The latest products, services and cleantech applications and how they are tackling some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.

Vermont’s Largest City Now 100% Powered by Renewables

Burlington, Vermont now acquires all of its energy from renewable sources, including wind, hydro, and biomass, after the recent purchase of 7.4 megawatt Winooski One hydroelectric project.The city of 42,000 people, through the Burlington Electric Department, will get around one-third of its power from a biomass facility that primarily uses wood chips from logging residue; one-third from wind energy contracts; and one-third from the hydroelectric stations Winooski One and Hydro-Québec.Vermont has a statewide goal of securing 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, which includes electricity, heating, and transportation.

Anheuser-Busch's New CNG-Powered Truck Fleet Will Save 2,000 Tons of CO2 Per Year

Anheuser-Busch has announced it is replacing its 66 diesel tractor fleet in Houston with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered tractors. This marks the beer company’s first conversion of an entire brewery fleet and represents a significant milestone in achieving its goal to reduce carbon emissions.“The next-generation CNG engine technology paired with support from state incentive programs contributed to our ability to take such a significant step in fully converting our Houston fleet,” said James Sembrot, Senior Director of Transportation at Anheuser-Busch. “Houston is a strategic choice due to the central location to our facilities and distribution radius, as well as its proximity to fueling stations.”

Apple Voted 'Greenest Gadget' Company in New Greenpeace Report

Apple has topped the electronics sector in addressing its environmental footprint, according to a new report released by Greenpeace. In the same week that Berlin will gather some of the world’s biggest technology companies for its IFA 2014 technology show, Greenpeace has released a new report, Green Gadgets: Designing the future, evaluating which of these products wins the award for having the lowest environmental impact.

First Commercial-Scale Biofuel Facility Opens in US

The first commercial-scale biofuel plant in the United States is now open and will eventually produce more than 25 million gallons of fuel a year from corn waste.Project LIBERTY converts baled corn cobs, leaves, husk and stalk into renewable fuel. The $272 million plant, located in Emmetsburg, Iowa, has officially started up, processing its first batch of biomass into cellulosic ethanol and is moving forward toward continuous operation. At full capacity, the facility will convert 770 tons of biomass per day to produce ethanol at a rate of 20 million gallons per year, later ramping up to 25 million gallons per year.

Macallan Distillery Cleans Up Its Act with £74M Clean Energy Investment

The Macallan, one of the world’s most famous whisky distilleries, has launched a new £74m clean energy project at its facility in Speyside, Scotland, which is expected to produce enough energy to heat the plant as well as power 20,000 local homes.The project was launched in a collaboration between John Laing and the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB). The new plant, developed by Estover Energy, is a biomass combined heat and power facility. According to GIB, the plant will be fuelled with sustainable forestry by-product sourced locally from one of the UK’s most productive forestry areas.

Algae Powering World’s First Electric Grand Prix

The world soon will see its first electric Grand Prix series with cars powered with electricity derived from algae as part of an effort to showcase the best in new zero emission technologies, BusinessGreen reports.The racing organization, Formula E, has signed a deal with UK start-up Aquafuel to supply generators powered by glycerine, a byproduct of biodiesel that also can be produced from salt-water algae. The fuel is biodegradable, non-toxic and can be used in modified diesel generators to generate power. The compound comes from algae and has zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. When it burns, there is no smoke, smell, or even sound.

New Algae Process Turns Sewage Into Biofuel and Drinking Water

Nevada-based Algae Systems says it has developed a way to make algae-based biofuel profitable by transforming raw sewage into fuel and clean drinking water.The company says it has a pilot plant in Alabama that can profitably produces diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously making clean water from municipal sewage, utilizing the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels. Using a “hydrothermal liquefaction” system, algae and other solids in the sewage are heated to more than 550 degrees Fahrenheit, at 3,000 pounds per square inch, creating a liquid that resembles crude oil from a well. Scientists then add hydrogen to produce diesel fuel.

GEMI Launches Tool to Help Companies Adopt Renewable Energy Tech

The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has announced the availability of a new tool designed to provide insight into how corporations assess and implement renewable and alternative energy technologies.The GEMI Quick Guide on Renewable and Alternative Energy assists companies in evaluating their renewable and alternative energy options, helping them to define a strategy that makes sense for them. To help companies learn by example, the guide also includes mini-case studies to share with users attributes that made their renewable and alternative energy technology project and strategy successful.

Boeing, South African Airways Turning Tobacco into Jet Fuel

Boeing, South African Airways (SAA) and SkyNRG have announced a collaboration to make sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of tobacco plant.This initiative builds on cooperation between Boeing and SAA to develop renewable jet fuel in ways that support South Africa's goals for public health as well as economic and rural development.

