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

EPA Programs Help Companies Reduce Costs, GHGs

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.

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.

EOS Climate Helping DuPont Reduce Refrigerant GHG Emissions

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 Joins Abu Dhabi Team to Grow Biofuel Supply Chain in UAE

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 First to Commercialize Enzymatic Biodiesel Process at Scale

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.

Bear Republic Brewery Unveils Energy-Positive Wastewater Treatment System

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.

New Philips TLEDs Could Save Offices $55 Billion Worldwide

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.

Medical Marijuana Farm Recovering 97% of Its Wastewater Through Reverse Osmosis

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.

Energy-Generating Floor Tiles Make US Debut at NYC Prep School

“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 to Acquire Nest Labs, Inc for $3.2B

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.

Awards Honoring Innovations in Bio-Based Fuels, Products Now Accepting Nominations

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 Top 2013 Solar Capacity Rankings

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.

South America's Largest Solar-Thermal Plant Planned for Chile

Abengoa, an international company that applies technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, has been selected by the Ministry of Energy of the Chilean Government and Corfo (Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion) to develop a 110 MW solar plant using tower technology with 17.5 hours of thermal energy storage using molten salts.Located in the Atacama Desert, the region with the highest solar radiation concentrations in the world, the project will be the first solar-thermal plant for direct electricity production in South America.

Over 380 Waitrose, John Lewis Stores to Be Powered by Renewables Through New Deal

Already leading the charge when it comes to wiping out its food and plastic waste, The John Lewis Partnership has become the latest company to commit to drastically increasing its use of renewable energy. The UK retail giant recently announced a new partnership with SmartestEnergy to supply over 380 of its Waitrose and John Lewis stores with 100 percent clean power.

The Two Deficits, Part Six: How to Restore Prosperity

This is the final post in a six-part series that comprises Future 500 founder Bill Shireman's insightful essay, The Two Deficits: Why Conservatives and Progressives Are Both Right, from the book

The Two Deficits, Part Five: Driving the Next Energy Productivity Revolution

This is the fifth in a series of five posts that comprise Future 500 founder Bill Shireman's insightful essay, The Two Deficits: Why Conservatives and Progressives Are Both Right, from the book

Kaiser Permanente To Pursue LEED Gold For All New Major Building Projects

Kaiser Permanente has announced it now will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for all new construction of hospitals, large medical offices and other major projects.

Report: Investing in Energy Efficiency Could Be Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity

Energy efficiency is estimated to be a multi-hundred-billion dollar investment opportunity in the United States, but better policies are required to unlock broad-based financing from institutional investors, according to a new report released this week by Ceres and its Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR).