen- based light bulbs on their way out too in the future, GaN based LEDs could well be the solution to meeting increasing demands for lighting whilst reducing energy consumption.

For more information see the Institute's press release.

Also, he researchers will be showcasing a demonstrator of their retrofit LED from April 7-11 at the Hannover Messe, where they can be found at the joint Fraunhofer booth in Hall 2, Booth D18.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Environmental Sustainability is the Key Strategy for our collective future

- the area in which something exists or lives; "the country--the flat agricultural surround"

environs - an outer adjacent area of any place

We all need somewhere to live, we all need the environment - the area where we live put simply. Collectively, this is the world and together, and only together, can we ensure its sustainability, for our lives now and our children's futures.

This blog will be all about those things that affect this issue.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Funding flows to flagship Welsh tidal power project - 21 Jul 2011 - News from BusinessGreen

£11m in new funding has been secured for a Welsh tidal power project. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones announced the funding recently for the 1.2MW DeltaStream device next year at a location off the coast of Pembrokeshire in south-western Wales.

£6.4m came from the European Regional Development Fund, with the rest from the investors of Eco2 Ltd. Cranfield University will monitor the project and independently assess the performance of the demonstration device. If the trial is successful, the company intends to deploy eight further devices with up to 10MW capacity from 2015.

The potential of tidal power from Britain's coastline is huge, with studies showing that tidal power could provide 15 to 20 per cent UK's electricity by 2050.

Funding flows to flagship Welsh tidal power project - 21 Jul 2011 - News from BusinessGreen

Sunday, 12 June 2011

e-Books | the Greener Choice

Home Energy Audits by Wellhome.com

Underwater Kites offer green energy from tidal power

Check out this video showing how one company is harnessing tidal power using underwater kites. As water is 800 times more dense than air it offers greater potential than wind turbines and unlike the wind, tides never stop.
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House that creates more energy than it uses!

Check out the video about this house built using a combination of traditional and modern methods. The house is built in the Adobe style (nothing to do with Photoshop!) and produces more energy than it uses.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Arab World Faces Environmental Catastrophe

Arab world mapImage via WikipediaThe eyes of the world are currently focussed on the political and social upheaval that is ongoing in the Arab world. The events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria have dominated the news for weeks now. However, what lies ahead may prove to be more significant than anything we have seen yet. I am not talking about war or political change here. No, I am talking about the environment. Not in abstract terms either. We are not talking about something that may happen in 50 or 100 years. No, we are talking about environmental catastrophe in a decade or so.

What kind of catastrophe are we looking at? Well, according to Lester Brown in The Guardian, we are looking at widespread drought on a biblical scale and consequent food shortages of epic proportions. For instance, Yemen and Saudia Arabia are facing severe depletion of natural aquifers, meaning that water shortages are increasing on a scale we in the West can only imagine in our nightmares.

He gives the example of Saudia Arabia once being self-sufficient in wheat through the widespread introduction of irrigation and now facing total loss of all production due to the exhaustion of fossil aquifers. That means they have to look elsewhere to feed their almost 30 million population.

He points out that Yemen, once blessed with renewable aquifers now facing exhaustion of these too, with water tables falling around 2 meters every year. Yemen now imports 80% of its grain and with a rising population it faces ever more food shortages.

All this bodes ill for the future. Even if democracy comes to the Arab world those fledgling democracies will face uncertain futures with social disintegration an increasing problem. The next Middle East war is likely to be due, in large part, to arguments over water and it exploitation. Already, Israel has been in dispute for years with its neighbours and the Palestinian State over water. Some say that even the 1967 war was started over water. What is certain is that water and control of it will be at the heart of any future conflict.
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Happy Earth Say!

Believe it or not, Earth Day has been celebrated on 22 April for 41 years now! Question is, shouldn't every day be one in which we act responsibly and do our utmost for the good of the earth? Today happens to be Good Friday and for Christians its a day to think about the Cross. However, Christians (and indeed those of other faiths) are increasingly seeing that we all have a responsibility to look after the earth.

If we truly believe in a Creator God (and despite the Richard Dawkins of this world billions of us do) then we ought to respect Creation and be responsible stewards of what has been given into our care. So, whether you are a believer or not, make today the start of a new determination to look after the Earth and everyone in it. Have a Happy Earth Day and to all those who believe, have a Happy and Joyful Easter!
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Thursday, 7 April 2011

Michigan Technological University students invent CO2 scrubber

Michigan Technological University students have invented their own mini-smokestack scrubbing carbon dioxide from emissions. as an end product it creates a solid material that could have applications as a material useful in construction.

On the university site, the announcement states:

"An 11-foot bench-model smokestack packed with glass beads is percolating away in a lab. Near the top, a proprietary liquid dribbles down. From below, carbon dioxide bubbles up. By the time the gas reaches the top, fully half of the CO2 has been gobbled up by the liquid. The process not only captures carbon, it binds it in a solid form, making an undisclosed product that can be used as a construction material. The liquid itself can be recovered and used again. The group has applied for a patent and hopes to build a pilot plant in cooperation with an industry partner, Carbontec Energy Corp."
The students are planning to improve on their invention so as to capture even more CO2. Hopefully, they will end up with something that will have commercial applications and will help reduce the impact of carbon emissions

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Glacial Meltdown!

