Build your own solar panel!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I love building things, mainly robots but I thought this DYI project fit nicely into this blog. I found this project over at cool site!--Kman

Build a 60 Watt Solar Panel - More DIY How To Projects


Order Green Renewable Energy | GreenEnergyChoice

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Order green renewable energy through GreenEnergyChoice. Go Clean. Go Green. Are you ready to go green? GreenEnergyChoice can help you make your home green.

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News and commentary related to clean, efficient and renewable energy for transportation, industry, government and home

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Indoor Composting With NatureMill

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Indoor Composting With NatureMill (w/Video)

( -- Many people throw out organic food waste. When I do this, I feel vaguely guilty, knowing I should probably compost it for my backyard garden. However, last time we tried to compost, the neighbors got upset. Composting works well in rural neighborhoods, but in a subdivision, your friends tend to notice the smell. Which is why it's very exciting that a new gadget has been introduced: NatureMill is a robot that composts your food indoors.

You can put any organic waste into this indoor composting machine, and over the course of two weeks, it becomes compost that you can spread onto your garden plot. It can handle up to five pounds of food per day. Discover Magazine points out that the NatureMill composter can actually save about two tons of waste from mucking up landfills over the course of its use, and describes how the machine works:

"The top chamber decomposes the food as the microbes heat up the mush until the waste has fully fermented. It's then dumped into a lower bin. The nitrogen-rich soil is left to dry until it is ready to be poured into a garden. A carbon-filter eliminates (most of) the odor, but the cultures in the compost produce a slight mushroom-y smell. A fan brings in air to feed the cultures with oxygen so they can consume the waste quickly."

NatureMill does cost about $400, however. But for someone like me, who has a , I think it would be worth it. Think of what I would save in manure costs! Besides, indoor composting has the potential to provide me with the lovely smug feeling you feel when you are doing what you can for the environment. You know -- it's that same feeling you get when you drive a Prius...

© 2009


Obama calls for new era of energy exploration

Obama calls for new era of energy exploration: "Obama calls for new era of energy exploration
April 23rd, 2009 By PHILIP ELLIOTT and MIKE GLOVER , Associated Press Writers Obama calls for new era of energy exploration (AP)

(AP) -- President Barack Obama, standing Wednesday in the shell of a once-giant Maytag appliance factory that now houses a wind energy company, declared that a 'new era of energy exploration in America' would be a crucial to leading the nation out of an economic crisis.

With pieces of wind turbine towers as a backdrop, Obama touted the small manufacturing firm as a success and as a step toward reducing the United States' reliance on polluting fuels. But as the president on Earth Day set a goal for wind to generate as much as 20 percent of the U.S. electricity demand by 2030, legislation to make that a reality faced a challenge back in Washington in the Democratic-led Congress.

"The nation that leads the world in creating new sources will be the nation that leads the 21st century ," Obama said in a state that launched him on the road to the White House with a surprise upset over one-time rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"America can be that nation. America must be that nation. And while we seek new forms of fuel to power our homes and cars and businesses, we will rely on the same ingenuity - the same American spirit - that has always been a part of our American story."

It's an American spirit, though, that has been damped with economic downturn and financial crisis.

The president left Washington for a few hours Wednesday to visit this small Iowa town, which took a huge economic hit when Maytag Corp. shut its doors in 2007. The Maytag plant employed some 4,000 in a town of 16,000 residents in jobs that paid about $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

In its place is Trinity Structural Towers, a 90-person manufacturing firm that makes parts of the president hopes to expand on land and at sea through the government's first plan to harness ocean currents to produce energy.

"Now, the choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy," Obama said. "The choice we face is between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world's leading importer of oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of clean energy."

In Washington, the president's plan to increase alternative energy sources and create environmentally friendly jobs hit some snags despite Obama's fellow Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reinforced Obama's message in testimony to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday.

The administration's draft bill is designed to help stem the pollution blamed for climate change by capping greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the nation's reliance on fossil fuels. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 83 percent by mid-century.

The White House wants to see movement on the legislation by Memorial Day. To help that along, aides said the president plans to personally make his case that the costs of dealing with climate change can be reduced dramatically by adopting programs that will spur energy efficiency and wider use of non-fossil energy such as wind, solar and biofuels.

In Newton, Obama proclaimed that "once-shuttered factories are whirring back to life," although the facility he toured is a shadow of what it replaced here about 30 miles east of Des Moines.

"Today this facility is alive again with new industry," Obama said, while noting that "this community continues to struggle and not everyone has been so fortunate as to be rehired."

Trinity now employs about 90 people - hardly the replacement Newton so desperately needs.

"We'll never have another Maytag," said Paul Bell, a Newton police officer who also serves in the state legislature. "Maybe we shouldn't have had a company here that the majority of people worked for. We put all of our eggs in one basket."

Recognizing the challenges remaining in Newton and scores of towns like it coast-to-coast, Obama quickly added: "Obviously things aren't exactly the same as they were with Maytag."

With the same root in realism, Obama acknowledged the United States' energy policy will not change instantly, given the country's reliance on oil and natural gas.

"But the bulk of our efforts must focus on unleashing a new, clean-energy economy that will begin to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, will cut our carbon pollution by about 80 percent by 2050 and create millions of new jobs right here in America, right here in Newton," he said.

But it won't come quickly. The United States imports almost 4.9 billion barrels of oil and refined products annually. That is raw energy that cannot be replaced, one windmill at a time.

Instead, Obama urged bold thinking - and spending - to address climate change and energy supplies.

"So on this Earth Day, it is time for us to lay a new foundation for economic growth by beginning a new era of energy exploration in America," he said to applause.

Obama also pushed personal responsibility, calling on every American to replace one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent. The president also said the leaders of the world's major economies will meet next week to discuss the energy crisis.

In Landover, Md., on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden marked Earth Day by announcing that $300 million in federal stimulus money will go to cities and towns to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.


Associated Press writer Brian Westley in Landover, Md., contributed to this report.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?

A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?: "A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?
April 23rd, 2009 by Miranda Marquit Electric Hummer

A plug-in hybrid hummer with better gas mileage than the Prius?

( -- One of the more interesting vehicles unveiled at the the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit is an electric Hummer that gets, according to its developer Raser Technologies, 100 miles per gallon. This electric hybrid plug-in Hummer is being billed as better than a Prius in terms of environmental friendliness. And maybe it is. My Prius 'only' gets about 55 miles per gallon on average.

Raser Technologies is a company based in Provo, Utah. For years, Raser has been developing truck engines designed to make trucks -- which are the most popular vehicle in the U.S. -- more environmentally friendly. Indeed, between concerns about the environment and worries about dependence on foreign oil, it is no surprise that this most-American of vehicles is getting a makeover. Soon, Raser hopes, businesses and families will be able to make use of the roomy Hummer while getting gas mileage that will be the envy of compact drivers.

Electric H3 HUMMER. Promotional video from Raser Technologies website.

The hybrid Hummer will be charged with a 110 volt outlet (taking eight hours), and is compatible with a 220 volt outlet (cutting charging time to four hours). A four-cylinder engine also helps recharge the lithium battery after the power is reduced through driving. However, this separate engine is not attached to the drive train. The first 40 miles of driving is done entirely with the electric engine. After that, the hybrid feature kicks in. The hybrid Hummer has a range of 400 miles, but the fact that few people would drive so far on a regular basis is part of the reason that Raser can claim the vehicle gets 100 mpg. Jalopnik offers some math that exposes the long-range fuel economy of the electric Hummer:

"For the first sixty miles the Raser Hummer runs in all EV mode and from there it will run on a constantly operating generator, resulting in an asymptotic decline in average fuel economy. It does get the dramatic 100 MPG fuel economy the company claims -- as long as you don't go further than 60 miles in a day. The actual, long-range economy is a less headline-grabbing 33 MPG."

A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?

Table: Raser Technologies, Inc.

Even so, this is pretty impressive for a vehicle on the scale as the Hummer. The Hummer isn't expected to be in commercial production until 2011. The price hasn't been set, but it is estimated that the hybrid engine alone is likely to add between $15,000 and $20,000 to whatever the base price ends up being. Obviously, it will be up to incentives and tax breaks for energy efficient vehicles to bring the electric Hummer's price down to something that is more generally affordable. © 2009



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