While wind and solar power have made great strides in recent years, with renewables now accounting for 22% of electric energy generated, the issue that has held them back has been their transience. The sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow year-round – these are the mantras of all those opposed to the progress of renewables.
Now the renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has just blown away that final defence. Last Thursday in California he introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500. (more…)
Oregon isn’t messing around. Not at all. On May 19th, a vote is expected on Measure 2-89. The measure means that the state would ban all GMOs, and even more shocking, they’d give 90 days for the destruction of Round Up ready beets statewide. You can imagine how fiery the back and forth on this was at the recent town meeting.
But one thing it shows is that Oregon is not playing around anymore with food issues. (more…)
The effort of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to emasculate and revise the country’s war-renouncing constitution encountered a mass protest on Sunday, the country’s 68th Constitution Memorial Day, when he returned from the United States with the updated bilateral defense guidelines that will result in unconstitutional revision of security-related legislation.
Thousands of demonstrators from across the country took to the streets in Yokohama, a southern port city, protesting against the prime minister’s dangerous politics. They held banners that read “Firmly oppose destruction of the constitution,” “No Abe administration,” “Crush the ultra-right regime” and “Protect the pacifist constitution.” (more…)
German car manufacturer Audi has reportedly invented a carbon-neutral diesel fuel, made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. And the crystal clear ‘e-diesel’ is already being used to power the Audi A8 owned by the country’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka.
The creation of the fuel is a huge step forward for sustainable transport, but the fact that it’s being backed by an automotive giant is even more exciting. Audi has now set up a pilot plant in Dresden, Germany, operated by clean tech company Sunfire, which will pump out 160 litres of the synthetic diesel every day in the coming months. (more…)
By using solar power to charge a cache of batteries, scientists at MIT have figured out a way to remove salt from water through electrodialysis at an extremely efficient rate.
David L. Chandler explains, “Electrodialysis works by passing a stream of water between two electrodes with opposite charges. Because the salt dissolved in water consists of positive and negative ions, the electrodes pull the ions out of the water, leaving fresher water at the centre of the flow. A series of membranes separate the freshwater stream from increasingly salty ones.”
MIT’s advancement in the actual membrane is another reason for the increased rate of efficiency. Compared to the 40% to 60% of traditional reverse osmosis systems, they are able to turn 90% of the saltwater fed into the machine into drinking water. In one day this machine can filter 2,100 gallons of water.
According to mechanical engineer, Amos Winter, working on the project “both electrodialysis and reverse osmosis require the use of membranes, but those in an electrodialysis system are exposed to lower pressures and can be cleared of salt buildup simply by reversing the electrical polarity. That means the expensive membranes should last much longer and require less maintenance, Winter says.”
As David Cohen-Tanugi points out in the following video, graphene is the new super filtration material: