Category Archives: Environment

Stuff about the environment and our relationship with it

Renewable Energy Roundup

green roofgardenDon’t you hate it when you work out your whole renewable energy roundup and then accidentally delete the whole witty thing right before you click publish? I know I do. So you will have to take my word for it but, what I just wrote was wonderful. While I curse my over zealous clicking finger you can read this weeks (2nd) renewable energy roundup. We will be taking a renewable trip around the world (in way less than 80 days) to bring you stored wind energy in Iowa, green roofs from Japan, and A garbage eating monster from England. Lets go!

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Wind Power Is Competitive

vesta on shore wind farmThe analysis found here (pdf) presents the following results:

* In a carbon constrained world, wind power can be competitive with several
conventional power technologies depending on the price of carbon. EER’s analysis
considers the impact of the cost of carbon at 30 euros per metric tonnes.

* Much of the generation capacity currently being used in Europe is more than 20
years old and has as such been 100 % depreciated. Therefore, this analysis is
interesting in that it compares like with like, i.e. newly built wind power plants with
newly built conventional power plants.

All things considered, wind power is a superb supplement to the current power mix as it
increases the supply of electricity, reduces the consumption of conventional fuels, has little or
no carbon footprint and is an inexhaustible local resource.

Not to mention they look totally sweet when they are working. Check out these two amazing videos of some Vesta wind turbines (on and off shore) working. Be warned they are large files, but they look real purty! Notice in the land based one just how silent these turbines are. That noise you hear is the wind, and as the camera pans over to the turbine that is how little noise they make.

(I suggest the old right click and save as option as these are large)

Vesta On Shore Turbine ( 37.4mb mpg)
Vesta Off Shore Turbines ( 65.8mb mpg)

Bike + Cellphone + China = Sweet!

motorola bike chargerThis is an idea that has a lot of promise. It seems that Motorola is introducing a bicycle powered cell phone charger for “emerging markets” read third world countries where energy is hard to come by. Just because you don’t have electricity in your home doesn’t mean you can’t own a cell phone.

For people living in emerging markets, energy is a scarcity,” Motorola chief executive Ed Zander said Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show. “In Southeast Asia, rural China and Latin America, we can actually put this in, hook it up and charge this device while we are riding a bike.

Zander said with the bicycle-wheel power source and handlebar mounted cradle, the phones will be even more attractive in emerging markets. Many people overseas live in areas where regular power feeds are scarce. As a result, simply charging a cellular phone becomes a problem.

With the bicycle charging system, Zander hopes to tap into the more than 500 million Chinese people who ride a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. By why stop there? So many people all over the world could use this sort of technology to save gas, save energy, and have a good time riding their bike, while at the same time charging up all their little electro-gizmos.

Cell phones offer low income economies the chance to leap frog traditional technology limits without investing a lot of resources in infrastructure. They can start to reap the rewards of having more technology, and as shown by this innovation, can do so without hurting the environment. Imagine how much different America would be if everything was wireless and the bicycle not the car was the main source of transport.

How We Manage Cities May Be Key To Global Warming, And Solving Poverty

slumsIf global development priorities are not reassessed to account for massive urban poverty, well over half of the 1.1 billion people projected to join the world’s population between now and 2030 may live in under-serviced slums, according to State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future, released today by the Worldwatch Institute. Additionally, while cities cover only 0.4 percent of the Earth’s surface, they generate the bulk of the world’s carbon emissions, making cities key to alleviating the climate crisis, notes the report.

As recently as a century ago, the vast majority of the world’s people lived in rural areas, but by sometime next year more than half of all people will live in urban areas. Over 60 million people-roughly the population of France-are now added to the planet’s burgeoning cities and suburbs each year, mostly in low-income urban settlements in developing countries.

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