Category Archives: alternative energies

Dry Water

Scientists discovered that dry water may play a decisive role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and averting a climate apocalypse.
Dry water consists of 95% fluid water and 5% silica. Silica is  not to be confound with silicon but generally known as sand. This Sand encapsulates micro drops of water preventing these from bonding and creating a substance akin to powdered sugar.

Actually dry water was already discovered in 1968 but its unique characteristics have just been found.
Studies revealed that dry water is three times stronger in absorbing and storing carbon dioxid than fluid water making it a crucial and promising instrument against greenhouse gases.
The powder is particular suitable for absorbing gases, which combined with water form hydrates.
Therefore dry water can simplify the transportation of many dangerous gases reducing the risk of accidents and the quantity of the absorbed gas. One possible use would be the absorption of methane. One liter of methane gas can be stored in six gram of dry water supporting the future use of methane as an energy source.

Another positive characteristic is that dry water catalyses the reactions between hydrogen gas and maleic acid to produce succinic acid, a feedstock or raw material providing a basis for cosmetics, food ingredients and many other consumer products. The catalyzing property of dry water replaces the energy that originally had to be added to have the two substances chemically react.
So all in all dry water is a product easily produced, useful and unique in ist characteristics. A lot of research is still to be done but it sounds like a promising product to reduce our pollution and transport of hazardous gases.

References:

http://cleantechnica.com/2010/08/29/dry-water-could-be-the-first-oxymoron-to-help-fight-climate-change/#more-14660

http://de.news.yahoo.com/34/20100827/tsc-trockenes-wasser-soll-erderwaermung-98fda55.html

http://ecards.orf.at/news/152454.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825174102.htm

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A Gallon of Algae

The green protozoa belong to the oldest living organisms on earth. They grow rapidly and practice photosynthesis. These facts uses Glen Kertz from Texas to produce alternative biofuel. Like other plants, algae transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. Thereby pure plant oil is a side product which is stored in the plant tissue. It makes up 50% of their dry weight and is the raw material for biofuel.

Kertz found a new and more efficient way to extract and process the pure plant oil. After producing the oil in his bathtub he launched the company Valcent Products that was immediately supported by the us investment company Global Green Solutions with 2,5 million US Dollar and is still a continuously growing Green energy company.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $9 million in funding for research into the use of algae that occur naturally in seawater to produce a sustainable twofer.
The funds will go to a Hawaii-based group called Cellana, LLC Consortium focusing on finding new strains of algae for more efficient production of biofuels.
Interesting is the fact that the consortium leader, Cellana, is a joint venture of renewable energy startup HR Bio Petroleum and oil industry giant Shell. The fact that the Shell is investing in alternative fuels is a bit suspicious but you never know.


The research also aims at algae as a feed source for cattle which has a desirable side effect: An algae diet reduces the methane emissions from cows which form a magnificent source of greenhouse gases.
Under perfect circumstances algae produce 30 times more oil than corn, soybean, sunflower or other Biofuel sources. Additional they reduce the CO2 emission as they are already responsible for every second oxygen molecule on our planet.
Furthermore algae grow in seawater which is a big advantage considering the future worlds struggle for drinking water. The cultivation does not need any pesticides or fertilizers. The use of big agricultural machinery would also be eradicated. All in all a positive development we should strive for. Although right now the costs for mass production still exceed the earnings, with raising oil prices and rising pollution the research on alternative fuels becomes inevitable.

References:

http://algaefuel.org/

http://www.algen.biz/Biosprit/Biodiesel.php

http://cleantechnica.com/2010/07/20/holy-sustainble-cow-ordinary-algae-can-double-as-biofuel-and-cattle-feed-too/#more-13116

http://www.br-online.de/wissen/umwelt/energie-alternativen-DID1188467066442/algen-biotreibstoff-biosprit-ID1209387131457.xml

http://www.focus.de/wissen/wissenschaft/klima/mobilitaet/biodiesel_aid_137668.html

http://www.valcent.net/s/Home.asp

Lumenhaus – when light meets design

The project Lumenhaus designed and developed by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University came in first at the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 in Madrid.
The Solar Decathlon is a forum for research and development of innovative, eco-friendly energy technologies and high-performance buildings. Schneider Electric, a French global company for electric equipment, sponsors the initiative for the following two years and collaborated on 8 of the 17 introduced projects. Additional the US ministry for economy and technology sponsored the initiative focusing mainly on energy efficiency.

