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Tuesday 26th May 2020

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  Renewable Energy News

ESS inc Raises $30 Million to Expand Battery Storage Manufacturing

A battery technology company has developed a way to store energy in a new way that is portable and absent of highly used lithium-ion or any harmful chemicals for that matter. The technology by ESS inc is an iron-based flow battery that provides over 20,000 cycles of power and is 100% recyclable. This technology is a long-term storage solution that is housed in shipping containers easily transported around the world. The company has the ability to operate in a wide variety of applications including Utilities, Commercial and Industrial, as well as off grid and microgrid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqMWksm5GOQ&feature=emb_logo   ESS inc recently raised $30 million from an investor group. The Oregon based company secured the Series C investment round with investments led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Softbank Group’s SB Energy. The funding group included Evergy Ventures and PTT Global Chemical, a company operating in Southeast Asia. The funding will be used to expand and automate the manufacturing process of the company’s iron flow battery technology.

By |May 22nd, 2020|

Methane Recycling is a Growing Industry in the United States

Methane recycling is a growing industry in the United States. Capturing methane is not a new technology, but one that is gaining steam recently, as a way to reduce greenhouse gases. Natural gas, a commonly used fuel, contains about 98% methane, which is normally derived from harmful drilling practices like Hydraulic Fracking. Methane, unlike other fossil fuels, can be captured from manure produced by the agriculture industry, sewage plants, as well as food waste. The company Brightmark Energy is implementing methane capture technology throughout the United States in various applications that fits the needs of each farm directly. The system works by collecting organic waste and materials from dairy farms. The waste is then placed in anaerobic digesters which release methane. The Methane is captured and processed into renewable energy gas (RNG) which is then distributed to consumers. The remaining materials from the process are turned into commercial fertilizers. Methane is a greenhouse gas, responsible for a significant amount of global emissions. The gas is up to 87 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide in its first 20 years of life. The largest source of methane in the atmosphere is from the agriculture industry and the second largest producer is the energy sector. Creating a system where methane is able to reduce the impacts and emissions of both industries is critically important. Methane recycling may have the ability to significantly reduce global emissions and reduce other environmental impacts. RNG created using recycling systems are considered carbon neutral, as they don’t emit any more methane than would occur if the manure were allowed to decompose naturally. While this growing trend doesn’t necessarily encourage switching to more sustainable sources of energy, it could reduce the amount of natural gas that is being pumped out of the ground, which reduces negative environmental impacts and reduces emissions.       Written by Justin Stanphill

By |March 10th, 2020|

Jeff Bezos Just Announced a $10 Billion Donation to Combat Climate Change

Photo: Business Insider Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that he will be committing $10 billion of his own money to fight climate change. The announcement came via Instagram and is, by far, the largest donation to the cause to date. The Bezos Earth Fund will support “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world”. $10 Billion could go a long way in pushing forward renewable energy, capture carbon, restore natural habitats, and research and development in a wide range of important technologies that can help reverse climate change. Some critical of Amazon think Bezos could better help by altering Amazon’s business practices to be more sustainable. In 2018, Amazon emitted about 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This puts the company in the top 200 emitters worldwide.       Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 19th, 2020|

Researchers at the University of Bath Have Developed a Mobile Solar-Powered Desalination System

Researchers have designed a system that can desalinate ocean water. The system uses Ionics to separate salt from water and is powered by solar. Desalination on large scales typically uses a large amount of energy, costs vasts amounts of money, and has unintended environmental impacts. A small-scale system, used strategically, could avoid these negative aspects. “the prototype desalination unit is a 3D-printed system with two internal chambers designed to extract and/or accumulate salt. When power is applied, salt cations (positively charged ions) and salt anions (negatively charged ions) flow between chambers through arrays of micro-holes in a thin synthetic membrane. The flow can only happen in one direction thanks to a mechanism that has parallels in mobile-phone technology. As a result of this one-way flow, salt is pumped out of seawater. This contrasts with the classical desalination process, where water rather than salt is pumped through a membrane.” – Bath University Eventually, mobile units could be deployed in remote areas lacking clean water as well as disaster areas where water resources have been affected or in short supply. Currently the system can remove 50% of salt from the water. In order to have safe drinking water, about 90% of salt needs to be removed. The researchers think with collaboration and better materials, this could be achieved. The researchers expect the technology could be rolled out in the next 5 years.     Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 18th, 2020|

