Veolia World Solar Challenge

The 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge has officially begun in Darwin, Australia. 37 racing teams from 20 countries around the word is competing in the event. The teams will travel 3000 plus kilometers from Darwin to reach  the finishing point at Adelaide.

According to the organizers:
“It’s all about energy management! Based on the original notion that a 1000W car would complete the journey in 50 hours, solar cars are allowed a nominal 5kW hours of stored energy, which is 10% of that theoretical figure. All other energy must come from the sun or be recovered from the kinetic energy of the vehicle”

Solar Team Twente came first in the qualification round that was held on last Saturday and secured the first starting position in the race. Nuon Solar Team and Michigan University finished in second and third positions respectively.


The Challenge crosses the centre of Australia – stretching 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.
Enthusiast can follow their favorite teams during the challenge as satelite tracking systems are implemented in each vechichles.

The fastest teams are expected to reach the official finish line just outside Adelaide late Wednesday or early Thursday

Event Website: http://www.worldsolarchallenge.org/

Nokero N200 A Green Solution to Light Up Nights Worldover

In a world where 1 in 4 humans lives without access to electricity, and you and I pretty much can’t exist without it an economically viable solution to light up the nights is a blessing, no less. Nokero N200 is a small and effective solution for a large problem! Nokero (No kerosene!) was formed in June 2010 by inventor Steve Katsaros to develop safe and environmentally-friendly solar products that eliminate the need for harmful and polluting fuels used for light and heat around the world and most importantly, are affordable to the communities that need them.

Nokero Introduction

Nokero lamps are an all-in-one solar system that is already completely and successfully replacing kerosene lamps and paraffin candles in places all around the world where  electricity is not a given. Best of all, their lighting products are more economical than any other lights of the same kind.

Nokero performance:

  • A typical kerosene lamp emits about 10 lumens of light, similar to Nokero.
  • Nokero is made in a high-quality factory, has its CE certification, and is built to last 5+years when properly cared for.
  • Nokero’s battery lasts 2-3 years, and is replaceable for about $1 US.
  • Nokero is bulb-shaped, so it’s easy to identify what it is and how it works – anyone can use it.
  • Pivot technology allows for maximum efficiency – the solar panel can pivot toward the sun to increase insolation rates.
  •  The most affordable solar light of its kind
  • Quality design and construction
  • The best commercially available solar panels
  • High-temperature battery works efficiently in all climates

About Worldwide Kerosene Use

  • A quarter of humanity still obtains illumination via fuel-based lighting, usually Kerosene or “Kero”.
  • Usage is expected to shrink only slightly by 2030 (from 1.6 billion in 2006 to 1.3 billion in 2030), and is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Fuel lighting is widespread in well over 100 countries.
  • Typical kerosene users burn their lamps for 1.5 hours a night
  • The Nokero N100 lasts about 2 hours a night on one day’s charge.
  • The Nokero N200 lasts 6-plus hours a night on one day’s charge.

 

Economics:

  • The average user spends 5% of their income on lighting fuel.
  • Off-grid lighting users spend $40 billion per year (about 20% of all global lighting expenditures) yet receive only 0.1% of total lighting services.
  • Nokero pays for itself within weeks or months (depending on region) when replacing a kerosene lamp.
  • Recent market research has shown these users’ willingness to pay $6-$15 for solar LED products.
  • Better light creates improved study conditions, leading to a better overall economy for the host nation. (One report stated that study time of students rose from 1.47 hours to 2.71 hours per day, with a positive effect on school performance, when using LED lighting rather than fuel lamp lighting).
  • Off-grid businesses rank “improved lighting” highest among a set of improvements desired for their premises.
  • Those who buy a product take more care of it than those who are given a product.
  • Traditional solar home systems cost $300 or more and require installation.
  • Typical “hurricane” lanterns cost about $5US in most regions.
  • Battery-powered LED flashlights are available in some areas for about $5, but 87% of users had problems within 6 months.

