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Bioelectricity May Outperform Ethanol

May 8, 2009 6:16 am | Blogs | Comments

Compared to ethanol used for internal combustion engines, researcher say that bioelectricity used for battery-powered vehicles would deliver an average of 80% more miles of transportation per acre of crops, while also providing double the greenhouse gas offsets to mitigate climate change.

Solid State Lighting Could Learn From Betamax

May 1, 2009 6:59 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Conventional wisdom says that “early adopters” eventually bring new technologies into the mainstream. Thus, the effort to promote solid state lighting (SSL) has ample historical precedence. Back in the late 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s an epic battle was waged between Video Home System (VHS) and Betamax (Beta). One can draw lessons from the eponymous “videotape format war”—specifically, why technologies catch on (while others fade away)

Republicans push nuclear energy to lower costs

April 28, 2009 6:34 am | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say. In the party's weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the United States should follow the example of France, which promoted nuclear power decades ago

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Gore: Congress must not bicker, act now on climate

April 24, 2009 9:47 am | by DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer | Blogs | Comments

Former Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice on climate change, urged lawmakers Friday to overcome partisan differences and pass legislation to curb greenhouse gases. Gore, who won a Nobel prize for his work on global warming, called the climate issue the most important ever before Congress. A Democratic bill limiting carbon dioxide and other pollution linked to a warming of the Earth will simultaneously solve the problems of the climate

US delivers message of urgency on climate change

April 23, 2009 12:39 pm | Blogs | Comments

The United States insisted Thursday that it had a common purpose and felt a sense of urgency over climate change, taking part in environment talks with other Group of Eight nations and developing countries. Delegates are holding three days of talks in this eastern Sicilian city amid high expectations over the extent of the U.S. commitment to tackle climate change

100 MPG Electric Hummer a Reality

April 23, 2009 9:23 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Raser Technologies recently announced a 100 MPG version of the Hummer H3 at the 2009 SAE International World Congress. The idea of taking the most infamous gas guzzler and making it “greener than a Prius” sounds like a pipe dream. But Raser claims to have achieved it. The resultant vehicle is the best of both worlds: environmentally-friendly and attractive

Congress considers major global warming measure (AP)

April 20, 2009 7:36 am | Blogs | Comments

The last time Congress passed major environmental laws, acid rain was destroying lakes and forests, polluted rivers were on fire and smog was choking people in some cities. The fallout from global warming, while subtle now, could eventually be more dire. That prospect has Democrats pushing legislation that rivals in scope the nation's landmark anti-pollution laws.

Obama: Better trains foster energy independence (AP)

April 16, 2009 10:52 am | Blogs | Comments

President Barack Obama is calling for the country to move swiftly to a system of high-speed rail travel, saying it will relieve congestion, help clean the air and save on energy. Appearing with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday, Obama said the country cannot afford not to invest in a major upgrade to rail travel. He said he understands it necessarily will be "a long-term project" but said the time to start is now

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Chevy Volt Not the Answer, Says Obama Administration

April 14, 2009 12:48 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’re strange brewings in the auto industry. President Obama once remarked that “unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.” Fresh off its government bailout, General Motors has devoted “significant resources” to the Chevy Volt, an "Extended Range Electric Vehicle" set for release in 2011. Obama’s response?

Obama looking at cooling air to fight warming (AP)

April 13, 2009 5:36 am | by SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Thu Apr 9, 6:17 am ET | Blogs | Comments

Tinkering with Earth's climate to chill runaway global warming — a radical idea once dismissed out of hand — is being discussed by the White House as a potential emergency option, the president's new science adviser said Wednesday. That's because global warming is happening so rapidly, John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month. The concept of using technology to purposely cool the climate is called geoengineering

Congress Urges EPA to Drop SSL Energy Star Criteria

April 10, 2009 7:11 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

To follow up on an earlier story, congress has urged the EPA to drop its SSL Energy Star criteria. A letter, signed by nine congressional members, encourages EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to defer to the DOE on Energy Star. The letter makes mention of “the current state of affairs, in which two federal agencies have put forth two separate standards,” and that, “The overlapping standards are creating uncertainty in the industry”

Plug In America Refutes Obama Auto Task Force Conclusion on GM Volt

April 2, 2009 10:31 am | Blogs | Comments

In response to an Obama Administration auto task force report, Plug In America on Tuesday proposed a plan to make GM’s Chevy Volt and other plug-in cars more affordable, noting that most advanced new technologies are initially more costly. California law requires that the Volt and other plug-in hybrids come with a 10-year warranty. To ensure this longer life, automakers are as much as doubling the size of the battery pack, increasing cost to manufacturer and consumer.

Biomechanical ATV Boasts Extremely High Range

March 31, 2009 7:27 pm | Blogs | Comments

Advanced technology vehicles have yet to gain a foothold in the mainstream auto industry. Hybrids boast a fuel economy upwards of 40 mpg, but are too pricey for your average consumer. Similarly, “clean diesel” sports high MPG ratings, but diesel is prohibitively expensive. The more exotic ATV’s (air-cars, biodiesel, solar) are aesthetically morose. Pure electric vehicles (PEVs) lack the necessary infrastructure to support them. Welcko’s Mogwai Electric Vehicle (or MEV) is the first ATV with potential mainstream viability

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Proposal Could Ban the Sale of Plasma TVs in California

March 30, 2009 12:23 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is moving ahead with a proposal that could make Plasma TVs legally obsolete. Based on the 2008 Report, “Draft Efficiency Standards for Television” (which drew heavily from Pacific Gas and Electric Company findings), the proposal would set a cap on the maximum active mode power usage (watts). This would effectively ban the sale of Plasma, DLP, rear projector, and certain LCD TV’s in California

World’s Cheapest Car Riles Environmental Groups

March 24, 2009 12:27 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Tata Motors has unveiled the world’s cheapest car, with potential for a vast standard of living increase. And Greenpeace doesn’t like it. The same organization that supported a ban on chlorine in drinking water feels that the mass proliferation of cheap automobiles is a bad thing. Despite its eco-friendly 47 MPG rating, the Tata Nano is seen as a threat to the environment. Why? Because lots of people want to buy them.

New government brochure explains climate science

March 19, 2009 4:43 am | by Alix Paultre | Blogs | Comments

Day after day, reports of the dangers of climate and climate change circulate in the news, often filled with confusing data and debate. In an effort to improve understanding of climate science, a group of government agencies has combined efforts to produce "Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science."

Electrode Breakthrough Enables Rapid Battery Recharge

March 12, 2009 4:48 am | Product Releases | Comments

A lithium-ion battery electrode described this week in the journal Nature can deliver electricity several times faster than other such batteries. It could be particularly useful where rapid power bursts are needed, such as for laser weapons or hybrid race cars. Test batteries based on the new electrode--developed by Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science at MIT--can be discharged in 10 seconds.

Global Warming: Science vs. Activism

March 11, 2009 2:03 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In 2007, Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.” In his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore screeched, “The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There’s no longer any debate in the scientific community about this.”

ASU Develops World’s First Flexible Touchscreen Display

March 9, 2009 9:36 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center (FDC) recently unveiled the world’s first flexible touchscreen display. Developed in conjunction with E Ink Corporation and DuPont Teijin Films, the active matrix display is capable of real-time user input, and can send and receive information. The applications for such a device, particularly in the military sector, are endless

Hundreds rally for legislation on climate change

March 2, 2009 11:08 am | Blogs | Comments

Hundreds of demonstrators are urging Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they're using the Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem. Despite attempts by lawmakers to clean up the power plant in southeast Washington, it still burns coal and accounts for a third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions. Monday's rally on Capitol Hill was being followed by a march to the power plant, where some demonstrators planned to block entrances and get arrested.

Electric Vehicles on Cell Phone Contracts

February 18, 2009 11:15 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place, wants to make electric cars viable. His solution? Spread battery-swapping stations throughout the world, using a fee structure similar to cell-phone contracts. According to Better Place’s site, “The batteries of a zero-emission vehicle need three things in place for optimum functionality: charging spots, battery switching stations, and software that automates the experience.” Their solution is a network of stations where depleted batteries can be swapped out for fresh ones.

Clean Coal and Nuclear Funding Cut from Stimulus

February 13, 2009 7:13 am | by Alix Paultre | Blogs | Comments

This "compromise" is an example of the misguided cuts that have been made in the stimulus package in the name of savings. "Clean Coal" and Nuclear power are among the best alternatives to oil we have, and to cut funding for these important technologies is shortsighted. "Clean Coal" and Nuclear power are among the best alternatives to oil we have, and to cut funding for these important technologies is

Next Stop, the Twilight Zone

February 7, 2009 9:22 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Obama’s position on tailpipe emissions presents a strange paradox: traditional supporters of states’ rights are clamoring for one national standard, while federalists want the states to decide. It seems that we’ve entered bizarro world. But it goes deeper. Allowing states to set their own emissions standards is a thinly-disguised attempt to impose higher national standards through backdoor means.

The Dangers of Exporting E-waste

January 30, 2009 11:27 am | by by Ken Manchen, Newark & Premier Farnell | Blogs | Comments

As readers of ECN well know, Americans are purchasing new and improved electronic products faster than ever—and thereby creating a record amount of electronic waste. What you may not know is that 50% of the e-waste generated in the European Union and North America is now exported to developing countries such as India, China and Africa.

State vs. Federal Emissions Standards

January 27, 2009 10:39 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

President Obama has ordered the EPA to “review” its denial of California’s request for exemption to federal emissions standards. On Monday, January 26th, Obama gave a press conference relating to, “Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Change.” Among other things, he spoke about America’s dependence on foreign oil, the proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, and the aforementioned EPA denial.

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