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Found 20 results

  1. Solar energy has never been more popular, and in the United States alone, the number of solar installations is 17 times greater than it was less than 10 years ago. Still, the vast majority of solar installations are used to power homes and businesses or provide additional energy into the electricity grid. However, the fact is that solar power actually has a great number of uses—especially in times of an emergency or natural disaster. When disaster strikes, solar can quickly become your best friend by providing the following potentially life-saving benefits. Solar Provides Backup Power Whenever You Need It If you truly want to be prepared in case of a power outage, a solar backup generator is most definitely the way to go. When the local power grid goes down, you can switch over to your solar generator to ensure that you still have electricity when you need it. Although you may need to monitor your power usage, a solar generator like those offered by Renogy can still allow you to have lights, keep your food cold, etc. As long as the sun is shining, your solar generator will continue to produce power and thus ensure you won’t be near as affected by power outages. Helps You Stay Connected in the Event of an Emergency A solar generator also enables you to charge your phones, tablet and other handheld devices. There are also a number of smaller solar chargers that can be used for the same purpose. In this way, you can ensure that you are able to stay connected and can get up-to-date information about the emergency or disaster situation. Although your ability to make calls or get online will obviously be dictated by your local network, solar can still ensure that your devices remain charged and ready to use whenever you have a signal. Keeps You Prepared for Any Eventuality In the event of a hurricane, tornado or another major natural disaster, there is a high chance that the power could be out for days, weeks or even months. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to begin the cleanup process and start getting back to your normal life until electricity has been restored. This won’t be nearly as much of an issue for you if you are able to rely on solar to power your essentials. Whether it is used to keep food or life-saving medicines from spoiling or simply to ensure that you don’t have to eat by candlelight, solar allows you to be prepared for any long power outages or other disruptions to the electricity grid. Based on this evidence, it is obvious that solar energy can be a huge help during an emergency or disaster situation. Although solar won’t make it any easier to overcome the loss or devastation of a disaster, it can still ensure that you have access to electricity when you need it most. In this way, solar power really is an emergency essential.
  2. Computers don't only depreciate in value, they become obsolete rather quickly. That's great for manufacturers in the computer industry but not so great for consumers and businesses who rely on having access to up-to-date and reliable technology. On average, a component in your PC is outdated every three years. From the video card to the processor, something is bound to be considered obsolete within a few years. While you can future-proof your devices by having your IT department upgrade your operating systems, processors, and RAM, you will eventually have to get rid of the old to make room for new computer systems. When you're making space for your new computer systems and peripheral devices, make sure that you're recycling the outdated technology. Here are 5 reasons that you should recycle: 1. Make Money Back with Buy Back Some computer companies understand how frustrating it is to have to pay more money just to buy another PC. HP Planet Partners Return and Recycling has a unique buyback program in place where you can sell your old systems back to the company for money or you can trade up to a new system. You're not going to get a fortune, but it is a financial incentive. 2. Help Protect the Environment Landfill sites are full of materials that can be reused. These sites are also full of toxic waste that could hurt the environment. By recycling your outdated technologies you can help manufacturers used recycled materials instead of using resources that could be used for other things. You can also ensure toxic materials are separated and disposed of properly. 3. Get a Recycling Tax Credit One of the advantages of being a business owner is that you can get a tax break for recycling. Incentives can really lower your tax liability. The depreciation of recycling your machinery can be taking into account as an extra allowance. You may also get state income tax credits for up to 10 percent of the purchase price of the machinery. 4. Set a Social Example Your brand is very important when you're marketing a product or service. If you're all about being socially responsible and highlighting the fact that your company is dedicated to green practices, recycling your old hardware could help you set an example for your customers. Your customers will respect the efforts that you're making and they'll be more likely to recycle their old computers too. 5. Protect Your Sensitive Information When computers and other technologies are recycled they are de-manufactured. That means that the materials are separated into groups by Ottawa IT service companies specializing in recycling. Then, the engineers will safely dispose of the waste. During this process, your sensitive data is destroyed so you don't have to worry about letting it sit there vulnerable. Your office trash could be the environment's treasure. Consider all of the advantages of recycling your e-waste and you won't leave your full machines sitting in storage. Instead of taking up space for antiquated systems, call a recycling company and dispose of your obsolete items quickly.
  3. Technology can significantly help you lead a healthy life. No kidding. The following 10 outstanding apps could become your faithful advisors in matters of healthy eating. How to pick healthy food in a store? How to control your nutrition intake? What diet will suit you most? These cool diet and nutrition trackers will give you answers to those questions and much more. So, let's get started! 1. Fooducate (Android, iOS; Free) Fooducate opens our list of the best nutrition apps. For most everyday customers, barcodes and labels of food products look like a real conundrum. No worries. With Fooducate, nutritional information will be easy to understand. How does it work? You open the app and see a letter grade from A to D accompanied by a brief summary of nutrition info. Healthy alternative suggestions are also here at your disposal. Additional features include calorie, intake, and exercise tracking. 2. Shopwell (Android, iOS; Free) Get ready to discover Shopwell, your mobile shopping assistant. In line with your nutritional needs, this barcode scanning app rates food products and grocery items. To use it, create a profile, choose a nutritional goal you are interested in (Athletic Training, Heart Disease, etc.) and indicate the dietary restrictions if any. Having obtained the necessary data, the app will offer you its custom healthy food suggestions. 3. My Diet Coach (Android, iOS; Free) The name speaks for itself. By using My Diet Coach, you will be able to acquire strong fitness and healthy nutrition habits as if you were trained by a real coach. How much weight do you want to lose? Set a specific goal and get motivational messages and helpful reminders along the way to help you achieve it. Don’t forget to keep a diet diary and use a calorie calculator. 4. Diet Point Weight Loss (Android, iOS; Free) Diet Point Weight Loss app will help you choose the weight loss program that perfectly suits your needs. You will get access to over 130 different diets in various categories, as well as receive succinct meal plans and readymade shopping lists. To avoid overeating, the app will notify you for the next mealtime. 5. Lose It! (Android, iOS; Free) Lose It! aims to help you lose weight. Specify your weight, height, and your desired weight. According to the data provided, the app will help you calculate a daily calorie budget. As simple as that. Barcode scanning, a vast database of food products, and exercise tracking option will make you unstoppable on your way to a slim body. 6. MyFitnessPal (Android, iOS, Windows Phone; Free) Forget about overeating with this smart MyFitnessPal's Calorie Counter app. Its database comprises over 2 million food products. Just pick and track those you are consuming by using a barcode scanner. A recipe calculator is also available to input custom creations making it easier to achieve your diet goal. 7. Calorie Counter by FatSecret (Android, iOS, Windows Phone; Free) Do you consider yourself a calorie-conscious dieter? If so, Calorie Counter by FatSecret is here for you. It offers a bunch of options like a food and training diary, a barcode scanner, a weight chart, as well as many food recipe ideas. Make your meal more versatile and healthy. Use the options mentioned above to make the process of losing weight both effective and exciting. 8. DietHero (iOS; $1.99) DietHero doesn’t force you to try new ingredients, some of which are not that easy to get. Instead, you work with food products you already have. You need to specify which food you like most and set a nutritional goal. Once you’ve done it, the app will generate a particular meal plan for you. In order not to get lost in a shop, you will be offered a custom shopping list of ingredients. Check your progress by using a weight log. 9. Calorie Counter Pro (Android, iOS; $3.99) MyNetDiary's Calorie Counter Pro is a true three-in-one. Firstly, it is a food scanner. It scans products' barcodes for their nutritional information. Secondly, it is a nutrition log with an option to input your meals and recipes. Finally, MyNetDiary's Calorie Counter Pro is an exercise tracker allowing you to enter over 500 physical activities. Indicate a number of calories burned, as well as time and distance passed. 10. Nutrino (iOS; $7.99/mo) With Nutrino app, you set your nutritional goal (building muscle, losing weight, etc.) and get a personalized meal plan to help you achieve it. If you are lactose-intolerant or gluten-free, simply specify it. The app will adjust food recommendations accordingly. Nutrino is compatible with other apps and devices.