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Lumen is Latin for light and Haus is German for  house, so the name implements the purpose.
The zero energy house points into a future of solar energy and more awareness of environment and ecology. But unlike others the attention was also drawn towards comfort. The project combines optimum energy efficiency with no waiving of luxury.
The energy is supplied by a huge solar panel roof and many more of the newest solar technologies.
An integrated weather forecast station feats the smart home with changing weather conditions allowing the responsive architecture to adapt correspondingly.

In terms of design the project concentrates on an open air feeling as well as an optimal light yield. The entire house can be controlled by a computer or even a smart phone giving the user the power to overrule the computer. A nice feature of the equipped software is an overview of all energy consuming devices in and around the house resulting in a more thoughtful use of energy. And at last for people how like to move a lot, the house is as a whole transportable via special equipped transport devices for a truck.
I personally like the fact that it is on the one hand a zero energy house but on the other hand has no limitations in comfort and design.

If you want to no more see for yourself.

References:

http://www.ep-photovoltaik.de/gesponsort-von-schneider-electric-lumen-haus-gewinnt-solar-decathlon-europe-2010/2010/07/12

http://www.lumenhaus.com/eu/

http://www.solarportal24.de/nachrichten_35011_lumenhaus_gewinnt_solar_decathlon_europe_2010.html

http://www.trendsderzukunft.de/projekt-lumenhaus-das-haus-der-zukunft-ist-da/2010/07/14/

Eats waste and shits oil

Greg Pal, 33, a senior director of the company LS9 located in the Silicon Valley introduced what he calls “renewable petroleum”.
Scientist genetically modified E-coli bacteria in order to create petroleum. The trial was a success and the first bacteria eating agricultural waste and excreting oil was cultivated.

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The company claims that this “Oil 2.0” will not only be renewable but also carbon negative – meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

Today most of the alternative biofuels of the US come from Corn. But as this biological energy source is heavily controversial LS9 is looking for other agricultural waste intending to tailore every region according to its particular needs in terms of climate and economy. For instance wheat straw in the East or woodchips in the South of the US.

If someone can produce bacteria at a large maybe global-scale, we would be one step closer to find a sustainable crude oil substitute. But right now we should maybe focus the oil eating bacteria to overcome our oil catastrophe in the Gulf from Mexico.

The new generation of oil sheiks


References:

http://themoderatevoice.com/20412/oil-excreting-bugs-to-save-the-world/

http://www.nextnature.net/2008/12/bacteria-that-eat-waste-shit-petrol/

http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2008-04/breeding-oil-bug

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,776544,00.html

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4133668.ece

Qatars bid for green soccer

This weekend starts the Fifa football world cup in South Africa and everybody is keen to watch the world’s best players score. But some people are already planning 12 years ahead. The Emirate Qatar applied with many other to be the venue of the World Cup in 2022. But unlike the other contestants Qatar submitted a very unique proposal to persuade the Fifa selection committee. The proposal contains five renewable energy stadiums manly designed by German Albert Speer & Partner GmbH.
The models are a mixture of local characteristics and modern architecture with special attention to sustainability. Solar power supported by other renewable energy sources shall guarantee the CO2 neutrality and reduce the temperature in the stadium to a maximum of 27° degree Celsius.

Al-Shamal Stadium

Al-Shamals history is coined by fishing so the Stadium will be imitate a Dhow, a traditional fisher boat.

• Al-Khor Stadium

In the northeast situated city Al-Khor the Stadium will be based on a sea shell.

• Al-Gharafa Stadium

The Stadium does already exist but will be additionally equipped with a new facade coating the Stadium in bands in the colors of the participating nations.

• Al-Rayyan Stadium

The Rayyan Stadium will be upgraded with a LED facade screening sport events nonstop.

• Al-Wakrah Sports Complex

Al-Wakrah Sports Complex will be more than just a stadium it will be a complex of relaxing in spas, shopping in malls, living in exclusive hotels and watching first class soccer.

