08 Mar 2014
These tracks overlook the Alps from Switzerland.
08 Mar 2014 1:00pm GMT
07 Mar 2014
"LEED Exposed" Exposed: A look at who's behind the new organization attacking LEED and green building
Another day, another attack on green building and the USGBC
07 Mar 2014 9:46pm GMT
Vermilion flycatchers are usually as vibrant as their name suggests.
07 Mar 2014 9:30pm GMT
04 Mar 2014
Last Saturday's New York Times had a story describing the "defanging" of North Carolina's environmental regulatory agency. The story began with this depressing quote: "The General Assembly doesn't like you," an official in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources...
04 Mar 2014 5:23pm GMT
26 Feb 2014
In late January Royal Dutch Shell announced that the company was putting an end to its efforts to drill exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's north coast this summer, and intimated that it may never drill there, at...
26 Feb 2014 6:27pm GMT
12 Feb 2014
In the last few weeks, I've seen several reports and articles, some written by prominent people (I'm not naming names) that contain some version of this basic description of the Clean Water Act: The Clean Water Act divides pollution sources...
12 Feb 2014 5:23pm GMT
22 Jan 2014
Many people are very familiar with the V formation used by migrating flocks of birds, and scientists have determined that this is an efficient mode of travel which helps the birds conserve energy, especially on long migratory journeys. But the same concept is being considered to improve the efficiency of commercial jetliners.
Among aircraft manufacturers, Airbus is one of the companies looking at the advantages of commercial flocking. "In a V formation of 25 birds, each can achieve a reduction of induced drag by up to 65 per cent and increase their range by 7 per cent. While efficiencies for commercial aircraft are not as great, they remain significant."
It is possible that, in the future, commercial flights might flock together in this way to save fuel. The initial tests of this approach might be carried out with trans-ocreanic flights originating in separate Australian cities which would coordinate their schedules and meet up in order to cross the Pacific together, before they "peel off and head to their separate destinations."
image credit: Airbus
via: Quirks & Quarks
22 Jan 2014 2:05pm GMT
15 Jan 2014
As we've done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year's North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year's displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years. In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show.
Green isn't gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of a major automaker having a complete line.
Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year's display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline.
The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It's not that it hasn't been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of "here's what the engine looks like," and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it's not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year.
The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the show.
Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers' lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year's show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of these.
15 Jan 2014 4:26pm GMT
13 Jan 2014
The science of power storage has a new variety of options and new materials to investigate thanks to some recent developments in the chemistry of materials used in flow batteries. Until now, flow batteries have largely relied on metallic compounds for the active chemicals they use. But new materials have been found that are cheaper and more effective than the chemicals which have been most used in flow batteries until now.
The research undertaken by scientists at Harvard University has identified a range of organic compounds known as quinones, which are have the potential to be especially useful for flow batteries. Initial research indicates they are inexpensive and efficient materials well suited for use in power storage. A recently published paper in the journal Nature discusses the use of 9,10-anthraquinone-2,7-disulphonic acid (AQDS), a compound found in rhubarb, in a flow battery.
Large-scale energy storage is an area where flow batteries can excel, because the equipment needed to build a large energy storage system is basic, industrial gear, rather than highly specialized equipment. To increase storage capacity, a flow battery just needs a couple of larger storage tanks.
The AQDS materials are naturally abundant and very stable. They are potentially safer than metal-based flow batteries because the materials are "less likely to react violently if they accidentally come in contact with each other." When used in a flow battery, they show very good cycle efficiency and "[represent] a new and promising direction for realizing massive electrical energy storage at greatly reduced cost." The chemicals needed to store a kilowatt-hour of energy would cost $27, which is roughly one-third the cost of other systems.
via: Business Insider
13 Jan 2014 1:50am GMT