Cleantech

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

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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.

SAP Converting Company Fleet to 20% Electric, Powered by Renewables, by 2020

SAP AG today announced plans to increase the electric vehicle (EV) contingent in its company car fleet to 20 percent by 2020. The initiative launched officially today at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.To mark the occasion, Peter Rasper, EVP and head of global finance infrastructure, and Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer, handed over the keys to the owner of the 10th electric company car at SAP — the company says 50 more electric cars are set to join the fleet by the end of the year.

Half of Germany’s Power Can Come from Solar

Germany now can produce more than half of its energy from solar, according to Fraunhofer ISE research institute, which showed that the country produced a record 24.24 GW of solar energy during the first week of June.Due to better weather in Germany compared to last year, the production of solar power increased 34 percent during the first half of 2014.Much of Germany’s increase in solar energy has come from ordinary citizens installing photovoltaics onto their homes, rather than from large farms of solar panels. In fact, more than 90 percent of solar panels installed in Germany are on homeowners' roofs.

Renewable Energy Can Create Economic Boom, But Better Policies Needed

Implementing the right policies and frameworks can achieve large-scale deployment of renewable energy that creates jobs, increases incomes, improves trade balances, and contributes to industrial development, according to a new report by the Clean Energy Ministerial's Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group.

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EPA Lays Out First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants

At the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the US Environmental Protection Agency is today releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power.

Philips and Green Sense Farms Using LEDs to Grow Crops Indoors

Royal Philips and Green Sense Farms (GSF), a Chicago-area commercial grower, have partnered to develop one of the largest indoor commercial farms using LED grow lights. This farming method allows them to harvest 20-25 times a year by using ‘light recipes’ optimized for their produce and uses 85 percent less energy, Philips said in a release.

Biomass Boilers Could Reduce Scottish Bacardi Distiller’s CO2 Footprint by 90%

A Scottish Dewar's distillery owned by Bacardi Limited could reduce its carbon footprint by up to 90 percent by replacing heavy-fuel boilers with biomass boilers fuelled by sustainably sourced wood pellet fuel.The Aberfeldy Distillery raised £1.2 million through the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) for energy-efficiency projects. Half of the funding is coming from an Equitix-managed fund, in which GIB is an investor, and the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund. The investment is in partnership with Balcas Limited, a UK manufacturer of wood pellet biomass.Half of the funding for Aberfeldy is being provided by GIB, with the rest coming from the private sector. Both projects entail replacing existing heavy-fuel oil boilers in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Idaho Startup Wants to Pave Roads With Glass Solar Panels

An Idaho couple has developed a modular paving system of solar panels that can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, as well as playgrounds, and generate electricity to power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots.Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of Solar Roadways, envision a nationwide system that could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole.

Organic Carbon Battery More Powerful Than Lithium Ion, Charges Twice as Fast

Japanese startup Power Japan Plus has launched a new battery technology that generates twice as much energy as a lithium ion battery and charges 20 times faster. The technology could lead to cheaper long-range electric vehicles (EV) that can travel hundreds of miles on a charge and be charged in minutes rather than hours.

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GM Fuel Cell Fleet Surpasses 3 Million Miles

General Motors’ fleet of fuel cell vehicles has passed three million miles of hydrogen-powered, real-world driving, avoiding 157,894 gallons of gasoline consumption, according to a recent announcement.GM’s specially equipped fleet of Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles are part of the company’s 119-vehicle Project Driveway program, launched in 2007. Since then, more than 5,000 drivers have provided feedback on the functionality and drivability of fuel cell technology.

Toyota Funding Hydrogen-Fueling Infrastructure in California

Toyota has entered into a group of financial agreements with FirstElement Fuel Inc. (FE) to support the long-term operation and maintenance expenses of new hydrogen refueling stations in California, according to a recent announcement.Toyota says the amount of financial assistance will be determined by an analysis of the grant award to FirstElement by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) announced on May 1, and final approval of the NOPA, anticipated in June.As part of the agreement with Toyota, FirstElement will work to develop an integrated and reliable network of fueling stations across California in target market locations approved by Toyota, and consistent with the California Fuel Cell Partnership Road Map.