  4. Selling goods is an art form. You want to produce a quality product so as to attract a loyal customer base, yet you need to minimize production costs whenever and wherever possible. The key is to have a production facility that is both streamlined and simplified in order maximize profits in the long run. Consider the following 4 ideas to accomplish just that. Manufacturing Tasks Made Simple It is important to simply manufacturing tasks within any production facility in order to increase efficiency. This will ultimately serve to improve not only profit, but customer satisfaction as well. As you walk around your production facility, look critically at any opportunity to simply. Failing to do so will, over time, lead to operational process that become inefficient. Look for ways to implement new technology to cut down on mundane tasks that take a great deal of time and are a poor use of resources. Organization Is Key If you have not taken the time to organize your production facility lately, you are missing out on a prime opportunity in simplify and streamline the overall process. The longer it takes a worker to locate something that is out of place, the less likely you are ever going to realize maximum efficiency. An organized workspace is critical. Not only does this contribute to safety within the facility, it also serves to ensure that labor costs are kept low and individuals are able to complete more tasks in a limited amount of time. Compressed Air and Gas Treatment If you are involved in the manufacturing of any product that requires gas as a central component, it is important to have compressed air and gas treatment as a central part to your operations. Some companies, such as MTA Australasia, know that having this centralized and regularly maintained is a way to further simplify and streamline the production process. This should be incorporated into every facility in an effort to maximize productivity and improve overall efficiency. Minimize Waste Any production facility is bound to have some waste that takes place, but the key is to minimize this as much as possible. This is a process that depends on organization and the ability to constantly monitor processes in order to arrive at a more efficient way of handling the materials on hand. If you find that you are constantly having to order new materials, look for ways to use discarded scraps within the production process itself. These are four simple yet effective ways to simplify and streamline facilities. Look to begin them this quarter to achieve the results you have been hoping for.
  5. The desire for better fuel economy is not a new trend. For decades, automotive manufacturers and designers have been coming up with ways to help the consumer in getting more miles out of their gas tanks. The latest technologies in the fuel economy arena show a lot of promise in taking fuel economy to a new level. Let’s take a look as some of the most interesting advancements to keep your eyes on. Advanced Cylinder Deactivation While cylinder deactivation was originally introduced in the early 80’s with Cadillac's V864 engine, it only became commonplace a few years ago with improved electronics and a better fuel system then Cadillac’s pioneering model. One fuel saving technology to keep an eye out for will be advancements to this technology. Look for cylinder deactivation engines that run longer on fewer cylinders, thanks to added sensors and a more sophisticated control algorithm that could potentially reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent. Fuel-Cell Plug-In Hybrids The hydrogen fuel-cell may finally make its debut. As of now, the fuel cell is going to be expensive and the infrastructure for refueling is still foggy. One solution to these problems was actually shown by Ford almost 10 years ago when they displayed their Airstream concept. The Airstream used a plug-in-hybrid layout that created better usability and a better cost balance. The fuel cell would act as a range extender while a capacitor or battery handled fluctuating power demands that are prevalent in everyday driving. Engines with No Camshaft Yep, you read that correctly. Even though designers and engineers have gotten very close to optimal valve lift, timing, and cam phasing, there is little more they can achieve with the traditional camshaft. Unlike the loud, energy-draining hydraulic and electromechanical solenoids like those used in a lab test for cam profiles, the introduction of a 48-volt electrical system, see below, and smaller engines make the idea of having camless engines a very real possibility in the not-too-distant future. Instead of a rotating camshaft, each cylinder would have a dedicated actuator that would be precisely timed for the needed power demand. This design would allow for optimal timing across all cylinders and would result in superb fuel efficiency. 48-Volt Electrical System Let’s face it, the internal-combustion engine has dominated the automotive industry pretty much ever since there was an automotive industry. Even though there is a huge push for total electric vehicles, the lack of a refueling infrastructure and global manufacturing realities, the internal-combustion engine will probably remain the dominant power plant for quite some time. One way engineers are working to make these engines more efficient is by using a 48-volt electrical system to replace the current 12-volt system. Since there are so many components on the modern automobile that drain power and energy from them, a 48-volt system opens the possibility of advancements such as camless engines, replacing mechanical accessories like air conditioning and power steering pumps with electric alternatives, and have plenty of power left over for other features. This reduction in loads on the engine can increase fuel efficiency by 10 percent. Electric Superchargers Another advancement that would be made possible with a 48-volt electrical system is the electric supercharger. Audi is already using this technology on their SQ7 TDI and it is rational to think there will be plenty more to follow. Such an advancement means that cars equipped with cylinder deactivation can run longer on fewer cylinders. If additional power is needed, the supercharger will kick in and when the car travels downhill, the airflow will drive the electric motor in the supercharger, sending power back to the battery. Visit a supply shop like Arnold Motor Supply if you have questions. While there are plenty of other technologies on the horizon designed to improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, we selected these five for their plausibility and the amount of an impact they would, will, or do have in the modern vehicle. You might consider contacting an auto shop if you have questions about how your specific vehicle can have better fuel efficiency.
  6. Innovations continue to emerge as business and governmental agencies step up to the challenge of reducing solid waste. From planning for the future to large-scale examples of best practices in waste-stream sorting, here are five intriguing advancements in recycling: 1. Design for Recycling The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries recognizes advancements in this area with an annual award. Samsung Electronics America won the award in 2016 for its design of a TV incorporating snap-together parts instead of screws, allowing a recycler to disassemble it in ten minutes or less. 2. Wear. Donate. Recycle. Did you know the average person in the U.S. throws away 70 pounds of clothing and textiles each year? Some municipalities are considering textile recycling programs or even fining residents who throw away clothing instead of donating it. The Council for Textile Recycling works to create awareness among consumers, charities, recyclers and others and has a goal of zero textile waste going to landfills by 2037. So expect to see much more of their slogan, “Wear. Donate. Recycle.” 3. Sink Your Shucks You might not realize that even natural materials can have uses beyond the landfill. Consider oyster shells, as an example. A recycling program in Texas called "Sink Your Shucks" takes oyster shells discarded by seafood processors and uses them to restore ocean reefs. In August 2016 they celebrated recycling one million pounds of oyster shells this way. That's making a difference! 4. In-house Options Businesses that end up with lots of cardboard boxes — and needs packing material for shipping — have found a great solution with industrial cardboard shredders such as those offered by Advantage Business Equipment. Not only do they provide a sustainable way to get rid of cardboard, but the shredders can also pay for themselves very quickly by supplying the business with virtually free packing material. 5. Smart Waste Management As communities struggle with lower commodity prices, they're looking for ideas to streamline and improve their recycling efforts. A great example is the Southern Nevada Recycling Center in Las Vegas, operated by Republic Services and winner of the 2016 Gold Excellence Award in the Recycling Systems category from the Solid Waste Association of North. It's huge—110,000 square feet—and is capable of processing 70 tons of waste per hour through its material recovery facility. Fortunately, there are many great examples of environmental stewardship as efforts continue to make the most of our resources, protect the environment and create a sustainable future. Keep yourself informed on new ways that you can save the environment through recycling.
