South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal, SolarX, First Solar CEO Interview (Solar News Of The Week)

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South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal, SolarX, First Solar CEO Interview (Solar News Of The Week)

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 05:11 PM PST

Here’s some more top solar energy news from the week (other than our own stories – which you can find via the link above):

Rooftop Solar

Why Utilites Will Pay A Premium For Rooftop Solar: “A power company rang me up last week offering to increase my rooftop solar (RTS) feed-in tariff if I switched my contract to them. My first thought was that this was a marketing ploy but, on reflection, this did not make sense.”

Solar Power Plants

Hanwha SolarOne Signs South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal: “Hanwha SolarOne will deliver 155 MW of its solar modules to South African projects to be developed by Cobra, Gransolar and Kensani.”

GCL-Poly To Supply 150 MW Of PV Modules To South Africa: “GCL-Poly has said it will supply 150 MW worth of its photovoltaic modules to two projects in South Africa. The China-based photovoltaic manufacturer will provide the necessary modules for two plants worth 75 MW each. The projects were selected under the South African Renewable Energy Programme’s first bidding round. Both are said to have secured a 20 year PPA with local utility Eskom.”

Suntech, Siemens and Mainstream Renewable Power Collaborate on 100MW of Solar Projects in South Africa: “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world?s largest producers of solar panels, has announced that it will supply approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of solar panels for two projects that are being developed, built and operated by a consortium led by Mainstream Renewable Power in South Africa. The projects, which are being developed at two separate sites in the Northern Cape of South Africa, will be designed and constructed by Siemens and will be operational by mid-2014.”

JinkoSolar to Supply 81 MW WBHO-Building Energy in South Africa: “JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (“JinkoSolar” or the “Company”) (NYSE: JKS), a leading global solar power product manufacturer, [this week] announced that it has signed a contract with fix price to supply WBHO-Building Energy (Pty) Ltd. (“WBHO-BE”) with 81 MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules for the solar PV park project in Gamagara Local Municipality, Northern Cape Province, South Africa.?

Work On 92 MW US PV Plant Complete: “Construction work on the first phase of a 150 MW photovoltaic plant has been completed by Sempra U.S. Gas & Power in Boulder City, Nevada. Overall, the project is scheduled to be finalized in 2015.”

Suntech & SunSystem Announce 25MW Sales Agreement In Romania: “Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, and SunSystem S.p.A., a leading Italian solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, have signed a contract for Suntech to supply 25 megawatts (MW) of polycrystalline solar panels. The Suntech solar panels will power two new photovoltaic projects under construction in Romania that will be grid connected by the end of 2013.”

NRG threw the switch to begin operating its 25 megawatt Avra Valley Solar Facility near Tucson, Arizona.

NRG Completes 25 MW Avra Valley Solar Photovoltaic Facility: This week, “NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, announced the start of commercial operations for the Avra Valley Solar Generating Station, a 25 megawatt (AC) photovoltaic facility near Tucson, Ariz. The station’s electricity will be sold to Tucson Electric Power under a 20-year power purchase agreement.”

Japan: Work To Begin On 5.2 MW PV Project: “Sanko Real Estate Co. Ltd, Solar Frontier and Chiyoda Corporation are gearing up to begin work on a 5.2 MW photovoltaic plant in Japan’s Ise City, Mie Prefecture.”

First Solar

Interview: First Solar CEO James Hughes: “This week, RenewEconomy obtained an interview with James Hughes, the CEO of the world’s biggest manufacturer of flat panel PV models, Pheonix-based First Solar, Inc.

“It’s a long interview, but Hughes provides a fascinating insight into how his company is approaching the market.”

First Solar: Why Grid Parity Does Not Matter: “James Hughes, the chief executive of First Solar, the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules, has dismissed the industry’s obsession with “grid parity,” saying solar technologies are not yet ready to match the cost of conventional baseload power.

“But he also said that doesn’t matter, because solar technologies are already competitive enough in the intermediate and peaking markets, where it competes with gas. And he has no doubts that solar will grab ‘at least’ a 10-20 per cent share of the global electricity market over the next two decades.”