Health:

  • Inhalation of fumes from fuel lamps is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
  • Exposure to single-wick lamps exposes user to 10 times more particulate matter (PM) than ambient health guidelines.
  • More than 1 million people per year die in fires started by fuel-lamps and lighting materials.
  • Indoor air pollution is responsible for the death of 1.6 million people every year—that’s one death every 20 seconds.
  • Long-term inhalation of hydrocarbons, including kerosene fumes, results in central nervous system damage, including loss of cognitive functions, gait disturbances, and loss of coordination.
  • Other health risks include burns, complications from fires or explosions, child poisoning because of inadvertent consumption, exposure to unburned fuel, and compromised ‘visual health’ because of sub-standard luminance levels.

Environment:

  • 1.3 million Barrels of oil per day consumed by fuel lighting.
  • 190 million tons of carbon dioxide released into atmosphere.
  • This is the equivalent of 30m cars.
  • One Nokero bulb can save 0.77 tons of CO2 during its lifetime.
  • Other fuels:
  • Kerosene is not the only fuel used for light.
  • More than 7% of households in Tanzania burn wood for light.
  •  20% of homes in Ethiopia burn biofuels (non-kerosene) for light.

Kerosene facts and information are sourced from The Lumina Project

Nokero N200 is the latest from Nokero and is a simple easy to use solution for most lighting issues at home or while camping.

Some interesting facts:

In most countries, the Nokero N200 pays for itself in 15 days to 2 months by eliminating the need for expensive candles or kerosene.

The Nokero N200 also makes an ideal camping light, or a portable RV light, emergency light, or marine light.

It brings 6 hours of light per night on “low” and 2.5 hours of light per night on “high”,* but it can be charged for multiple days in a row to extend its lighting time.

The battery will last for 1.5 years, and can be replaced to keep the bulb lasting for years.

Energy production and distribution has been a costly and polluting exercise world over. We all await a day when renewable energy can be produced in a cost effective way so that the nights will be lit world over.  Nokero N200 is a step in the right way for more details and to buy check out  Nokero N200

 

Best Conditions for Generating Solar Energy

Solar panels use PV (photovoltaic) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Assessing whether your property’s roof is in a good position to generate solar power is essential before committing to installing any solar energy technology.

Roof position

Your roof will need to face south or within 90 degrees of south and should be in a relatively sunny position. If your roof is overshadowed for part of the day then this will generate less power. As well as this your roof needs to be structurally sound and in a fit enough state to be able to support the weight of the panels.
The Energy Saving Trust advises that your roof should be at a pitched angle of between 30 and 50 degrees from the horizontal for best performance. If you have a flat roof, panels can be attached to a frame tilted at the optimum angle.

Housing Energy Advisor suggests that you use free online solar angle calculator to calculate the best angle for each month of the year and then work out an average. Alternatively, you could make the most of the summer sunshine by calculating the optimum angle for June and setting your panels in that position. This would be the best option if you want to produce as much energy as possible to sell back to the national grid. A third option would be to set your panels at the optimum angle for the winter months. In this scenario, it would be likely that you would still be able to produce enough energy for the summer months, but this will give the additional benefit of reducing the amount of energy you need to buy in the winter. Unfortunately this would also reduce the amount of surplus energy you’ll be able to sell.

Weather conditions

Solar energy systems will produce energy all year round, but will produce significantly less during the winter months. Solar panels can still generate energy even on a cloudy day and the Energy Saving Trust even estimates that a system can still generate up to a 1/3 of the energy on a cloudy day that would usually be produced on a sunny day.

Regular amounts of rainfall are essential to the efficient operation of solar panels, as this cleans off any dust and dirt that could settle on them and could prevent the sun’s rays from being efficiently harnessed. This also helps to keep the panels cool, which benefits the panels as they operate with greater efficiency at lower temperatures.

Guest Article by Amy Catlow.

Teenie Micro Solar Cell From Semprius

Pin Sized Solar Cell from Semprius

Picture courtesy Inhabitat website

 

Semprius just unveiled an teenie solar cell that is half the size of a pinhead, which when combined with powerful inexpensive lenses can concentrate sunlight more than 11,000 times and convert it to electricity!

Semprius has been a leader in Concentrated solar research and development. In 2008 they had come out with a method to slice monocrystalline solar wafers thin enough to be flexible and partially transparent but still maintain their high solar efficiency. The slender silicon slices are then imprinted onto a substrate using Semprius’s patented microtransfer printing process.