  7. Going green seems to be on all our minds these days. Recycling, saving energy, and living frugally are all becoming more a part of daily life. Your car can play a big part in the environment as well. According to experts, green cars benefit anyone concerned about the environment. Each automobile has highly unique technologies that increase performance without producing air pollution. Here are some of the top rated on the market today! 2016 Chevy Volt The technology in the 2016 Chevy Volt is very efficient because it helps the vehicle travel up to 53 miles on one charge. If the car has a full tank of gas and a complete charge, it can commute nearly 420 miles down a highway. When the Chevy Volt is operational, two unique motors with electrical components work together to save energy. Both engines also give the automobile extra power and plenty of torque. If you need a car that has an app, the 2016 Volt is a great choice. The software helps busy families because it has buttons that lock and unlock doors and icons for the lights. 2016 Toyota Prius The Toyota Prius is worth considering if your family wants a car that has some futuristic elements. In the cabin, you’ll find a convenient console with a touch screen that is useful during a variety of driving situations. For example, throughout a long road trip, the panel provides information about the vehicle’s ECO saving technology. Toyota engineers care about safety so the new Prius was built with a number of technologies that prevent accidents on the road. If you’d like to park strategically and safely without polluting the environment, Toyota’s Enhanced Parking Support technology will benefit you. The system has a sonar that can detect various objects, such as lampposts, bikes, and walls. If the technology senses a possible collision, it will produce an alert, slow down the engine, and press the brakes. Intelligent Parking Assist is also equipped with the 2016 Prius. This technology moves the steering wheel automatically and guides the car into a parking space. 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hyundai has a highly skilled technology team that develops tools for every one of their automobiles. The company’s smart phone app works on Android devices and when the application is used, it recognizes voice commands and compiles of a lot important information. If you drive this green vehicle to a grocery store or shopping mall, the process of packing various bags in the truck won’t be a hassle. Thank to Hyundai’s Smart Trunk technology, you can put groceries into the storage area effortlessly without using a key. The trunk opens automatically whenever the sensor in the car detects a trigger, which is found in the key. Commuting in the new Sonata is an enjoyable experience because the car has a convenient cruise control system with advanced capabilities. Hyundai engineers put a senor in a strategic location so that the car can automatically detect other vehicles in nearby lanes. When another car gets too close, the system will reduce the Sonata’s speed. In dangerous situations, the technology will increase safety by bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. 2016 Audi A3 The 2016 Audi A3 is an award-winning vehicle that has a number of beneficial safety and performance features. You may want to buy this car if you need transportation that’s dependable, classy, and green. In the cabin, passengers can access many of the car’s tools by using a unique scroll wheel. The technology controls the navigation system, telephone, and radio. 2016 Honda Civic Families enjoy riding in the 2016 Honda Civic since it has many eco-friendly features and heated seats. The EX-T trim gives consumers three heat levels that increase comfort in the front of the cabin. The Touring trim includes a system that produces heat in the back of the cabin as well. Going green is important in the car you choose as well as your everyday life. Each of these cars is a great choice for saving energy and getting the best in technology. An auto body shop in Summit County or local paint shop can make the exterior just as flashy as well. Don’t forget to research which features will be best for your family as you do your shopping.
  8. The demand for energy grows as the population of our planet increases. By conserving, recycling, repurposing, and creating new sources of energy, we can get the same job done without depleting our natural resources and adding to pollution. Here are four modern problems surrounding energy issues and how they can be solved. Sustainable Communities People living in highly populated urban areas need energy resources in large amounts, creating high demand and large impacts on the environment. Developing energy solutions used in highly populated areas have a major impact. For example, making it easier for people to ride public transit, cycle, or walk for everyday trips conserves energy and reduces the use of fossil fuels. Developing green buildings, which emit less pollution, results in cleaner air and water as well. Biosolids The sewage generated from large populated areas was traditionally pumped into the waterways causing pollution. As sewage management progressed, the solids filtered from sewage were transported to landfills or incinerated. None of these methods are earth-friendly. The advent of biosolids, which turns sewage into agricultural materials by using industrial dryers, greatly reduces fuel consumption. Companies like Uzelac Industries use this self-sufficient system to recycle biosolids into useful agricultural materials. Recycling Food Waste Today, high volumes of food waste in the beef and poultry industry, as well as many other types of commercial food waste from manufacturing, is a concern for many environmentalists. As organic removal and recycling services grow, they help many food manufacturers reach recycling goals and reduce waste output. The waste collected is recycled into high-energy animal feed ingredients which reduces the amount of waste put into landfills, provides animal feed, and saves energy that would be used to transport and process the waste. Recycling makes a useful product out of material that would otherwise be an adverse issue. Substitutes for Fossil Fuels Finding alternatives in place of costly fossil fuels is a need in many industries. Many different types are still being experimented with and studied, like ethanol, biofuels, and hydrogen fuels. Urban waste water can be used as an inexpensive, carbon-neutral substitute for fossil fuels. Using drying systems, large metro areas take the huge levels of sludge a large population generates, and reduces the liquid. Then, this dried sludge can be used to produce energy that's sustainable, easily available and cheaper than fossil fuels. The levels of energy needed to sustain the population grow each day. Solutions that preserve the environment and conserve energy are important to the health of the planet. To meet that demand, it's important to look to adopting earth-friendly solutions that recycle and conserve energy while creating renewable sources.
  9. Over the past years, the world technological innovation has been on the increase with the recent trend of the introduction of smartphones. This is a great influence on customers buying habits today. Technology can be greatly described as the best world changing agent that have drastically changed the way people operate and associate with each other. Its contribution in the transport, Purchase, communication and social life cannot be emphasized. As a matter of fact, technological innovation is real. In the past, people were used to traveling from one place to another to purchase a product or to make an inquiry. This used to cause trouble to many individuals as the cost used to be high. Due to technology, there have been drastic changes in the way people travel as people can now make orders online, book vehicle and communicate with their loved ones through use of technology. This shows the power of technology towards our buying habits. To begin with, it is fair to say that the use of adverts has greatly contributed to increase in the buying habits of different individuals. This is because the sellers are now in a position to use online platforms such as social media e.g. Facebook, twitter, Skype and the rest to advertise their products. Such adverts are more appealing to the consumers hence it encourage them to buy more of the product. In addition, technology has also led to an increase of free services and discounts. Buyers are now in a position to use free communication such as emails and social networks that enable us to get in touch with the sellers hence giving us a chance to bargain. The sellers also use the same technology to give a discount to customers. This is due to the competitive nature of the market online hence this, in turn, contributes to lowering of the price of the product. Example sellers on Amazon give coupons and discounts to buyers. Technology also has led to boosting the education system and making it cheap, convenient and affordable to the students. For instance, many universities have integrated the use of technology in teaching. Classes are now offered online through distance learning. Students can register their degrees and study from home or place of work without having to travel to attend physical classes in their universities and colleges. Due to this, many universities are now forced to take the challenge and go online or else they stand a chance of losing more students. This has made it convenient and cheap on the side of the students Thirdly, the use of technology has helped the consumers to make informed choices before making a decision of buying anything. This means that we can go online and check the price of what we want to purchase and compare it with another price in other sites before buying. In addition to this, the introduction of coupons has been advantageous to the sellers. As it's mentioned on http://zrealizujkupon.pl/shops/oleolepl, they are now able to track the purchasing trend through the use of unique bar codes on coupons. Coupons also help to increase the purchase volume as they attract and bring customers on the stores and lastly coupons helps to boost the product line In conclusion, it should be noted that consumers continue to interact with multiple object that surrounds his environment. However, the mode of interaction is changing due to changes in technology. As a result, consumer behaviors may be influenced by a new set of factors that seem novel today.
  10. Engineered or activated water is increasingly taking place in the cleaning industry. It has three major types, which are used for cleaning -- ozone, hypochlorous acid and water electrolysis. Despite the fact that none of these have been recognized as a disinfectant, they are good sanitizers, perfect for cleaning glass and other surfaces. The main thing here is that these activated water solutions help minimize the use of harmful chemicals, thus protecting yours and your children’s health. Many cleaning businesses have adopted the usage of natural, bio detergents, but this technology is on a next level. The fact that cleaning industries can take advantage of the engineered water technology is not a recent finding. The large machines, needed to put into operation this innovative technology, have been around for many years, but customers weren’t happy with their size and price. Recently, technologies have evolved and now even the small, hand-held devices can activate water for cleaning purposes. The rising public awareness of sustainability and global warming issues determines this technology as a great step towards providing eco cleaning services at a very decent price. Еngineered water is obtained through electrolysis, which causes nearly undetectable pH and other changes in its chemical composition. Еlectrolysis is a process which uses electricity to break down water molecules into positively and negatively charged water ions. When you apply water in electrolyzed form to a certain area, the charged ions attach to dirt particles and lift them off the surface. More information about the process you may find in this interesting article. Activated water products and devices are mostly used in educational establishments, retail and healthcare facilities, commercial buildings and owner-occupied properties. Many building service contractors also embraced the idea. What drives the increase in activated water usage is that this technology provides a great value for little money. The usual cleaning chemicals require high costs for production, transportation and storage. In our case, these costs do not exist for the reason that engineered water can be produced on site.
