Plastic-based thin film solar panels have the potential to become significantly cheaper than traditional solar panels that are based on crystalline silicon. The issue with these thin films are the poor conversion rates. U.S. Department of Energy`s SunShot Initiative has now granted funds for three research projects lead by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) by Stanford University. The aim of these projects is to develop jet-like printing techniques that will lower the costs of thin-film solar panels.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of shipping your parcels and packages overseas, there are many ways that you can minimise it. Reducing your carbon footprint is something that you can do in all areas of your life, including when you send items abroad. Here are five effective ways to reduce your environmental impact the next time you send a package overseas.
Everyone wants cleaner energy. Even the most diehard ‘drill, baby, drill’ fossil fuel junkie will agree that ‘greener’ sources are the future of energy. European countries are already shifting to alternative energy for the majority of their power needs. Read the rest of this entry »
Located out in the desert, Dubai is a perfect place for making use of solar energy. When you live and work in the desert, you have to find ways to cope with the heat and reduce energy consumption. Here is a sample of some of the buildings dotting the desert skyline that are combining stunning architectural designs with eco-friendliness.
Recycling is one of the easiest things you can do to protect the environment and improve the quality of living. While recycling may be important for us as human beings, it’s even more important for the future of our environment. Here are some great tips to help you help the environment!
Make It Convenient
By finding a convenient place to collect all recyclable items, you can’t complain about it ever being “easier” to throw your plastic bottle in the regular garbage can. Set up recycling bins in your kitchen or your garage, this way when it comes time to recycle something, you have a specific spot you know you’re supposed to put it. Read the rest of this entry »
Many people are familiar with the term “diesel fuel”. More people are familiar with the term “gas oil”. Fewer are familiar with the concept of D2 diesel, an insider term of diesel produced from crude oil.
In layman’s terms, D2 diesel is the second distillation of crude oil. It is often called gasoil. When additives are included, it becomes commercial diesel fuel. For all practical purposes, the three terms are ubiquitous.
Diesel fuel has a complicated history from the first extraction of crude oil from the ground for mechanical purposes through the biodiesel revolution of the 21st century. Understanding the history of diesel fuel can help to show the future directions and applications of diesel from all sources, not just crude. Read the rest of this entry »
Given how a lot of policy ideas are communicated by governments from around the world and subsequently received by populations, it is at times surprising to think that the policy development process is a long and arduous one. Often it seems like someone has just shaken a magic 8-ball toy and asked whether or not something is a good idea.
When it comes to metal, everybody has their favorite Whether you love gold that glitters, swoon over sparkling silver or can’t be parted from your platinum, it always seems to be the precious and rare ones that get all the attention but what about some of the more common metals? While these expensive examples live the high life, important everyday materials such as aluminium and copper are taken for granted. Just look at the way we commemorate wedding anniversaries. The long and successful marriages of 25, 50 or 70 years are dubbed silver, gold and platinum respectively whereas poor tin is used for just 10 years. Still an achievement in marriage terms of course, but rarely as celebrated as some of its illustrious cousins. So with this in mind, here are a few ways you can recycle those old tins. Let’s show our appreciation to our humble friend tin and do our bit for the environment in the process.
Going green has never been more important, and fortunately more people are starting to change their habits for the good. However, going green is sometimes falsely considered to be incompatible with being stylish and comfortable. Despite this, perceptions are slowly changing these days as more designers show the world that green design can be just as attractive and fashionable as any other area of design. Read the rest of this entry »
Not everyone is as organized as they should be. Instead of dealing with important mail we like to just throw it on the table and watch it pile up. After a few months it’s a pretty big pile and what do we do? Nothing. We just let it sit there. Even if we read the mail and know what’s inside we still don’t throw it out. But I’m guessing now it’s getting to the stage where you have decided enough is enough. But you have to remember something important: you can’t just throw it in the trash.
For those who still remember that prescient maxim spouted by physics teachers the world over – energy is never lost, just converted – now might be the time to consider what this means for our homes. For most of us, turning off the light when we leave a room is automatic. Knowing what other changes to make in order to save energy, though, can be trickier, yet the solutions we choose don’t have to be groundbreaking. Here are my top tips to drastically save money and protect the environment, from the small to the large. Read the rest of this entry »
Everywhere, companies today receive bonus points for “going green.” In retrospect, is the “going green” fever in actuality harming the environment instead? Take bio-fuels, for example. They are praised for being biodegradable; however, the use and production of these fuels release more CO2 than fossil fuels. The row crops grown to create bio-fuel lead to higher erosion rates than sod crops.
Compact florescent light bulbs add to the problem with toxic levels of mercury. Recycling is available, but most CFL bulbs are improperly disposed, even by major companies like Walmart. This leads to up to 38,580 pounds of improperly disposed toxic waste, according to 2003 statistics.
Numerous plans are in place to counter environmental harms. Ocean fertilization of algae and forest planting are some examples, as is inducing volcanic activity to increase biodiversity from the sulphur dioxide. Other plans are not so effective, such as Seattle’s federal grant to create energy-efficient homes. The money was used for training to create 114 jobs and modified only 3 homes.