First Solar Releases 92.5-Watt Thin-Film PV Module: “First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) [this week] announced the release of its most advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module, the Series 3 FS-392, which is rated at 92.5 watts. The new FS-392 module maintains all the existing IEC certifications and UL listings for the Series 3 family, including UL listing for 1000-volt systems.”


CSP 2012: Concentrated Solar Power Review: “2012 was the CSP construction stage; 2013 is when 800 megawatts come on-line?. The four major CSP companies kept their PPA-driven flagship projects on track for power production in 2013.”

CSIRO To Lead Push To Bring Cost Of CSP To 10c/kWh: “The CSIRO is to lead a major new research initiative in solar thermal (concentrating solar power, or CSP) technologies that will aim to reduce the cost of the technology to between 9c and 12c a kilowatt hour, and be able to compete with fossil fuels – possibly as early as 2016.”

SolarReserve Leads Renewable Companies At Platts Awards: “SolarReserve, a U.S. developer of utility-scale solar power projects, led the renewable energy industry as an award finalist in four categories, including Leading Technology, at the 2012 Platts Global Energy Awards, held in New York on November 29th. Hosted by Platts, a major energy, metals and petrochemicals information provider worldwide, the annual awards program honors exemplary achievement in the global energy industry, recognizing corporate and individual performance, innovation and entrepreneurship.”


Stop the Solar Trade War Before It’s Too Late: “Unless the United States, China, and the European Union (EU) step back from a mutually destructive trade war, the next decade for the solar industry could resemble the world economy in the 1930s.”

Asia-Pacific Solar Revenues To Reach $11.1 Billion By 2016: “According to new research by Frost & Sullivan, the Asian-Pacific solar market will reap revenues worth US11.1 billion in 2016. Meanwhile, photovoltaics is said to be the leading technology in the region.”

Japan: Wirsol & Greenpower Capital Form Joint Venture: “Wirsol and Greenpower Capital have formed a joint venture to provide project finance, EPC and O&M to the Japanese solar market. The services are tailor-made to fit photovoltaic projects 10 MW and above.”

KYOCERA Surpasses 2 Million Solar Modules Produced In North America: “Kyocera Solar Inc., a leading supplier of reliable solar modules and renewable energy solutions, [this week] announced that Kyocera’s North American manufacturing facilities have surpassed production of two million photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Kyocera has been producing modules in North America since 2004 and its solar solutions are used in a variety of applications including residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects across the Americas, Australia and select regions worldwide.”

Solar Power Prices Should Continue Falling Through 2025: “A new survey of experts argues that solar power will become much cheaper through 2025, while expanding greatly-but for these trends to continue for the long term, will require a commitment to funding research.”


New SolarX Hybrid from SolarX Energy provides both electrical and thermal (hot water) energy. Its peripherally mounted photo voltaic (PV) panels can produce 25% more electrical power than traditional fixed PV tracking, and it is the only energy system of its kind for remote areas. The product’s logo was designed to feature the unit?s energy source (the sun) and its unique PV panels. (PRNewsFoto/SolarX Energy)

SolarX Energy Introduces Its “Next Generation” Hybrid Solar Energy System: “SolarX Energy today announced the launch of its much anticipated SolarX Hybrid – a total solar energy solution expected to raise the bar on solar-generated clean energy by coupling thermal (hot water) production output of over 100,000 BTUs per day with electrical power production of up to 1.0 kilowatt per day.”

Shell, VCs Ante Up $26M For Solar That Beats Natural Gas: “GlassPoint Solar just won $26 million in Round B financing from an impressive list of investors. GlassPoint’s Enclosed Trough Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process attracted oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) as well as RockPort Capital, Nth Power, and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital.?

South Africa’s Largest Ever Solar Deal, SolarX, First Solar CEO Interview (Solar News Of The Week) was originally published on: CleanTechnica


Electric Vehicles May Be Only Vehicles Exempt From London Congestion Fee

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 10:44 AM PST

If Mayor Boris Johnson approves, electric vehicles may be exempt from a congestion fee imposed in the city of London? and they’d be the only ones.