VW Offering Holistic Approach to Electric Mobility with e-Golf, Carbon-Reduction Projects

In the drive to engage US consumers on the wonders of electric-vehicle mobility, the ante was upped once again on Tuesday when Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VW) announced the latest in its holistic approach to e-mobility. Starting with the launch of its zero-tailpipe emissions 2015 e-Golf later this year, Volkswagen will invest in carbon-reduction projects to offset emissions created from e-Golf production, distribution and up to approximately 36,000 miles of driving.

Certification Systems Can Help Fuel Buyers Source Sustainable Biofuels

Strong certification systems can allow fuel buyers to support biofuels producers that take steps to protect the environment and help grow a biofuels industry that provides environmental benefits, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Reports: Renewables, Energy Efficiency Can Help Avert Water Crisis

Dependency on fossil fuel-based energy will lead to a global water crisis by 2040 unless power generators increase efficiency and the use of renewables, according to two new reports by CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization.The research, which explores the links between electric power generation and water use, also offers recommendations for strategic steps that can be taken to reduce power companies’ heavy dependence on water, which can enhance the reliability of power generation.

Macy’s Cuts Electricity Usage By 38%, Sets New Sustainability Goals

Since 2002, Macy’s has reduced its electricity usage by 38 percent and achieved a 95 percent adoption rate of recycled or certified paper used in marketing materials, according to a recent announcement.The retailer says it already has implemented more than 100 new sustainability ideas over the past six years. As often is the case, innovation has begotten innovation, and the company is looking to take further actions to improve its sustainability performance. Some of these actions include installation of additional electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, continued rollout of LED lighting and solar, and new efforts to reduce packaging waste.EVs, LEDs and Renewables

Caesars Adds EV Charging Stations at 13 Resorts, Soon to Be Nationwide

Caesars Entertainment announced today that guests of 13 of its resorts and casinos can now literally “relax and recharge” with the addition of new EV charging stations, thanks to the company’s partnership with NV Energy.A total of 48 charging ports have been installed in guest parking lots and valet areas at most of Caesars’ Northern and Southern Nevada resorts and casinos, as well as Harrah’s Resort Southern California, and are available for guests to use at no cost.

Panasonic Provides Daytime Power to Indonesian Island with PV Power Package

Panasonic Corporation announced Tuesday it has installed the “Power Supply Container” (PSC), a stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) power package that it developed, at the National Elementary School Karimunjawa 01 in Karimunjawa Island, Jepara District, Central Jawa Province, Indonesia. On July 17, a handover ceremony was held jointly with project partner Koperasi Pundih Artah and the Institute of Business and Economic Democracy Foundation (IBEKA), an Indonesian NGO.

Major US Companies Band Together to Assert Market Demand for Renewables

Looking to increase availability of cost-competitive renewable energy to run their businesses, this week 12 leading US companies signed the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), to better communicate their purchasing needs and expectations to the marketplace.

Timberland Cuts GHGs 50%, Exceeds Renewable Energy Goal

Timberland announced Wednesday it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 50 percent since 2006 (achieving almost half of that [23 percent] in 2013) — meeting its 2015 emissions-reduction goal two years ahead of schedule — and it now derives 26 percent of its energy from renewable sources, exceeding its 2013 target of 23 percent.Timberland attributes these accelerated results in 2013 to a higher use of renewable energy sources in its European headquarters and distribution centers, such as its 100 percent wind-powered, BREEAM-certified (the European equivalent of LEED) distribution center in Eschede, Holland.

Company Promises to Produce World’s Most Affordable Solar Panels

Solar company Siva Power has announced a new technology roadmap that projects the cost of its thin film solar modules dropping to a record low of $0.28/watt.The company says that its advanced manufacturing approach means projected costs are geography-agnostic, and can be achieved in China, the United States or any other location. The company expects to be in production within four years, with a 300-MW-capacity facility."Silicon photovoltaic (PV) technology still relies on brute force replication of small production lines. The next wave of solar will require advanced manufacturing, high-speed automated production lines based on thin film PV," said Brad Mattson, CEO of Siva Power.

North Carolina's Largest Bioenergy Plant Powered by Pigs

The 600-kW Storms Hog Power plant at Storms Hog Farm near Bladenboro, NC has been operating at full capacity for the past 90 days, according to Renewable Energy Focus. North Carolina’s largest swine waste-to-energy system, Storms Hog Power says it is generating enough clean renewable electricity to the local utility to offset the electricity consumption of almost one-third of the homes in the area.

USC Scientists Develop Affordable Organic Battery

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a new water-based organic battery that is long-lasting and built from inexpensive, eco-friendly components.The new battery uses no metals or toxic materials and is intended for use in power plants, where it can make the energy grid more resilient and efficient by creating a large-scale means to store energy for use as needed.The batteries could pave the way for renewable energy sources to make up a greater share of the nation’s energy generation, USC says. Solar panels can only generate power when the sun’s shining, and wind turbines can only generate power when the wind blows. That inherent unreliability makes it difficult for power companies to rely on them to meet customer demand.

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