biofuels

EMPOWERED: No power plant required!

EMPOWERED: No power plant required!

Trailer for “Empowered: Power from the People” from Shira Golding Evergreen on Vimeo.

Sure, you’d love to power at least part of your home on renewable energy, but the local infrastructure isn’t there yet: no nearby wind farm, no solar or geothermal installers. And, besides, it really isn’t that windy where you live.

That’s the kind of mindset that fossil fuels have given us: we really can’t go out and drill our own oil and gas, or mine our own coal, so we’ve assumed largely that energy is something that others have to provide for us. But part of the beauty of renewables is their availability: we all get some sun, wind, or geothermal heat, and with a little elbow grease, we can harvest that energy – no power company or massive centralized plant needed.

The African land grab continues in Mali

The African land grab continues in Mali

Last month, I dug into a relatively new phenomenon: the purchase of arable land in the developing world by countries that have largely exhausted their own farm lands and/or aquifers. Done in the name of food security, these wealthier countries are often cordoning off, if not outright displacing, small subsistence farmers from land they could use to meet their own needs…

Green tech finds: the Quirky edition, 8/25/11

Green tech finds: the Quirky edition, 8/25/11

Next week, the new series Quirky debuts on the Sundance Channel. We’ve featured lots of quirky ideas in the weekly green tech finds posts over the past two years, so in anticipation of the show I thought I’d go back to some of our most innovative (or, at least, most unusual) finds. And if you’ve just got to have the latest, we’ve got a few new ones, too.

Green tech finds (7/7/11)

Green tech finds (7/7/11)

Skiing down a Danish incinerator, seaweed for biofuels, and a solar unit that can save the lives of mothers in the developing world… your green tech finds for the week. The solar suitcase: Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic takes a look at the WE CARE Solar Suitcase, a compact solar power unit designed specifically for…

Green tech finds (6/30/11)

Green tech finds (6/30/11)

A car designed by teenagers that gets nearly 2000 mpg, white roofs for New York City, and how your DVR is jacking up your electric bill… this week’s green tech finds.

Puma’s “clever little bag” is biodegradeable: We mentioned Puma’s alternative to the shoe box back in April of 2010; PSFK reports that the bags will also be compostable (or, if you’re impatient, they’ll dissolve in water in a few minutes). (via Environmental Leader)
The 2000 mpg car? OK, not quite… this design by students at Kingdown School in Warminster, UK got a mere 1,980 mpg. That was more than enough for it to win the Mileage Marathon Challenge at Mallory Park track near Leicester. (via Inhabitat)

Green tech finds (1/20/11)

Green tech finds (1/20/11)

Green tech spanning the globe, from Ohio to New York City to Algeria… your finds for the week.

What’s up with switchgrass: Remember all the discussion about biofuels produced from switchgrass? The talk’s died down, but the experimentation hasn’t… but there are still some arguments out there about the efficiency of this feedstock.
Ohio’s green economy: Ohio? Really? While it’s still small and growing, this Rust Belt state made the most of the manufacturing infrastructure already in place to create green jobs. (via Calfinder’s Residential Solar blog)

Green tech finds (12/2/10)

Green tech finds (12/2/10)

Google Earth’s new “tree view,” state-by-state run-downs on solar power, and LED holiday lights… your green tech finds for the week.

  • Energy Star Plus: Paul Smith at Triplepundit profiles Energy Forward, a Northwest-based electronics efficiency standard that claims to exceed Energy Star standards by 30%.

  • Missouri a great state for solar? That’s right… as are Arkansas, Mississippi, and Wisconsin. A new study out of Arizona State University ranks the optimal state for solar development based on environmental and economic factors.

Brownfield and landfill sites: Perfect for renewable energy development?

Brownfield and landfill sites: Perfect for renewable energy development?

Yesterday’s Boston Globe took note of Canton, Massachusetts’ negotiation to use a capped landfill as an energy production site. While many localities have discovered landfill gas as an alternative energy source, Canton plans to use about half of the 41-acre site as a solar farm.

Green tech finds (7/8/10)

Green tech finds (7/8/10)


Industrial hemp… you can’t smoke it, but, apparently, you can run your car on it. That and more at this week’s green tech finds.

  • Recycle your iPod, buy an iPhone 4: Apparently, that’s what a lot of people are thinking. UK recyclables buyer MoPay has seen a 70% surge in iPod recycling since the release of the new iPhone. (via IT Pro Portal)

  • The solar smart phone: Puma’s new smart phone can run on solar power, and displays how much energy a user is saving when in sun power mode. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Europe right now… (via Springwise)

Green tech finds (2/11/10)

Green tech finds (2/11/10)

New skins for old buildings, hybrid race cars, and solar chargers that work inside… your green tech finds for the week.

  • Reskinning old buildings: New green buildings are great, but what about older, existing structures? Australia-based Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) has conceived of a building “skin” that “which could create a microclimate, cooling the building inside,” and could contain all sorts of sustainable goodies like solar panels and rainwater collection systems. (via Fast Company)

  • Poop to carbon capture: West Virginia chicked farmer Josh Frye is trying to do his part to curb climate change — and make a little extra money — by turning chicken manure into biochar.

Green tech finds (1/29/10)

Green tech finds (1/29/10)

A bit of a weird, carnivorous motif running through this week’s green tech finds… check out the fly-eating clock, and nuclear wasted-eating material modeled on Venus fly traps…

How green is the iPad? Apple has the spotlight this week with the launch of its new tablet computer. MNN and The Daily Green take a look at its green features.
The Fly-Catching Clock: If common items like clocks and coffee tables could also catch pest (from flies to mice), and digest them into biofuel, would you find that revolutionary… or gross? British designers Jimmy Loizeau and James Auger created some designs along these lines to get people thinking about “using living things as fuel.”

Green tech finds (8/27/09)

Green tech finds (8/27/09)

Summer’s coming to an end, but ice cream and watermelon are still on the radar… as green tech finds.

Gardening online: Nope, it’s not a new Facebook app. Italian company Azienda Agricola Giacomo Ferraris has created a sort of CSA 2.0 — Italians can design a garden online, and the company plants the vegetables requested, and delivers the produce from the garden to the customer’s door. (via Springwise)
Online sustainability training: Looking to update your skill set for the green economy? Nevada’s Truckee Meadows Community College has a new online certificate program in green technology; the University of Wisconsin-Extension is offering a full online bachelor’s degree program in sustainable management.

Green tech finds (6/25/09)

Green tech finds (6/25/09)

Elephant poop, chicken feathers, and iPhone apps… that’s the stuff of good green tech stories!

Smart water: You’ve heard all about smart electrical grids… now Rotterdam, in partnership with IBM, is working on a smart water management system. (via Fast Company)
Transformers 3 — The Solar Edition? No greenlights on the movie yet, but these cool 6-toys-in-1 solar-powered robots can introduce your kids to the wonders of solar power (via The Fun Times Guide to Living Green and Inhabitots).

Chocolate Biodiesel Powers Truck from England to Timbuktu

Chocolate Biodiesel Powers Truck from England to Timbuktu

LONDON, UK, November 26, 2007 (ENS) – Biodiesel made from waste chocolate is fueling the journey of two British men who left the town of Poole, on England’s southern coast Friday headed for Timbuktu, Mali in West Africa. They are using the trip to raise public awareness about biofuels and their potential to ease the…