Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Cleantech News from CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

New Orleans May Get 242 Solar Trash Cans

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 03:30 PM PST

The upcoming Super Bowl will be hosted by the city of New Orleans on February 3, 2013. Before the big event, the city hopes to have at least 150 solar-powered trash compactors installed. This number could be expanded to 242, but the bids and contracts haven’t been finalized yet. The new trash compactors would be installed in the French Quarter, where tourists typically gather in very large numbers and generate much trash.

NewOrleansCBDfromUptownBig.jpgThe solar-powered trash compactors hold more than the current public trash containers and also have containers for recycling. Because they have a large capacity, the number of truck collections could be reduced about four times, which is better for local traffic. Garbage trucks tend to move very slowly in addition to blocking roadways during collection times. Fewer garbage truck trips also means some fuel savings and reduced exhaust emissions.

The solar receptacles are supposed to be water- and rat-proof; so they should be more sanitary and produce less odor. They also have smart sensors to indicate to authorities when they are full. Because of the potential for flooding, the city is requiring bidders to submit plans with solar trash compactors that can resist storm winds and up to two feet of standing water.

The city of Cleveland has been testing the same kind of technology. Each Big Belly solar compactor costs $5,000, with another $2,000 required for the recycling components. The solar panels on each compactor are intended to last at least twenty years. If New Orleans can use the surge in revenues from the Super Bowl to pay for their new trash compactors, that might be something of a fiscal coup.

A huge number of tourists is expected leading up to the game and for the event itself. An estimated $434.9 million will be generated for city’s economy. Over 5,000 media representatives are also expected to be in attendance.

Slightly over 6,000 full and part-time jobs are anticipated to be created by all the economic activity.

Image Credit: Infrogmation, Wiki Commons

New Orleans May Get 242 Solar Trash Cans was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Vauxhall Ampera Has A “Love It Or Return It” Offer

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 08:32 AM PST

General Motor’s Vauxhall UK division is offering a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, which allows buyers to return their Vauxhall Ampera vehicles within the first 30 days of purchasing them with “no questions asked.”

The car is essentially a Chevy Volt but for Europe. It has a few minor differences, such as an additional ten miles of electric range, and a total of 360 miles of range when using the built-in gas-powered generator.

It also offers an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty for the battery, which is very important due to widespread anxiety that the battery lifespan might not be what the manufacturer claims.

The vehicle comes with a 100,000-mile warranty for the rest of the car’s components.

This vehicle is also exempt from London’s congestion fee of $16 per day.

Source: Autoblog Green
Image via Vauxhall 

Vauxhall Ampera Has A “Love It Or Return It” Offer was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Toyota Offering Incentives Up To $7,500 For RAV4 EV

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 08:25 AM PST

It seems as if every time a new EV is released, it trounces its predecessors.

The RAV4 EV accelerates from zero to sixty miles per hour in 7 seconds, can travel 103 miles per charge, and gets 76 miles per gallon.

SUVs normally cannot achieve such a combination of qualities. Especially not such high efficiency and decent performance.

Toyota is now offering the 2012 RAV4 EV for $49,800. However, it is also offering incentives such as $5,000 cash back and $2,500 in loyalty cash, which appears to be for long-time Toyota customers. Furthermore, state and federal incentives can bring the vehicle down another $10,000. All in all, you can get the vehicle for about $32,000.

The RAV4 EV is currently only available in California.

Source: Autoblog Green

Toyota Offering Incentives Up To $7,500 For RAV4 EV was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Electric Scooters From ZEV

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 07:00 AM PST

Here’s an electric scooter company I don’t think we’ve featured yet — Z Electric Vehicle (ZEV). Before sharing some of its vehicles, here’s an interesting note from the website linked above:

ZEV offers free test rides at our demonstration site near Pittsburgh, Pa. If you decide to purchase, we will pay for your plane ticket or auto gasoline. Come and drive. Meet the people behind the brand, talk to the engineers.

We will meet you up at the airport in Pittsburgh. Our test track is located 1/2 mile off of I-79 at Waynesburg, Pa for easy access by auto.

I don’t think every vehicle company offers that. The company also offers some unique incentives.

ZEV scooters are available in the UK, Poland, the Philippines, Bermuda, the Netherlands, the US, and Australia.

ZEV 2700L & 2400L

If you’re not into pink, other colors are available.

The most affordable scooters the company offers are the ZEV 2700 L & ZEV 2400 L.  They cost $2745 and $2565, respectively.

Here are specifications for each (more details at the link above):

  • Battery 20 ah silicate/lead battery
  • Voltage 60 volt (2400) 72 volt (2700)
  • Dual Controllers
  • Dual stator motor (individually controllable stators)
  • Range:  (2700)  50 km 65 km / 40 mile (2400) 32 mile at 25 mph
  • Max Speed (2700) 54 kmh/34 mph   (2400) 45 kmh / 28 mph
  • Vehicle Curb Weight 87.7 kg 93 kg


Other ZEV Models

There are also numerous pricier models with better specs, such as:


What do you think of these zero-emission vehicles?

Note: Nope, we don’t have any connection to this company and it’s not a sponsored post, just working to spread the work about good, clean vehicle options.

Electric Scooters From ZEV was originally published on: CleanTechnica

2012 Record Year For Utility-Solar Installations

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 05:40 AM PST

2012 has been a record-breaking year for utility-sized solar power installations. Utility-scaled solar installations this year reached 8.5 gigawatts (GW), according to a recent PV-Tech article.

