QuoteInterest, nonetheless, is beginning to percolate, said Alex Winch, president of Mondial Energy. Mondial installs solar thermal systems in large buildings and then makes its money by reselling the heat generated by them back to the building owner. The Toronto-based company has put systems in 100-unit senior living centers in Canada, and it recently signed letters of intent for installations in a couple of U.S. hotels. Solar thermal systems can offset gas consumption even in places not known for sunshine, Winch noted. His first project was the Beach Solar Laundromat in Toronto. It's snowy in that city right now, but the system at Beach Solar has generated 382 kilowatts in the past week, according to its online energy meter.
QuoteThe deep fat fryers and waste oil containers of America house a large, untapped source of transportation fuel, says Rubin, business development general manager for BiOil, a biodiesel company based in Sausalito, Calif. Namely, billions of gallons of animal fat and waste vegetable oil that can be converted into domestically produced, cleaner-burning biodiesel, says Rubin, among others. BiOil's plan--which will require sizable funding--is to build a national network of disposal centers, with help from biodiesel producer Pacific Biodiesel, based in Kahului, Hawaii, to collect a substantial portion of the 3.9 billion gallons of waste vegetable oil produced at fast-food eateries, refine it and then sell it to trucking companies and drivers.
QuoteWhat if gasoline, diesel and jet fuel could be made without oil and made instead with sugar? An Emeryville-based company founded by U.C. Berkeley scientists is on its way to doing just that, with staggering environmental and economic implications.
This sugary solution could be what breaks America's addiction to oil. Science has long understood how ethanol is made by adding sugar to yeast. But now using the same basic biological processes, scientists can re-program the microbes to make something closer to gasoline. It's cutting-edge technology commonly known as "synthetic biology" and it will change the way we fuel any vehicle that now relies on oil -- at least that's the hope at Emeryville-based Amyris Biotechnologies. Jack Newman, PhD, Amyris Biotechnologies VP: "Why are we making ethanol if we're trying to make a fuel? We should be making something that looks a lot more like gasoline. We should be making something that looks a lot more like diesel. And if you wanted to design, you name it, a jet fuel? We can make that too."
QuoteWe are talking pond scum, or algae, a plant that for decades has been prized as a possible commodity crop based on its unparalleled ability to photosynthesize solar energy into plant biomass for food. Unlike most plants, algae shares characteristics of bacteria, and its photosynthetic machinery operates much faster in converting inorganic substances into organic matter. And while plants require a lot of fuel to sow and harvest and additional fertilizer and fresh water to nourish, algae can be continuously harvested from closed water-based bioreactors that require little additional replenishment other than inorganic fuel supplied in the form of waste gas.
QuoteIts hybrid solar lighting system features a 40-inch mirrored dish with a GPS-director monitor to move it during the day and maximize light intake. Once light is collected from a roof and concentrated, it is filtered and then spread through a building through bundles of plastic fiber-optic chords. About 25 retail outlets and office buildings are testing the company's system, which the company hopes to bring to market early next year. The selling points are lower electricity bills and the benefits that natural light has on people, whether they are employees or customers, according to the company.
QuoteSome customers want to reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy, so providing customers with a renewable energy choice is important. Cow Power will provide a new income stream to participating farmers, help reduce some of the water quality impacts of farming through the introduction of innovative manure management technologies, and significantly reduce manure odors, particularly during spreading. Participating farms may also reduce bedding costs by using dry byproducts of the process in place of sawdust or other bedding. Funds not supporting farm methane power will support other renewable generation resources.