Nissan Leaf vehicles.

The congestion charge appears to be enough to discourage some people from driving. It is a startling €10 per day (equivalent to $16). For those whom drive 30 days per month, that is €300 per month ($485 USD).

According to This is Money:

“About 19,000 vehicles, mainly with small diesel engines, escape the £10-a-day levy as their engines emit less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

But from July the levels are to be slashed to less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre, and at present only all-electric and some hybrid cars can achieve this. Owners of cars that meet today’s levels will have a sunset period of two years before they lose their exempt status.”

Some people think this exemption won’t help with automobile emissions, as they believe electric vehicles simply cause emissions elsewhere (at power plants), rather than at the tailpipe like gasoline-powered vehicles do. For those wondering about that, however, studies have found EVs are without a doubt cleaner.

A Union of Concerned Scientists study earlier this year found that EVs are cleaner than gasoline-powered cars in the vast majority of cases. And, according to a Stanford study, electric vehicles emit less than gasoline-powered vehicles even when obtaining electricity from coal power plants, and when power transmission losses are factored in, because they are that much more efficient.

And another key point is that electric vehicles get their electricity from a broad range of sources, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and even garbage!

Furthermore, tailpipe vehicle emissions are among the worst type of emissions because they are everywhere, even in residential areas where people live and spend hours every day. When it comes to pollution, EVs are a clear step ahead of gasoline-powered (aka petrol-powered) vehicles.

Source: Autoblog Green

Electric Vehicles May Be Only Vehicles Exempt From London Congestion Fee was originally published on: CleanTechnica


Largest “Stomach” In The U.S.A. Digests Food Waste, Spits Out Biogas Fuel For Trucks

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 09:39 AM PST

The company CleanWorld has just started up what could be described as a gigantic man-made digestive system at a garbage transfer station in Sacramento, California. When it?s fully expanded, the Sacramento Biodigester will be the largest facility of its kind in the U.S., capable of gobbling up about 100 tons of food waste per day and converting it into enough natural gas fuel to replace 1 million gallons of conventional diesel fuel per year ? and that?s just for starters.


The Skinny on the Sacramento Biodigester

The new digester basically employs the natural process of anaerobic digestion to break down organic material, only it’s revved up and precisely balanced to achieve a high level of efficiency on a truly massive scale (anaerobic digestion refers to bacteria that thrive without oxygen). The process yields both renewable biogas and inert solids that can be safely used as a fertilizer or soil enhancer.

Anaerobic digesters are becoming commonplace at sewage treatment facilities, where the waste stream is essentially a liquid containing very low levels of solid material. The particular challenge faced by CleanWorld has been to develop a cost-effective process for waste streams containing high levels of solids.

CleanWorld’s proprietary process was originally developed over a span of ten years at the University of California-Davis. The company first caught our eye last May, when it developed a digester system for the company American River Packaging. At 7.5 tons of waste per day, though, that system is peanuts compared to the Sacramento Biodigester.

One Waste Stream, Many Benefits

Biodigesters are familiar ground to regular readers of CleanTechnica, since we’ve been regularly following the Obama Administration’s championship of anaerobic digesters for livestock manure through the Agstar program.

In livestock operations, digesters give farmers a sustainability twofer by turning a huge liability (raw manure) into valuable products (low-cost energy and soil enhancer) that they can sell or use on site.

Similarly, the Sacramento Biodigester turns a gigantic 100 ton-per-day food waste liability into useful products. Though the transfer operation isn’t set up to handle household waste, it will take in waste from food processors, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Part of the aforementioned natural gas produced by the new digester will go to a fueling station at the site. Currently under development by Atlas Disposal Industries, this will be the first renewable biogas (via anaerobic digestion, that is) station in California.

There will be enough gas to fuel Atlas Disposal?s trucks and generate electricity for the fueling station, which will apparently make it the first anaerobic digestion biogas-powered fueling station in the U.S.

There will also be plenty of gas left over for natural gas vehicles owned by other agencies in the area.