Smart Energy Summit Begins Monday the 17th

Next Monday marks the start of the Smart Energy Summit in Austin, Texas, running through Wednesday of that week. The event will be hosted by Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company, at the Omni Hotel in Austin. The event will open at 12 p.m. on Monday, with a five-hour workshop on Trends and Opportunities in Residential Energy Management, before closing with a networking reception. It will open again at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, and breakfast will be provided before moving on to speeches and keynotes regarding consumer engagement, along with a few networking breaks as well. Notable speakers include Steve Wheat, Senior Program Manager at Sunrun, Jamie Staples, head of Key Energy Partnerships at Google, and Paul Williams, General Manager of Product Management and Growth at GE Lighting. Wednesday's schedule will again begin with breakfast at 7:30, and the topic of discussion will shift towards the new opportunities in energy brought on by technological advancement. Speakers for Wednesday include such names as Abhay Gupta, Founder and CEO of Bidgely, Paul Schueller, the Founder and CEO of Franklin Energy, and VP of Microgrid Solution & Strategic Alliances at Schneider Electric, Don Wingate. Like the previous day, the speeches and discussions on this day will be broken up by multiple networking opportunites. The event will wrap up with closing comments at 4:45 p.m. A full schedule can be seen here, and you can register for the event here. The sponsors for the event include FLO, Rapid Response Monitoring, and Autogrid. Written by Dilawar Naqvi

By |February 12th, 2020|
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  Climate Change News

Spaceship Earth relives the 1990’s Biosphere 2 Experiments

A new documentary called Spaceship Earth relives the famous Biosphere 2 experiment which began in the early 1990’s. The experiment consisted of a quarantined crew of 8 scientists who lived inside of an isolated facility called biosphere 2 to understand how humans might be able to live in space. The facility housed 7 different ecosystems including a rainforest, coral reefs, and farming capabilities to produce enough food for the crew. “The main objective of the experiment was to determine if an artificial biosphere could operate, increasing storages of energy and biomass, preserving a high level of biodiversity and biomes, stabilizing its waters, soils and atmosphere,” – research director John Allen The experiment garnered national attention and was fraught with scandals and conspiracy theories about how long the crew would be able to last in isolation and a situation where one scientist may have tracked in supplies from the outside world when they left the facility due to an urgent operation. After oxygen levels began to deplete slowly, oxygen needed to be pumped in which many saw as having failed the mission. While the missions did not go perfectly as planned, much was learned and collect data to improve on how long-term space exploration may be possible in the future. The building is still in use today and is owned by the University of Arizona. The college uses it to understand the natural environment with its ability to perform experiments that require a controlled atmosphere. The ecosystems that were planted in the facility in the 1990’s are now mature forests that have continued to be isolated from the rest of the world.   Learn More Here  

By |May 25th, 2020|

Now May be a Better Time Than Ever to Green Some Restaurants

The restaurant industry has been hit extremely hard in the last few months due to the coronavirus. One estimate shows that around 75% of independent restaurants that have closed due to the pandemic won’t be able to re-open after the crisis is over. The National Restaurant Association projects that the industry will lose $225 Billion in the coming three months and shed 5-7 million employees. It is a hard reality to face that many of our favorite restaurants, bars, and coffee shops may not be around at the end of this pandemic. The industry will certain return at some point in the future though, new business owners will decide to open back up and others will be able to weather the storm. When the industry is able to begin again, things will certainly change in the day to day operations. Now is a better time than any other to ensure that when restaurants do open up, better systems are in place that could save restaurants money while being more sustainable. Many things can be done to make restaurants more sustainable that don’t require large amounts of capital. Now is the time to make sustainable practices official and pass regulations that ensure restaurants do their part to reduce the impact of climate change. Supply chains can move to a more local level to reduce greenhouse emissions resulting from shipping. More vegetarian options on menu’s are cheaper and reduce greenhouse emissions from the dairy industry. Replace appliances and restroom facilities with low energy ones and toilets with water-free systems. Waste reduction techniques like portion control can reduce food waste, resources, and save restaurants money.   Read more from Chef Hero

By |May 22nd, 2020|

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day from Home

Earth Month is in full swing and with most of us cooped up at home, unable to gather in our communities, people may be wondering how they can commemorate it or do their part from home. What makes this year’s Earth Month even more special is that April 22, 2020 marks exactly 50 years of Earth Day. One way to celebrate Earth Day or Earth Month is to simply take a walk outside and enjoy the great outdoors. If you happen to spot any trash along the way, pick it up and dispose of it (preferably with gloved hands). If possible, you could also plant trees on your property to beautify your own space while also increasing surrounding oxygen levels, filtering away pollutants, and providing resources for local wildlife. If you’re looking for other ideas on how to make a larger impact, this page on saving the rainforest from TreeMusketeers.net (https://www.treemusketeers.net/save-the-rainforest/) has some more ideas on how to make a difference. It has great information on how essential rainforests are to our daily lives, such as how they provide a quarter of all of the air we breathe as well as the many pharmaceuticals and products provided by rainforests that we depend on. It covers several ways in which we can help preserve our rainforests, even from home. Some ways that it says we can make a difference include: Reusing products and purchasing recycled goods whenever possible Eating locally sourced meat Not purchasing items made from tropical hardwoods that come directly from rainforests Using less paper to reduce the need to cut down trees Avoiding the purchase of products that are significant exports of deforested rainforests Donating to organizations that are helping the rainforest The page explains these tips further and gives the reader an overall appreciation for our rainforests as well as our great planet in general and what it is capable of - just in time for Earth Month.

By |April 22nd, 2020|
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