Bug Based Bio Fuel

The start-up biofuels company LS9, of San Carlos, CA,
is using “synthetic biology” to engineer bacteria that can make hydrocarbons
for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.  Their goal is to create designer bugs that produce and excrete
hydrocarbons. LS9 Renewable Petroleum biofuel will be clean burning, carbon neutral,
and has the potential to provide for a large portion of our long term energy needs.

diverse agricultural feedstocks, these new fuels will be
compatible with current distribution and consumer infrastructure –
unlike ethanol. The production process is also much simpler than
producing conventional ethanol, and requires 65% less
energy: while ethanol needs
to be distilled at high temperatures, Renewable Petroleum gently floats
to the surface of the reaction vats in which it’s produced.

The company has $5 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, the
venture capital firm of Vinod
, founder of Sun Microsystems and passionate biofuel evangelizist.  LS9 CEO Noubar Afeyan cautions that no one can
tell the extent to which any biofuel will displace fossil fuels. "That is
a subject of great debate and great prognostication," he says. "The
opportunity is so large that I don’t have to believe in much more than a few
percentage points of market penetration for it to be worth our investment."

If all goes to plan, LS9 fuels may be available as early as 2011. 

Via: Technology Review

Pope Goes Solar

The Holy See will be adopting solar panels many of its buildings, in accordance with the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI who has "concern about conserving
the Earth’s resources". First in line is the Pope Paul VI auditorium, which seats 6,300 people.

"The roof of the Paul VI auditorium will be redone next year, with its cement panels replaced with photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity," engineer Pier Carlo Cuscianna said.

The integrated PV cells will provide enough electrical power to provide illumination and temperature control for the auditorium. When not in use, excess power will be fed into the Vatican’s grid.

via Discovery.com

Electric SUV Drives Cheap, Charges Quick

Travel 130 miles for $3 in an SUV? Yes you can… Altairnano has achieved it with an electric SUV presented directly to their shareholders. The company partnered with Phoenix Motorcars to create the SUV, called the Phoenix, using Altairnano’s batteries, which can recharge in as little as 10 minutes.

They plan to target fleet use first until recharging stations become more common. However they already are in talks with Pacific Gas & Electric to create a network of charge stations that would allow users to "top off batteries during a coffee stop." While at home, 220 volt outlets commonly used for clothes dryers or stoves allow a charge in around five hours.

We reported on Altairnano’s batteries being used in the ZAP-X and it looks like they are trying to get out vehicles of their own. Either way, lets get some of these on the road, or at least one for me to drive.

Video after the jump

Reno Gazette-Journal

Via: MetaEfficient

Precise Drifting: Cutting A Cucumber With A Knife Strapped On A Car

Crazy Japanese folks, they never seem to stop surprising us. In this TV Show a knife is attached to the hood of a car and the objective is for the driver to drift 180 degrees to cut a cucumber (…) in half -which he did with jaw dropping precision. However, we’re even more impressed with the guy in the shorts and the hand camera that’s standing right behind the cucumber. Damn lucky nothing went wrong and the driver managed to cut off the right “cucumber”…

Cell Phones: Repair or Replace?

Americans throw away over 125 million cell phones per year. Even more strange,  we have over 500 million retired cell phones sitting around our homes awaiting disposal.

This not only is an expensive and wasteful habit, it represents an avalanche of e-waste which will hit our landfills sometime soon when we collectively realize its time for spring cleaning. Cell phones are complex assemblies containing the toxic metals lead, cadmium and berillyum plus a fire retardant that actually may retard the user.

So the question becomes, when these little buggers go on the fritz, what do we do? Search out the nearest trashcan? Or try and save ourselves the hassle of trying to lie our way into warranty protection, or the expense of just buying a new phone.

A friend of mine has repaired his phone several times…he even rode is bike over the thing, but somehow brought it back to life. Check out Jim Rees’ web page devoted to repair of his cell phone. If Jim can do it, we can too.

And then there’s this article from Lance Ulanoff who gives tips on how to repair things. Read the article and laugh, because most of the time Lance is fixing broken items in under 5 minutes. Is the “broken” cell phone in your drawer really beyond repair?

We can create an infrastructure for repairing cell phones, we just have to invite a few hundred DIY cell phone repair techs from China to work over here for a few years. They could open kiosks at malls, “Cell Phone Repair While U Wait”. Not quite as slick as the new iPhone, but a heck of a lot cheaper.

Via: EcoIron

New Material Reflects Absolutey Nothing

Many optical technologies such as camera lenses, solar cells and light emitting diodes depend in part on light being efficiently transmitted through a medium. Reflections are are a waste of that precious light.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, NY, and semiconductor maker Crystal IS, in Green Island, NY, have developed a new type of nanostructured coating that can virtually eliminate reflections, potentially leading to dramatic improvements in optical devices.

The researchers showed that they can prevent almost all reflection by "growing" nanoscale rods projected at specific angles from a surface. The material stops reflections from nearly all the colors of the visible spectrum, as well as some infrared light. As a result the total reflection is 10 times less than it is with current coatings.

Applied to a solar cell, the new coating would increase the efficiency by a few percentage points. LEDs, already one of the most efficient ways to produce light, could also become much more efficient. A remarkable 40 percent improvement could be seen in LEDs, where a large amount of light generated by a semiconductor is typically trapped inside the device by reflections.

Via: Technology Review

Replacing Batteries with WiTricity

Researchers at MIT led by Prof. Marin Soljacic have accomplished what Nikola Tesla envisioned over a century ago – the efficient wireless transmission of electricity. Dubbed ‘WiTricity’ (for Wireless Elecricity) by its inventors, it is the first wireless transmission of power to improve on the efficiency of radiant electromagnetic devices, which send energy indiscriminately in every direction, while not requiring direct line-of-sight like lasers.

