energy

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solar panels for new prius

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-07-08 09:44

The fact that the solar panels are to power the car’s air-conditioning is little more than a gesture, really. But, nonetheless, Toyota’s remodelling of the Prius hybrid, due to launch next year, is set to flaunt solar panels on its roof.

If it happens, Toyota, in a close race with General Motors for the title of the world's top carmaker, would be the first major carmaker to use a solar power generation system on a mass-produced vehicle. [wheels24]

Solar power is not seen as a viable solution to power cars. Solar panels are expensive due to rising silicon prices and storing energy is difficult. It is unknown how much the solar panels on the new Prius cars will cost, or how many solar-mounted versions Toyota will build. [itweb]

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greening it up – 07 july 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-07-07 10:04

Green’s 12-year freedom from the grid. For the last 12 years, Rod Green, a retired geophysicist, has enjoyed freedom from the national electricity grid, and is now enjoying freedom from Eskom's load-shedding and unscheduled power interruptions to his farming operations in the Klein Karoo. [engineeringnews]

SA cleans up its glass act. The Glass Recycling Company together with the glass industry has stepped in to deal with the glass bottle overflow since Enviroglass stopped collecting glass for recycling recently. So far, about 500 bottle banks in Gauteng and 300 in Western Cape have been identified and divided into regions for emptying and cleaning. In the long term, a plan to fill the gap left by Reclam and Enviroglass will be worked out by the glass industry and The Glass Recycling Company. [business day]

Retailers & consumers should encourage sustainable packaging says Tom McLaughlin, Woolworths Foods Group manager for the environment, who described the packaging industry’s strained relationship with the environment as “a complete disconnection from the earth’s natural cycles”. Consumers, he said, can do their part by recycling and composting waste. Customers should also be more critical of the packaging and avoid purchasing overpacked items. (about time, don’t you think!) [engineeringnews]

Africa centre stage at G8 summit. African poverty tops the agenda at the start of a three-day summit in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The G8 has invited seven African leaders to join the opening day of its annual summit, that closely links poverty with the rising food and fuel prices and global warming. This summit is regarded as the most important G8 summit in a decade. [mail&guardian]

Biofuels no longer an ‘obligation’. EU ministers have informally announced that they’ve been under the false impression that they were obliged to include biofuels as part of their plan to fight global warming. It seems they’ve been misreading the documents - 10% of transport needs must come from renewable energy, not 10% from biofuels. [mail&guardian]

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solar-powered gyrocopter out of plumstead

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-06-30 11:01

Super Sport GyroplaneSuper Sport GyroplaneJai Reddy of Plumstead, Cape Town, has lodged international patents for a solar-powered personal helicopter and hopes to have a prototype airborne within eight months!

Not only will the gyrocopter use a renewable energy source and not emit any pollutants, but Reddy is planning on creating jobs by building the machines in South Africa. He has already had international offers to buy his invention, but is not budging.

Reddy, who is still studying towards his private pilots licence, was aware of the environmental damage caused by aviation and has spent three years and his life savings researching and developing a way to feed his passion for flying whilst conserving the environment.

Despite not having a scientific or avionics design background he has managed to build a scale version of his gyrocopter to test the concept.

"I realised it made scientific sense and I knew I had backed a winning bird. It was worth sacrificing my savings and lifestyle. But the real work begins now. With 95 percent of inventions not making it commercially, I have to make sure mine is among the 5 percent. Funding to take it to the next level is critical", says Reddy.

More on iol

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greening it up – mon 23 Jun 2008

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-06-23 10:56

Sasol: doing something about SA's largest private co2 footprint?Sasol: doing something about SA's largest private co2 footprint?SA carbon giants back global CEO plan
Eskom, with total CO2 emissions around 210 million tons a year (more than the US's largest electricity utility), Sasol (SA's biggest private sector emitter of carbon) and Transnet have all endorsed a climate change plan to be presented to the G8 by an influential group of CEOs from many of the world's largest companies.

