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Monthly Archive: September 2008

What Makes a Sustainable Product?

Written by , on September 29, 2008

Natural, organic, eco-friendly, local, recycled, energy efficient – it all sounds good and green, but is it really sustainable? And even if it is, why should I buy it? Kaisu Christie from Ikko spoke at our September 22nd meeting about how to choose sustainable products and services, and what value add they can provide. Kaisu […]  Read more »

World’s First Commercial Wave Energy Farm

Written by , on September 26, 2008

 What is claimed to be the world’s first commercial wave power project opened off the coast of Portugal this week. The €9 million ($16 million) Aguçadoura project is the first of a series experimental wave energy projects by the Ondas de Portugal consortium. The main partners in the consortium are Australia’s Babcock and Brown, with […]  Read more »

Bioengineering to Replace Petrochemical

Written by , on September 20, 2008

A “sustainable chemical” company called Genomatica has developed a way to use sugar and genetically engineered bacteria to produce a common industrial chemical that is usually produced using petroleum. The chemical, 1,4 Butanediol (BDO), is used as an additive to textiles, in high performance polymers for products such as car bumpers and in moisturisers and […]  Read more »

Bill Gates to Invest in Algae

Written by , on September 18, 2008

Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment is putting money in Sapphire Energy, which plans to make second generation biofuels out of algae. The company announced that it has raised more than $100 million from investors. The San Diego-based company hopes to make commercial amounts of the fuel in three to five years for a cost of $50 […]  Read more »

GE and Google to Work on Smart Grid

Written by , on September 18, 2008

General Electric and Google have announced that they will collaborate to develop smart-grid technologies with a particular focus on plug-in hybrid vehicles and enhanced, "hot rock" geothermal systems. Smart-grid technology lets utilities more efficiently manage electricity on the grid while smart meters and displays in homes and businesses allow consumers better understand and control home […]  Read more »

France Taxes Non-recyclable Consumer Goods

Written by , on September 16, 2008

France has introduced a "picnic tax" on non-recyclable throwaway plates and cutlery to encourage consumers to buy more eco-friendly products. The tax is the first stage of a programme which will eventually apply to nineteen categories of goods including fridges, washing machines, televisions, batteries, wooden furniture and packaging. The scheme will be revenue neutral because […]  Read more »

NASA Study: Phase out Coal by 2050

Written by , on September 16, 2008

James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies have published a study showing that the rise in carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels can be kept below dangerous levels as long as emissions from coal are phased out globally within the next few decades. Professor Hansen is head of the Goddard Institute […]  Read more »

California Plans Zero-emission Bullet Train

Written by , on September 16, 2008

Funding for a high-speed rail line that will go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes will be decided this November, when a $9.95 billion bond measure for the train is voted on. The 1,250 kilomentre bullet train system is expected to eventually carry up to 100 million passengers a […]  Read more »

Electric “Postie” Bikes Coming

Written by , on September 12, 2008

Yamaha and Honda, the two world’s two largest motorbike manufacturers, have both announced that they will soon be manufacturing electric motorcycles that perform on a par with current 50cc bikes. Yamaha aims to launch electric motorcycles with a range of 100 km on a single charge by 2010. Honda will launch an electric motorcycle that […]  Read more »

The Baseload Myth

Written by , on September 11, 2008

A year or two ago, the fossil fuel industry was adamant that renewable energy sources could never provide baseload electric power. Although most experts now admit hat this is not the case, the claim that renewables cannot supply baseload is still sometimes made and needs to be examined. Baseload is the minimum level of power […]  Read more »