Tags: renewable energy

Denmark’s waste-to-energy solution profiled

The New York Times runs a very informative piece on the success and prevalence of waste-to-energy plants in Denmark, where they constitute the mainstream of garbage disposal and produce a substantial amount of the energy supply.  Denmark hosts 29 of these facilities, which burn non-recyclable garbage to produce heat and electricity while filtering and capturing pollutants like dioxin and mercury rather than emitting them.  


Solar Roadways

Engineers at Solar Roadways, a renewable energy start-up based in Idaho, have completed a prototype for a multi-layered, energy-generating road surface.  The company says that when installed, Solar Roadway would generate and store energy through photovoltaic (PV) cells, each cell capable of managing it’s own electricity generation, storage and distribution.


Texas is the biggest wind energy state in the US

It might come as some surprise to learn that Texas, that oil industry stronghold, is the leader in wind power generation in the US. Existing facilities there are capable of generating over 9,410MW of energy from the wind, almost two and a half times that of the state with the next highest capacity, Iowa (3,870 MW).


Prospecting for wind and solar energy

Renewable energy forecasting firm 3TIER provides among its services “prospecting tools” for renewable energy, indicating where the placement of wind and solar energy production sites make the most sense based on available resources of wind and sunlight.

There are, of course, a number of other factors that affect ultimate decisions about siting: while renewable energy is generally perceived positively, the logistics and costs of operating facilities have remained daunting even for big energy providers like National Grid. 


North America’s greenest building?

The University of British Columbia is currently in construction of what it claims will be the “greenest building in North America”: its new $37 million Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability.  Making use of fuel cells, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, ground source heat pumps and biomass co-generation, the building will be a net energy producer and serve as a living laboratory for all of these technologies. 


First wind farm on a US college campus

Quinnipiac University in Connecticut is completing installation of a 32,000 kWh wind farm on their York Hill campus.  The project is considered to be a first on an American college campus, and the energy generated by these 25 vertical-axis micro-turbines, which vary in height from 35 to 45 feet, will power half of the external lights on the 250-acre campus. 


NYC renewable certificates available online

New Yorkers can now buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) online through Green Power NYC, a website run by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACENY).  At a price of 1-to-2.5 cents per kWh, consumers can purchase wind energy or a mix of wind and hydroelectric energy through the site–though currently, it only offers choice between two providers: Community Energy (ConEdison Solutions) and Sterling Planet.


Dubai land art/power plant design competition

The Land Art Generator Initiative is hosting an international design competition to design outdoor public art installations that generate renewable energy–in Dubai.  While the United Arab Emirates has made most of its wealth by exploiting oil reserves, Dubai has become an international hub for innovative architecture and infrastructure projects due to its dizzyingly rapid pace of development. 


Renewable energy site appraisal tool

A new online data mapping tool called IMBY – or In My Backyard (a play on NIMBY)– allows users to estimate the potential for renewable energy production on any given site, whether it’s a backyard, a roof or an empty lot. 


Solar-powered car charging station in Brooklyn

Renewable energy company Beautiful Earth Group has unveiled a containerized solar-powered charging station for electric vehicles (EVs) at a site in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  The station is built from recycled shipping containers and is topped with an array of 235-watt photovoltaic panels, which reach a total capacity of almost 6 kW. 


Volcano-like biomass power plant planned in UK

Plans have been announced by Bio Energy Investments Ltd (BEI) for the construction of BEI-Teesside, a biomass power station to be built on a brownfield site on the banks of the River Tees in the UK.  The striking design is by British firm Heatherwick studio


Pulau Semakau

Semakau Landfill, the world’s first offshore landfill and Singapore’s only waste destination, has been described by Singapore’s government as “Scenic Waste Disposal.”  The site has been open to the public for recreational activities since 2005 and has been envisioned as an eco-park featuring renewable energy generation and educational facilities. 


World’s first osmotic power plant


Norway-based company Statkraft has just opened the world’s first osmotic power plant, tapping into the emissions-free energy produced when fresh water and salt water mix Osmotic power harnesses osmosis, the natural process by which a solute in solution travels from an area of lower to higher concentration across a semi-permeable membrane (permeable to the solvent but not the solute). 


Trash begets fuel on a large scale


Partners Waste Management and Linde Group have begun processing fuel at the world’s largest Landfill Gas (LFG) to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, located at Altamont Landfill near Livermore, CA.  Waste Management–the leading US waste services company and largest national operator of refuse and recycling trucks–collects the garbage, and Linde, an engineering company, purifies and liquifies the LFG produced by the waste. 


Open source live solar mapping

The Open Source Live Solar Mapping Project, recently released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, tracks private installations of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels  by location in the US and maps them in time.  The map-video, spanning from 1998 to the present day, highlights the spatial concentration of solar energy harvest with changing colors that indicate the number of PV installations in each state. 


Green infrastructure: pavement

As part of its Green Infrastructure Research Program, The EPA has announced that it will begin long-term testing of porous paving materials, in an effort to combat storm water runoff from streets and parking lots.  Storm water from parking lots often contains grease, antifreeze, oil and other toxins that can contaminate nearby soils and bodies of water. 


Harvesting methane–and money–from sewage

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has identified Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant as a prime site for methane gas harvesting, a process which has been bringing in approximately $11 million annually from the Freshkills Park site. 


Ward’s Island renewable energy park

The City of New York recently signed an agreement with Natural Currents Energy Group that will put a renewable energy generation park on the southern tip of Ward’s Island, near the Triborough (RFK) Bridge.  The park will include four 100 kilowatt tidal turbines, a 140 foot wind turbine and 800 square feet of solar panels, generating, in total, enough energy to power 100 homes. 


Estuary power

Researchers at the University of Milan Bicocca in Monza, Italy are working to harvest energy offset by the mixture of fresh and salt water.  The process uses electrodes to draw apart positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chlorine ions in salt water, then forces those ions away from the electrodes by flooding them with fresh water. 


Renewable potential of old industrial sites

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified nearly 4,100 contaminated sites nationally, including abandoned mines, disused factories and some landfills, that could be suitable for renewable energy projects–primarily solar and wind power, and some biomass harvesting.  Contaminated sites are considered particularly appealing for renewable energy projects because they are less likely than other sites to be prized for their habitat value.


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