Hawaiians Demand More Solar, Believe Utility Company Is Slowing Adoption

An overwhelming number of Hawaii residents (94 percent) support more rooftop solar, and 90 percent believe that Hawaiian Electric (HECO) — the state’s largest supplier of electricity — is slowing rooftop solar to protect its profits, according to a new opinion poll.The poll confirms that most residents are familiar with and supportive of rooftop solar; one-third have family members with solar, and more than half have neighbors with solar.Hawaii has the highest solar per capita in the country — residents are accustomed to seeing rooftop solar in their communities and they want to see even more of it in the future.

Apple's Campus 2 'Mother Ship' to Run on 100% Renewables

Apple’s Campus 2 in Cupertino is on its way to redefining sustainable office spaces. In a recently released video detailing the sustainability aspects of the building, the company says that the idea is to “bring California back to Cupertino,” and it believes it has a shot at building the “best office building in the world.”

Tesla Model S Completes Longest EV Journey Ever

On Monday, a Tesla Model S sedan completed a 24-day, 12,183-mile battery-powered journey across the United States as part of an effort to secure Guinness World Record verification for longest vehicle journey ever taken using 100 percent electric power.The Epic Electric American Road Trip, sponsored by information services company Recargo, was meant to emphasize the possibilities of the nation's current electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Norman Hajjar, Managing Director of Recargo's driver research division, PlugInsights, drove the vehicle.

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Nissan Expanding Program to Make Charging Free and 'EZ' for LEAF Drivers

Nissan has announced the expansion of its "No Charge to Charge" promotion — which provides two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF — to 25 US markets, which are currently responsible for more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales.Nissan says the "No Charge to Charge" expansion will use the new EZ-ChargeSM card, a first-of-its-kind platform that will offer LEAF drivers access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access card. New LEAFs will come with an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.

British Airways, Solena Fuels Set to Build GreenSky London's Waste-Conversion Facility

British Airways and Solena Fuels' GreenSky London project is set to build the world's first facility to convert landfill waste into jet fuel at the Thames Enterprise Park in Essex. The location is part of the site of a former oil refinery and has existing fuel storage facilities and transport links.

REI's Energy Strategy Now Includes Buying Renewable Energy Certificates

REI is on track to powering all of its stores and distribution centers by renewable energy, through a combination of renewable energy projects and certified renewable energy certificates (RECs).With 26 solar electric systems generating energy and a strong program to invest in energy efficiency, REI now buys RECs as part of its energy strategy that powers more than 130 stores, two distribution centers and its headquarters.While the company grew nearly six percent in 2013, REI says it increased its energy consumption by just 0.1 percent and reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 39.5 percent.

Tesla Model S Breaks Norway's All-Time Vehicle Sales Record

Tesla Motors sold 1,493 Model S sedans in Norway last month, breaking the Scandinavian country’s all-time vehicle sales record, The Wall Street Journal reports. This was more than double its typical monthly sales in Norway and well in excess of volumes typical for the top monthly seller in that market, according to registrations reported by Norwegian transportation officials.The electric vehicle (EV) company’s March performance topped Norway's previous single-market record, dating back to 1986 when Ford sold 1,454 Sierra sedans in one month. In 1992, Subaru's Forrester fell just short of that with 1,328.

Honda Unveils Net Zero Energy 'Smart Home' on UC Davis Campus

Last week, Honda unveiled its net zero energy "Smart Home" on the University of California Davis campus. The company says the building, which includes a charging facility for a Honda Fit EV and is intended to demonstrate Honda's vision for zero-carbon living and personal mobility, will on average generate more electricity from on-site renewable energy than it receives from the local utility.

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