  11. The amount of energy-efficient innovations on the market is at an all-time high. This is great news for the homeowners who wish to cut down on electrical costs. Here is how new technology can make your home more efficient. Rainwater Harvesting System Investing in a rainwater harvesting system will certainly help you to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Not only are rain collection systems very inexpensive, but they are also relatively simple to install. The stored rainwater can be used for a variety of different things, including flushing the toilet and washing laundry. Over the course of a year, the system can really save a lot of extra money. Solar Water Heater Unfortunately, traditional water heaters can use quite a bit of energy. In comparison, solar water heaters are far more efficient. In as little as two years, the energy savings will actually cover the initial cost of the solar water heater. As sunlight shines down on the solar panels, energy is quickly collected. Contrary to popular belief, the photovoltaic cells can even absorb energy on cloudy days. Heated Floors Companies such as Summerstep actually design in-floor heating systems. After the installation of an in-floor heating system, you will not have to depend totally on a HVAC system to keep your home warm. When the temperatures dip below freezing, many homeowners have to turn up the dial on their thermostat. An in-floor heating system will help to eliminate this energy-draining problem. Children and pets will especially love the extra warmth. Smart Thermostat The most advanced thermostats on the market offer incredible energy savings. With the use of high-tech sensors, they can actually adjust the home’s temperature according to the changing weather conditions. These nifty thermostats can also be easily controlled via a mobile phone or computer. If you are asleep under the covers or away from home, a smart thermostat can be programmed to lower the home’s temperature. Research shows that a smart thermostat can drop your electric bill by $100 dollars a month. Automated Lighting Many homeowners have already transitioned to LED lighting. However, installing an automated lighting system can further improve your home’s efficiency. Instead of leaving your lights on full blast, an automated dimmer switch allows you to dim the lights to save energy. Due to the rise in the cost of electricity, homeowners are strongly encouraged to invest in energy-saving technology. All five of these innovations promise to keep your home efficient.
  12. If there's one thing without which modern society would seize to exist, it's oil. (Well, living without Internet will also positively suck, but that's a whole different story right here.) Realistically speaking, for the time being, despite the billions of dollars that are being put into the development of green technologies, oil remains essential to the proper functioning of our lives. Oil supplies our factories and makes our means of transportation move, it helps trade, makes manufacturing and transportation of goods, including food and medicines, possible. All in all, we need oil to survive. But the huge demand for oil we've experienced since the Second Industrial Revolution comes at a great cost for the planet and respectively, for the entire human kind. Each year we drill about 14 trillion liters of oil. That alone has tremendous environmental consequences which are next to impossible to be countered because, hey, "Drill, baby, drill!". But there's another negative side of oil consumption, and it's the fact that during transportation a significant quantity of oil is spilled, thereby destroying entire ecosystems, polluting the habitat of all kinds of plant and animal species. And because oil is mostly transported across oceans, this is where most spills occur. The results are both immediate and long-term, so looking for ways to eliminate the spill and counter its effect is crucial for the preservation of Earth's oceans. But cleaning something so vast as an ocean is not an easy task. Luckily, technology has evolved and continues to rapidly do so to such an extent that we might already have a working solution to the issue – drones. We've seen drones being deployed in various places, efficiently handling all kinds of situations. Recently a startup in the Netherlands even introduced a project which aims to develop a fully functional house cleaning drone. So if the technology could be utilized for the needs of home cleaning, it's only natural for it to be used in the quest of preserving our oceans. Airborne Emergency Response to Oil SpillsHere's where AEROS (Airborne Emergency Response to Oil Spills) comes into play. Essentially, AEROS is an unmanned, robotic system which locates oils spills and deploys robots and inflatable booms at spill sites by an airplane. Once in the water, the booms inflate themselves and surround the spill. Then the unmanned robots start purging the water. The water-cleansing robots suck the contaminated water in and spin it inside. The swirl that forms leaves the oil at the center and then collects it in a special bladder, while it pushes the pure water outside. Each robot has an incredible capacity, filtrating over 7000 litres per minute. And the oil that is recovered, up to 90% of the spill, is later collected from the bladders and can be later sold as an additional stream of revenue. Just in comparison, the methods that is being used by far could only filtrate and recover about 5% of the oil. Protei ProjectThe Protei Project is another promising startup which aims to counter oil spills. The people behind this large-scale international project have developed a shape-shifting sailing robots which will patrol the oceans, clean up oil spills and collect plastic waste. The autonomous robots will essentially sail upwind, using the power of the wind, and pull a long boom-tail which will absorbs oil. What makes the Protei boat prototypes so innovative is their hulls which are flexible and are made to move left and right like a fish. That movement allows the drone boat to utilize the power of the wind to the fullest and never lose power, easily pulling the heavy boom tail. Large oil spills like the Deep Water Horizon in the Mexican Gulf don't happen too often, but when they do, the effects to the environment are catastrophic. And as I already mentioned, at that point in time it's impossible for oil companies to cease oil transportation, however, they can use technology to contain the spills and counter the negative impact of the spills. For now the technology is not market-ready, but with some backing it will be there we we most need it.
  13. Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuels, is the primary reason for global warming. Many initiatives designed to stop global warming center around reducing the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels and creating alternative energy. An example of this is laws that are being written encouraging governments and large businesses to put a limit on their carbon emissions. Businesses and governments that exceed their annual limit of carbon emissions will be required to pay for the excess gases they produce. Recycling and Clean Energy Other steps are being taken by the public at large. These include a shift in consumer buyer habits. More people are choosing to purchase products that were made using recycled materials, and that were created in factories using green energy. These include businesses that produce at least 50 percent of their energy using either wind, solar, or another source of clean energy. Additionally, homeowners are taking advantage of incentives provided by local utility companies as well as tax incentives set aside for individuals who use renewable energy in their home. Solar panel technology has taken amazing steps forward as has the energy storage capacity of batteries used in conjunction with these systems. Homeowners with installed solar panels and who have constructed wind turbines have even been able to sell some of their excess energy back to the utility company. Electric Automobiles Automobiles play a large role in creating the gases that contribute to global warming. More and more people are purchasing hybrids and plug-in hybrids that run on electricity and create less carbon emissions. Tesla has taken the idea of an electric vehicle and pushed it into the mainstream. Now other automotive companies, including Ford and Harley-Davidson, are producing energy efficient electric vehicles. In addition to taking steps against global warming, these companies are saving themselves money because an automobile that gets 40 miles to the gallon as opposed to 20 miles to the gallon, will save them approximately $3,000 a year in fuel costs. Landfill Gas More innovative programs have shown promise in slowing the effects of global warming. One of these includes the landfill gas collection system. Basically, this program is designed to capture the methane gases that are a natural product of decomposition of organic materials in landfills. Once this methane is collected and treated, it can be used to produce energy in combustion engines. Using landfill gas in this way has a twofold benefit. First, it minimizes the amount of methane that is released into the environment. Second, it provides an alternative source for combustible fuel. While there is much discussion about the source of global warming, it is almost universally accepted that it is occurring, so it’s not surprising that more and more individuals are turning to environmentally friendly sources of energy as a way to slow global warming’s process.