Semprius’ patented micro-transfer printing technology brings for the first time, high performance semiconductors to virtually any surface, including glass, plastic or metal substrates or even other semiconductor wafers. By liberating the semiconductor devices from their traditional substrates, Semprius technology enables the construction of a wide variety of new products with large-area, thin, and lightweight form factors, high reliability and low cost. The resulting circuit devices have levels of performance comparable to the original semiconductor.

 

Smaller and more efficient! Wonderful news for Solar and alternative energy market; if only it were affordable sooner.

Read the entire article here

WYSI™ The Ecofriendly Green Wipe

For anyone travelling, alone or in a group an essential thing to have in our cars would be wipes. Everytime I use a common wipe or paper towel I feel guilty about adding to the landfills. With Wysi one gets a product which is biodegradable and reusable.

The Wysi Wipe is a multipurpose wipe made of 100% pulp free fibre, is scent free and biodegradable! Each wipe is about the size of a nickel and shaped like a tablet.   All you do is add your liquid of choice and the wipe expands to the size of a large wipe.

 

Wysi™ closes the gap between a paper towel and washcloth. Yet Wysi™ is soft enough for the most delicate skin; 100% natural; contains no alcohol; and has no added chemicals; and zero scents. Plain and simple Wysi™ is a pure hypoallergenic wipe suitable for all skin types. Even the oxygen based whitener H2O2 has environment benefits.

The only additive is the liquid you chose! Try refreshing clean water from your bottle, stream, lake, kettle, tap or hose. Splash on a tablespoon of liquid and watch it grow! Wet & unroll an absorbent, practical, multipurpose, baby soft, scent-free cloth.

  • Ideal for traveling!
  • Use indoors or out.
  • Walking, hiking, backpacking, camping or even at a family picnic or barbecue.
  • Compacts are compressed making them fabulous when space is at a premium. Like in a RV, boat, shop, cabinets, purse, etc.
  • Absorbent to soak up messy spills in the kitchen or bathroom
  • Instant antibacterial wipe when moistened with disinfectant
  • Kid friendly and pet friendly in the home or on the go
  • Hypoallergenic, super-soft and gentle on sensitive skin
  • Convenient laptop screen wipe at home or at work
  • Handy automobile wipe or gym wipe
  • Perfect as a heavy duty industrial hand wipe
  • Disposable yet reusable, can be rinsed many times
  • Finally One wipe is everything you need it to be!

Price : 12 pieces in a packet is priced around 10$

A box 40 resealable bags in a box  100$

Anywhere. Everywhere. Green and Clean The biodegradable Wysi™ brand of wipes and cloths!

Check it out HERE

Artificial Leaf To Harness Sun’s Energy

 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created an artificial leaf that could harness Sun’s energy and provide a potentially limitless source of energy by the process of photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

The new device is a playing card sized silicon wafer coated on either side with two different catalysts. The silicon absorbs sunlight and passes that energy to the catalysts to split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.

The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

“Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well in the form of this artificial leaf,” said Nocera, a chemist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

Read More at ScienceDaily

Photo Credits@

Spisharam

mickeyvdo

The Green Car of 2011 Chevy VOLT

In early November 2010 the Chevy volt was picked as the Green Car for 2011 by the Green Car Journal. General Motors showcased the Chevrolet Volt with major fanfare at the Detroit Auto show of 2007 as a concept car, and as promised kept the launch date of end of 2010. When the Chevy Volt debuted in the Los Angeles Auto show it also won the “Car of the Year” – a first for a plug in Hybrid! This year the nominees including two hybrids, a high efficiency gasoline hatchback, and for the first time two electric cars.

The automotive press loves handing out awards, but this one is somewhat relevant because all the cars considered are practical, eco-friendly vehicles you might actually want to drive. Judges include gearheads Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby along with greenies like Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Motor Trend and Automobile magazines named the Chevrolet Volt “car of the year” earlier this week.