“Bioprinting” might sound like something out of a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel; but it is, in fact, a very real process and it just might revolutionize the healthcare industry in years to come. By combining technology that has traditionally been used to create 3D models of newly designed furniture, concept cars, or architectural mock-ups with stem cell biology, scientists have developed a procedure whereby they can create complex human tissue structures.
Currently, bioprinting is being used to produce blood vessels and tissue patches for use in drug testing. But the future is looking bright for this exciting new printing process, and healthcare professionals are hopeful that it might one day be utilized to produce fully-functioning organs, which would provide an inexhaustible supply of much-needed replacements for the terminally ill.
If the process can be refined and made more efficient, it will undoubtedly save thousands of lives each year and completely transform the nature of healthcare as we know it.
Infographic credited to PrinterInks.com
Despite the hype, becomig a “green” vehicle owner does not require shelling out thousands of dollars for a new hybrid or plug-in electric car. Sure, these green cars offer better gas mileage than regular cars, and they may even save you money over the long haul, but they don’t have a monopoly on “green.” You can achieve notable, environmentally-friendly results by making some simple changes to the way you drive.
Imagine living in a county where the weekly payroll has shot up by some 66 percent over the last three years. While workers in the rest of the country have been clawing like crazy trying to retain jobs, North Dakota’s Williams County has added more than 10,000 jobs since 2009. That might not be too impressive for a place like Los Angeles County with a population of nearly 10 million people, but only about 24,000 souls called Williams County home in 2011. And, not all the jobs are out in the oil fields. The influx of industry and workers has created a demand for all kinds of professionals and support services as well as opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. The influx of workers means a higher demand for housing, restaurants, groceries, gas, and countless other goods and services. This increased demand has driven the economic growth to become an explosion.
As more wind power, photovoltaics and other sources of renewable energy are connected to the power grid the complexity will increase. We move from large power plants supplying their immediate surroundings to more decentralized small scale solar and wind. One would think that this also leads to less grid stability, but according to scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen it`s actually the other way around.
Photovoltaic solar panels convert the energy in sunlight directly into electricity. Solar thermal collectors use the sun to heat up water or another “working fluid” for thermal applications such as air conditioning or hot tap water. Zenman Energy, a startup company based in Norfolk, Virginia, wants to build a “solar steam engine” that uses solar-heated water to output electricity.
Image credit: Zenman Energy Read the rest of this entry »
If you take the time and really Compare Electric Rates in Texas with those of other states, you probably notice that a lot of electric companies in Texas are now getting their power through natural sources. Look a little deeper and you learn that some of these natural sources include wind, water, the sun and even natural gas.
Natural gas and the future prospects surrounding this power source have been all over the news in recent years. Something else you might have heard in association with natural gas is a term known as “fracking.”
No, it’s not some science fiction curse word – it’s a relatively new extraction process used for obtaining natural gas. I have taken the time to break down this process so that those interested in the method can better understand how it all works.
1. A well is drilled vertically for several thousand feet.
2. The drill pulls a 90 degree turn and drills horizontally until it drills into the shale where a pocket of natural gas is believed to reside.
3. A mixture of water, sand, sodium chloride, ethylene glycol, borate salts, sodium/potassium carbonate, guar gum and isopropanol (also known as fracking fluid) is pumped into the well, creating fissures.
4. The natural gas escapes through the fissures for processing and application.
There are many different uses for natural gas including some of the more common domestic kinds you may be familiar with such as heating homes, drying clothes and even portable grills. Natural gas is also used for most forms of major, public transportation and makes up a substantial portion of the energy used by Americans on a yearly basis.
With worldwide energy consumption increasing by 46% in the past 20 years, renewable energy specialists at Stephens Scown solicitors in Cornwall and Devon are highlighting the importance of renewable energy in the region, as energy needs increase.
Despite hitting the headlines in recent months and years, renewables still only accounts for 3.7% of energy consumed in the UK – falling well behind other European countries including Germany (11.7%) and France (8.5%).
Head of Renewable Energy at Stephens Scown Sonya Bedford said “The South West is a hotbed for potential projects and the region has played and will play a key role in driving sustainable change and development.”
The firm has been at the forefront of driving developments, having already supported some of the UK’s most pioneering and innovative projects, which have already generated enough energy to power Exeter, Truro and St Austell – the equivalent to boiling a kettle more than 1,000,000 times.
Sounds simple enough, yet how?
Being a vagabond is great and all, but I also believe in community and sustainability! How could I accomplish all parts of my equation at once? I mean, isn’t community and sustainability accomplished successfully by living in one location with a group of people, following models of communal or group living, farming and running co-ops? And isn’t tramping around comprised of moving from one place to another quite often, rarely being somewhere long enough to build community or become part of an already established one, coupled with spending way too much time in cars, busses, trains, or airplanes and chain supermarkets to be sustainable? Read the rest of this entry »