  14. As electric cars become more and more prominent on roads around the world, it is only logical that the demand for home charging stations is reaching a new peak, with companies scrambling to meet it. Already there are several options with a wide array of benefits that give consumers a choice, but the question becomes how does one find the best charging station for them and their particular situation? Fortunately, it's fairly easy to compare several of the top brands. Converting Your Car The first thing to keep in mind is that it's actually very easy to convert a car from using petrol to employing electric power, and there are quite a few reasons to make this change. For one, it costs a lot less to run an electric vehicle. For a handful of change you can travel as far as a full tank of gas would otherwise bring you. According to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists “Based on electricity rates in 50 cities across the United States, the analysis found drivers can save $750 to $1,200 dollars a year compared to operating an average new compact gasoline vehicle (27 mpg) fueled with gasoline at $3.50 per gallon. Higher gas prices would mean even greater EV fuel cost savings. For each 50 cent increase in gas prices, an EV driver can expect save an extra $200 a year.” Those who live in energy deregulated markets (read more about those here) can pair this with an energy provider who uses green energy to pack a double punch against their carbon footprint. Luckily for car owners who want to make the changeover but are wearing of the price tag of electric cars the actual conversion of a gas powered car to one that runs off electricity can be done for much less than the cost of a new electric car and it will produce zero emissions when it's finished. Making this change is therefore not only good for your budget (in both the short and long runs), but also the environment. Leviton Evr-green Leviton has gone to great lengths to start thinking ahead. That's why the new Evr-green system is not only designed for both Level I and Level II users, but it also includes a pre-wire system that can be installed in a home in order to make the transition to an electric car easier. The system starts at around $200 but does not including installation, which is best left to the professionals. That being said, it's a bit pricey at $1,129.54 and doesn't include DC fast charge, making it one of the slower units available on the market today. AeroVironment What stands out about AeroVironment is largely their commercial operations, offering both Level II and DC fast charge units, but its residential operations just got a big boost in the arm by securing the exclusive contract to be the installed station for Nissan LEAF home charging. At $899.00, it's an excellent deal. What makes this particularly useful is that AeroVironment is now forced to comply with standards of a major automobile brand, so you should see a consistent progression of improvements on the model and more cars making use of the system in order to partake in already installed units. On the other hand, the units are designed with specific cars and receptacles in mind, so if you get another car later you'll likely need another charging station to go with it. General Electric WattStation Part of what makes the GE WattStation such a great station and will be fantastic for home use is that it's the only one with WiFi smart grid technology built into it, so it's easy to connect to when you require remote access and help finding additional charging stations when you need them on the road (you can even check out a map of stations on their site). Add to that the GE name, which has built its reputation over quite some time, and you have a charging station you can count on. That being said, it is by far the most expensive at $2,999.00. What's worse is that is for a station that only does Level II charging. It is clear that you are very much paying for the GE name with this charger. Clipper Creek Despite being around for decades, Clipper Creek isn't well known in the charging station industry. They're very much a quiet competitor, largely because they haven't put much effort into the design of their stations. Moreover, they only do Level II charging. That being said, they are the install of choice for the Tesla Roadster and despite just being gray boxes, are highly reliable charging stations. These will last as long as your car and probably more than that, as well as having a wide variety of voltage and amperage settings to choose from. The price for a Clipper Creek station runs anywhere from $379 to $899, making them also the least expensive option despite their limitations. NRG eVgo NRG eVgo is a company that is aggressively trying to establish itself as the center of home and public charging, and they're doing it by not only offering a high quality residential unit for a good price, but also offering service and maintenance at your house for when things go wrong. The drawback, however, is that you only get 12 to 25 miles of travel per hour of charge, making it great for a standard Level II if you don't drive a lot, but terrible if you're looking for something that will last a while. The width of the variance also makes it uncomfortable to gauge your driving capacity. You can get a home charging NRG eVgo station for $699.00 or you can sign up for their monthly Freedom Station network for $14.99 per month plus a recharge fee. As you can see, there are quite a few options for almost everyone’s budget if you’re considering converting your existing car to, or purchasing, an electric car. It’s important to note with all this technology that while the upfront costs may seem like a burden, they will pay for themselves in the long run and help you sleep better at night knowing all the good you’re doing for the planet.
  15. Most of the American public is already familiar, if only in passing, with drones and their general capabilities. We know that they’re primarily used for military purposes, whether it be surveillance or combat, and that they can be controlled remotely. However, new uses are constantly cropping up for drones in commercial settings, which is leaving many Americans slightly uneasy about their presence – an uneasiness which comes from a lack of information on the positive work drones can do. Granted, as with anything, there are better and worse sides to drones. But in some cases, the good might entirely outweigh the bad. Some of the biggest supporters of drone use are delivery services. Maybe you’ve seen the video of Amazon’s purposed drone delivery service. It would make their delivery services much quicker, efficient, and in the long run, save money and valuable resources by reducing the number of heavy, fuel-eating trucks on the road. Joining Amazon in looking into drone delivery is UPS, the world’s largest parcel service. Both companies have more than enough funds to invest in research, so it’s possible that delivery drones will be closer to reality every day. In a rather comical bid to join UPS and Amazon in the drone delivery arena, Domino’s has been supposedly testing their “DomiCopter” drone, which is a drone that would be used to deliver pizza. It’s a godsend for delivery addicts everywhere, and thinking about the number of delivery cars (who only deliver a few pizzas each round) off the road is intriguing, but Domino’s full investment doesn’t seem as likely as an Amazon or UPS drone. It isn’t all about commercial, money making drones either. There are a number of philanthropic companies looking to use drones to better our planet as well. A company on the forefront of this is Conservation Drones, who not only were able to develop a drone for only $2,000, but were also able to show its ability to survey and collect conservation data of rain forests and other wildlife habitats without disturbing them. The company caught the attention of the Mongabay corporation, whose financial support allowed them to become an official non-profit. What this means is that Conservation Drones will be able to channel even more funds into creating inexpensive drones to help protect and conserve the planet's increasingly threatened wildlife habitats. Joining them is Matternet, whose purpose is to use drones to deliver medical supplies to impoverished areas, but to also create a “physical internet” infrastructure in rural and remote areas whose only somewhat viable option today is satellite internet. Their end goal is to connect those in remote areas with the rest of the world, thus increasing their education and knowledge, and hopefully enabling them to better improve both their lives and the lives of others around them. In addition to philanthropic efforts, drones are becoming a tool used in response to emergency situations. Germany company Height-Tech has teamed with defibrillator manufacturer Schiller to create a system where defibrillators would be delivered via drone to heart attack victims when prompted by a smartphone app. The drones could fly a distance of 200 km according to Height-Tech’s website, making their use fairly localized at the moment (for now). Closer to home, drones are being used to track weather, wildfires, and other potential natural disasters. Recently, NASA teamed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Northrop Group to develop and create drones which would be used to track and monitor hurricanes. These drones would be able to reach higher altitudes than the hurricane itself, thus giving an overview of the storm that previously has been mostly unavailable. In addition to that effort, the use of drones in tracking and fighting wildfires is becoming an increasingly viable option. Since wildfires are notorious for rapidly and unexpectedly changing direction, a drone would be able to give live updates to fire officials and the public, whose lives (and the lives of the wildlife involved) may be saved by this real-time knowledge. Right now, firefighters tackling these wildfires have had to update the location of the fire themselves through tablets and smartphones. However, in more remote areas, where they have no internet or cellular connection, they’re out of luck and must rely solely on instinct and (likely) old information they've received. When it comes to drones, there are equally viable arguments both for and against their use. None of these arguments are going to be solved overnight, though generally, once a technology hits the market, it’s difficult to reverse its forward progress. It’s simply going to take time in order to see when and where drone usage will become regular, where it shouldn’t be used, and what changes need to be made for an increasingly drone friendly world. According to the Federal Aviation Agency, there is likely to be a staggering 7,500 commercial drones in the air by 2018, some of which can hopefully be put to good use.
  16. A big helium-filled wind-turbine will soon float just south over the city of Fairbanks in Alaska, USA. The floating wind turbine, which is designed and built by Altaeros Energies, will hover at nearly 305 meters up in the sky and generate electricity for more than a dozen families living off the grid. Airborne wind turbines is nothing new. We wrote about similar wind power technology as early as 2008 with the MARS prototype from Magenn. But this will be the first long-term demonstration of an airborne wind technology. The BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine will be in the sky for 18 months, with a total project cost of $1.3 million. Altaeros Energies hopes that BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine, and similar wind solutions, will play a role in tackling high energy costs in remote regions such as Alaska. “We are pleased to work with the Alaska Energy Authority and TDX Power to deploy our flexible, low cost power solution for remote communities,” stated Ben Glass, Altaeros Chief Executive Officer. “The project will generate enough energy to power over a dozen homes.” There are some obvious advantages with this type of wind turbines. They can be transported and setup in remote locations without the need for large cranes, towers or foundation works which are required for more traditional wind turbines. Despite its floating, kite like design, the airborne wind turbine is able to be used in harsh weather conditions. The wind turbine will also generate substantially less noise and requires very little maintenance. Besides electricity, it can also provide cell service, data coverage (i.e. Wi-Fi) and local weather data. Because of its high altitude, the BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine will be able to catch air currents that are five to eight times stronger than winds closer to the ground. It’s estimated the floating wind turbine design will generate twice the electricity output of its ground-based counterparts. The floating wind turbine will feed energy into the grid through cables that are connected to the ground.
