Beijing To Ban Coal By The End of the Decade
The Chinese state press agency, Xinhua, has reported that Beijing is planning to ban coal use by 2020 – a major development in a country known for having horrible air quality. Xinhua quotes the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau as saying that the districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidan, Fengtai and Shijingsan will be the first districts to stop using coal. Another important aspect of this initiative is to use clean energy in place of the dirty fuel- though specifics of such a move have not been given in detail.
Dirties Fuel Threatens to Uproot Ancient European Villages
Along Europe’s German-Polish border, 700-year-old villages are threatened of being flattened in order to extract the dirtiest type of coal. Two utilities, PGE SA and Vattenfall AB, is looking to tap Europe’s richest lignite deposits by digging two pits the size of Manhattan in the ancient villages of Gubin and Brody. Locals will form an 8 –kilometer cross-border human chain on Aug.23 in protest. The battle reflects one of Europe’s major dilemma – burn more coal in order to depend less on Russian natural gas, while at the same time meet the European Union’s tight pollution targets.
Used Cigarette Butts for Energy Storage
A group of scientists from South Korea’s Seoul National University have converted used-cigarette butts into a high-performing material that can be used to coat the electrodes of supercapacitors – components that can store huge amounts of electrical energy. In their study, the researchers demonstrated that the cellulose acetate fibers of the cigarette filters can be transformed into a carbon-based material using a simple, one-step burning technique called pyrolysis. The resulting material contains a number of tiny pores, increasing its performance as a capacitive material that is superior to commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes.
SunPower Offers Solar Packages to Hybrid Car Customers
SunPower Corp., the second –biggest U.S. solar maker, has teamed-up with Volkswagen AG to market a home power network that will allow Volkswagen and Audi hybrid car customers to charge their new vehicle using only solar power. Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO, said that with battery systems to store power generated from rooftop panels, environmentally conscious customers can make their hybrid cars truly solar-powered, reducing the amount of electricity they need to buy from the grid.