From the World Business Council for Sustainable Development website:
The business leaders suggest a combination of "top-down" international commitments by governments, particularly by developed economies but also including emerging economies, and practical "bottom-up" efforts within and across industry sectors in the form of a multifaceted agenda of intensified public-private cooperation. These efforts will be aimed at speeding the development and diffusion of low-carbon technologies, mobilizing financial support to help developing countries adopt such technologies, spurring changes in consumer purchasing behaviour, and establishing common metrics to create a positive dynamic of improved corporate benchmarking, disclosure and investment decision-making with respect to GHG mitigation.

Green fascism or progressive policy?
Would you still think installing solar panels on your roof was a good idea if your government forced you to do it? Critics in the German town of Marburg have accused municipal authorities of being green "dictators" after the council, led by Social Democrats and Greens, approved a law requiring all new and renovated houses to be fitted with solar panels. The law stipulates that panels measuring one square metre for every 20 square metres of roof have to be installed. This would cost around 5000 Euro's and would take around 15 years to pay for itself in energy saved.

"We are facing a green dictatorship but nobody dares to say anything," said opposition politician Hermann Uchtmann. [iol]

Investec sees greenbacks in renewable energy
Investec Capital Markets head of project and infrastructure finance,


nuked, duped or both?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-06-20 13:10

A roundup of news and happenings on the nuclear scene:

CARTE BLANCHE's RECENT DELVE into what’s happening with the nuclear pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) and tax payers’ money provides a transcript well worth extra scrutiny – some of the commentary from Alex Erwin begs belief.

It is reassuring to know that our minister is satisfied that ‘all sorts of people’ have assessed the risks involved in going nuclear and that they are ‘understood and known’. The fact that the project is 10 times over budget and 10 years late, however, seems to indicate that something may seriously be wrong with the project.

Are taxpayers really well informed of the risks involved in nuclear energy? Professor Steve Thomas of Greenwich University, one of a panel of scientists employed by the government to give an assessment of the risks back in 2002, doesn’t think so:

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battery-operated car in sa

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-06-04 10:05

not the real design...not the real design...It’s no longer a pipe dream when the Deputy Science and Technology minister announces that an SA designed, battery-operated passenger car will be unveiled in 2009.

There are apparently two designs in the offing. A passenger six-seater car, "designed by a former Jaguar designer", will have a range of between 100km and 400km, and the roof will include solar panels to help charge the battery when parked in the sun. A utility van, something like a panelvan, will be a three-seater.

Both cars will be plugged into the mains at night, when demand

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greening it up – sun 01 june 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Sun, 2008-06-01 17:21

Alternatives worth exploring:

Harnessing the sun’s heat from pavements. Dutch scientists have figured out how to harness the sun as it beats down on hot highways - cutting heating and road repair bills. At nearly a dozen sites across the Netherlands, embedded in the pavement, lies a network of pipes. Water flows through these pipes and heats up in the summer sun. The warm water is then stored underground, where it stays hot for several months. In the winter, the water is circulated through nearby buildings – homes, industrial complexes, even an airplane hangar – providing warmth. [living on earth]

Australia’s first power plant fuelled by hot rocks, four kilometres blow the Earth’s surface, is due to supply electricity to the sun-scorched Cooper Basin outpost 1100 kilometres north-west of Adelaide by the end of the year. It will be the first exploitation of deep-earth geothermal energy in what is known as the South Australian Heat Flow Anomaly, a vast area of subterranean fractured granite with estimated potential to produce 60 times more electricity than the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. [maitland mercury]