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

It is already on the roads in many parts of the country. The Volt looks pretty average from the outside except for the grille, but the interiors and its technology are revolutionary. The Volt charges up for a range of about 40 miles on battery power only; then the gasoline engine allows another 300 miles or so on top of that. It can be plugged in to a wall socket or a special garage recharger to “refuel”. To me it seems a tad too pricey at $40k plus.

I remember a line I read about the Volt when it first made its debut as the future of GM- the author of that article said “For GM, the Volt is meant to help change its image as a vendor or SUVs and other trucks, while giving it important technical know-how in fuel-efficient cars.” You can read the entire article here In many ways it is kind of a resurrection for the American Auto makers who were caught napping by the Japanese and other auto manufacturers in the race for a fuel efficient hybrid.

After all these good things today morning I read a rating from the ACEEE on the Green Car Book website – they have rated the Chevy Volt the lowest amongst Green cars at 48! They judge the new models on a point scale that includes not only fuel economy and tailpipe emissions, but also such relatively arcane measures as factory pollution and ease of recycling. At first glance I wondered what changed? then realized it was just how they were looking at it skewed. The volt’s gas engine gives a mileage of 35 mpg city/40 highway, which is nothing to write home about really. But what they have not taken into account is the fact that many a volt owner might never use the gas engine! and the Volt was given a 10/10 for being green by th car connection folks too!

Motor Trend magazine said“The genius of the Volt’s powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user’s duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world’s first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”

I for one am very intrigued and would definitely take a look at the Volt before I decide as to which new car to buy, will just have to wait for the price to reach a little lower 🙂

CHECK OUT:

Car connection for a Review of the Chevrolet Volt

Forbes article on the Green Car Books low rating

OAT Shoes: Biodegradable Shoes

OATS Shoes

From the OAT Shoe Website “OAT Shoes is a brand-new initiative in shoe design combining attractive style and biodegradable materials to produce sneakers that not only look good, but leave no mark on the environment when you throw them out.”

OAT shoes are made using hemp, cork, bio-cotton, certified biodegradable plastics, chlorine-free bleach and other nontoxic materials, the shoes are designed to completely break down when buried in the ground

The prices of the shoes are not yet announced and initially they will be available only in Europe.

OAT Shoes Website : http://www.oatshoes.com/

Liquid Magma as Geothermal Energy Source

Magma

Image courtesy@ michi_s

An Icelandic team was drilling into the Krafla caldera as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, an industry-government consortium, to test whether “supercritical” water (very hot water under very high pressure ) could be exploited as a source of power.

They planned to drill to 15,000 feet, but at 6,900 feet, magma (molten rock from the Earth’s core) flowed into the well, forcing them to stop. But this prompted them to test magma as geothermal energy source.

Krafla Geothermal Energy

Krafla caldera

“Because we drilled into magma, this borehole could now be a really high-quality geothermal well,” said Peter Schiffmann, professor of geology at UC Davis and a member of the research team along with fellow UC Davis geology professor Robert Zierenberg and UC Davis graduate student Naomi Marks. The project was led by Wilfred Elders, a geology professor at UC Riverside.

When tested, the magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius). The team estimated that this steam could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes.
That compares to 5 to 8 megawatts produced by a typical geothermal well, Elders said. Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources.

When tested, the magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius). The team estimated that this steam could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes.That compares to 5 to 8 megawatts produced by a typical geothermal well, Elders said. Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources.

A paper describing geological results from the well was published this month in the journal GeologyA paper describing geological results from the well was published this month in the journal Geology

Source: physorg.com

China Initiates Thorium Molten Salt Reactor Project

A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of nuclear fission reactor where the primary coolant is a molten salt mixture, which can run at high temperatures (for higher thermodynamic efficiency) while staying at low vapor pressure for reduced mechanical stress and increased safety, and is less reactive than molten sodium coolant. The nuclear fuel may be solid fuel rods, or dissolved in the coolant itself, which eliminates fuel fabrication, simplifies reactor structure, equalizes burnup, and allows online reprocessing. MSR is also known as a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), and pronounced “lifter”. (Source: Wikipedia)

Molten Salt Reactor

The People’s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology, it was announced in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference on Tuesday, January 25.

Read more