2011 Green Year in Review

As we bring 2011 to a close, we look back on a year filled with green technology. Primarily brought on by President Barack Obama, the US has seen a rise in the amount of green technology and green investments. 2011 was wrought with the United States trying to compete with overseas agencies who manufacture green technology such as solar panels, alternative fuels and other products. 2011 was also the year of the Solyndra scandal. Solyndra was backed by the United States to the tune of 500 million dollars which later turned out to be a complete waste.

Mayor Emanuel won a substantial grant from the federal government to implement green efforts in the Chicago area. Chicago has seen a number of green grants. Some organizations that also received green grants were GreenFestivals.org, Ford and the Chicago Transit Authority. One of the biggest stories in the green movement was the how the Navy is testing alliterative fuels for their Mean Green Killing Machine, an eco-friendly ship that has the ability to transport up to 24 troops. The ship is 49 feet long and burns a 50-50 blend of diesel and algae based fuel. The Navy also has an eco-friendly fighter jet, the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

But the Navy wasn’t the only organization that was releasing their own eco-friendly vehicles. 2011 was also a big year for car manufacturers. The Chevy Volt, Toyota’s Prius and the Volkswagon Bulli were the talk of the town in green technology. 2011 was also a year of great home technology. The home solar kit was offered for the first time through Costco. This kit has the ability to store solar energy in a generator to power an entire home.

When the recession hit, many people in America’s heartland were affected. The loss of jobs was devastating to families. However, a lot of jobs were created in 2011 to help install and maintain wind energy through turbines. Michigan was another region that was hit hard when car manufactures closed up shop. But thank to OnSite Energy, there is hope that jobs will become affluent in the new year. OnSite Energy is trying to turn urban lots into centers for manufacturing biofuels.

U.S. Gets a B For The Development of Green Technology

According to the Bloomberg news report, John Doerr, a billionaire venture capitalist at world’s leading venture capital firm, has awarded a “C” grade for United States for alternative energy development. Doerr said United States should practice more on green energy instead of spending much on Saratoga chips. Even though still United States deserves the B grade in the development of biotechnology, they are really coming behind other nations in development of medical-testing and drugs, he added.

He told that without the loan assurances of 20 billion USD for green energy plans granted under United States President Obama’s stimulus project, my rating would have been the “D grade” or even an “F grade”.

According to the Time magazine report, before becoming the President of the United States, Barack Obama was the severe supporter of dirty power plants and coal concerns. But, as United States President, he supported among the biggest growths in national support of clean technology in the history of United States.

“Barack Obama’s stimulus project is and was supposed to be fly-by-night and seasonable, and we should modernize in United States the marketplaces for the financial capability and sustainable green energy to make them to develop,” Doerr said in the interview to Bloomberg. However he added that the market is dull and uninterested to grow due to the failure of privately funded development and research, and lack of financial marketplaces to back up this area. But, certain positive impacts comprised the concord with auto manufacturers to improve the vehicle’s fuel economy they trade in United States.

John Doerr has gained his place on the Forbes magazine’s list of yearly wealthiest people in the planet. But, in past few years, he has redirected his skills from choosing prosperous start-up firms to lobbying the administration of Barack Obama successfully into the supporting “clean” technology initiatives.

As a head of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (KPCB), Doerr is responsible for the company’s flourishing investments in many giant corporations. Google and KPCB have both invested big amount of money in alternative energy. He handles approximately five hundred million USD in investments of alternative energy, and Doerr’s portfolio comprises solar battery MiaSole start-up, and Bloom Energy fuel cell manufacturer. In 2008, He told that the clean technology can be “biggest economical opportunity of twenty-first century.”

Yosemite activates biggest solar installation in a U.S. park

The Yosemite National park is now the house to biggest solar energy project in the United States having superior solar batteries from the Solar World. By cutting the ribbon for this 5.8 million USD solar energy project, Yosemite is now paving the way in sustainability.

“Essentially, this installation fulfills the pollution reducing needs and air quality needs of Yosemite National park and reserves them to be the primary player on alternative energy. The goal of this project was not actually to save up some bucks, however instead to create advancement in regards to the alternative energy.” said spokesperson Chamberlain

This 672 kW (kilowatt) installation at Yosemite’s maintenance center and administrative is framed of:

– The hundred kilowatt roof mounts arrangement atop the storage warehouse

– The five hundred kilowatt parking canopy providing cover for the centre visitants and authorities

– The 72 kilowatt arrangement on the inclined wall of the office block

The installation price 5.8 million USD and was funded by 2009 Reinvestment Act and American Recovery.

