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Sunday 5th April 2020

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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 [...]

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  Renewable Energy News

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|

New Research Finds Hydrogen on Demand One Step Closer

Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept Car Scientists have developed a way to produce Hydrogen power on demand. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing and Tsinghua University, found a way to create a higher conversion efficiency that starts rapidly and runs quietly with the only byproduct being water. “The researchers used an alloy -- a combination of metals -- of gallium, indium, tin and bismuth to generate hydrogen. When the alloy meets an aluminum plate immersed in water, hydrogen is produced. This hydrogen is connected to a proton exchange membrane fuel cell, a type of fuel cell where chemical energy is converted into electrical energy.” - Science Daily Hydrogen has long been seen as a feasible alternative to fossil fuel use, but has had difficulty overcoming the obstacles of transportation and its slow and energy intensive on-board generation. This research could pave the way for more broad use of Hydrogen. Key remaining obstacles include the ability to recycle bismuth and optimization of heat dissipation. Written by Justin Stanphill

By |February 4th, 2020|
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  Climate Change News

Coronavirus May Lead to a Drop in Global Emissions

The Coronavirus has been continuing to spread throughout the world rapidly. While there aren’t a whole lot of positives from the outbreak, there may be one silver lining, carbon emissions. According to a study conducted by Carbon Brief, there is a slowdown of emissions linked to the coronavirus and the policies put into effect to limit travel and movement of people. China, the world’s largest emitter and ground zero for the virus, is currently emitting 25% less CO2 than previously. The slowdown is the largest since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The demand for oil and coal has dropped dramatically as a result of large quarantines of entire cities and travel advisories. Around the world, large events have been canceled from South by Southwest to large sporting events which are all working toward further reducing emissions. Certainly, this reduction is emissions is temporary but it may buy the world just a little more time to solve the climate crisis. This new information also shows that the world does have the ability to reduce global emissions rapidly, with minimal effects on the economy, if enough people demand action. Information about the Coronavirus and the impact on society can help learn more about the adaptability of people and find better ways to approach climate action.     Written by Justin Stanphill

By |March 11th, 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|

BEST PRACTICES: Wells Fargo Is Third Major U.S. Bank to End Arctic Oil Financing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

              Wells Fargo & Co. announced in March that they will not provide future investment for oil and gas projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s North Slope region. The San Francisco-based bank joins JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as the third major U.S. financial institution to refuse future investment for oil projects in the Arctic. Wells Fargo indicated in a statement that their recent announcement stems from their wider 2018 risk assessment-based decision to eschew transactions related to projects in that region, according to the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report. Wells Fargo also stated that they will continue to maintain their pre-existing financial relationships with multiple companies involved in the oil and gas industry in the Alaskan Arctic region. Part of the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge spans approximately 19.64 acres in northeast Alaska, protecting the wildlife residing in its land and water. There are no roads, campgrounds or marked trails. Written by Nicole Foulke

By |March 9th, 2020|
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