In addition to the biogas, the facility will also yield organic solids that can be used as fertilizers and soil enhancers by local farms.

We Built This!

Not to rub it in, but what the heck. When you hold a public office or campaign for one, you take on a civic responsibility that should offer at least a passing nod to reality, and the reality is that the U.S., like all developed countries, has always been and will always be developed by a working relationship between the taxpaying public and private enterprise. We’re all in this together, right?

So here’s a shout-out to all the partners that made the Sacramento Biodigester happen. Aside from long-term foundational research support through California’s public education system, the project was financed and developed by: Synergex, Five Star Bank, Central Valley Community Bank, California Energy Commission, CalRecycle, California Office of State Treasurer, Otto Construction, Atlas Disposal, City of Sacramento, Sacramento County, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, Carson Development Company, Peabody Engineering, TSS Consultants, Capstone Turbine Corp., and the engineering firm Frank M. Booth.

Image: Food by sampsyo

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey

Largest “Stomach” In The U.S.A. Digests Food Waste, Spits Out Biogas Fuel For Trucks was originally published on: CleanTechnica


Tesla Model S, Smartville, A123, Rinspeed MicroMax EV, Magic Iris? (Clean Transport News Of The Week)

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 04:00 AM PST

Aside from our own clean transport posts this week, here are some top clean transport stories from the week:

Electric Vehicles

Tesla Model S With 60 kWh Battery Rated At 208 Miles: “Tesla Motor’s novel approach to selling its all-electric Model S with different battery sizes has made it far and away the most successful electric car maker on the market. Up until now, only the most expensive Tesla Model S with the 85 kWh battery has been officially rated by the EPA, but Tesla has just released the ratings for its Model S with the 60 kWh battery pack. With over 200 miles of range per charge, can the middle child steal sales from the elder?”

Tesla Intern Pens A Subcompact Luxury EV: “If I had even a speck of artistic talent, I’d utilize it designing the cars of the future. One company I’d definitely want to work for is Tesla Motors. Hyoon Jason Kim is lucky and talented enough to have landed an internship at Tesla, and he has sketched an eye-grabbing subcompact Tesla concept car that could hint at things to come.”

Rinspeed “MicroMax” EV Is Small But Tall: “Electric vehicles allow car designers a lot more freedom when it comes to far-out concepts. Switzerland’s Rinspeed is no stranger to weird and wacky car designs, and their latest concept is the most bizzare yet. The Rinspeed “MicroMax” EV will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in 2013, and its unique design will make the most use of the limited on-board space.”


China’s Wanxiang Buys Battery Maker A123 Systems For $260 Million: “After going through a court-managed bankruptcy and auction, defunct EV battery maker A123 Systems has been (mostly) sold to Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang group. The selling price of $256.6 million was the highest bid, though the sale still has to be approved by the government.”

‘Smartville’ Is Where The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Is Born: “New tactics in production efficiency aren’t just cutting emissions; they’re cutting costs. Mercedes-owned Smart is currently ramping up production of its Smart ForTwo Electric Drive EV, and the company has given the press a sneak peek at one of Europe’s greenest factories, affectionately-dubbed ‘Smartville.'”

Video: Terry Hershner Crosses The US On A Zero Electric Motorcycle: “Zero motorcycle owner Terry Hershner walks me through the modifications he’s done to his 2012 Zero S to not only make it around town, to 4th place in a TTXGP race, but also over 3,000 miles in 5 days. He worked closely with Hollywood Electrics’ Harlan Flagg to upgrade the controller, among other changes.”

Zero is the Hero of Electric Motorcycle Manufacturing: “After a record year in sales, where they sold more bikes in January than in all of 2011, Zero motorcycles debuted their 2013 line with major upgrades to their entire line, and a new model, the FX. Zero now makes their own motor, a direct drive brushless motor with almost double the available horsepower of their 2012 models. Highlights include: The S promises a range of up to 137 miles around town (we?ll see about that, come January!) An optional ChaDeMo adapter to be able to charge the bike to 95 percent in an hour or less. And yes, there’s an app for that?.”

Nissan Launches EV Battery Manufacturing In Smyrna Plant: “Nissan has launched production in its new battery plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The plant, which is making battery components for the ramp-up of production of the 2013 Nissan LEAF early next year, is located adjacent to Nissan’s existing vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee, which itself has been retooled to accommodate production of the Nissan LEAF.”

Ontario Helps Electric Vehicle Drivers to Plug In: “Ontario is helping electric car owners install charging stations at their homes and businesses to encourage sustainable transportation and fight climate change. Beginning in January 2013, eligible homeowners and businesses can receive a rebate of 50 per cent (to a maximum of $1,000) of the total purchase and installation cost of an electric vehicle charging station.”

Profiling Purchases Of Clean Vehicles In California By Rebates; PHEVs Surge: “The non-profit California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) offers interactive access to data and analyses of information culled from the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), funded by the California Air Resources Board. As the CVRP project administrator, CCSE promotes the production and use of clean vehicles through rebates, marketing, outreach and education.”

A Cleaner Bus Ride: New Battery System Expands Range of Electric Buses: “Engineers on Dec. 13 began testing a bus equipped with a new hybrid energy system that will significantly cut the cost to buy and operate zero-emission mass transportation vehicles.”

Mayor Of Indianapolis Announces Plan To Modernize City Fleet To Plug-Ins And CNG By 2025: “Calling it a vital national security issue, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (a retired Marine officer and Gulf War veteran) signed Executive Order #6, 2012 making Indianapolis the first city in the nation to require the purchase of either electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles for the city’s non-police fleet, and the use of CNG in heavy-duty vehicles.”

Tesla Plans Production Facility For European Distribution: “As the best electric car on the market, the Tesla Model S has a global appeal that many of its competitors envy. With production of U.S. bound Tesla sedans already underway, the EV automakers is preparing to open a European production and distribution center. When it opens, the facility will build left-hand drive versions of the Model S for the European market starting next year.”

Smart EVs Used For Italian Soccer Video Game: “There is something inherently geeky about electric cars, and as a geek, I can’t help but appreciate the similarities between EVs and video games. Apparently I’m not the only one. At the recent Bologna Auto Show, two Smart ForTwo Electric Drive EVs were linked to a soccer simulator. Simple, but effective, and perhaps in the future an even more viable marketing tool.”

Brammo Delivers 1st Empulse Electric Motorcycle, Promises Enertia Plus For January: “The Empulse was first announced back in July of 2010 and was expected to be within the grasp of customers anxious hands about a year later. People got excited. It was to be the world’s first commercially available electric bike that could top 100 miles per hour and get over a 100 miles of range from a charge. It also looked sexy enough to hold its own when surrounded by scantily-clad Brammo babes. The reservations poured in.

“Then, the company made a move that was simultaneously disappointing and breathtakingly daring. They went back to drawing board which displayed the drivetrain and trashed it. To hear insiders tell it, they decided the single-gear design lacked the performance they thought necessary, and so they took a big gamble by delaying the release and implemented a 6-speed gearbox with integrated motor instead. The price also soared from $13,995 to $18,995 for the top-end Empulse R.”

Nissan Provides Overview Of Progress On Environmental Commitments; 15 New hybrid Models By 2016: “At a press briefing in Yokohama earlier this week, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga provided an update on the company’s environmental commitments under the Nissan Green Program 2016.”

CODA Announces Layoffs, Struggles To Make Any Sales: “The Internet has a penchant for drama, and so it was yesterday that a story made the rounds that electric car maker CODA had announced ‘massive’ layoffs-of 50 people. Ok, maybe not so massive, but things are still looking grim for the struggling EV maker and their bland sedan.”


The Recyclable Bicycle Helmet – Designed With Woodpeckers in Mind (Video): “For some people, helmet choice is all about style. So can Abus, the German company famous for its locks, make a helmet that is both stylish, and able to be recycled?”

Great-Grandpa Discovers the Joy of Biking, Becomes a Paperboy at Age 86: “While many folks more than half his age have relegated bike-riding as merely a pleasent pastime from their youth, one octogenarian in Minnesota is proving that finding the joy of cycling anew just might be the key to staying young at heart.”

Chicago Likes Bikes – And It’s About To Prove It In A Big Way: “Look over your shoulder, Portland, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. Chicago is about to roll out plans to lay down 645 miles of bike lanes by 2020. If you’re not careful, the Windy City is going to pedal off with the title of Most Bikeable City in the U.S.”

Happy Birthday, JK Starley: Inventor Of The Modern Bicycle: “Whether you bomb down hills on a sleek road bike or cruise to work on a sturdy Dutch commuter, all stripes of cyclists can probably all agree: The bike is simply one of the most brilliant inventions of the past 150 years. And today is the birthday of the man who created the modern cloth from which all bike are cut.”


Review Of Controversial Fracking Study Finds Conflict Of Interest: “Is or isn’t fracking bad for the environment and for people? That is a question that has become central to many communities where fracking has become commonplace. One of the most controversial fracking studies has now come under fire after a peer review revealed that the author sat on the board of a drilling company, and had collected over $1.5 million in compensation.”

Research and Markets: Green Airports: How Airports are Realizing Energy Savings: “Airports often struggle to comply with environmental regulations arising out of operations. Airports must grapple with reducing tons of toxic emissions caused by landings, takeoffs, and use of diesel shuttles. And soaring energy-related facility costs can decimate a bottom line.

“Some airports have been slow to adopt measures that go beyond minimum requirements. But there are as many airports leading the way in converting their operations and facilities into Green Airports.”

Amtrak to Replace All Acela Trains: “By announcing this week that it will scrap plans to upgrade Acela trains incrementally, and instead replace them all with new equipment, the passenger rail carrier is signaling that it is speeding up the timeline for higher-speed rail service.?

India’s Tiny Vans A New Wave Of Automotive Ingenuity: “India is producing some of the most ingenious cars in the world. Because the average Indian consumer is so poor, any car with aspirations of selling in large numbers must be both cheap to produce and dead nuts reliable.

“The Indians seem capable of doing both, developing among other things a Tata Nano-based van (called the Magic Iris). In order to save money and weight, the Magic Iris uses windows and a rear tailgate made from canvas. Coupled with an 11 horsepower diesel engine, the Magic Iris has very Model T-like specs; a 35 mph top speed, and a mpg rating of 70 to 80 mpg.”

Ford Tries to Sell More Cars By Looking to a Future With Fewer Cars: Is Ford trying to sell more cars by promoting the demise of car culture?

Biofuel That’s Better Than Carbon Neutral: “The race is on to create a biofuel that sucks carbon out of the sky and locks it away where it can?t warm the planet.”

Passenger Car Demand In Europe Down For 14th Consecutive Month In November: “In November, demand for new cars in the EU was down for the fourteenth consecutive month, dropping by 10.3% compared with November 2011 which counted on average the same number of working days in the region, according to figures from the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).”

First Drive Review: Volkswagen Eco Up: “This is Volkswagen’s Eco Up model, which returns the CO2 performance of an electric vehicle because it is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).”

Tesla Model S, Smartville, A123, Rinspeed MicroMax EV, Magic Iris (Clean Transport News Of The Week) was originally published on: CleanTechnica


How To Get Conservatives Moving On The Environment: Show Them World Without EPA

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 03:00 AM PST

This articles has been reposted from Climate Progress with permission.

If you’re a conservative, this image of Cleveland from 1973 taken before the Environmental Protection Agency started cleaning up our skies should make you care about the environment:


That’s according to a new paper from UC Berkeley, anyway.

In a study released this week, UC Berkeley researchers looked at how conservatives respond to messages about protecting the environment. Rather than being moved by the moral arguments that progressives often make, the study found that conservatives responded to images and videos within a “purity/sanctity” frame:

The purity/sanctity-themed article stressed how pollution has contaminated Earth and people’s bodies, and argued for cleaning up and purifying the environment. To enhance those themes and elicit disgust, the accompanying images showed a person drinking filthy water, a city under a cloud of pollution and a forest full of garbage.The neutral article talked about the history of neckties.