WiTricity works on the principle of magnetic coupled resonance. The MIT team built matching copper coils to precise specifications, so that when power was applied to one coil, it produces a magnetic frequency – in the MHz range, since you wanted to know – which causes the other coil to vibrate up to 7ft (over 2 meters) away. Meanwhile, other elctromagnetic fields, such as those surrounding computers, cell phones, and human beings, remain largely unaffected.

The scientists were able to light up a 60-watt bulb that had "no physical connection" with the power-generating appliance. "It was quite exciting," Soljacic said. The process is "very reproducible," he added. "We can just go to the lab and do it whenever we want."

Aside from the implications in clutter management (who wouldn’t want to get rid of that tangle of wires behind the desk? Ugh!) there’s a green component, too – imagine a world without the need for batteries and their weight, inefficiency, short life span and toxic chemicals. Current battery technologies are around 80-90% efficient at best, losing energy through heat and self-discharge; WiTricity is currently capable of about half that, but for a proof of concept that’s pretty darn good. The group envisions a product which could supplant batteries in cell phones, Roombas, laptops, and other household items which require frequent charging.

via Linux Insider and MIT News Office

Dell Wants to Be "The Greenest Technology Company"

Dell just decided that they’re the best and no one’s gonna mess with them. So Apple can announce it’s getting greener and HP might have more efficient PCs, but Dell is the leader, or will be, ’cause they say so.

Dell really has been doing some marvelous stuff in the last year. They’re allowing customers to offset the lifetime carbon of their PCs (and even themselves) and they have developed an excellent recycling strategy and efficient desktop and laptop designs.

But it’s not enough, Dell is asking all it’s users to take the environment section of Idea Storm by storm. Idea Storm is basically Dell’s suggestion box, and while news there has mostly swirled around Linux since it’s creation, the environment is likely a more important issue to Dell customers.

So go check out IdeaStorm’s Environment section. I’ve just submitted an idea myself, asking Dell to create a Long Life Laptop, that will function well for five to ten years, instead of the average three.

Cool Lamp…Not So Cool Price

About a month ago, I went searching for an energy efficient desk lamp, but came away a little disappointed. Although I ended up settling for a halogen lamp, the LED-powered Z-Bar would have been a beautiful alternative. Winner of the 2006 I.D. Annual Design Review "Best of Category" award, the Z-Bar uses 66 LEDs, producing 112 lumens with only 9.6 watts. The lamp makes up for a lack of bright light by concentrating the light from the LEDs in a 50 degree view angle, rather than 360 degrees like typical incandescents.

At a cost of $129, the lamp is really targeted for those into cool design, but cheap copycats are bound to come out sooner or later right? If you want one, head over to Koncept where they have a mini and floor lamp versions also for sale.


Reed Brothers Dodge Recently Hosted the Paul Green School of Rock at their Dealership

Several hundred people were captivated as The Paul Green School of Rock performed on stage at Reed Brothers Dodge dealership in Rockville, Maryland (MD).

Distribution Source : ArriveNet

Date : Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Rockville, Maryland — (ArriveNet – Jun 06, 2007) — AWESOME!!! That’s the only way to describe the energy The Paul Green School of Rock brought to the stage at Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland (MD). These kids are one of those bands that turns out such an inspiring concert, all you want to do is go home and rock.

We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather or a more fun weekend to celebrate Reed Brothers Dodges’ Annual 81 Hour Memorial Weekend Summer Kickoff. It was a great success with lively music from The Paul Green “School of Rock” keeping everyone on their toes and delicious barbeque courtesy of Reed Brothers Dodge feeding all the hungry visitors.

The school’s manifesto today identifies The Paul Green School of Rock Music as the “nation’s premier performance-based rock music program”. They accept students from ages 7-18 and turn them into genuine rock stars. Their goals are to help their students realize their potential as musicians, to put them on stage in front of as many people as possible, and to help foster a new generation of incredible musicians.

As in any musical group, there were standouts: the fluent guitar solos of Justin Robb and Sean Simmons; the rock-solid playing of bassist Hunter Palmer; the clear, tuneful vocals of Mary Jordan Nogay and Camelia Pascual. The switch-hitting award goes to Nate Sweeney, who executed excellent drumming. The band really knows how to rock, and put on a great show, and that’s what it’s all about.

A good selection of new and pre-owned Dodge vehicles are on display at Reed Brothers Dodge, the premier Dodge Dealer in Rockville, Maryland (MD). Look for the various models of Dodge vehicles like the Dodge Avenger, Magnum, Caravan, Grand Caravan, Caliber, Charger and Viper. Trucks such as Dakota, Ram 1500 Ram 2500, Ram 3500, Ram 3500 Chassis Cab and SUV’s such as Durango and Nitro in the New Vehicles category are on their website at www.reedbrothersdodge.com.

Reed Brothers Dodge has service appointments, easy financing options and after sales service for Dodge vehicles. Reed Brothers Dodge, the premier Dodge Dealer in Rockville, Maryland (MD) enables you to purchase original Mopar parts and accessories for any model of Dodge vehicle.


Bugatti Veyron: 365km/h – 227mph on the Autobahn

So how does it feel like going 365 km/h or 227 mph on the German Autobahn with a 1001 Hp Bugatti Veyron? According to Autocar’s Chris Harris who points out more times than our ears can handle; i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. Can’t say that we share the same enthusiasm with the old chap –even my century year old grandma’s aunt could probably manage to push the pedal to the metal in the autobahn. Still though, the video might be worth a few minutes of your time. Via: Autoblog.nl

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