Train of Ideas Departs Hamberg
The “Train of Ideas” is chugging through Europe for the next seven months, carrying Hamburg, Germany’s ideas of sustainable cities. Hamberg was named the European Green Capital for 2011. The “Train of Ideas” is a mobile exhibition that will go through 17 European cities, beginning in Copenhagen and making its way to Antwerp, Belgium. It will display over 100 interactive exhibits from Hamberg and other cities featuring ideas about energy and climate protection, saving resources and reducing consumption, among others. The “Train of Ideas” was one of the reasons the EU Commission chose Hamberg for the title of European Green Capital.
Research to Improve Cool Roofs Underway
Two national laboratories have joined with the Dow Chemical Company to fund research to develop cool roofing technologies under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. The research aims to improve existing cool roof technologies to result in energy savings of over 50 percent, up from the 15 percent offered by current cool roofs. The Oak Ridge National Lab and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, branches of the Department of Energy, will attempt to develop solar reflective roof coatings that will outlast the effects of microbial growth and constant exposure to harsh conditions.
Funding Announced for Additional Biomass Projects
The Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture announced $30 million in funding over the next three to four years in support of the development of new advanced biofuels and research in bioenergy. The projects that will receive funding from this Biomass Research and Development Initiative are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent compared to fossil fuels, according to the DOE. Applicable projects fall under three categories. The first is Feedstock Development where the funding will go toward improving the supply, harvest, processing and storage for biomass feedstock. Also, initiatives that offer increased use of biomass in the productions of biofuel and other biobased products will also receive funding. The third category is projects that develop tools that analyze the development of biofuel including cost effectiveness and environmental effects.
Google Makes its Largest Renewable Investment
Google has made its largest renewable energy investment yet with a $168 million contribution toward Brightsource Energy’s Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert. The plant, once completed, will have a capacity of 392- MW. The plant is scheduled to be operational by 2013. This investment brings Google’s total renewable energy tab up to $250 million.
GM Leads Clean Energy Patents
General Motors (GM) received more clean-energy patents in 2010 than any other organization, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index of U.S. Patents. The company’s 135 patents represent almost 14 percent of the 1,881 patents. This is GM’s first appearance at the top of the list. One of the innovations patented was the use of regenerative braking to allow the battery to charge while the car is in motion, thus saving fuel. Another idea was using a heater to preheat the battery while the car is cold to improve electric driving range.
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