Environment Forum

Sprouting business

August 7, 2009

Marie Larsson, Director of Operations at Toronto Sprouts, discusses the benefits of growing food in a downtown location.

Made Green in California (TM)?

June 24, 2009

California’s environmental and other regulations are helping to send manufacturers running, but the state can capitalize on its green image (and should streamline regulations) a new study by the Milken Institute says.

Belgian city makes Thursday “Veggie Day”

June 2, 2009

 

By Caroline Linton

 

The average Belgian eats 1,800 animals in his or her lifetime, but the city of Ghent is trying to reduce that number by making Thursdays “Veggie Day” — a day without meat.

Starting big, thinking small in batteries

May 12, 2009
Carmakers and regulators look at the adoption of electric vehicles, which draw their power from the electric grid rather than engines and thus emit no carbon dioxide from their tailpipes, as a necessarily gradual process, limited by battery technology.
 
But General Electric thinks its new battery technology, based on sodium, could radically speed up that process.
 
“The way the roadmap has been laid out as I’ve seen it is a lot of evolutionary steps,” with technological development taking years if not decades to replace traditional gasoline powered cars with hybrids, followed by plug-in hybrids, followed by pure electric vehicles said Glen Merfeld, who runs the chemical energy lab at GE’s global research center in Niskayuna, New York.
 
The reason for that long timeframe is that current battery technology limits the range of a car that draws its power solely from an internal battery.
 
“The sodium battery is potentially disruptive to that evolutionary look,” Merfeld said. The technology that we are commercializing will solve some of those problems.”
 
GE on Tuesday said it plans to build a new factory outside Albany, New York, where it will initially focus on producing sodium-metal halide batteries for railroad locomotives. That technology differs from the lithium-ion batteries being developed for the next generation of hybrid autos in that it is better suited for releasing small amounts of energy over time, rather than a lot at once.
 
Eventually, by pairing the sodium battery with a lithium-ion one, such as those made by A123 Systems, which GE owns a stake in, the company could design a power train for an all-electric car that would allow a range of hundreds of miles and cost 30 to 40 percent less than a single-battery power train, Merfeld said.
 
“You’d probably want to start with larger (vehicles) because that’s where you need to store more energy than in the smaller ones,” added Mark Little, a GE senior vice president who runs its research center. “We could imagine a day where you could go to the future and have a small lithium-ion system for the power side and a larger sodium battery for the energy side. But that will take some time to get to.”
 
 
 

Chevron CEO sees smoke and mirrors in cap and trade

May 7, 2009

“If you liked credit derivatives swaps, you’re going to love cap-and-trade.”

Google co-founder may build eco-mansion

March 20, 2009

Google co-founder Larry Page is building green, according to a local report.

He’s planning a cozy 6,000 square foot eco-mansion on a 0.75 acre lot in Palo Alto, the Palo Alto Weekly’s Web site says. The interim city planning chief told us that’s the biggest house one could build on such a lot, although the total space allowed is nearly 11,000 including garages and other outbuildings.

California climate chief has global warming plan

January 26, 2009

California looks ready to get the go-ahead to regulate greenhouse gases from cars, after President Obama on Monday told the EPA to reconsider a Bush administration refusal. California’s top climate official, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, last week predicted the okay would be ready to go by May. In the attached video, from the interview last week, she talks about California’s grand plans, which are the most aggressive in the United States.

Don’t rain on my electric car parade

January 20, 2009

Electric car organization Plug In America revved up the inaugural festivities this past weekend with a parade of 74 plug-in vehicles in Santa Monica, California, dubbing it the “greenest procession of its kind.”

How much electricity do you use in a year?

January 16, 2009

It was a disarmingly simple question but, embarrassingly, I didn’t have a clue when first asked that 18 months ago. Even though I’d have to describe myself as a genuine tightwad when it comes to expenditures, I simply had no idea, strangely enough, about how much money my four-person household was spending on electricity — nor how much carbon dioxide was being produced.

Economy leaves consumers feeling more blue than green

December 12, 2008

Has the global economic crisis got you feeling more blue than green? If so, you’re not alone.