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Monthly Archive: March 2009

Microbes Use Electricity to Make Methane

Written by , on March 31, 2009

A team of engineers at Penn State University has discovered a tiny microbe which can use electricity to directly convert carbon dioxide and water to methane, producing a portable energy source with a potentially neutral carbon footprint. Methanogenic microorganisms produce methane in marshes and dumps but scientists thought that the organisms turned hydrogen or organic […]  Read more »

Improved Coal-to-Oil Process

Written by , on March 31, 2009

Wired magazine has reported that Scientists at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg have developed an improved technique for producing liquid fuel from coal. The process of producing liquid fuel from coal has already been used on a lage scale – in Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa  It’s not only the regimes that have […]  Read more »

China’s Huge Solar Subsidies

Written by , on March 31, 2009

The Chinese government has announced what observers are describing as the most generous and aggressive power subsidy in the world. China is offerring 20 yuan (about $au4.30) per watt for solar voltaic installations greater than 50 kilowatts. This would amount to about half the cost of the installation. China has built up a sizeable solar […]  Read more »

New Round of Electric and Hybrid Cars

Written by , on March 31, 2009

The unveiling of the new Tesla Model S seems to have signaled the beginning of a new round of electric and hybrid vehicle announcements. The Tesla Model S is an electric sedan that Tesla says will carry seven passengers and provide more cargo space than any other sedan currently on the market. The reason for […]  Read more »

Indigenous Fire Management Could Reduce Carbon Emissions

Written by , on March 20, 2009

Scott Heckbert, an environmental economist at the CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Division in Townsville, estimates that traditional Aboriginal burning practices in Australia’s savannah country could reduce national greenhouse emissions by nearly five megatonnes a year and trigger a $52 million-a-year industry employing 1,000 people. Despite the huge economic cost of fires in the more populated areas, […]  Read more »

Wave Power Setback

Written by , on March 18, 2009

 Last July, a Pelamis wave power generator was towed into the Atlantic about 5 kilometres off the coast of Aguçadoura in northern Portugal. In September, two more Pelamis uints were added. Each Pelamis unit was capable of generating about 750 megawatts of electricity – making this the world’s first commercial wave power project. The project […]  Read more »

World’s Biggest Solar Contract (But Only Just)

Written by , on March 14, 2009

Californian utility PG&E has expanded an already huge purchase agreement with BrightSource from 900 megawatt of solar thermal power to 1,310 megawatts. BrightSource CEO, John Woolard, said that makes it “the largest solar deal in the world”. Previously, the largest solar contract was for 1,300 megawatts to be supplied by Brightsource to Southern California Edison. […]  Read more »

The “Apple 11” of Solar Panels?

Written by , on March 13, 2009

Veranda Solar, a Californian company, says it wants to become the Apple of consumer solar products – instead of focusing on a new solar technology or production methods, the company hopes to differentiate itself with its aesthetics and ease of use Veranda Solar says that its panels are “plug-and-play”. They can be installed in minutes, […]  Read more »

10-second Battery Charge

Written by , on March 13, 2009

MIT materials scientists Byoungwoo Kang & Gerbrand Ceder have published a paper in Nature describing a new battery technology which allows for ultrafast charging and discharging of lithium-ion batteries.  The discovery could lead to cellphone-sized batteries that could be charged in 10 seconds. "The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds […]  Read more »

Sweden’s Plan to Elimate Fossil Fuel Cars

Written by , on March 12, 2009

As the first step in its plan to eliminate all fossil fuel burning cars by 2030, Sweden has announced new taxes on car emissions and on diesel fuel. From January 2011, vehicle (registration) taxes will be increased by 5 krona (about 90 Australian cents) for every gram of carbon dioxide that the car emits per […]  Read more »