They are going to save up to fifty thousand dollars per year roughly and bringing about the twelve percentage savings on electricity bought off the power system. Therefore in order to balance out the costs, it would take a long time. However it will bring down the cost of electricity for the Yosemite National park.

Yosemite was actually the first place happened to be a national park, thus they are matching it. They are now the primary player among the National parks over again with the solar energy project.

Chamberlain said, “Yosemite National park was booked by President Abraham Lincoln”. He licensed the park land for the use in the middle of Civil War, however at last Yellowstone finished up as 1st national park due to issues of Calif. statehood.

Contractors completed the construction of the system in February 2011 and later the utility service audited them and installed device to connect the Yosemite’s solar batteries to their power system a concord of interconnection with Solar World installers was contracted in June.

“This solar energy installation was made to protect the awesome park,” Smith, project manager of a Solar World installer company, stated in the press release.

UK To Be World Leaders in Offshore Wind Turbine

The United Kingdom will likely be the largest market for offshore wind with a combined pipeline of nearly 50 GW of projects.

Based on an estimated capacity of 30 GW of offshore wind by the year 2022, and utilizing studies by consultancy group BVG of more than 67 projects, the report illustrates how under even favorable conditions, energy costs are at a risk of falling to £0.10/kWh by year 2022; however, a cost of nearer £0.12/kWh is increasingly probable.

The Key zones highlighted for potential cost reductions are in operation, improved power output and reliability of turbines. The upfront costs will likely remain high in the near future, unless there is an improvement in external factors, like the cost of steel.

The large scale deployment of offshore wind in the United Kingdom would bring about large benefits, including up to ($100 billion) in industrial development, plus an additional $22.4 billion in government revenue between years 2011 and 2022. At the same time emissions of carbon dioxide might be reduced by up to 800 million tonnes of CO2 over the same period.

SPI Solar and Nugen

SPI Solar, a leading developer of photovoltaic solar energy facilities recently announced it has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction contract with EPC contractor for a 1.69MW DC photovoltaic solar project in the great state of New Jersey. The system is a roof-mounted distributed generation system for on-site power consumption. The project is to be operated by NuGen Capital Management, LLC, through a subsidiary owned by NUGEN.

The SEF being constructed by SPI will be connected to five independent meters serving tenants at the complex owned by North Jersey Development Group, Inc. SPI has recently worked with NuGen on the 5-megawatt White Rose Foods project that is under construction now in New Jersey.

NuGen works with large-scale energy users and real estate owners to own, develop and operate commercial-scale PV solar systems.

Solar Power, Inc. is a vertically integrated photovoltaic solar developer with its own kind of high-quality, low-cost distributed generation and utility-scale solar energy facility development services.

NuGen Capital Management was founded in 2009 investing in commercial scale solar systems. NuGen develops its own projects and partners with other developers in its pursuit to operate and own solar systems. Working with large scale energy users and real estate owners, NuGen serves the long term energy and economic needs of its clients.

No Energy Conservation System at Oregon State University

No energy conservation system is 100% effective; alas, there is always some energy that gets wasted. One common example is the automobile engine which gets quite hot. Some of the waste gets recovered by heating the car for instance.

With the completion of a functioning prototype, engineers at Oregon State University made a major step toward addressing one of the leading problems in energy use around the world today; the waste of half or more of the energy that is produced by cars, factories and power plants. New technology is being developed by the university to capture and use the low-to-medium grade waste heat which is now going out of the exhaust pipe of thousands of diesel generators, millions of automobiles and being wasted by factories and electrical utilities. These new systems, currently getting perfected at the university should be able to use much of this waste heat in either cooling or the production of electricity.

Waste heat is sometimes called secondary heat or low-grade heat can refer to heat that is produced by machines, electrical equipment and industrial processes for which no useful application may be found.

Energy is often produced by a heat engine, running on a source of high-temperature heat. According to the second law of thermodynamics, a heat engine may never have perfect efficiency. Waste heat is regarded as a waste by-product of this process.

More than half of the heat generated by industrial activities is now wasted and even very advanced electrical power plants only convert some forty percent of the energy produced into electricity. For example it is common practice to estimate in engineering that only seventy percent of the usable fuel energy is applied to the industrial engine. The internal combustion engines of automobiles are even worse — they operate around 25-40% conversion efficiency.

