• Automated Vehicles and the Future of Fuel Efficiency

    Cars these days are becoming more and more like computers on wheels. Many car enthusiasts long for the days of simpler designs where they can figure out exactly what's going on... Topic: Fuel efficiency

  • Prius Plug-in Versus Volt: Which Costs Less to Drive?

    Now that Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid has been officially announced, we can begin the comparisons with the... Topic: EV, Price, Hybrid

  • Now you can determine the solar efficiency of your roof

    It is becoming more and more common to install solar panels on roofs in order to obtain green electricity, but not all roofs are equally suitable.... Topic: Solar, Solar resource

  • Vermont Experiments in Cow Power

    A recent case study in the State of Vermont suggests that deriving electricity from cow manure may be economically feasible. This small and largely agrarian state has no... Tagged: Vermont Topic: Biomass, Waste-to-energy, Anerobic digester

  • World's first consumer standard label for wind power launched

    The technical standard for the first global consumer label for companies to buy wind power and other clean... Tagged: International Topic: Wind

  • Charge It Up: Installing an EV Charging Station at Home

    Exciting, economical, and emission free: That’s the new world of electric vehicles!... Topic: EV

  • World First Low Carbon Fuel to Be Developed for Virgin Atlantic

    Virgin Atlantic today announced the development of a world-first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.
    ... Topic: Waste-to-energy

  • Nest Learning Thermostat: Shiny Toy or Serious Tool?

    It looks a bit like a hockey puck, but it’s designed to keep your home warm in the winter, while cooling it in the summer. But while it is indeed slick, it’s a lot smarter than... Topic: Efficiency, Thermostat

  • SAVE Act: Building Energy Efficiency into Home Value

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 -- The Alliance to Save Energy issued the following statement by President Kateri Callahan:

    "Every so often, a policy proposal turns out to be every... Tagged: Congress Topic: Efficiency, Legislation, Financing

  • A War Against Food Waste

    A food industry alliance is planning a three-year initiative to reduce the tremendous amount of food that Americans still throw in the garbage even as they grow... Topic: Biomass, Sustainability

  • Meet the Energy Superbugs: Extremophiles

    Extremophiles are tiny microbes that are able to thrive in hot, salty and even acidic or gaseous environments that would kill other forms of life.... Topic: Wind, Biomass, Waste-to-energy

  • Key Step Nears in Va. Quest for Offshore Winds

    A top state energy official says the federal government is preparing to accept expressions of interest from prospective developers of... Tagged: Virginia Topic: Wind, Offshore

  • Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

     

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    Tagged: Geothermal Topic: Natural gas, Solar
  • Health Effects and Light Bulbs

    For the first time scientists examined melatonin suppression in a various types of light bulbs, primarily those used for outdoor illumination, such as streetlights, road... Topic: Lighting, CFL, Solar

  • Duke Energy to Build Second Pennsylvania Wind Farm

     

    Duke Energy will build a new ... Topic: Wind farm, Wind, Utility scale

  • Military spearheads clean-energy drive

     

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    Tagged: Ethanol, Electric Vehicles Topic: Renewables, Biodiesel
  • Solar homes showcase students’ energy, creativity

    University of Maryland students didn’t compete in the last Department of Energy Solar Decathlon... Topic: Solar, Site News

  • A Solar Panel on Every Roof? In U.S., Still a Distant Dream

    Daunted by high up-front costs, U.S. homeowners continue to shy away from residential solar power systems, even as utility-scale solar projects are taking off. But with do-it-... Tagged: United States, International Topic: Solar, Site News

  • Hog Waste Producing Electricity, Carbon Offsets

    A pilot waste-to-energy system constructed by Duke University and Duke Energy this week garnered the endorsement of Google Inc., which invests in... Tagged: Everything Else Topic: Waste-to-energy, Biomass

  • Waste Water + Bacteria = Clean Energy

    For the first time, researchers have sustainably produced hydrogen gas, a potential source of clean energy, using only water and bacteria.... Topic: Hydrogen

Valley 25x’25 promotes sensible solutions to achieve 25 percent renewable energy in the Shenandoah Valley before 2025.

Biomass

Vermont Experiments in Cow Power

A recent case study in the State of Vermont suggests that deriving electricity from cow manure may be economically feasible. This small and largely agrarian state has no shortage of cows and dairy farms. It is conceivable that with the proper commitment from farmers, utilities, and government agencies, cow power could be a central part of the Vermont electric grid. The seven-year study was conducted by six dairy farms, and produced 12 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The six dairy farms participated in the Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) Corporation's Cow Power program. Energy consumers can choose to purchase their power from the participating farms, making it feasible for farmers to create their electricity. The farms operate generators that run on methane from cow manure, a renewable energy source and a beneficial use of an otherwise hazardous waste.

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Meet the Energy Superbugs

Extremophiles are tiny microbes that are able to thrive in hot, salty and even acidic or gaseous environments that would kill other forms of life. Now scientists are using these hardy dwellers of the seafloor and hot springs to produce biofuels like ethanol more efficiently and at lower cost.

These heat and salt-loving microorganisms are good at breaking down biological material like wood chips, waste crops or other sorts of plant material. They also literally "take the heat" when it comes to punishing industrial processes. Until recently, researchers have had trouble culturing these wild-growing extremophiles and harnessing their properties. But recent advances have allowed them to turn them into bio-powered refineries.

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Hog Waste Producing Electricity

A pilot waste-to-energy system constructed by Duke University and Duke Energy this week garnered the endorsement of Google Inc., which invests in high-quality carbon offsets from across the nation to fulfill its own carbon neutrality goals.

The system, on a hog finishing facility 25 miles west of Winston-Salem, converts hog waste into electricity and creates carbon offset credits.

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Jeffrey Tang's picture

Waste, Microbes, and Novel Energy Sources

Thu, 09/08/2011 - 8:39am -- Jeffrey Tang

Waste-to-energy solutions are among the most attractive options for renewable energy.

Turning a waste product into useful energy is a win-win, saving disposal costs while simultaneously providing renewable energy.  A whole range of these systems are either available or under development -- see our Biomass section for more information on some of these.  But this article and video from the NSF recently caught my eye as a potentially outstanding breakthrough.

Batteries That Run On Used Toilet Water

Humans should have a little more respect for dirty toilet water. In recent years, wastewater has become something of a commodity, with nuclear plants paying for treated wastewater to run their facilities, cities relying on so-called "toilet to tap" technology, and breweries turning wastewater into biogas that can be used to power their facilities. Soon enough, wastewater-powered batteries may even keep the lights on in your house or, at the very least, in the industrial plants that clean the wastewater.

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Wood pellet capacity set to increase

A number of new wood pellet plants in the U.S. and Canada are set to commence operations during 2011, with more plants planned in the coming years. With the additional capacity coming on line, the industry is eyeing the growing demand in four regions—Europe, Asia, and to a lesser extent the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada and Northeastern U.S. The existing coal-fired energy sector in the U.S.