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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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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Private Investments in Sustainable Technologies Hits $5.3 Trillion

Private investments in sustainable technologies such as renewable energy, water, energy efficiency, and green construction hit $5.3 trillion in 2014 — more than halfway to the 2020 goal of $10 trillion — according to a recent announcement by Ethical Markets.To help track investments as they accrue, Ethical Markets in 2007 established the Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS). The GTS tracks Renewable Energy ($2.6 trillion), Water ($484 billion), Energy Efficiency ($1.1 trillion), Green Construction ($512 billion), Green R&D ($363 billion) and Cleantech ($258 billion).

Sea-Tac International Unveils EV Project to Save Airlines Millions in Fuel, GHG Emissions

With most of the focus regarding the carbon footprint of air travel on the planes themselves, little attention is generally paid to that of airports. a new project to convert the rest of the vehicles on the airfield at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from fossil fuels to electric power is about to save the airport millions of dollars and tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Report: Industry Energy-Efficiency Programs Cut Costs, Improve Productivity

Energy-efficiency programs are helping industry achieve higher energy savings, cost savings and productivity improvements, according to a new report by the SEE Action Network and the Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP).The report, Industrial Energy Efficiency: Designing Effective State Programs for the Industrial Sector, investigates successful and well-designed industrial energy efficiency (IEE) programs in the United States. The results provide a strong case for industry participation in statewide programs.IIP says it is clear from the research that state energy-efficiency programs are helping both industry and ratepayers save money and cut energy use.

PURE Energies Infographic Highlights Water Usage by Power Plants

Water is the word of the month — as California suffers through one of the worst droughts in its history, Silicon Valley-based tech companies are innovating to reduce their water consumption and brands from Coke to Levi’s raising consumer awareness of water usage and conservation leading up to

The Future of Driving? Hydrogen Cars Have 3 Times the Range of EVs, Emit Only H20

Hydrogen fuel cell cars have more than three times the standard range of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), can be refueled in minutes rather than hours and look and handle more like traditional cars — so why are there still only a few hundred hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road? The answer is a lack of hydrogen refueling stations, according to a new segment released today by QUEST, an Emmy Award-winning multimedia series with a new focus on exploring the science of sustainability. See the segment below:

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Boeing, South African Airways Helping Smallhold Farmers Grow Biofuel Crops

Boeing has launched an initiative with South African Airways (SAA) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to expand opportunities for “smallhold” farmers in Southern Africa to grow crops that produce sustainable fuels.Boeing says the program builds on a global effort alongside RSB and other partners to help farmers with small plots of land gain access to markets for sustainable biofuels and biomaterials. In the coming months, Boeing and RSB will work with Southern African stakeholders to create pilot programs to build knowledge and skills among groups of farmers who want to certify their crops as sustainable.

Nestlé, Sainsbury's, GSK Adopt Holistic Framework for Carbon-Water Management

Businesses and governments must tackle energy and water use in tandem or risk major disruption, according to research released this week by sustainability specialists Anthesis in association with the Water Footprint Network. And 15 leading businesses from 11 different sectors, including Sainsbury’s, Boots UK, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé and Nokia have committed to looking at their carbon-water management holistically.

GE Renews Ecomagination Initiative, Commits $25B to CleanTech R&D by 2020

GE has announced the renewal of its ecomagination commitment, the company’s sustainability initiative that seeks to find technology solutions that save money and reduce environmental impact for its customers and operations.Since its 2005 launch, GE says ecomagination has generated more than $160 billion in revenue. The company’s own operations have seen a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2004 and a 47 percent reduction in freshwater use since 2006, realizing $300 million in savings.

Google, eBay, Adobe Innovating to Save Water in California Drought

Amid one of the worst droughts in California history, Google, Adobe, eBay and several other technology companies are embracing innovation to reduce water consumption, the Guardian reports.Google is considering installing new technology such as urinal cakes containing enzymes that calcify urine so that toilets only have to be flushed a few times each day. This could save around 500,000 gallons of water a year.

Chevy Carbon Credit Initiative Helps US Colleges Earn Money for Reducing Footprint

Chevrolet has helped develop a formula where US colleges and universities can earn money for certain upgrades that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as part of a new voluntary carbon-reduction initiative.Through this initiative, Chevy will buy and retire carbon credits resulting from some campuses’ GHG reductions from either their LEED-certified buildings or other campus-wide energy-saving initiatives. The program is part of the company’s voluntary goal set in 2010 to prevent up to 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the earth’s atmosphere.

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Interface Europe Achieves 90% Carbon Reduction

Interface announced this week it has reached a series of major sustainability milestones at its European manufacturing facility in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands. As of January 2014 the plant has been operating with 100 percent renewable energy, using virtually zero water in its manufacturing processes and has attained zero waste to landfill. This is a key achievement for the facility and a significant step forward for the company as it strives towards Mission Zero — Interface’s pledge to eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by 2020 and by doing so, become a restorative enterprise.

Volvo Production Plant Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Volvo Construction Equipment’s Braås site in southern Sweden has become its first carbon-neutral facility and is claimed to be the first construction equipment production plant in the world run entirely on renewables.The 45,000 m2 site, which specializes in the design and manufacture of articulated haulers, is now powered entirely by renewable energy sources — including wind, biomass and hydropower.The move follows in the footsteps of sister company Volvo Trucks, whose Ghent facility set the standard for emissions-free industrial manufacturing in 2007.

National Council of Chain Restaurants Urges Further Reductions to Corn Ethanol Mandate

This week, the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), which represents just about every US quick-service and table-service chain you can think of, submitted comments to the EPA on its proposal to reduce the levels of corn ethanol mandated under the embattled Renewable Fuel Standard.

New York Offers $21M to Help Dairy Farms Convert Waste to Energy

New York recently made available $21 million to help the state’s dairy farmers convert farm waste to energy.Most of the funding — $20 million — is available through New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to install anaerobic digester technology that produces renewable biogas used to generate electricity and heat from organic wastes. Food processing manufacturers, farms or municipal wastewater sites would be eligible for up to $2 million per project.

Sprint Takes HFC Technology to Rooftops with Help from Department of Energy

Sprint announced today it will deploy hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology as backup power to its rooftop network sites thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE). The solution should allow for lower site maintenance and cleaner network energy sources and will increase network survivability during power outages.

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