Archives for category: envyrunment

Amidst growing outcry that the world is not headed to its doomsday as fast as previously thought, comes a new revelation. Called the Bloombox and designed by an Indian scientist, who was once advising NASA on how to sustain life by producing oxygen on Mars, this technology is now being touted as life changing. The scrapped NASA program led the scientist to tweak his product to use oxygen in addition to biofuel, natural gas, or other renewable fuels to produce clean energy.

Fuel cells have been expensive to produce and this has been the primary reason why this technology has not taken off. This is also the case with solar energy, where you need huge spaces to generate feasible quanta of energy.  Unless the creator of Bloombox Dr. Sridhar has unlocked the secret to creating fuel cells in a cost efficient way, this product also may be doomed to the dust bin of history. However, to its credit, the Bloombox has been already successfully installed in major companies like Google, Ebay, Fedex among 20 other Fortune 500 companies that have been trying this technology out. A commercial version, having a small footprintwhich can produce enough energy  to power homes, produced at a reasonable cost and reduces the burden on consumer pockets sounds like a winner.

While there has been a lot of secrecy surrounding the technology, Arnold Schwarzenneger has announced it tax free,  big corporates and even Gen. Colin Powell are putting their weight behind it. There must be something to it.

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DOW chemicals has recently announced their latest product. Solar shingles. Called the POWERHOUSE, this will  lead the case-NatureCenter way in changing how solar energy has been harnessed. A major part of the cost of implementing a solar power plant, lay in the production of solar panels and their installation. With this new invention there will be huge cost cuts in both these factors, leading to easy accessibility and adoption by the general public.

The shingles (roof tiles) are made of low cost, thin film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) technology which is  proven to be cost effective for building integrated photovoltaics. The installation is easier, and is installed along with roof shingles using the same methods for ordinary roof shingles. The arrays are not complicated and would be easily connectible.

Dow invests $1.5 billion annually in R&D and has been the recipient of US government funding up to the tune of $20 million. That is one grant that has paid off.

Up until now, the biggest barrier to installation and adoption had been the cost of implementing a solar generation power plan, but with these cheaper shingles that is all set to change. The new panels are slated to be available by mid 2010. But from then on, it would be green technology in the hands of the common man. If governments are serious about reducing green house gas emissions, then they should subsidize roofing or energy bills for those who adopt the new shingle.

Are you a locavore..? What is a locavore? and its even a part of official vocabulary as of 2007.

Well a locavore is a person who consumes food which is grown within a certain radius around them. The food should not have been transported over long distances and should have been produced locally within that radius.

This is to help in keeping the environment clean and consuming the food closer to where it was grown. Being a locavore can be quite tricky when it comes to foodstuffs which are not produced locally, that do not grow in the local clime. But every bit counts…

This could provide a strong push for local farmers as their produce could be sold faster and help them.

This is an experiment headed by James Balog, to document the effect of climate change on the glaciers. His team installed 26 time lapse cameras across various locations, on the Northern Hemisphere. The promo video is shown below.

The actual results can be seen on the National Geographic site here

VoteEarth_WVE Vote Earth is the global election, where the world will be able to vote for our planet by switching off lights for an hour on March 28th. This hour is known as Earth hour and it started in Sydney when 2.2 million homes switched off their lights for an hour to increase awareness about global warming and green house emissions and what needs to be done to reduce them. Last year this had become a world phenomenon with all major cities participating by switching off or dimming their lights. This resulted in a lower consumption of electricity, which translated into lesser carbon di-oxide being produced.

This year the target is to reach have 1 billion lights switched off and WWF has asked everyone world over to participate by voting for the earth. The results of this voting (by turning of a light switch) will be presented to World leaders meeting at the global climate change conference which is being held in Copenhagen.

Its only an hour, on one day of a whole year.