The design and eco-friendliness of the stadiums should position Qatar well in the competition for running as a host for the World Cup in 2022. Furthermore  Qatar has various supporters for instance the former Dutch Barcelona and Ajax player Ronal de Boer who ended his career in Qatar.

References:

All pictures are from AS&P – Albert Speer & Partner GmbH

http://www.as-p.de/
http://www.qatar2022bid.com/
http://www.Stadiumwelt.de/
http://www.trendsderzukunft.de/fussball-wm-2022-katar/2010/05/31/

Solarized Desalination Plants

Experts claim that the global water deficiency poses a bigger problem for the human race than the climate change. More than a billion people do not have access to secure drinking water supply. Especially in sparsely populated areas without any infrastructure is it a daily struggle for survival.
According to UNO statistics die more than five million people (1,8 million children) yearly because of contaminated drinking water.


Desalination plants perform a possible solution for the drinking water shortage.
But conventional desalination procedures are very complicated, enormously costly, require a fully developed infrastructure and specialist to be maintained. But the major problem is the high amount of demanded energy and the undesirable environmental pollution.
A solar desalination plant’s photovoltaic panel could contribute enough energy and would not pollute the environment. Regions like Africa, Asia, South America and southern Europe that suffer the most under a lack of water could easily be provided by the combination of desalination and solar energy.
Companies like Helio Tech or I.B.M. are pioneers on this field.

IBM and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology are opening a solar-powered desalination plant in the city of Al-Khafji. The project shall provide water to about 100,000 people and pump out about 30,000 cubic meters of potable drinking water per day.
In this case the team uses a purpose-build nanomembrane that filters out salts as well as potentially harmful toxins in water while using less energy than other forms of water purification.
The solar-powered desalination plant will be the biggest on the planet and still hopefully just the beginning.

References:

http://www-brs.ub.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/netahtml/HSS/Diss/BrendelThomas/diss.pdf

http://www.dme-ev.de/

http://www.gillout.com/news/ibm_und_saudi_arabien_verwandeln_sonne_in_wasser

http://www.gizmag.com/ibm-solar-powered-desalination/14760/

http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/i-b-m-and-saudi-researchers-collaborate-on-solar-powered-desalination-technology/

http://www.heliotech.net/

Ecosia: Search and Save

Every search made on the internet causes CO2 pollution. By the amount of daily executed searches this adds up to quite a bit of CO2. How much CO2 it actually is varies from expert to expert but a young German has come up with a search engine that does not harm or environment, it protects it.
Ecosia is the name of the search engine that saves while you search. The developer Christian Kroll saved according to forestle.org already 4.912.453,6 m² of rainforest with his first but not widely known search engine Forestle.

Christian Kroll (dpa)

For Ecosia he collaborates with Microsoft Bing, Yahoo and the WWF and predicts to save many millions of m² rainforest. The concept is that Bing and Yahoo provide the necessary technology for the search engine while at least 80% of the profit earned by the site, is donated to the Juruena national park in the Amazonas, a WWF project.
The sites claims to save 2m² of rainforest with every single search. This number is averaged because only sponsored links bring money ( like Google, etc ).
Additional are the Ecosia servers run by eco-electricity making it an all around eco-friendly project.
All around? I doubt as many others that Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo are eco-friendly but I think this is not the crucial deficit. The crucial deficit is that it just doesn’t find as much as Google. But I think the project has shown a lot of creativity and effort in the right direction and therefore earns support.

For a more detailed instruction, see for yourself

Dutch introduction:

Detailed English  concept explenation :

Despite Ecosia there are some other, smaller search engines that try to make this world a better place. For instance dofair.org a search engine where you can choose out of five social projects or Ecocho an Australian search engine and one of the first on eco-friendly terrain. Let’s hope for more green searching in the future.

References:

http://www.dofair.org/

http://ecosia.org/

http://de.forestle.org/

http://zeitblick.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/ecosia-org-rettung-oder-schwindel/ http://www.focus.de/digital/internet/ecosia-suchmaschine-will-regenwald-retten_aid_460358.html