The preliminary data from Wiki-Solar noted that newly installed power plants exceeding 10 megawatts (MW) in size have so far reached a total installed capacity of 3 GW in 2012, far more than 2011's 2.3 GW.

Meanwhile Euro and US companies were leading the way in utility-sized installations, with seven of the top companies being based in Germany. (See chart below).

Chart Courtesy of Wiki-Solar / PV Tech

Enerparc was number one, followed by Juwi Solar, First Solar, Sunselex, and Hanwha Q-Cells (formally known as Q-Cells) in the top five.

Rounding out the top ten were: Saferay in at sixth, with GP Joule at seven, Quanta Power Generation at eight, Belectric at nine, and Activ Solar at ten.

However, despite the record amount of large-scale installation capacity seen this year for solar, a great number of utility companies could be doing more to promote these types of installations, said Phillip Wolfe of Wiki Solar:

"It is interesting to note that some of the world's largest utilities are not fully engaged, especially after reports that some German suppliers, which have been sceptical about renewable energy investments, are starting to lose control of their markets."

2012 Record Year For Utility-Solar Installations was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Algae Biofuel Breakthrough Hinges On Common Bacteria

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 05:26 AM PST

One of the key factors standing between algae biofuel and the real world of market-competitive energy is something that has a lot in common with the common cold, and that is bacteria. The tiny little buggers can interfere with an efficient growth process and they really go to work as soon as algae is harvested, which shortens its shelf life and makes storage and transportation a dicey proposition. However, while a cure for the common cold is still eons away, according to the algae biofuel company OriginOil, a solution to the algae biofuel bacteria problem appears to be close at hand.

OriginOil has algae biofuel breakthrough with bacteria fighting process

A Teeny Tiny Problem for Algae Biofuel

Strength in numbers is the motto of all bacteria, which accounts for why something so small can wreak so much havoc. OriginOil’s Jose Sanchez, who is General Manager of the company’s Algae Division, sums the problem up in a nutshell:

“Bacteria and other invaders feast on the biomass, especially the valuable oils, dramatically reducing the value of the crop within a matter of hours."

According to Sanchez freshly harvested algae is only stable for about half a day, or about 10 to 12 hours. After that, with a little help from bacteria, it takes on the pungent, fishy smell that signals rot.

The Algae Biofuel Breakthrough

OriginOil believes that it has found an economical solution to the problem, through its proprietary Algae Screen™ process.

OriginOil first developed the system in order to enhance algae growth by inhibiting harmful microbes. Instead of using chemicals, it relies on an electromagnetic pulse. The salvo is powerful enough to kill off bacteria as well as rotifers and ciliates (these are other kinds of microscopic organisms and yes, we had to look those up, too), while leaving the tougher-walled algae alone.

The breakthrough consists in using Algae Screen during the harvesting process as well as during the growth period. OriginOil sent samples to a university team (unnamed in the company’s press release) and the independent lab Pacific Coast Analytical Services, and the results came back with significantly fewer bacterial colonies than conventional harvesting.

Shortcuts to Algae Biofuel

Algae’s ancient pedigree has been powering the fossil fuel industry for generations, so the idea of taking a millions-of-years shortcut to algae fuel is beyond tempting. The trick, of course, is to rev up a very long process into a tidy, cost-effective package.

The obstacles are many but much has been achieved in the past few years. OriginOil, the activities of which we’ve been following at CleanTechnica pretty closely (here, here and here for example) for a while now, is just one of several U.S. companies leading the charge.

The other part of the equation is public sector support, most notoriously in the form of the U.S. Navy’s algae biofuel initiatives, which have been chugging steadily along despite opposition from the anti-biofuel crowd.

The Department of Energy is of course front and center in advancing the algae biofuel cause, most recently with a $15 million grant to establish an algae biofuel test bed in Arizona. NASA has also launched an initiative with long distance space travel in mind that piggybacks algae biofuel production on wastewater, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

Algae Biofuel Makes Strange Bedfellows

One fallout from OriginOil’s breakthrough, according to the company, is that a more efficient process would enable more algae to be grown in a smaller area. That would bring the operation within reach of small farmers and other small-scale entrepreneurs.

With the release of Matt Damon’s new fracking-themed movie Promised Land in mind, small-scale algae farming could help provide distressed rural communities with a new cash crop that does not involve the kind of risk to public health that often attends fossil fuel operations.

Somewhat ironically, OriginOil has found that the separation process it developed for algae farming can serve as an effective treatment for many kind of industrial wastewater, including wastewater from fracking operations.

Go figure.

Image (cropped): Bacteria by gwire

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey

Algae Biofuel Breakthrough Hinges On Common Bacteria was originally published on: CleanTechnica

Wind Farm Completed In Maui

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 04:00 AM PST

The 21MW Auwahi Wind Farm has been completed in the southern part of Maui. It is located on the Ulupalakua Ranch in Kula. This area is near the mountain of Haleakala and is at nearly 2,000 feet. (It is less commercially developed than the Lahaina side of the island.)

maui.jpgThere are eight Siemens AG turbines and a 10-megawatt storage system at the site. Power generated by it will go to the Maui Electric Company (MECO).

“From the Hawaiian perspective, wind is very important in our culture. So when people say wind is something new, indeed, the way we do it now is, but ancient Hawaiians understood it very well.  It was the power we used in our canoes, from the Marquesas Islands to Hawai’i–wind power,” explained Sen. J. Kalani English.

Originally, the contract for the project was linked to Shell Oil, but that relationship fell apart.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Wind Farm Completed In Maui was originally published on: CleanTechnica

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