  17. German manufactuer Siemens have constructed off-shore wind turbines with record-breaking rotors. These enormous rotor blades are 75 meters long, which makes a single blade almost as big as the wingspan of an Airbus A380. All in all, the gigantic rotor measures 154 meters and covers about two and a half football fields. Despite its size the rotor blade weighs 20% less than more conventionally produced blades. This is made possible because of Simenes patented technologies which uses special lightweight materials in its construction process. As you can see from the photo below the entire blade is made as a single piece of "glass fiber-reinforced epoxy resin and balsa wood". Besides making it lightweight, in relation to its size of course, these construction processes also makes the wind turbine extremely strong. And this is a good thing considering that they will be hit with the energy of around 200 tons of air per second out in the sea where these wind turbines are designed to be used. According to Siemens the tips of the 75 meter long blades will be able to move at up to 80 meters per second, or 290 km per hour. The B75 blade is the world's largest fiberglass component cast in one piece. So why are manufactures like Siemens trying to build bigger and bigger wind turbines? Well it’s simple really. As the turbine blades get longer the amount of electricity they produce increases very rapidly. And because offshore wind projects are quite expensive it makes sense to build a fewer big wind turbines than lots of small ones. A prototype 6-megawatt turbine will be erected at the Østerild test station in Denmark later this fall. And in a few years time, 300 of these huge wind turbines will be installed by the Danish energy supplier Dong just off the British coast.
  18. Can we fix the climate without reducing emissions? Might there even be a way to fix the climate that is cheaper then reducing emissions and doesn't have side-effects? In this post I will look at some of the more creative proposals for fixing the climate, and see if they are any good. Many of the ideas I'll present here sound like crazy-talk at first, and I'm not saying that they necceceraly aren't, but I don't think they should be disregarded before we have considered them. I'll start with one of the most popular ideas: Pumping fine particles of sea-water into clouds to make them bigger and more reflective. This youtube-video explains it all: The good thing about cloud-seeding is that it can be very cheap. As mentioned in the clip only 500 litres of salt water a second, or something of that magnitude, needs to be sprayed up in order too control temperatures on earth. We would need roughly 1500 ships to counter-act a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, costing 1,5 to 3,5 million dollars each. And to keep up with the current rate of increase in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels we would need 50 new ships a year. Not that much for saving the climate. The Copenhagen Consensus Center, where top economists have tried to estimate the costs and benefits of different solutions to climate change, write this about the costs: Marine cloud whitening with a fleet of unmanned ships would be extremely cheap: for about $5.8 billion, all of the global warming for the century could be avoided. But is it possible that seeding the clouds might change the worlds weather patterns, and lead to droughts, etc? Yes. That's one of the reasons why we need to research this a lot more. But one of the great things about marine cloud whitening is that it's so flexible. If placing the boats one place leads to problems we might solve the problem by simply moving the boats. Maybe we even can make the worlds rain-patterns better (by prevent droughts, etc.) if we gain a good enough understanding of the climate system and how cloud seeding affects it? Since the boats can be controlled the amount of cooling can also be controlled, via satellite measurements and a computer model. And what do we do if marine cloud whitening doesn't work out? Then we stop doing it, and everything will return to normal within a few weeks. Which also means that it will be risk-free to do small-scale testing of the technology. But hey, you might think, won't the clouds become salty? Well, in a way they already are, as tiny salty water droplets from breaking waves already enter the atmosphere and help forming clouds. Marine cloud whitening only enhances a natural process. As far as I understand, the water always needs something to cling to (particles like dust, smoke, or salt) in order to form clouds, but when the clouds first have started forming they grow really big, and become mainly freshwater. So there is no danger of there raining salty water if we start with marine cloud whitening. Releasing sulfur in the stratosphere Picture of the volcano eruption at the Philippines in 1991, which reduced world temperatures by 0,6 degrees. In 1991 Mount Pinatubothere, a volcano in the Philippines, had a huge eruption. 10 million tonnes of sulfur was ejected into the stratosphere - the part of the atmosphere which is placed at about 10-50 km (6 - 31 miles) above Earth's surface. The sulfur was moved in different directions by the air motions, and after about a year it was evenly spread around the world. For two years after Pinatubo erupted, the average temperature on Earth decreased by about 0.6 °C (0.9 °F). The idea is to send up rockets (or baloons, or some other mechanism) to simulate a volcano eruption. At first normal fuel is used to lift up the rockets, but in the stratosphere hydrogen sulfide is burnt, leaving sulfate (which consists of sulfur and oxygen) in the stratosphere to reflect sunlight, and thus cool the planet. Of course this wouldn't be free, but a lot cheaper than cutting emissions. Paul Crutzen, one of the top experts on this subject, has estimated that it would cost between 25 and 50 billion dollars a year (in comparison we spend over a thousand billion dollars a year on the worlds military and well over 250 billion dollars a year on subsidizing farmers in developed countries). And we have all the necessary technology to implement this measure at once, if we want to. But unfortunately this is not a problem-free solution. We don't yet know if it would disturb rain-patterns. And emitting sulfur is considered as polution, because it leads to health problems and because it leads to acid rain. That's why the release of it has been reduced through environmental regulation. It is naturally emitted by volcanoes and by the sea, but we shouldn't get to much of it. However, it should be noted that this sulfur would be released far up in the stratosphere. And further: Since it will have a greater cooling effect when released in the stratosphere it is predicted that we will need too release less then 10 percent of what is already being emitted by humans. A side-effect that there is a bigger reason to be afraid of is that releasing sulfur in the stratosphere might slow down, or even reverse, the healing of the ozone layer. The volcano eruption in 1991 led to a global column ozone loss of about 2.5 percent. However, we won't need to use as much sulfur as was emitted in the colcano eruption in order too compensate for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere through geoengineering. The ozone layer is healing. It's better than it was a few decades ago, and it will continue to get better. So if we start reducing temperatures some decades from now the ozone layer won't necessarily get worse than it is now, only worse than it otherwise would have been then. Ironically one the people who has done the most research on releasing sulfur in the atmosphere is Paul Jozef Crutzen, who won a nobel prize in 1995 for his work on the hole in the ozone layer. He thinks that we at least should test his plan, so we know now what the risks might be if we face a catastrophic situation in the future. He says: Since the sulfur only stays in the stratoshpere for two years or so, he also makes clear: It is being discussed if we could use other cooling particles than sulfate. If you are interested you can see a short presentation that mentions this here. Launching glass discs into space This is what the glass discs might look like. They won't reflect the light, but divert it from hitting earth. Another idea is to launch glass discs into space so that roughly two percent less sunlight reaches earth. The reduction in incoming sunlight would cancel out the increase in climate gases. The plan isn't as crazy as it sounds. Even without using nanotechnology (which is emerging) we can get these glass discs pretty thin, and there are realistic ideas for how we can launch these glass discs into space by using electromagnetic power (much more effective for sending large quanteties out in space than using space ships). By placing these glass discs at the point in space where the gravitational force of Earth and the Sun cancel each other out (which is pretty close to earth) we won't need much energy to keep them in place. But even though the idea is feasible and has small side-effects it will be very expensive (although probably not as expensive as drastic cuts in emissions) and will take 30 years or so to implement. Therefore I won't use more space on it here, but if you are interested in learning more about it you can see this youtube-clip, and continue on to see this. And if you are especially interested you can read more about the arguments for and against here. Getting the sea to take up more CO2 The phytoplankton turns sunlight into energy, and thus provides food for the rest of the food chain as well, just like plants on land do. Had it not been for phytoplankton the sea would have been a lot less lively than it is today. Three fourths of the world is covered by the ocean, which naturally absorbs about one third of our CO2-emissions. In the sea it's not just "normal" plants that get their energy from the sun, but also phytoplankton. Phytoplankton account for around half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth. The phytoplankton absorbs CO2, and releases oxygen. It doesn't release the carbon when it dies. Much of the plankton is eaten by other sea-creatures, but much of it also sinks further down in the ocean and stays there for a long time. Planktos-science.com tells us: Phytoplankton rely on minerals. In parts of the ocean the growth of phytoplankton is limited by lack of iron, and across most of the sea we can boost the phytoplankton-growth by adding nitrogen. The idea is to add nutrients to the ocean, and thus boost the growth of phytoplankton, so that they turn more CO2 into oxygen and make sure that more carbon is stored in the ocean. This youtube-video explains the idea in greater detail: Phytoplankton takes energy directly