LightSail’s Mission to Cut Costs of Compressed Air Energy Storage

by Katy Schaefer

LightSail, an energy storage company based out of Berkeley California, is attempting to change the way we approach energy conservation. Not only is the method dramatically more efficient, but the costs that have the potential to be cut is game changing. Lightsail’s aim is to create a more economical storage system through compressing air to create heat energy, which before was just wasted energy. It seems that there is something to their system, as some of the country’s most prominent tech billionaires have backed the plan. Unfortunately LightSail and its leader, Danielle Fong, the 27 year old co-founder and chief scientist, are not releasing the details of the plan just yet. However, here’s what we do know. Continue reading

Oslo Pilots CCS System at Waste Incineration Plant to Slow Climate Change

by Erin Larsen

Norway just became the first country to attempt to capture CO2 from the fumes of burning trash. A test plant at a waste incinerator in Klemetsrud will test several technologies for CO2 capture with a goal of presenting results to the government by June 2016. If successful, this innovative project will be a huge step forward for carbon capture technology and will help Norway mitigate the environmentally degrading impacts of its largest emission source. Continue reading

Samsø Inspiration

by Chloe Rodman

New York Times’ Diane Cardwell (2015) writes about the impact that Samso, a 44 square-foot island off the coast of Denmark, has been making in regards to clean energy production. A majority of the island’s 3,800 citizens decided that they no longer wanted to rely on foreign, costly fossil fuels. Rather, they made it their goal to become completely powered by green energy. This $80 million project has resulted in 10 wind turbines as well as solar, geothermal and plant- based energy systems. These four methods have allowed the island to thrive, producing more energy than it consumes. Samso, which used to be primarily dependent on coal and diesel, has become a role model for many other islands around the globe, which are also striving to wean off of fossil fuels. The Samso Energy Academy was created to educate others about new forms of green energy. Many individuals are sent to the academy to learn about the island’s methods and return home to teach their own communities about the changes they can make. Continue reading

Going Further than Simply Divesting in Fossil Fuels

By Caroline Chmiel

The New School in Manhattan takes an unusual move in the current trend of divesting fossil fuel investments. As other institutions and groups try to divest in fuel, the New School has added elements in addition to eliminating all of its fossil fuel investments, the New School plans to reshape its entire curriculum, bringing climate change and sustainability to the forefront of the school’s mission and values. The New School focuses primarily on the field of design, so there is an immense opportunity to emphasize designing for the future with an eye toward climate change. Some examples of potential actions are: minimizing waste in clothes making, minimizing transportation of medium and aligning urban environmental planning with weather patterns. Outside of teaching these methods, the school itself plans to reduce its own carbon footprint by reducing energy use, paper use, and waste. It also wants to search for small-scale local food suppliers. Continue reading

A House Without an Energy Bill

by Abigail Schantz 

In his article “Let There Be Light” in the January 2015 edition of the Economist, Edward Lucas uses the example of a particular energy-efficient house to illustrate his argument that forces affecting the energy market are currently pushing it in the direction of cleaner and more available energy. Coal, now the cheapest and most prominent fossil fuel, is also the dirtiest, and a major contributor of CO2 emissions. Geopolitical events and price collusion make oil supplies unstable, and both natural gas and nuclear power spark intense political debates. Continue reading