The World Solar Challenge Race

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The world solar challenge is a race for solar-powered cars, and it has been around since 1987. It takes place every other year, and it brings together dozens of teams from multiple countries across the world. Each team comes with its own unique and innovative solar-powered car, and they all compete for the championship title. The purpose of the whole competition is to encourage individuals, companies and academic institutions to put their resource into researching and developing cars that are exclusively powered by the sun, with the hope that one day, solar power could be a viable alternative to fossil fuel when it comes to running automobiles. Most participants are usually university and company teams, but some high schools have participated in recent competitions. The challenge is usually held in the remote in-lands of Australia, and it starts in Darwin, and goes through Northern Territory, all the way to Adelaide in South Australia.
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Is 25% of your energy costs going out the window?

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For tall buildings reflecting solar heat is the best option as  By reflecting heat away from the building, the need to cool the inside of the building is lessened. Additionally, in colder months, Low-E coatings help reduce heat inside from leaking out. After-market reflective window film has a similar effect, and these films can be a more cost-effective measure than replacing your property’s non-Low-E coated windows, as standard Low-E coated single-glazing windows will make a noticeable impact. Tinted glass absorbs a large fraction of incoming solar radiation through a window, reflective coatings reduce the transmission of solar radiation, and spectrally selective coatings filter out 40% to 70% of the heat normally transmitted through insulated window glass or glazing, while allowing the full amount of light to be transmitted. If replacement of aged, inefficient commercial windows is a consideration, double-glazed windows with Low-E coating greatly reduce overall heating and cooling costs, and the most efficient triple-glazed windows are also an option.

According to Nick Pastras, from Smart Cleaning Solutions, "Some customers with large corporate buildings have reported savings in the vicinity of 1-2%, not to mention clean windows are much nicer to look through" he said. Inspect Seals and Weatherstripping Today’s window sealants are built to last, yet the materials weren’t always as reliable

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Decades of Federal Government Support Spurred Natural Gas Boom

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Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the U.S. is in the midst of a shale gas boom. Armed with a horizontal drilling technique that allows companies to access natural gas trapped in shale formations, the industry’s production has surged and prices have fallen to historic lows. Supporters often hail shale gas as a miracle of the free market — a product of enterprising risk-takers who commercialized fracking techniques without government help. Except that’s not entirely true. If we look at the history of how horizontal drilling techniques were commercialized, we find a strong base of government support through R&D, mapping techniques, cost-sharing programs, and billions of dollars in tax credits. The Breakthrough Institute wrote a report on this support last year showing how decades of federal support helped businesses pioneer and commercialize new, risky drilling techniques. The Associated Press published a follow-up story this week on the history of government support in shale gas.
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Minnesota Wind Farm Set To Receive Gamesa Wind Turbine Order

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The Big Blue wind farm in the town of Blue Earth, Minnesota will receive Gamesa’s newest wind turbine. Gamesa will provide the wind farm with 18 G97-2.0MW turbines, which are geared for low-wind sites, according to the company’s statement. The new wind turbines will allow for the greatest energy output in that location, thanks to a better aerodynamic blade design and nacelle improvements, Gamesa said. Exergy Development Group will help to install the 18 turbines. Meanwhile, Big Blue Wind Farm LLC, an Exergy subsidiary, will own the wind farm. Northern States Power will buy the offtake, and the wind farm will provide power to approximately 20,000 homes per year, the company said. The new wind project, as part of Faribault County’s first commercial wind farm, will add 60 new local jobs, while enhancing Minnesota’s reputation as a top state in wind capacity. Currently, the gopher state is sixth overall in wind capacity in the United States.

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How Close Is Iran to Exploding Its First Nuclear Bomb?

Over the past decade Iran has been cautiously, but steadily, putting in place all the elements it needs to construct a nuclear weapon in short order. But as James R. Clapper, director of National Intelligence, told the U.S. Senate in January, while the Iranians are “moving on that path ... we don’t believe they have actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.” For several years experts have debated the possibility of a “breakout” scenario in which Iran makes a mad dash to complete and test its first bomb before other nations can act to stop it. That would require doing as much as possible to prepare for bomb making without tripping the alarms of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the source of most good intelligence about Iran’s declared program. From that point, Iran would then race to conduct a test quickly, perhaps in as little as several weeks.
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FUEL FROM CHICKEN FEATHERS?

