Alternative Energy

December 11, 2012

SportsArt Fitness Green System: exercise equipment that produces electricity

I am fortunate enough that I can get enough exercise to stay fit without the need of exercise equipment or a gym membership. For city dwellers, the gym keeps them in shape, yet there is a lot energy wasted that could be used as people workout.

SportsArt Fitness has developed a Green System that hooks up exercise equipment to an inverter:

What is the green system?
The Green System consists of a pod of products connected to an inverter. The inverter is connected to a 208-240VAC (commonly known as 220 Volt) power supply. Once the users begin exercising, power is generated and fed back into the power grid to offset other power consumption in the facility....

If the green system makes power, why connect to the electrical grid?
The Green System is made to produce power and immediately send it back into the electrical grid. This is much more efficient than battery storage systems which are expensive, environmentally harmful, take up space, and require processing that wastes power. With the Green System, the power produced via exercise is immediately fed back into the grid to be consumed by other electronic devices...

How much energy can the Green System produce?
Up to 2000 watt-hours, per pod of products at maximum capacity.

This green system can be used in both a residential or commercial setting.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 30, 2012

Cool Planet: Renewable gasoline at $1.50 per gallon

Green Car Congress explains:

Cool Planet's biofuel has already been successfully tested internally at its headquarters in Camarillo, CA and through a field trial by Google Inc. at their Mountain View, CA headquarters, with an OnDemand campus vehicle, known as GRide, which has operated seamlessly using this fuel for more than 2,400 miles.

By running on a 5% Cool Planet carbon negative fuel blended with 95% regular gasoline, the test car blend met California's 2020 Low Carbon Fuel Standard--eight years ahead of schedule. The control car used 100% regular gasoline. The test car successfully passed 5 smog checks with no significant difference between cars. The total mileage of the test car was virtually the same as the control car, driving a total of 2,490 stop & go miles in the test car compared with 2,514 miles in the control car. Additionally, both the test car and the control car were virtually identical in emissions testing.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 28, 2011

GMO-Free: SunRidge Farms Organic and All Natural Snacks Perfect for Holiday Travel

Holiday travel can be a drag with winter weather and crowds. You don't need to add the feeling of being "hangry" to the mix. SunRidge Farms has many organic and/or all natural snacks to stave off those feelings and keep you in a positive mood.

Sunridge Farms Organic Cranberry Harvest

Organic Chocolate Chips (Chocolate Chips (Organic Dehydrated Cane Juice, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Organic Peanuts, Organic Almonds, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Cranberries (Organic Cranberries, Organic Sugar, Organic Sunflower or Organic Canola Oil), Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Raisins, Organic Apples.

Sunridge Farms Thai Curry Cashews
Roasted Cashews, Curry Seasoning (salt, maltodextrin, spices, torula yeast, onion, garlic, turmeric, extractives of spice, natural flavor), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil and/or Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil

SunRidge Farms All Natural Dark Chocolate Almonds
Crunchy and sweet. Skillfully crafted in the time-tested European confectionery traditions Small Batch Roasted Almonds. Freshly roasted in house, then drenched in SunRidge Farms All Natural Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate is recognized for its antioxidant properties Luscious Dark Chocolate and Fresh Roasted Almonds. Irresistible.

SunRidge Farms is committed to eco-friendly business:

From our beginnings to today, SunRidge Farms™ has been committed to green living. Our green commitment goes beyond our organic and all natural products, reaching through our business and beyond to make the world a better place for our customers, employees, and the planet. From offering sustainably produced products, to supporting charitable causes, to incorporating greener business practices throughout our offices and warehouse, our commitment to make a difference in the world will never wane. Here are just a few ways that we live green:
  • Our warehouse is equipped with a 99kW solar panel system
  • Seventeen delivery trucks have been converted to renewable biodiesel fuel
  • Low-flow water-saving devices have been incorporated into our offices and manufacturing plant
  • Recycling programs include corrugated cardboard box, ink-jet cartridges, office paper, plastics, and shrink wrap
  • Our state-of-the-art purification and ventilation system has imporoved air quality throughout our operations
Of course, the dark chocolate almonds are my favorite! Once again, SunRidge Farms does not disappoint, other than I wish all of their products were 100% organic.


Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 31, 2011

Really Natural Books: DIY Solar Projects: How to put the sun to work in your home

Screen shot 2011-10-29 at 8.26.00 AM.png
Many people view solar energy as something you need to hire a contractor to take advantage of or else be super handy. DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home is a very user-friendly book containing many projects from the simple to the more complicated. From building a still to solar oven, there are seven projects to help you take advantage of solar heat. There is also loads of information on solar electricity, such as how to mount solar panels.

With high energy costs and a warming planet that needs cleaner fuel sources, the time has never been better for homeowners to get involved with solar energy. And despite what many may think, you don't need to spend $50,000 to coat your house with an array of panels to participate. In DIY Solar Projects (Creative Publishing international, Oct. 2011), environmentally-conscious (and cost-conscious) homeowners will find a surprising array of achievable, clever projects they can make and install to begin creating their own solar lifestyle. From a simple solar oven that can cook a roast in a couple of hours to a standalone solar water heater, this book provides clear instructions for sun-powered equipment homeowners can make and install on their own. Readers will see how to mount small photovoltaic panels on a roof, bring power to lights in a remote shed or garage, and create a solar still that purifies water without consuming power. A wood kiln, a battery charging station, and supplementary heat sources for your home are just a few of the other unique and highly practical projects in this book.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 11, 2011

Virgin Atlantic Announces Plan to Use Industrial Waste for Jet Fuel

The western world is hooked on flying, yet air travel remains a large contributor of greenhouse gases and thus climate change. Biofuels have been tested, but Virgin Atlantic is developing a unique solution which will hopefully be more practical. Yale Environment 360 explains:

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced plans to fly commercial routes using a waste-based, synthetic gas fuel that produces half the carbon emissions of the typical jet fuel. Using technologies developed by partners LanzaTech and Swedish Biofuels, Virgin says it will capture and chemically treat gas waste from industrial steel production facilities into an ethanol that can be be converted into jet fuel. The company plans to run test flights in New Zealand within the next 18 months and begin commercial operations in China by 2014.

Image credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Ingy The Wingy

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 20, 2011

The Park Spark Project: Using Dog Poo to Power Parks

Via: Discovery News and the Park Spark Project

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 16, 2011

2015: GE to Build Solar, Wind, Natural Gas Hybrid Plant in Turkey

Why stick to one form of alternative energy when building a power plant? Why not throw in one non-renewable source to help make the power more affordable? GE plans to build a hybrid solar, wind, and natural gas plant in Turkey in an attempt to make alternative power more "economically viable". Discovery News reports:

In May, GE announced a new type of power plant that ambitiously combines solar with natural gas and wind energy technologies in a way that could make renewable energy economically viable. The 530-megawatt plant is expected to debut in Turkey in 2015. It will combine the recently announced FlexEfficiency 50 power plant (above) -- which runs on wind power and natural gas -- with a solar thermal system by eSolar -- which uses an array of mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat water to drive turbines.

Paul Browning, the vice president of GE's thermal products division says that solar thermal energy is "the most cost-effective form of solar energy available today."

I would be much more excited about the potential of such a hybrid plant if it did not include natural gas.  Sorry T. Boone.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 5, 2011

MIT Improves Solar Production with Genetically Modified Virus


As an environmentalist, I am pro solar power and anti genetically modified organisms. Researchers at MIT have combined these two contrary aspects. Ecofriend reports:
MIT researchers have found a way to improve the power conversion efficiency of solar cells. They have used a genetically engineered version of a virus called M13 to help improve one particular step in the process of converting sunlight to electricity.

A solar cell works like this - when sunlight falls on the light-harvesting material, electrons are released and harnessed to produce an electric current. According to the MIT research team, adding microscopic carbon nanotubes (hollow cylinders of pure carbon) can increase the efficiency of electron collection from a solar cell's surface.

I admittedly don't really understand the process; I just know when the sun is out my solar panels make power. Do I think we should be using genetically modified viruses to increase their power? Hell no! It scares me to think what the consequences could be.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 30, 2010

Rainbows from Solar Power and Reclaimed Water


Ever wanted to make your own rainbows? Now you don't have to wait for Mother Nature to give you the gift of color with the perfect amount of rain and sunshine; you can do it yourself with solar power and reclaimed water. Dvice reports:
That's the idea behind Michael Jones McKean's artificial rainbow maching [sic], which uses reclaimed rainwater and sunlight to create rainbows. It "uses a series of high-powered jet pumps and custom fountain nozzles to spray water into the air, creating the conditions needed for a rainbow to appear." If you want to see this bad boy in action, it's set to be installed at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska next June.
Personally, I like the magic of a Mother Nature created rainbow.