Glaciers are melting 100 times faster than the long-term average, according to scientists. A team from Aberystwyth University, the University of Exeter and Stockholm University studied 270 of the largest ‘outlet glaciers’ - the kind that form slow moving 'rivers' of ice that flow into the sea - in Patagonia, at the southern tip of South America.

What they found was that over the past 30 years the rate of melting has been much higher than previously suspected, up to 100 times faster than the long-term average rate. Past studies have used satellite imaging which the scientists have said limited previous studies to the past few decades and that only when they looked back over the past 350 years did they note the rapid increase compared to earlier decades.

However, their report has been criticised by some as being misleading, with claims that there is no evidence of rising sea levels and that many glaciers are actually growing, including some in Patagonia.

Whatever the implications are of this report, it certainly raises as many questions as it provides answers and highlights the need for further research.

Sustainable Social Housing | Best Practice Conference

The Sustainable Social Housing | Best Practice Conference is taking place 13 & 14 April 2011 at Dexter House, Tower Hill, London. The two day conference will look at various themes:
  1. What's the most practical and cost-effective way to retrofit existing homes?
  2. How do you make new properties ht green targets while staying on budget?
  3. What are the best materials and technologies to use in various environments?
  4. What will the Green Deal mean for the social housing sector?
The cost is £249 plus VAT for one day or £399 plus VAT for the two days. The conference should be of interest to RSL professionals, project managers in the social housing sector and indeed anyone wantong to learn the latest techniques and strategies as wella s look in depth at some of the latest case studies in the sector.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant crisis underlines need for green energy

Everyone can only sympathise with the people of Japan at this time following the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the country the other day. We can only hope that when the death toll is known that it will be as low as possible and especially right now that the current crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant can be quickly brought under control.

What all of this underlines is how precarious nuclear plants are, especially in the so-called 'Ring of Fire', the most active region in the world as far as seismic activity goes. Currently Japan has 56 nuclear plants but its not the only country in the Pacific basin to have them. China has 13 (with more planned), all of them on the Pacific coast (or not far from the coast).

Here is a map showing nuclear reactors in the region:

We can't be sure that in future, even if we escape disaster in this case, that future earthquakes won't lead to severe radiation leaks into the environment. All this underlines how important it is that the world wakes up to the inherent risks of nuclear power and invests instead in renewable energy. With all the potential tidal, solar, hydro-electric, geo-thermal and wind power available there is absolutely no sane reason to go with nuclear.

In addition to the risks posed by earthquakes, there are also the risks from terrorism, industrial accidents (due to human error or incompetence, technical faults in production or software errors) and the long-term issues of disposing of nuclear waste.

When you take into consideration the rapid improvements in renewable technology (such as ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, Solar PV and wind turbines) there are plenty of options other than going down the dead-end that is nuclear power. With massive investment (but still less than that required by nuclear) in renewable technology and energy-saving measures (such as insulation, building greener homes and using more efficient appliances) we can do this, without increasing our risk of further nuclear disasters.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Teenager beats the auto companies at their own game!

Ashton Stark is only 14 but he has converted his grandfather's old VW Beetle into an electric vehicle at the cost of just $4,000. The Canadian youth isn't even old enough to drive his handiwork! After researching the technology behind electric vehicles and after a year of labour, he completed his project and now has a fully functional electric car that can travel up to 50 miles on a full charge, at speeds up to 45 mph and all for less than 10 cents a day!

“It is my grandpa’s 72 Super Beetle,” he said. “I think he would love it and be incredibly proud of it.” He used 9 separate 8 volt golf cart batteries, with 5 in the rear and 4 in the front of the vehicle. The vehicle is driven by a single cylindrical drive shaft which is connected to the original shaft of the Volkswagens transmission.

Noel Stark, Ashton’s father, said he has driven the vehicle many times, and he believes it is not only green conscious, it is also inexpensive and practical to operate.

For more on the story, visit http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2EfYGF/www.good.is/post/teen-breathes-new-electric-powered-life-into-1972-beetle/
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Green Supermarkets?

The Co-op and Marks & Spencer were recently named as the UK's 'greenest supermarkets'. The survey by the Ethical Consumer magazine urges shoppers to shop with the better performing retailers in order to make an impact when shopping and influence retailers to improve their green credentials.

In the survey of 19 retailers the Co-op and Marks & Spencer were significantly ahead of the remaining 17, with retailers such as Tesco, Asda and Netto being rated as the three worst performers. In particular, note was made of the Co-op sourcing 98% of electricity from renewable sources for its 5,500 sites in the UK. Marks & Spencer came in for praise for its sustainable fish policy and its policy on palm oil.

Still, with the rest of the bunch performing so badly in comparison and even the Co-op and Marks and Spencer admitting they still have a long way to go, we are some way form being able to shop at any supermarket chain with a totally clear conscience. Let's hope 2011 brings even more progress and a better report for all the retailers in the survey. In the meantime, shopping local and buying locally sourced goods as much as possible is still the best way to be as green as possible... oh, and by shopping less too.