Green Business

Molybdenite uses 100k times less energy in transistors, makes Graphene look old

Molybdenite uses 100k times less energy in transistors, makes Graphene look oldAnyone who uses computers on a regular basis is generating a steadily growing carbon footprint caused by the electricity in use. For an individual user that’s one thing, but that use grows huge with a company like Google or Microsoft who run massive server farms throwing data back and forth constantly. Imagine reducing that power consumption by a factor of 100,000 -- the commercial and environmental benefit quickly becomes obvious. Molybdenite could do just that, and may be more efficient than Graphene.

GM fights vaporware syndrome with 550 Chevrolet Volt demo units

GM fights vaporware syndrome with 550 Chevrolet Volt demo unitsBy intent or lucky intuition, GM is doing a smart thing: it’s shipping 550 Chevrolet Volts to dealers by the end of 2011. If your dealer is in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia or Washington, D.C. Chevrolet Volt demo units should arrive in the next few weeks. Considering some of the initial price gouging by some dealers, and ongoing strong demand for the Chevrolet Volt that’s a good thing because right now drivers are hard-pressed to test out the driving experience.

The EPA has given the Chevrolet Volt a 35 mile electric-only range, which is a shade lower than GM’s original projection of 40 miles. That likely has to do with the agency’s expectation of how the lithium-ion batteries will age and how real world conditions will cause other efficiency impacts. Overall, the Volt clocks in with the EPA at 60 miles per gallon equivalent (that’s an average of 93 mpg equivalent in all electric  mode and 37 mpg equivalent in gas only mode).

Oprah and her staff take on the Vegan Challenge

Oprah and her staff take on the Vegan Challenge The vegetarian diet hasn’t had the best history in the united States; many derided the plant based diet as only for tree-hugging hippies that eat nothing but nuts and berries. Over time, supermarkets and even fast-food spots like Burger King have added veggie friendly items. Oprah Winfrey hopes that she can take veg-friendly diets one step further by challenging herself and her staff members to eat a vegan diet on an episode that airs February 1st. 

Oprah’s no stranger to the “no meat, no dairy, no animal anything” idea of the vegan diet. She did a twenty-one day vegan cleanse back in 2008 in order to become “a more conscious eater.” Ms. Winfrey said that the cleanse wasn’t just for her health, but it was also because she was exposed to the mistreatment of animals in the meat industry.

The lowly mussel inspires a revolutionary adhesive

The lowly mussel inspires a revolutionary adhesiveLong before humans mastered fire and invented the wheel, mussels were manufacturing adhesives to securely fasten themselves to rocks amid ocean waves and tidal ebbs and flows. Now, well into the 21st century, the secrets of the mussel’s adhesive are finally being unraveled. A team of scientist led by Niels Holten-Andersen and Ka Yee Lee of the University of Chicago recently announced that they discovered how to synthesize the sticky substance mussels secrete.

The ability of mussels to stick to surfaces while underwater is simply astonishing. Nearly all commercial adhesives require surfaces to be clean and dry before application. Water has always been the bane of adhesives (just ask any angler trying to repair wading boots). By using chemistry to cross-link protein molecules, mussels bind to rough, slimy surfaces even underwater. After years of research, scientists are learning how to mimic the mussel.

Solar energy and seawater to transform desert into oasis

Solar energy and seawater to transform desert into oasis Environmental degradation, such desertification, often occurs due to human activities that convert land to agricultural or industrial uses. But what if engineering know-how is used to turn deserts into oases instead? That is precisely what the Kingdom of Jordan hopes to do in partnership with the Sahara Forest Project. By combining solar energy and seawater greenhouse technologies, Jordan hopes to make the desert bloom.

The Sahara Forest Project is an initiative by British firms Seawater Greenhouse Ltd., Exploration Architecture, and Max Fordham Consulting Engineers, as well as the Norwegian Bellona Foundation. This team recognizes that the complex, interrelated environmental and energy problems need solutions that apply a synergy of technologies. By using sun and seawater to transform unproductive land, the Sahara Forest Project hopes to demonstrate that land can be re-vegetated and provide food, energy, and clean water.

New Volkswagen XL1 concept makes Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius look old

New Volkswagen XL1 concept makes Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius look oldVolkswagen isn’t shy when it comes to exploring bleeding edge vehicle technologies, and the company is demonstrating that most recently with its announcement of the latest XL1 concept. The concept is a hybrid car that uses diesel fuel, and Volkswagen claims it can achieve 261 mpg.

Compare that number to the 3rd generation Toyota Prius which clocks in just under 50 mpg average and the Chevrolet Volt which boasts an overall 60 mpg equivalent and it turns into at least  a 435% gain in fuel efficiency! The XL1 is curvy, sleek, and has covers over most of the rear wheels. That look will appeal to some more than others, but it will absolutely grab attention from others on the road. So what’s the catch?

GM is making Toyota work hard to stay #1 despite the “Prius premium”

GM is making Toyota work hard to stay #1 despite the “Prius premium”GM is racing to reclaim some of its lost market share after losing status as #1 in global auto sales in 2008 to Toyota. At the forefront of its rebranding, GM has focused on the Chevrolet Volt, which provides 40 miles of electric only driving and shifts to gas power afterward. That focus on green was likely inspired by Toyota’s success with the car model nearly synonymous with hybrid cars, the Prius.

Food giant Sodexo serves up Meatless Mondays across the US

Food giant Sodexo serves up Meatless Mondays across the US Americans are finally getting the old adage, “you are what you eat.” Programs like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Meatless Monday have gotten people thinking twice about hitting that fast food drive thru. Meatless Monday got a huge boost when institutional food giant Sodexo to promote their program in hundreds of corporate cafeterias, senior centers, and university dining halls.

Can green energy solutions thwart Exxon’s gloomy outlook?

Can green energy solutions thwart Exxon’s gloomy outlook?Even with advances in green energy technology, fossil fuels still are needed to meet most of the world’s energy demand, and, according to ExxonMobil, will continue do so in the foreseeable future. ExxonMobil also forecasts that carbon dioxide emissions will rise significantly in the next 20 years. But all is not doom and gloom: a new study concludes that existing green energy solutions could reduce energy demand by 85%.

Apple gets crafty about the iPad while Toshiba taunts them

Apple gets crafty about the iPad while Toshiba taunts them The iPad has been a wildly popular product due to the fact that almost anyone can find a use for the device. It can be used as an e-reader, multimedia machine, or even by governments looking to cut printing costs. Other companies have been feverishly working on competing tablets such as Samsung and the Galaxy Tab to take away Apple’s market share. Apple was struck with yet another competitor last week in the form of the Toshiba Tablet. Apple has a crafty plan to fight off these challengers, but may face additional questions about the environmental impact of the iPad’s production process.