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Peter Kaminski

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 26, 2010

Whiskey By-Products Could Power Cars in Scotland

Biofuels have been criticized for taking away agricultural food production land, but Scottish researchers have found one solution using the by-products of whiskey. Care2 reports:
Scotland produces large quantities of whisky, enough that there are 1,600 million liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff left over. These waste products can now be used to create biobutanol, which is said to produce 30 percent more power than ethanol. The university has filed a patent for the new biofuel and envisions a commercial operation to produce and sell it. Biobutanol can be used in ordinary cars, and requires no adaptions. The plan is to have the new biofuel available at petrol pumps already in use. Presumably it would be blended with conventional petroleum fuel to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It could also be offered in a pure form.

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by duluoz cats

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 17, 2010

Schoolhouse Rock Parody: The Energy Bill and the Oil Spill

Remember this classic from Schoolhouse Rock! about how a bill becomes a law?

Check out this parody off the BP oil spill and the energy bill:

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2010

Greenpeace UK Responds to BP CEO Change by Closing 50 Gas Stations

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 22, 2010

Google Buys 20 Years of Wind Power

Google has been putting their money into sustainable wind power. Three months ago, the company invested $38.8-million in two North Carolina wind farms. Now, the internet giant has "has entered into a deal to buy wind power from NextEra Energy Inc for the next 20 years to power data centers". Globe and Mail reports:

Google Energy LLC will begin buying wind power from July 30 from NextEra's facility in Iowa at a predetermined rate, Urs Hoelzle, Google's senior vice president of operations, said in a blog on Google's website.

"Incorporating such a large amount of wind power into our portfolio is tricky, but this power is enough to supply several data centers," Hoelzle added...

The often-quirky company said in late 2007 that it would invest in companies and do research of its own to produce affordable renewable energy - at a price less than burning coal - within a few years.

The company's Google Energy unit, formed in December, allows the company to buy large volumes of renewable energy from the wholesale power market.

Now, perhaps, those internet searches won't be contributing to your carbon footprint.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 12, 2010

Really Natural Books: Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America

off the grid.jpg
I live off the grid, which if you are not familiar with the term, refers to homes that are independently powered by solar, wind, and/or hydro and is not connected to the utility power grid.

Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America is a new book that will be released on July 27, 2010.

In OFF THE GRID: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America (Penguin Original; On-Sale: August 2010; ISBN 978-0-14-311738-4; $15.00) award-winning documentary filmmaker and part-time off-gridder, Nick Rosen, takes readers on a fascinating and complex journey through a seemingly simple lifestyle. Nick traverses the US, encountering both luxury hideaways and harsh environs, to investigate the growing trend for off-the-grid living. His adventures take him from one overlooked part of the country to another, in rented cars that often double as hotels and on public transit when his subjects demand it. He spends time with all sorts of individuals and families striving to live the lives they want-- bathing in hot springs, forgoing municipal power and amenities--in the ultimate search for freedom from government and its far-reaching grasp.

The stories in this book are really fascinating, but I have to take offense with the cover. Picturing a half-painted shack with a vicious dog caged in the front yard pushes the stereotype that to live off the grid you have to be a little whacky and primitive. Sure some of the people in the book are those types, but already many mainstream folks believe you can't have a normal home off the grid. The text of the book addresses these concerns:
The people featured in OFF THE GRID, as within the movement at-large, are not always the into-to-the-wild recluses that one might expect, although a few such are profiled, including the rustic character made popular through Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man and gun-toting novelist Carolyn Chute as well as cult author Alan Weisbecker. To the contrary, many of those living off-the-grid have built communities of like-minded people, often families with young children who are committed to helping one another. There are groups of devoted environmentalists who see this lifestyle as the only responsible way to counteract the massive energy consumption prevalent in ordinary American life. Others live this way rather unexpectedly, after finding urban and suburban lifestyles in conflict with their personal ethics, and still others were forced into their situations by economic factors beyond their control.

I've shown the cover to other people that live off the grid, and their reaction is the same. In fact, one person said they wouldn't buy the book because of the picture. I know you aren't suppose to judge a book by the cover, but it's hard not to.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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