Renewing Renewable With the IPCC

Sustainable and renewable sources like solar and wind could supply up to 80 percent of the planet’s energy requirements by 2050 as well as play a role in fighting global warming.

But the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that in order to achieve that level, governments would have to spend much more money and introduce policies that integrate renewables into existing power grids, promoting their benefits in terms of improving public health and reducing air pollution.

After a recent four-day meeting, governments endorsed the renewable report Monday. The report reviewed solar energy, bio-energy, hydropower, geothermal, ocean energy and wind. However, they did not consider nuclear, the recent nuclear accident in Japan was not mentioned nor did it have any impact on the report’s conclusions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said swift, deep reductions in use of non-renewables and non-sustainables are needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius) above preindustrial levels, which could trigger climate catastrophes.

Google Does Alternative Energy

A new report says Google is investing $168 million in an alternative energy project aiming to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes. That’s right, 140,000!

The commitment, which, was announced last Monday is part of the very same financing that BrightSource Energy is in need of in order to build a brand new solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert. BrightSource also has put together $1.6 billion in loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy and a $300 million investment from NRG Energy Inc.

Google Inc. has been dipping into its deep bank account to fund myriad projects which promise to generate energy from alternative and clever sources besides good old oil and of course coal. Google, the company has emerged as a major consumer of electricity as it has the habit of opening massive data centers in order to house the computers which run its Internet search engine, e-mail and various other online services.

The Jobs Project

A group devoted to creating alternative energy jobs in Central Appalachia, The Jobs Project is building a set of rooftop solar panels, assembled by unemployed coal miners and contractors. The 40- by 15-foot solar array is to be set on top of a doctor’s office.

Nick Getzen, spokesman for The Jobs Project said:

“This is the first sign for a lot of folks that this is real, and that it’s real technology, and they can have it in their communities…In no way are we against coal or trying to replace coal. There’s still going to be coal mining here. This is just something else to help the economy.”

The Jobs Project merged last year with Mountain View Solar & Wind of Berkeley Springs, a solar energy company from the Eastern Panhandle, with the objective to develop a privately bankrolled job-training program. The 12 employed trainees are earning $45 per hour for three days of work, and some local laborers are earning $10 an hour for helping out.

Mountain View owner Mike McKechnie said:

“We are not funded by any state organization. We’re doing this as a business because we want to grow the solar infrastructure and industry…We’re West Virginians, and we think it’s important. There’s a need here that’s not being met…This training model we’re unleashing in Williamson is something we’ve proven…It’s not a pilot project. It’s something we’ve shown works…What we’re doing is giving them a crash course. They get an introduction, and if they want to continue, then that’s who we’ll call in the future…”

If they enjoy the work, they are to follow up with additional training in the Eastern Panhandle “to get them to a certain caliber, and then they’ll continue their training as we start to do work down there…We’re hoping they will go out on their own and find some sales leads and close those sales. We want to develop the entrepreneurial spirit so eventually they can go out on their own…The public wants it and they can’t find it…”

He continued:

“We’re impressed with the focused enthusiasm and boldness of Mountain View Solar and Wind, and its partnership with The Jobs Project to spread the economic activity and financial savings of solar, and we want to do whatever we can to support and enhance the effort…”

Austrian Company To Use Crematorium As Alternative-Heat Source

Founded in 1907, Bestattung Wien is Austria’s top funeral director and among the largest in Europe. During the course of its history, its tradition-steeped enterprise has organized two million burials – a number that ranges from intimate services for the immediate family to grand state funerals. 18,500 times a year, its 13 branches in Vienna provide funeral services.

Bestattung Wien’s services include comprehensive funeral organization, assistance with formalities and insurance matters, to boot. But now the old funeral company is offering something brand new:

CrematoriumThe company is using one of its crematoriums to heat their new office headquarters.

Bestattung Wien’s spokesman, Juergen Sild, said cremation requires generating a very high temperature and that the idea, in this eco-aware era, is to put the excess energy created to good environmentally-friendly use; instead of letting it go to waste.

Sild also said that the headquarters – which will be situated next to the crematorium and are due to be completed sometime next year – will also be warmed with gas.

The Vienna Funeral Museum of the Bestattung Wien was originally founded in 1967 and then re-designed in 1987. It is at this point, strictly warmed by gas.

The museum holds 1000 different exhibits, offering quite an overview of mortuary practices and funerary rituals which are unique world-wide, with a focus on the Federal Capital of Vienna.