If we go by the stats, every year 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste accumulates annually, because we have gigantic appetite for poultry products. They can’t be stuffed into pillows. Mostly they are utilized as low-grade animal feed. Scientists in Nevada have created a new and environmentally friendly process for developing biodiesel fuel from ‘chicken feather meal’. Professor Manoranjan ‘Mano’ Misra and his team members at the University of Nevadadiscovered that chicken feather meal consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards. Prof. Misra has been honored as the 2010 Regents’ Researcher by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Chicken feather meal is processed at high temperatures with steam. This feather meal is used as animal feed and also as fertilizer. Chicken feather meal has high percentage of protein and nitrogen. The researchers have paid attention to the 12% fat content of the chicken feather meal.

Professor Manoranjan ‘Mano’ Misra and his team members at the University of Nevadadiscovered that chicken feather meal consists of processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards

Misra has been honored as the 2010 Regents’ Researcher by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Chicken feather meal is processed at high temperatures with steam

They have arrived at the conclusion that feather meal has potential as an alternative, non-food feedstock for the production of biofuel

This chicken feather can be utilized to store hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles

This chicken feather can be utilized to store hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles

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Obama to Nix Keystone Pipeline Today

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In a huge win for congressional Democrats and green groups who oppose it, the Obama administration is expected to announce today that it has killed the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed use of US lands to allow dirty tar sands crude oil to be sent across US soil to the Gulf Coast for processing into usable oil for shipment to world markets. The Keystone XL is not just another pipeline, but the ominous start to world reliance on the last drops of a much dirtier form of oil, with up to ten times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil, because of the vast amounts of energy and water needed to extract small amounts of deeply integrated bitumen from rocks. Environmentalists oppose oil sands development due to the fuel’s greenhouse gas emissions that are much higher than conventional oil, and local groups along the way also join them in opposing the pipeline on grounds of the health and safety risks posed by potential spills.
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Ford Updates its Fusion Hybrid for 2013 and Adds a Plug-in Version

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Ford news from the recently held North American International Auto Show in Detroit: the Ford Fusion hybrid will get a major makeover (both inside and out) for 2013.  Along with the new hybrid version of the Fusion, Ford will also be releasing a plug-in (PHEV) version of the Fusion, to be called the Ford Fusion Energi. While official EPA mileage numbers haven’t been released yet, Ford is saying that their updated hybrid will get 47 mpg city and 44 mpg highway, which is a nice jump over the older Fusion hybrid’s 41 city, 36 highway mpg EPA rating.   Ford’s getting this mileage boost by mating a 2.0 liter Atkinson-cycle gas engine with their third generation hybrid electric drive which contains new software and hardware improvements over the older models.    Ford is also claiming an improved regenerative braking system that captures up to 95% of the kinetic energy created when you brake.    
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Airline Griping Over EU Aviation Carbon Tax Isn’t About Consumer

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Here’s my take on the EU aviation carbon tax that is causing a stink with major world airline carriers: ———————————————— Tyler Hamilton My family flew to North Carolina during the holiday to visit relatives and, being aware of new baggage fees, we made every effort to pack lightly. Of two adults and two children we had only one item to check in. Not bad. But it still meant paying $25 to get the bag to Charlotte and another $25 to get it back home. Had we each checked just one bag for our one-week trip, it would have cost the family $200. I point this out because I’m perplexed by Air Canada’s strong opposition to the European Union’s new aviation carbon tax, which went into effect Jan. 1. The airline — as well as other members of the National Airlines Council of Canada — has no problem arbitrarily adding $50 to the price of a 2,500-kilometre round trip to the United States.
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States Need to Develop Entire Clean Energy Economy, Report Finds

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This post was originally published on Climate Progress and has been reposted with permission. Congressional commitment to action on clean energy policy in 2012 is about as secure as Kim Kardashian’s wedding vows. So with states once again representing the major driver for renewable energy, how can they keep the momentum going at a time when federal enthusiasm is at its lowest level in years? The key, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, is for states to focus not just on project-level deployment, but to shift some funds toward support broader sustainable economic goals that foster the clean energy economy from the ground up. And there are still a fair amount of funds to work with on the state level, as the below map illustrates:   What do “broader sustainable economic goals” mean exactly? Historically, states with clean energy funds have focused expenditures on rebates, direct loans or performance-based incentives in order to encourage development of commercial and residential projects.
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