Participants were then asked to rate how strongly they felt certain emotions, including disgust, in response to what they’d read. Next, they reported how strongly they agreed or disagreed with such statements as “It is important to protect the environment,” “I would support government legislation aimed at protecting the environment” and “I believe humans are causing global warming.”

Overall, the study found that the purity-themed message inspired conservatives to feel higher levels of disgust, which in turn increased their support for protecting the environment.

Interesting. Let’s test out the study. Theoretically, that response to “purity” would make this photo of a severely asthmatic child living near a coal plant in Nevada an effective message for conservatives:

It would also make this photo of Pennsylvania resident Sherry Vargson lighting her methane-contaminated tap water on fire from fracking a pretty effective tool:

This picture of smog hanging over New York City in the 1970’s before strong Environmental Protection air regulations would likely have an impact as well:

My guess is that the pictures move you whether you’re progressive, conservative, or neither. No matter which type of messaging influences you – the “moral” argument or the “purity” argument – most of us can agree on the need for a clean environment and institutions like the EPA to preserve those standards.

Well, everyone except for lawmakers in Congress trying to kill the EPA.

How To Get Conservatives Moving On The Environment: Show Them World Without EPA was originally published on: CleanTechnica


Even Northern Alaska Has Solar Power Potential

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 02:30 AM PST

It’s a weekday afternoon in December and the Kotzebue Electric Association website says the ambient temperature is -22 Fahrenheit. This extremely low temperature might suggest to some that solar power is hardly feasible in this village located 33 miles above the Arctic Circle. The Kotzebue Electric Association is responsible for the energy supply in the town of about 3,200 residents. Most of them are Native American, and the Inupiat people may have lived in the area since the 15th century. (Another term for this culture is Qikiktagrukmiut.)

The association determined they would try six different solar thermal systems in elder homes. Three of them are for domestic hot water heating and the others are for a combination of domestic hot water heating and hyronic base board heating. Elder homes may have been the first selected in order to provide renewable, affordable energy to them for free or at low cost. On the Native Village of Kotzebue website, respect for elders is listed as one of their core values. If you want to see some images of their solar thermal systems, see the Photo Gallery.

Though temperatures in Alaska are famous for being very low in winter, their summer season sees some extremely long days. For example, June 20 is the longest day with 24 hours of sunlight. (The shortest day, December 21 has less than two hours). So the next time someone tells you solar power can only work in places with the greatest amounts of sunlight, tell them about Kotzebue, a small village in northern Alaska.

Image Credit: KEA

Even Northern Alaska Has Solar Power Potential was originally published on: CleanTechnica


Limiting Factor In Electric Car Batteries Discovered, New Finding Could Lead To Longer Lasting Batteries

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 02:00 AM PST

New research has revealed what may be one of the primary limiting factors in the lifespan of the battery type typically used in electric and hybrid vehicles.


It was discovered that, as the batteries are used, they slowly lose lithium, as it accumulates outside the battery electrodes. This happens primarily in the “current collector,” which is the sheet of copper that improves the efficiency of electron transfer between the electrodes and the electrical system.

“This knowledge could aid in improving design and performance of batteries,” explained Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

“Our study shows that the copper current collector plays a role in the performance of the battery,” he said.

“We didn’t set out to find lithium in the current collector, so you could say we accidentally discovered it, and how it got there is a bit of a mystery. As far as we know, nobody has ever expected active lithium to migrate inside the current collector,” Bhushan said.

The researchers had been working to determine what could be done to improve battery performance, though they seem to have gotten quite lucky in finding what they found. The discovery could potentially lead to better performing batteries, which would give a big boost to electric vehicles. The researchers are hoping that battery producers further investigate their findings. The researchers themselves plan to next study the impedance of lithium-ion batteries on the nanoscale.

The new research was just published in the journal Scripta Materialia.

Source: Ohio State University
Image Credits: CSIRO Australia

Limiting Factor In Electric Car Batteries Discovered, New Finding Could Lead To Longer Lasting Batteries was originally published on: CleanTechnica