from the sun. And just like all animals on land are dependent on plants to provide energy, phytoplankton (and other sea-plants) are the foundation for life under the sea. As seen in the clip there is such a thing as too much phytoplanton, but it's important that we seperate between the deep sea and the parts of the ocean that's close to the shore, and between iron- and nitrogen fertilization. Acording to planktos-science.com phytoplankton blooms on the high seas where iron is limited have never been reported to produce negative environmental effects. And as explained in the clip, it's like irrigating the dessert. If it doesn't work out, we can stop doing what we are doing, and things will return to normal. The picture shows a phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Norway in 2000. Image provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE. Plankton-blooms occur naturally all the time. And the ocean is supposed to be "fertilized" with minerals. This happens naturally when dust is carried by the wind and lands in the ocean. Much of the life in the ocean is totally dependent on this. But the natural flow of dust containing minerals vital for phytoplanton has been reduced significantly over the last decades. According to NASA, the amount of iron deposited from desert dust clouds into the ocean has decreased by 25 percent since the early 80's. In addition to this the growth of phytoplankton is reduced when sea temperatures rise. An article from NASA 2003 tells us that there has been a 6 percent reduction of phytoplankton growth in the ocean as a whole over the last two decades. Newer studies confirm this picture of phytoplankton growth decreasing. Near the shore phytoplankton growth seems to be increasing, but this is not relevant to the queston of iron-fertilization, which will take place in the deep ocean where the growth of phytoplankton is limited by the lack of iron. The fact that the growth of phytoplankton, and even the natural supply of iron, has been reduced significantly because of human activity, means that we don't have to look at iron fertilization as fiddling with nature, but rather as making it more simular to what it would have been if we hadn't interfered at all. In an interview with treehugger.com, which I recommend reading in its entirety, David Kubiak from Planktos, Inc. claims: Returning plankton populations to 1980 levels would neutralize about 50% of industrial society's greenhouse gas emissions. But there is debate about how effective iron fertilization will be. One of the things we don't know for certain is how much of the phytoplankton that will sink to the bottom of the sea or stay in underwater currents for a long time, and how much of it that will be released to the athmosphere more quickly. To read more about the arguments for and against iron fertilization you can click here or here. And to hear the pro-side you can see this presentation by Russ George, or read more on planktos-science.com. Making artificial "trees" The idea is to make machines that can absorb CO2 from the air. It can obviously be done. Plants do it all the time. But do we have the technology already? Will it be cost-effective? And will it take a lot of energy? A twelve minutes long video about artificial trees can be seen here for those of you who are interested, but here is a shorter one: The good thing about this solution is that it doesn't have any side-effects. Let me repeat that. It doesn't have any side-effects. All it does is to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Just as we increase the CO2-levels across the whole world when we emit a lot from one place (a coal power plant heats up the whole world, not just the city it's placed in) we don't have to think about where we place these "trees". The most practical will probably be to place them above the storing-sites for the CO2. 60 million trees, which is roughly the amount needed to absorb all the CO2 we currently emit, will not take up that much space. Klaus Lackner, the person who is leading the development of these trees, says in an interview with the The Green Inc. blog: We have reached a point where we can collect CO2 from the air and recover it - at a low cost. Now it's a production issue, rather than an 'inventing new things' kind of issue. But where do we put all the CO2 when it's collected? One solution is geological storage: Pumping CO2 into rock formations on the bottom of the sea, or deep underground elsewhere, into rock-formations. This is more feasible then it sounds, and has already been done successfully in Norway and Canada. If you are interested in reading more about how and why this works, and about the details, you can read here. The conclusion is that it can be done, and that it can be done safely. Under the high pressure CO2 takes up a lot less space, so we can store quite a lot of it this way, but as far as I know there is still doubt about whether or not we will be able to store all of the CO2 we will emitt in the long run using this method. But already new, promising ideas for how we can store more CO2 are emerging, like binding it to mineral substances. Great! So there we have our perfect solution to climate change. ...Or do we? Klaus Lackner thinks that the price of using these artificial trees to fight global warming can reduced to roughly $30 per ton of CO2 collected (which corresponds to about 25 cents a gallon or 7 cents per litre of gasoline), in current prizes. In 2006 we emitted 28 billion tons of CO2. Paying for that would cost 850 billion dollars. Of course the calculation would be more complicated than this in reality, partly because it will be cheaper to capture CO2 from point sources where concentrations are higher (such as a coal power plant), but it still won't be cheap. If we only could fight climate change by reducing emissions we would be in real hurry. And we kind of are also when we take geoengineering into account, since the negative consequences of global warming have started to occur already. But if it mainly is the consequences that will occur in some decades we are worried about (2035? 2050?) being able to take CO2 out of the atmosphere gives us the benefit of being able to wait a bit. This is good for two reasons: First of all, as we all know, technology is getting better and better. And there is no reason to think that science will stop advancing soon. Rather to the contrary all the information available to us makes it reasonable to expect that the advancing of technology will keep growing exponentially. I will write more about why I think there is reason to be very optimistic about how much better technology will get in the following decades in later blog posts. In the meanwhile it should be noted that one of the things that will revolutionize our ability to absorb CO2 (in addition to revolutionizing everything else) is the emergence of nanotechnology, which will enable us to design things on an atomic and molecular scale. When we can design things on such a small scale we will not only be able to make very small and very complicated machines, and do much of what we do today much more effectively, but we can also make new materials different from those we have today. The advancement of technology increases our productivity, and thus makes us richer. So even if the technology doesn't changes drastically, it will still be easier for us to afford. Obviously there are limits to how long we can wait, but I still think this was worth mentioning. These arguments aren't just relevant for artificial trees, but for all geoengineering. Many solutions Here I have looked at some of the solutions. But there are many other ideas out there. Like creating white, floating islands in places of the sea that we don't use much (of cheap materials, obviously) so that more sunlight is reflected. Or turning the Sahara and the dry parts of Australia into forests. Another idea is genetically engineering crops to be more reflective or shifting to more reflective crops. And although painting our roofs white probably wont solve the problem by itself, it is proposed as a cheap way to make earth colder. There are also ideas for how we can solve specific problems related to global warming, like stopping the melting of Greenland by wrapping the edges with reflective materials - a method that also can be used on glaciers. I agree that many of these ideas sound bad, and some of them probably are, but we should give them a serious look . Is it crazy to look for a technical solution for global warming? Some people dismiss geoengineering without even having looked at the different proposals. They'll say things like "you can't fix the climate by fiddling even more with it" or "we can't possibly know the outcomes of geoengineering". Although I think that many geoengineering-ideas aren't advisable, I don't think it's reasonable to conclude that geoengineering in general is doomed to not work or be risky. It might very well be that we soon find a solution that is without risk, without side-effects and cheap. If we don't, I still think geoengineering might be the answer, as long as we find a safe alternative with modest side-effects. What would happen if we stopped emitting tommorow? If history is a guide there is little reason to be optimistic about humanity cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. We have broken all climate-treaties so far, and global emission-levels are even higher than the highest scenario produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001. Even stopping the emissions from increasing further would require quite a lot of action, if we are to do it right now. And even if we do manage to take action to reduce emissions it will take time before they are reduced enough to stop the accumulation of climate gasses in the athmosphere. But let's say that we did take drastic action. Tomorrow all people on earth would stop driving cars, we would stop flying, all energy production involving fossil fuels would be stopped, we would stop all agriculture that emits methane, all industry that isn't environmentally friendly would be stopped, we would end deforestation once and for all, etc. Let's say that we went way further than even the most extreme environmentalists would want us to, and stopped all human emissions of climate gases in just one day. What would happen? What would happen is that the temperatures would keep increasing. Shortly explained this is because it takes time for the climate system to fully respond to increased emissions. NASA explain on their webpages: Even if all emissions were to stop today, the Earth's average surface temperature would climb another 0.6 degrees [Celsius] or so over the next several decades before temperatures stopped rising. Therefore geoengineering-plans might be a more environmentally