Companies Commit to Clean Energy

by Sharon Ha

Companies are beginning to show increased interest in investment and implementation of clean energy. The RE100 initiative, which encourages companies to go 100% renewable, currently has 56 businesses signed up and continues to grow. Many of these companies are influential and established brands, such as Ikea, Adobe, and Coca- Cola Enterprises. Furthermore, Intel recently constructed the largest corporate solar carport in the US at its Folsom, California campus. The solar carport will be able to meet over 50% of the campus’s energy needs. Additionally, Google, Apple, and more than 20 other companies have signed contracts to supply their respective headquarters with clean energy. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that clean energy is sustainable and profitable for businesses. In this GreenBiz article, reporter Heather Clancy outlines three different ways that companies can best utilize renewable energy. Continue reading

Koch Brothers Plan Offensive Against Plug-In Cars

by Samantha Englert

Fuel industry sources have recently revealed that billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of Texas are planning to funnel over ten million dollars a year to a new advocacy group whose mission will be to increase the usage of petroleum-based transportation fuel. Why would individuals wish to promote ‘unclean’ energy and global warming? Faced with the threat of competition and lost sales from plug-in automobiles, the Koch brothers, who own the second largest privately held fossil-fuel corporation with an annual income of over 100 billion dollars, have been reported to want the US government to discontinue electric car subsidies.   Continue reading

America’s “Roadmap” for 100% Renewable Energy by 2050


by Jesse Crabtree

In his new study posted in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Energy & Environmental Science, Stanford professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mark Jacobson, presents a plan for a 100% renewable energy-powered America by 2050. And what’s more, Jacobson believes this course of action to be not only economically feasible, but economically beneficial. Jacobson’s paper, which lays out specific roadmaps for how each state can work to achieve this goal, can be boiled down to three main ideas: exclusively build wind, solar, and hydro power plants after 2020; implement modest energy efficiency increases; and electrify everything. Although these three points are all required under Jacobson’s plan, this article discusses its most critical and ambitious goal; a complete shift to electric power. Continue reading

The Permeability of Rock Salts

by Nelson Cole

At the University of Texas they found Rock Salts to be more permeable than originally expected. It was known that salt generally blocks fluid at a shallow depth. This feature of salt allows reservoirs to form. However, scientist had contemplated that salt may be permeable at a greater depth. When setting out to conduct experiments University of Texas, professors originally thought that Rock Salt would be used as a hydrocarbon seal for the oil industry. Since salt generally blocks fluid at a shallow depth and allows it to flow at a greater depth. It was quickly confirmed that salt becomes permeable at a greater depth. The real surprise came in that the fluids were sometimes able to flow through the salt at a shallow depth. The findings could have important implications for nuclear waste storage. Previous work on the permeability of salts has focused on the cracks formed by the nuclear waste itself. The findings from the study show that undisturbed rock salt can be permeable as well and it is permeable because of deformation. Continue reading

Nomadic Power: Mobile Batteries for Electric Cars

by Deedee Chao

Nomadic Power, a German start-up founded in 2014, is looking at electric vehicle charging in a new way, by developing mobile lithium ion batteries that can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes or less. If this business and model become viable, electric vehicles would no longer be bound to short trips and frequent stops at charging stations, and electric car charging infrastructure can be “mobilized” and more easily set up in different locations. Continue reading

Federal Leasing of Gulf Waters for Fossil Fuels Meet Protests

by Max Breitbarth

While the United States publicly seeks to shift its energy usage to greener sources, a recent New Orleans federal auction—and the protests created in response—demonstrate that the United States is far from over its oil addiction. CNN’s John D. Sutter details the scene at an auction at New Orleans’ Superdome, where environmental protesters objected to the government’s lease of federal property in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel development. Continue reading

The Jagpod: A Solar Powered Shipping Container Home

by Dion Boyd

An interesting article on the Clean Technica website posted by Jake Richardson on March 15th, discusses the Jagpod, the World’s first energy-efficient tiny home that uses recycled shipping containers and solar panels to provide affordable and sustainable housing. [–2#/] The Jagpod was created by founder of Jaguar Containers, William Coit, who after spending three months in West Ghana realized that many villages do not have sustainable housing. As of now, the Jagpod comes in two standard types, a 20 ft. and a 40 ft. unit. The 20 ft. unit has 144 square feet of living space and starts at a price around $30,000 whereas the 40 ft. unit has 300 square feet and starts at about $60,000. Because of smaller size, the 20-foot pods are much easier to transport but the larger unit satisfies the needs of people who would prefer more space over ease of transportation. William Coit was not the first person to create a home out of a shipping container, but what he is a front runner for is providing energy for these homes through solar power. Each type of container includes 2 to 4 235 Watt solar panels with a 27-volt battery tank to diminish the unpredictability of off the grid energy. Continue reading

Reverse Photosynthesis Offers Benefits Beyond Renewable Energy

by Isaiah Boone

Pulse Headlines recently posted an article describing a new discovery at the University of Copenhagen. Researchers at the University have found a potential new source of energy which they are calling reverse photosynthesis. This discovery appears to have larger implications than for the renewable energy industry, but for the petrochemical industry as well. During reverse photosynthesis, solar rays break down rather than build up plant material, which is what normally occurs in photosynthesis. The process consists of combining biomass with an enzyme known as lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase. Chlorophyll is then added to this mixture before it is exposed to sunlight. The chlorophyll then absorbs the sunlight and the energy from the sun breaks down the molecules in the biomass into smaller and smaller components until fuels and chemicals are what remain. [] The researchers believe that reverse photosynthesis can be a significant player in the global energy industry and greatly combat pollution. Continue reading

New MIT Database Aims to Impact City of Boston’s Energy Policy

by Kevin Tidmarsh

A new project created by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might just put Boston on the way to becoming a more energy-efficient city. The tool, which can estimate the gas and electricity demand of each of the roughly 100,000 buildings in the city for every hour of every day of the year, was developed by researchers at MIT’s Sustainable Design Lab and Lincoln Laboratory, along with members of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and aims to provide a comprehensive database of the city’s buildings and their energy and heat usage that can be provided to energy policy makers. Continue reading

South Korean Scientists Develop New, More Efficient Method of Producing Hydrogen

by Gage Taylor

Inspired by the way plants convert sunlight into energy, scientists at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea have developed a new type of photoelectrode that boosts the ability of solar water-splitting to produce hydrogen, an essential process in the development of hydrogen as a fuel source. The special photoelectrode is capable of absorbing a high percentage of visible light from the sun and then using it to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The multilayered photoelectrode has a two-dimensional hybrid metal-dielectric structure that consists of three layers: gold film, ultrathin TiO2 (titanium dioxide), and gold nanoparticles. According to the team’s study published last month in Nano Energy, this structure shows high light absorption, which in turn significantly enhances its photocatalytic applications. Continue reading