EcoSeed 2012: Top Ten

The low-carbon sector covers almost all aspects of life – from the power we use to the products we chose – and EcoSeeds mandate to cover this sector means we write about a variety of different topics.

As the year draws to a close, we look at ten of the most popular articles published on our website today, covering – you guessed it – a wide variety of topics. From green buildings to green heroes, green fuels and green energy, these are the top ten EcoSeed stories for 2012

1. ‘Green buildings’: From LEED to ‘net-zero’

Green buildings, which use less water, generate energy savings and conserve natural resources, increased in popularity with green building rating tools providing invaluable insight into how builders can satisfy the need for sustainability in spaces.

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The next wave of green buildings will be “net-zero” buildings which produce their own power and have zero amount of energy consumption and carbon emissions.

2. Bladeless wind energy technology company looks for manufacturing partner

A Tunisian-based company Saphon has developed a “Zero-Blade Technology” for harnessing the power of the wind.

Instead of turbine blades turning in the wind, the Zero-Blade Technology has a sail-shaped body which moves back and forth with the wind, converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy. This moves pistons to create hydraulic pressure that can either be stored or used to drive a hydraulic motor and generator to produce power. Saphon patented their technology and is looking for partners to begin manufacturing operations.

3. Sea otters guardians of oceans’ carbon sinks – study

The playful acrobatics of sea otters are not their only claim to fame anymore as a study from the University of Santa Cruz finds that they are also climate heroes.

The researchers found that sea otters are vital to keeping sea urchin populations down and kelp growth up. Managing these animal and plant populations can affect the oceans ability to serve as carbon sinks.

Kelp and kelp forests are particularly efficient at absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The study found that spreading kelp can absorb as much as 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than if it was subject to ravenous sea urchins.

4. Toshiba to roll out high capacity home battery system

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba came up with an advanced energy management scheme for homes.

Their “EneGoon” is a storage battery system which – on full charge – can handle the simultaneous operations of a 160-watt refrigerator, 150-watt television and 100-watt lighting equipment for about 12 hours.

The system can power appliances up to 200 volts and has two charging modes: normal (five hours) and fast-charging (two hours)

5. Classical architecture inspiration for ‘green’ cement

Drexel University researchers looked at history to develop the green cement of the future.

Ancient Romans used volcanic ash, slaked lime, sand and water for their cement, while the ancient Eguyptians used a mixture of concrete-limestone, lime and diatomaceous earth – and their buildings remain standing to this day.

The Drexel researchers created cement made up of 68 percent unfired limestone. Compared to ordinary Portland cement, which uses 5 percent, making the Drexel cement has 97 percent less carbon dioxide emissions and is 40 percent less expensive.

6. Green growth: A case for developing countries

The Green Economy foreshadows increased investments in economic sectors that could help preserve natural resources and reduce environmental impacts – and is a direction that both developed and developing countries need to move towards.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development believes that developing regions are just as in need of green growth as the developed world as they sit in areas extremely exposed to the adverse impacts of climate change.

As developing countries more towards developing their economies, they can become a serious source of carbon emissions and will require a more intensive use of natural resources.

In order for developing countries to establish a green economy, they need international support, national policy reforms and the development of an international policy and market infrastructure supportive of a green economy.

7. U.S. Air Force completes Alcohol-to-Jet fuel test flight

The United States Air Force announced the successful test flight of a A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft using an alternative fuel known as Alcohol-to-Jet or ATJ.

«It flew like a usual A-10 would without any issues,» said Maj. Olivia Elliott, an A-10 pilot and an evaluator for the testing.

ATJ is cellulose-based and can be derived from material like wood, paper or grass. The ATJ used in the test was by biofuel manufacturer Gevo which is currently under contract to provide 11,000 gallons of the fuel to the Air Foce.

The Air Force has approved fleet-wide certification efforts of the fuel blend.

8. Earth Hour 2012:  New countries, dares and a view from space

This year’s Earth Hour saw 5,241 cities and 147 countries switch of their lights to celebrate their commitment to the planet.

The European Space Agency, via the International Space Station, watched the scene from space as vast tracts of the planet plunged into a darkness not since before the industrial age.

The celebration was also marked by the “I Will if You Will” campaign in which people shared a personal dare or challenge to the world on YouTube answering the question: What are you willing to do to change the planet.

9. Philippines approved feed-in-tariff rates for renewable energy

The Philippines Energy Regulatory Commission set the feed-in tariff rates for solar, wind, biomass and hydro power projects in a move the is expected to move the country towards a “green” direction.

The subsidies are meant to encourage the development, utilization and commercialization of the Philippines renewable energy resources which studies place at around 204,288 megawatts.

10. China buries 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions underground

China buried more than 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region through its carbon capture and storage project.

The underground saline aquifers of the Ordos Basin have the capacity to store about 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide and the project is expected to contribute to reducing China’s carbon emissions.

China has set a target of sealing 300,000 tons of carbon through C.C.S. by June 2014. – EcoSeed Staff

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