Global environmental challenges
Remote villages in developing countries might benefit from these twin 40-ft long containers (left) — a water purification system driven by solar power — as a substitute for noisy diesel-powered generators, trucks bringing in water or people spending hours every day walking to fetch water.
That’s the hope of the makers, environmental technology group SwissINSO Holding Inc. The small company has recently won its first contracts to supply the systems to Algeria and Malaysia and is aiming to sell 42 units of what it calls the world’s “first high-volume, 100 percent-solar turnkey water purification system” in 2011.
The system, an interesting-sounding technology in a world where more than a billion people lack access to fresh water, could also have extra uses from disaster relief to construction sites or to helping armies stay healthy in remote regions.
Chief Executive Yves Ducommun (below right) says that the machines, housed in the two containers, can pump 100,000 litres of drinking water per day for 20 years at a price of less than $0.03 per litre, including running costs. The system costs between $800,000 and $1.2 million up front, depending on factors such as how many solar panels are needed to drive the purification, which filters out dirt and toxins, or salt from seawater, through a membrane.
Bill McKibben, founder of the green group 350.org, is on a quest to convince President Barack Obama to put solar panels back on the roof of the White House.
He’s at the end of a journey to Washington from Maine in a van fired by biodiesel carrying one of the 32 panels Jimmy Carter unveiled in 1979 during the first press conference on the White House roof.
Germany is still at the top of the class when it comes to solar power, according to a new report by nonprofit Global Green USA.
The group graded 16 countries plus the state of California in terms of how much solar power they added in installations and what kind of policies they have for future development.
Clean technology investors who have suffered through 2009 can find cheer in a new report by the Cleantech Group that gives its top ten predictions for 2010.
The number one prediction: Private capital growth will recover, the research group said.
But back in 1979, when another Democrat was in the White House, 32 solar panels graced the roof above the Oval Office.
With a highest point 4.5 metres above sea level, the Pacific island state of Tuvalu plans to shift to generate all electricity from renewable energies by 2020, hoping to push other countries to follow suit to fight global warming.
These solar panels (left) on the main soccer stadium in Funafuti, the capital, are the first step in the plan to end dependence on fossil fuels and slow climate change blamed for pushing up world sea levels. Tuvalu’s goal is to generate all electricity from wind, solar and other green sources.
New York state gave Big Sue, LLC, which has about 3,500 square feet of solar panels on its roof, the OK to sell any extra power it generates from the panels back to the grid.
U.S. consumers are pulling back spending on everything, and carbon-cutting products like hybrid cars and solar panels are no exception. After all, being green often requires us to pony up big chunks of change with the promise of cost savings later. That pitch, according to many green business owners, isn’t working so well these days.
Luckily for my colleague, photographer Kacper Pempel, this solar powered “taxi” was not going very fast when it smashed through a wall of polystyrene at the end of a 52,000 km trip around the world.
It stopped pretty much in the debris of the makeshift wall after the deliberate “crash” marking the finish outside the venue of Dec. 1-12 U.N. climate talks in Poland. (Click here for a story)