friendly alternative than just drastic cuts in emissions, even if they have environmental side effects! Don't get me wrong: This doesn't mean that there aren't limits to how much environmental side-effects we should allow, or that a geoengineering-plan that doesn't have environmental side effects at all isn't preferable. And of course I am aware that it's possible to combine geoengineering and big, immediate cuts in emissions, if we think that's smart. Some geoengineering-solutions, like the ones that rely on decreasing the amount of solar radiation that is absorbed by Earth (glass discs in space, sulfur in the atmosphere, marine cloud whitening, etc.), aren't permanent solutions. We can't keep on emitting CO2 forever. But seriously, who thinks that steering the amount of climate gases in the atmosphere will be a challenge in 2100? We need a solution that solves the problem for long enough, but it doesn't need to solve the problem for ever. It should be taken into account that a solutions that relies only on controlling solar radiation don't solve other problems connected to CO2-emissions, such as acidification of the ocean. Price matters Let's us say (just for the sake of the argument) that the alternatives are reducing emissions and releasing sulfur in the stratosphere, and (also just for the sake of the argument) that we can stop global warming completely by reducing emissions if we reduce them fast enough. Let's also say (still for the sake of the argument) that we find out that releasing sulfur in the stratosphere will lead to some harm to the ozone, which again will lead to more cases of cancer. Then we should reduce emissions, shouldn't we? What kind of people would we be if we think it's ok that more people die of cancer? Well, since releasing sulfur in the stratosphere is a lot cheaper than drastically reducing emissions, we could save a lot of money on choosing this alternative. And if we spent a fraction of the money saved on cancer research we could double the research on cancer many times over, and thus reduce the cancer-burden significantly. Price matters. We only have a limited amount of resources, so we have to make sure that we achieve the greatest amount of good per dollar. So how can we most effectively address climate change? Exactly this question The Copenhagen Consensus Center on Climate tried to give an answer to in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kIUZU5xQz0&hl=en_US&fs=1 Here is the prioritized list that the top economists (including three Nobel-prize winners) came up with: As you can see, the highest ranked solutions are research on geoengineering and low-carbon technologies. You can read more about the different solutions on the list, and the reasoning behind how they prioritize, here. I don't know if The Copenhagen Consensus Center on Climate have gotten their cost-benefit analysis exactly right. An article on Realclimate.org critizises their report on geoengineering. Some of the critisism I think is illegitimate, other parts I think is fair, but I don't think there is any reason to doubt their main conclusions. Regardeless I think their way of thinking is exactly right: How can most effectively fight global warming? If we ranked the solutions after how much benefit (how much they reduce global warming + positive side-effects) we get per cost (what they costs to implement + side-effects), which solutions would make the top? I think this way of thinking to a large degree is missing in the climate-debate. At least it is in my homecountry, Norway. We should have a plan B! No matter if you think we should try to solve the climate problem with only carbon cuts or not, you have to agree that we should have a plan B. If it turns out that the world doesn't manage to cooperate on cutting emissions sufficiently even though we should, or if consequences of warming (like methane being released from melted permafrost, or ice melting making Earth absorb more sunlight) leads to even further warming, we should have have developed a plan B to stabilize the climate. How I think we should solve the problem I used to be an environmentalist. Of course I wanted us to research a lot on renewable energy and low-carbon technologies, but I didn't think that doing this would be enough by itself. I thought we should drive our cars less, fly less, try to not consume to much of the type of goods that emit the most, choose environmentally friendly energy over fossil energy even when it's considerably more expensive, eat less meat, etc. Not because I wanted it, but because I thought the negative consequences of doing so would be smaller than the negative consequences of not doing it. I'm still an environmentalist (as mentioned before geoengineering might very well be more environmentally friendly than just drastic cuts in emissions) but I now propose a different way of handling the problem: Funding research on renewable energy is one of the most efficient ways to combat global warming, and will also benefit society in other ways. Research a lot on geoengineering and carbon capture. Research a lot on renewable energy and other technologies that are important for reducing emisions (environmentally friendly cars, energy storage, etc.). Researching safe nuclear power is money well spent to, but I don't think it's necessary to cover our energy-needs. Funding the development of renewable energy would be a smart thing to do even if it didn't affect the climate. When solar power becomes efficient it will lead to very, very cheap and convenient energy. I think we have good reasons to be very optimistic about renewable energy, and recently wrote a post that you can read here (it's a lot shorther than this one, I promise!) about solar energy, where I argue that solar power soon will be cheaper than conventional energy. Research a lot on computers, re-engineering of the brain, nanotechnology and other technologies that is needed to boost our general technological growth. Researching nanotechnology for example, might not be looked at as a way to combat climate change, but might be a very effective way of doing just that because it will enable new technologies that can solve the climate-problem. And that it also gives other enormous payoffs shouldn't be a problem. Do emission-cuts, but only the ones that are very cost-effective. A perfect way of dealing with climate change does not exist, but this is the closest I can think of. Some of the reasoning behind my proposal for dealing with climate change is in this post. The rest, especially number 3, will be made clearer in later updates. We should at least take a look at it Even if you don't agree with my conclusions, you should agree that we should give research on geoengineering more funding. From a global perspective it would cost almost nothing to give geoengineering a closer look, and boost the research on some of the more promising geoengineering-ideas. So even if you're a sceptic and think it's unlikely that geoegineering will be a good idea, you should agree that we should fund more research on it. The UK Royal Society published a comprehensive and unbiased report on geoengineering. One of their main recomendations was exactly that: We should fund more research on geoengineering. The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology wrote in March 2009: There is currently very little public funding specifically earmarked for geo-engineering. Despite a US Department of Energy White Paper (Unpublished) that in 2001 recommended a $64 million, five year programme, less than $1 million of public money is currently directly funding geoengineeringresearch in the USA. In the UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has proposed a £3 million ‘Ideas Factory’ commencing in 2010. To date, therefore, most researchhas been either funded using existing climate science grants or has been unfunded, performed in researchers’ spare time. Researchers in the field believe that an international research programme of around $100 million could advance the scientific and engineering knowledge significantly. I think it's a nobrainer. We should fund research on geoengineering by at least $100 million dollars - preferably much more. I also think it's important that people learn more about these proposals for dealing with climate change. Geoengineering should be a part of the public debate in the same way as emission-cuts are. I think it's wierd that geoengineering haven't recieved more attention in the media, and it's sad that politicians and enviormentalists know so little about it. If you didn't like this post, feel free to post a comment telling me why you think geoengineering is a bad idea, or simply how much I suck. If you however did like this post, and like me think it's a tragedy that geoengineering has recieved so little attention: Why not recomend this post to your friends, or help spreading it in some other way?
  19. 3110 Evolve: Nokia

    Nokia recently released its brand new 3110 Evolve. It's a new, greener, phone from Nokia (maybe they wanted to impress Greenpeace?). The new phone uses "bio-covers" that, are said, to be made from over 50% renewable material. It also uses smaller packaging made of 60% recycled content. Nokia have also thrown in their best energy efficient charger. The charger uses 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements. If you are in the need for a new phone this one might be worth to take a closer look at. But please, do not throw away your already working phone.
  20. Wind power anywhere with MARS

    If I say Mars, what do you think of then? No, the planet Mars is the wrong answer. The correct answer is Magenn's Power Turbine MARS. MARS is a new simple solution to produce wind energy, anywhere. According to Magenn their MARS has all advantages over current existing wind turbines. But how does it work and why is it better than ordinary wind turbines? MARS produces its energy 1000 feet up in the air. That means MARS can generate electricity on a regular basis. Another upside with MARS compared to the more ordinary wind turbines is that it can't produce the so called "ground turbulence" and that, according to Magenn, MARS won't kill any birds due to its big compact size. MARS is bird and bat friendly with lower noise emissions and is capable of operating in a wider range of wind speeds - from 4 mph to greater than 60 mph. Magenn says MARS is as silent as an air conditioner. No wonder when it's located 100 feet up in the air. But how does it get so high up in the air you might wonder? Well, Magenn's Air Rotor System is filled with helium which makes it lighter than air. Just like how an airship works. With MARS Magenn is trying to attract developing nations that has a limited or non existent energy infrastructure. MARS will go into production sometime this year.