Fuel cells power plane’s jet engines whilst on the ground. Airbus and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) presented the first commercial aircraft powered by fuel cells at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2008. The fuel cells cannot replace the plane's jet engines for powering the heavy plane through the air. Instead, the goal is to take the first step towards meeting ambitious targets to reduce aircraft environmental impact (fuel use, CO2 emissions and noise) by 50% by 2020: the fuel cells replace the auxiliary power units which meet the plane's power demands when the plane is on the ground. [treehugger]

and more on aeroplanes…

KLM to power planes with algae? The Dutch carrier says if all goes according to plan 12 Fokker-50 planes - representing seven percent of KLM's fleet - will fly on fuel derived from algae by 2010. Most likely, the planes will be powered by a blend of fuels, though according to AlgaeLink, KLM has every intention of running the 12 Fokkers on 100% biofuel. Biofuels of this type being developed are theoretically carbon nuetral, don't compete with foodstocks, and should be relatively cheap. [triplepundit] via [hugg]


darling wind farm powers up

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-05-26 20:28

SA's first renewable energy power initiative feeding into the national grid was officially powered up on Friday. The R75-million Darling Wind Farm consists of four turbines of 1.3 MW capacity generating a total of 5.2 MW of beautiful clean energy!

The idea for Darling Wind Power was conceived way back in 2000 and has been in the pipeline for a number of years now, so it's great to see this project come to fruition. Construction of the turbines started in 2006 and took two years to complete. The City of Cape Town has signed a long term power purchase agreement with the independant power producer (IPP), reportedly at a premium of 25% above the Eskom electricity price, which has made the project financially viable.

The opening was attended by Minerals and Energy Minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, not wanting to miss out on grabbing a renewable energy photo-opportunity in the wake of the Eskom power crisis, and Western Cape MEC for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Tasneen Essop. Essop commented that this was a highly significant project for the province that will contribute to the provinces target of increasing generation of renewable energy to 15% by 2014.

Darling Wind Power CEO Hermann Oelsner stated

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green your solar water heating

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-05-16 12:11

Everyone’s talking solar, which is no real surprise given the power crisis. It isn’t just a national crisis however but part of a far wider reaching global energy ‘over indulgence’ in dirty, non-renewable energy.

Whatever the reason for reading this – whether it’s that you want to take advantage of Eskom’s solar water heating incentive programme, or that you want to live a greener life - there is an urgent need to shift to renewable, non-polluting energy sources, like the sun, to provide our energy needs.

The difference between solar water heating and solar photovoltaics
Some people are confused when it comes to solar energy. They tend to lump solar in a hand basket and refer to it collectively as ‘solar power’. But there is a difference. Solar energy can be sourced as a form of


greening it up – fri 25 april 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Sat, 2008-04-26 08:45

Affordable electric car coming soon…. Wouldn’t it be great to know that a functional and economical electric car is available? The Think City electric car - a four-seater with 110 mile range and top speed of 65 mph, priced under $25,000, made from 95% recyclable materials, will be available in the U.S. in 2009. (no guesses as to where the pic for advertising was taken) [gas2.org]

SA needs to clean up and slim down. Our economy is hugely energy-intensive. In fact, according to this article, SA is a considerably worse emitter than the US if you consider its carbon dioxide emissions from the perspective of carbon intensity. The carbon intensity of an economy refers to the amount of carbon (or fossil fuels) a country consumes in producing gross domestic product (GDP). [businessday]

Zinc-air fuel cells the answer to our energy crisis? AEDS has designed a fuel cell that can deliver uninterrupted power for up to 240 hours and is environmentally friendly. Though they are aimed at non grid electrification in rural areas and only power appliances that need a 12 volt DC power supply that do not consume more than 35Watt energy, you can couple fuel cells in parallel. When interviewed recently on SAFM, Rolf Papsdorf alluded to powering his lights with fuel cells in his home.[AEDC]

Climate Change – Kirstenbosch’s theme at Chelsea. The exhibit, named "The Heat is on", was designed by David Davidson and Raymond Hudson and will be on display from May 20 to 24 at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, and at Kirstenbosch from Monday. [IOL]

Town produces all of its energy, and more, from wind power. Rock Port, Missouri, is a small city of 1,300 people, and they just made history by being the first city in the US to be 100% powered by the wind, also making them #1 in the US for percentage of renewable energy. [treehugger]


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