The latest products, services and cleantech applications and how they are tackling some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) climate-protection programs prevented 365 million metric tons of US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in 2012, according to a new report by the agency.EPA’s annual Climate Protection Partnerships report highlights the steps more than 21,000 organizations across the United States have taken to reduce GHG pollution while achieving significant environmental and economic benefits.
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 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 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.
EOS Climate on Tuesday announced it will provide the DuPont refrigerant distributor network access to its Refrigerant Asset System (RAS) to help curb greenhouse gas emissions generated by refrigerants.Launched last November, the RAS software and systems make the existing refrigerant supply chain more efficient, enabling users to track every pound of refrigerant from purchase through to recovery, reclamation and its eventual end-of-life.
Boeing has announced it will join with Etihad Airways, Takreer, Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to collaborate on a new initiative to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).The initiative, BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability, will engage a wide range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive framework for a UAE biofuel supply chain by focusing on research and development and investments in feedstock production and refining capability in the UAE and globally.
Blue Sun Energy, a transportation fuel technology commercialization company, has implemented its enzymatic biodiesel processing technology at its 30 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility in St. Joseph, Missouri, making it the most advanced in the world.Blue Sun says it has fully commercialized the enzymatic process technology and the St. Joseph plant is operating at full scale, which will give it a clear competitive advantage in the biodiesel market. The process at the St. Joe refinery produces high-quality biodiesel, which is further improved by the state-of-the-art distillation system installed last year at the refinery.
Sonoma County-based Bear Republic Brewing Company and Cambrian Innovation, a water and bioenergy technology provider, have unveiled an EcoVolt water treatment system at Bear Republic’s brewery in Cloverdale. The EcoVolt system uses a proprietary bioelectric technology to treat wastewater and generate biogas.Bear Republic, known for its Racer 5 IPA and commitment to environmental stewardship, is the first brewery to purchase the energy-positive EcoVolt system, which will cut its water treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use onsite, and significantly reduce the brewery’s CO2 footprint.
Royal Philips has introduced a new InstantFit LED T8 that reduces the cost for facility managers replacing fluorescent tube lighting with energy-efficient LED technology, known as LED tube lamps (TLEDs).Philips estimates that the installed base for fluorescent tube lighting today amounts to 12 billion (lamp) sockets globally. Linear fluorescent tube lighting with instant start ballast is one of the most common types of general lighting used in shops, offices and industrial spaces. If all current fluorescent lighting was replaced by TLED lamps, Philips says it could result in savings of over $55 billion in energy costs — the equivalent of energy generated by 210 medium-sized power plants.
Kind Love, a state-licensed medical marijuana grower in Denver, Colorado, is improving the operational efficiency and environmental sustainability of its grow operations by installing a closed-circuit desalination (CCD) reverse osmosis (RO) system. The system, which will produce up to 22,000 gallons of purified water per day, is being supplied by Desalitech, a provider of high-efficiency water production and wastewater treatment solutions.
“Imagine if children running, playing and walking could help power the lights in their school corridors or the applications in their classrooms. This is the first step towards Pavegen’s vision of a more sustainable tomorrow.”So said Pavegen CEO and founder Laurence Kemball-Cooke in September, upon installing his innovative, energy-harnessing floor tiles at his alma mater, the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Kent — where 24 tiles, covering 12 meters of a corridor, now harness and convert kinetic energy from students’ footsteps into a sustainable energy source.
Google has announced an agreement to buy smart home appliance company Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion.Nest’s mission is to reinvent oft-overlooked but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms. Since its launch in 2011, Nest’s innovative, user-friendly Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best seller — and its recently launched Protect (smoke + CO detector) has received rave reviews.
Now in their fifth year, the Sustainable Bio Awards recognize the range of innovations taking place in the development of truly sustainable bio-based fuels and products. From biofuels and feedstocks to face cream and finance, this year’s awards will celebrate the advancements made throughout 2013. World Bio Markets, the company behind the awards, is accepting nominations through midnight on January 31 (GMT). Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Amsterdam on March 5, 2014.
Walmart, Costco and Kohl's topped the 2013 Solar Capacity Rankings, which ranks companies by the total installed capacity of their systems and the number of operating installations, as well as showing the geographic diversity of their solar deployment.Apple, IKEA, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, McGraw-Hill, Staples and Campbell’s round out the top 10.