Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Energy Saving Trust to Continue Advice after £30 Million Contract Awarded

The EST announced today it had been awarded the contract by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) following a competitive tender The contract, which will start from this April, will see the EST run a centralised telephone advice line, providing free and impartial advice to consumers on energy saving programmes, including the Green Deal, over the next three years. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is to continue delivering its free energy saving advice service to consumers and businesses after being awarded this new £30 million Government contract.
The DECC announced in May last year that it would be ending core funding for the EST from April 2012 following cuts in public spending. The new advisory service, which will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will support existing schemes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Warm Front, as well as upcoming programmes the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). An EST spokesperson said the contract would enable the social enterprise to "continue to provide" the free energy saving advice services it is known for, but pointed out that the value of the contract was "quite small" in comparison to the grant it has received from Government in previous years.

"Having a central and trusted advice line will be crucial to ensuring people have all the right information about how they can save energy and money," commented Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. A key new part of the service will be offering advice to consumers on the Government’s Green Deal, a national energy efficiency programme launching in October that will enable households and businesses to make their properties more energy efficient at no upfront cost. "The commencement of the new service in April will be an important step and I expect it to grow quickly over the next six months to become an essential part of Government’s delivery of its energy saving policies. The ambitious programme aims to insulate 14 million homes by 2020. "It will also be an important source of information for us on what consumers and businesses are saying as we move to launch of the Green Deal later this year.

This comes just in the nick of time as criticism of the Green Deal grows in relation to how it will, in reality, be able to live up to its promises. Hopefully having the EST on board will help with peoples understanding of how they can make changes in their energy efficiency and furthermore help to understand what the Green Deal is all about, something that many people currently are finding very confusing.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Low Impact Woodland Home in Wales - Earth Covered Organic Housing for £3000!!

Just stumbled across this story about a guy who decided to build an earth covered organic cottage in the heart of Wales. It took approximately 1500 man hours to build and only cost £3000 and within 4 months him and his family were moved in. It really is a cool little place built with environmental sustainability in mind every step of the way. I think even Bilbo Baggins would be happy to live here :-) Check out the story on A Low Impact Woodland Home

Saturday, 18 February 2012

New Jersey's First Solar Hydrogen Home

Check this guy out! He's managed to power his entire home since 2006 using the power of the Sun. The house is powered by a solar array that produces three times as much energy as he actually needs. The excess energy he generates would normally be fed back to the electricity supplier but as he is totally energy independent he instead feeds the excess into a device that uses electrolysis to split the hydrogen molecules from the oxygen. The Hydrogen is fed into a series of propane tanks that store enough energy to power his house for three and a half months during the winter  period. The Oxygen is released into the atmosphere where it is harmless and actually beneficial for the environment.

The system was costly to install but with a community grant and freebies from suppliers he managed to turn this idea into a reality. It stands as a shining example of what we can do if we put our minds to it. The house has all the mod cons you would expect including a hot tub but there is more than enough energy generated to power it all,clean energy that actually gives back to the environment. So its no wonder the big energy companies don't want you you to know about Solar. The amount invested on this project has paid for itself eight times over so it really is a win win situation. The UK needs more available grants in place for Solar Power and other renewable power sources so that everyone can have the opportunity to make the switch to sustainability. If we spent less money on war and more on renewal, then there would arguably be more than enough to go round for everyone.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Documents Expose Campaign By Think Tank To Undermine Climate Science

Just received this utterly shocking and yet typical story from the US that details an orchestrated plan to discredit Clean Technologies and dissuade Teachers from mentioning any issues to do with Climate Change in the classroom! What will these corporate sponsored megalomaniacs think of next? . They already suppressed the science that could have halted the need for oil over fifty years ago. The same science and technology that today they are now trying to discredit and vilify again. Will these corporate elitists stop at nothing to have their way? Will they eat every last resource on our planet and plunge us into another Dark Age so they can keep their stranglehold on humanity? Share this story and send it all over the net. These people have to be stopped.

A series of leaked internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a conservative U.S. think tank, reveal an elaborate, multi-million dollar campaign to undermine the credibility of global warming science.
The documents — which were sent anonymously to several bloggers and can be viewed online at — describe efforts to produce scientific studies that “discredit the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Heartland Institute also allocated $100,000 to create a global warming curriculum for school teachers emphasizing “that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain — two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”
According to the documents, a significant part of the campaign has been funded by a single anonymous donor, who spent more than $8.6 million on “climate change projects” from 2007 to 2011. That individual donated $3.6 million in 2008, the same year that the Heartland Institute began organizing annual climate change conferences.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Going Green means savings for school

The technology has been set up at the Flitwick school and is expected to cut CO2 emissions by 172 tonnes over the next 25 years.
It is also expected to generate a £178,000 in savings and income over the same period.
Georgina Hurndall, the chair of governors, said :”This legacy will assist the school and the community long after the current governing body has moved on.”
The panels, installed by R Solutions Eastern of Cambridge over a weekend, are self-supporting and do not damage the existing roof.
The solar panels will also be used in the school curriculum.
Headteacher John Meaney said: “Pupils must be prepared for the future and given the knowledge to make decisions about renewable energy, presently reflected in our Eco curriculum and the establishment of an Eco team.”
Published on Tuesday 14 February 2012 11:00

Saturday, 11 February 2012

California Makes Progress with Bio Fuels

Despite all the buzz around biofuels, commercial production has been slow to scale up. As a result, the EPA scaled back its goals for advanced biofuels earlier this year. Still, some Bay Area scientists recently made a breakthrough that could move us one step closer to a day when our cars run on fuels from plants.
The idea behind biofuels is pretty simple. Plants take sunlight and use that energy to make sugars. The biofuels industry wants to transform those sugars into fuel. That requires some molecular rearranging, so they’re looking to microbes to do the job.
At the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, e.coli is the microbe of choice. Researcher Greg Bokinsky shows me racks of glass tubes that are home to e.coli cultures that have been biologically engineered. They’ve created e.coli that munch on a woody plant called switchgrass.
If you’ve heard anything about biofuels, you’ve probably heard about ethanol that’s made from corn, which you can buy at gas stations today. But ethanol can’t be transported long distances because it corrodes pipelines. And using corn for fuel has also raised some concerns.
"Corn is used extensively to feed animals. Corn is also used for some food as well, human consumption. So we want to be very careful about using corn itself,” says Jay Keasling, CEO of JBEI.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A new £50million centre that will accelerate the commercialisation of green technologies has been announced today by the Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult will be headquartered at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow with an operational centre at the National Renewable Energy Centre in the North East of England.

The national centre will focus on technologies for offshore wind, wave and tidal power and is designed to bridge the gap between university research and full commercialisation. It will have a UK wide remit, and build strong links with centres of excellence such as Wave Hub and the marine energy park in the South West of England.

Speaking at the launch event in Glasgow, Cable said: "Our offshore renewable sector can compete on a global scale and has huge potential for growth. If we can harness that we will generate billions of pounds for the economy whilst creating thousands of job opportunities at the same time."

Today's announcement is part of the government's investment in a network of Catapult centres across a number of sectors. The £140million High Value Manufacturing Catapult is now operating across seven locations around the UK. A £50million Cell Therapy Catapult, a Satellite Applications Catapult and Connected Digital Economy Catapult are due to be set up later this year.

Professor Jim McDonald, chairman of the Energy Technology Board and Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "I am delighted that this truly collaborative bid has been successful. By securing the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the country will build on our already globally competitive reputation for advances in renewable technology and deployment.

"Our world class research base offers distinct advantages and will accelerate industrial innovation. We will help to develop and drive the industry over the coming ten years and beyond."

Laura Hopperton

Eureka Magazine

British Energy Company Develops Next Wave in Ocean Power

Ecotricity, a British alternative energy provider, announced on its website that it is financing a new technology called Searaser. The company says the new technology tackles two of the main obstacles faced by the renewable energy industry: cost and intermittency.
The Searaser was invented by Alvin Smith, an engineer from Devon (UK). It uses ocean power, which is constant, to create electricity on demand.


Hydrokinetic Power Developers Face Technical and Regulatory Hurdles in Bid to Tap Tides

The quest to turn the motion of the world's waterways into a significant source of energy may still be in its nascent stage, but several tidal power projects are making headway. Whether they operate in lakes, rivers or the oceans, projects attempting to harness the tides share the same mission: to improve the technology and offer an economical alternative to fossil fuels.

Renewable hydrokinetic power comes from a number of different sources, including the up-and-down motion of waves and the smooth flow of the tides caused by the sun and moon's gravitational forces on Earth's bodies of water. Tidal power is seen as a promising source of energy because of its predictability and from the potential to draw it from ocean currents and estuary channels that connect rivers with the sea.

There are only a handful of tidal energy projects in place around the world, and none is producing commercially available electricity at this time. Most of these projects use some sort of turbine to capture the tide's kinetic motion. In general, as the turbines slowly spin, they turn the gears in an attached gearbox to create electricity. Cables connected to those gearboxes carry that electricity ashore.

Although it is unclear just how much electrical energy that the tides have the potential to generate, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has studied several tidal power project sites. In 2008 EPRI estimated those sites together have the potential for generating as much as 115 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, although the practical potential for energy generation from those sites is about 14 terawatt-hours per year. (Total electricity consumption in the U.S. is about 4,000 terawatt-hours per annum, according to EPRI.) Much of that energy would come from Alaska, thanks to high power density and large-size sites in southeast Alaska, Cook Inlet and the Aleutian Islands. Other locations studied were in Maine, San Francisco and Washington State's Puget Sound. Although New York City and the Chesapeake Bay were not studied for the 2008 report, EPRI concluded these sites could also make use of tidal hydrokinetic energy resources.

Read more from Larry Greenmeier in Scientific American

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tidal Energy - Another step closer to waving goodbye to Fossil Fuels?

 As the world's non renewable energy sources begin to run out, tidal power could become very important for us to consider. By building barrages and dams across some rivers ,it will allow the tide to ebb and flow. As the water moves through these relatively small pipes, the power of the movement pushes turbines, which in turn power huge electrical generators. However, this process can end up changing the ecosystem greatly,owing to the dams of water it creates. Many countries oppose Tidal Barrages because of these changes to the ecosystem. Animals like certain birds, fish, and other species could end up becoming extinct for several miles. However, barrages could also help protect the shoreline from floods and storms and they do not pollute the environment with chemicals or greenhouse gasses the way fossil fuels do.

The good thing about tidal power is that you can predict it and rely upon it. As the tide ebbs and flows at certain times of the day, operators know exactly how much power will be generated and when. However. a tidal power plan can only generate electricity for ten hours a day, the barrages being built of course, when the tide is out. It requires little upkeep and no fuel or energy to run and overall, it is a very dependable and consistent source of energy.

More research is needed for Tidal Power to become efficient, the main problem being the limitations on the number of sites that there can be plants. Furthermore, it could not be considered as an incredibly strong source of power owing mainly to the 14 hour down-time. However, it can be free and the power source is renewable. So, on balance it could make a good alternative to fossil fuels that is cheep and cost effective but the effects upon the ecosystem would have to be taken into consideration and concurrently, the possibility that it may only be a good option for some countries.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

From Smart Power to Smart Heat

Just read a very interesting article about the next conundrum for the Alternative Energy community called Smart Heat. It is one thing looking for smart ways to power our civilisation but we haven't looked yet properly at the effects the amount of heat being emitted from the various methods of energy production will have on our climate. The article entitled "Power Paradox:Clean might not be Green forever" published recently in New Scientist proposes the argument that even Green Energy can effect a change in climate, if as a civilisation we continue to increase power production to feed our ever more demanding need for electricity. One example is that of Solar Panels, that produce a small amount of excess heat that is burned off into the atmosphere. Considering the size of some of the Solar Power fields already in place in the world that could pose a problem in years to come. However, there are likely already technologies being investigated to compensate for this and it's hardly, in my humble opinion, an argument against the use of sustainable energy, in relation to the more compelling and ravenous effects the burning of fossil fuels has on our climate.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Curry Boss Uses Fighter Jet to serve the Rich!

A recent article in talks of how a curry boss has bought a fighter jet to serve customers his curry takeaways around the world. Is this acceptable in the current ecological climate? Why are we paying green taxes? The whole country is being told to become more Energy Efficient and this sort of behaviour is allowed to go on. The rich live in a totally different world to the rest of us as we all know and anyone who accepts a curry takeway delivered in a Fighter Jet obviously could not give a damn about environmental issues or the impact their decadence is having on our planet. When the planet goes into meltdown will their money save them? I seriously doubt it. Re-tweet, share and generally make a noise as loud as a jet plane taking off about this story. Wtf??? (Excuse my unprofessional-ism)