AirToob Lightning

Tags  →  alternative energy

If you're interested in environment issues, you may like to know that I have just updated the Environment & Technology section of my web site, which tries to provide useful information and links about a wide variety of environmental solutions and issues.

The issues now include, of course, an anti-science, anti-environment President of the USA. However, as you will discover if you visit my web site, there are still very positive things happening both in the USA and elsewhere.

Although the section is quite large, you will hopefully find that it is easy to navigate. I have tried to make it rich in high quality links (many of which have also been updated), so that what you see on the pages are just the tips of many interesting icebergs, so to speak.

If you visit it and really like it, then please share it anywhere you think it would help the environment - thank you!

I am sure that the section could be further improved. Any suggestions would be really welcome.


If you're interested in environment issues, you may like to know that I have just released a major update to the Environment & Technology section of my web site, which tries to provide useful information and links about a wide variety of environmental solutions and issues.

Although the section is quite large, you will hopefully find that it is easy to navigate. I have tried to make it rich in high quality links (many of which have also been updated), so that what you see on the pages are just the tips of many interesting icebergs, so to speak.

If you visit it and really like it, then please share it anywhere you think it would help the environment - thank you!

I am sure that the section could be further improved. Any suggestions would be really welcome.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, wherever you are on the planet!


If you're interested in environment issues, you may like to know that I have just updated the Environment & Technology section of my web site, which tries to provide useful information and links about a wide variety of environmental issues.

The updated parts include a new section on Solar Roadways and a major update to Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles, as well as a really interesting development in the area of Biofuels.

Although the section is quite large, you will hopefully find that it is easy to navigate. I have tried to make it rich in high quality links (many of which have also been updated), so that what you see on the pages are just the tips of many interesting icebergs, so to speak.

If you visit it and really like it, then please share it anywhere you think it would help the environment - thank you!

I am sure that the section could be further improved. Any suggestions would be really welcome.


If you're interested in environment issues, you may like to know that I have updated the Environment & Technology section of my web site.

The updated parts include The "Negawatt Revolution", Hybrid and plug-in electric cars, Recycling, and Environmental documentaries, movies and videos.

Although the section is quite large, you will hopefully find that it is easy to navigate. I have tried to make it rich in high quality links (many of which have also been updated), so that what you see on the pages are just the tips of many interesting icebergs, so to speak.

If you visit it and really like it, then please share it anywhere you think it would help the environment - thank you!

I am sure that the section could be further improved. Any suggestions would be really welcome.




Algae in the Venice lagoon, a new kind of "power plant" (the source of this image will be found here)

This excellent article looks first at the problems of Porto Marghera, the industrial zone of Venice, where declining industry has left behind it abandoned sites and major pollution (Porto Marghera is referred to in Italy as "the mother of all contaminations"), threatening the Venetian lagoon and the cultural value of Venice itself.

The article takes this as an example of many cities with similar areas near a waterfront, and suggests that these areas should be seen as opportunities rather than problems.

In the case of Venice, there has already been considerable success in this area, itemized in the article with many links, including Pandora, described as the first "intelligent" building, a green oil refinery that will produce biofuels, additives and antioxidants for foot, medicines and other things from biomasses, a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF or CDR) power plant supplying green electricity to the island of Venice, the world's first hydrogen power plant, and a project to build an algae power plant, among others.

I first came across the algae power plant here (from which the above image comes). Recent links about the project ("recent" meaning in the last year relative to when you look at this post) will be found here.

The use of algae is one of the most promising developments in the field of biofuels, and some very interesting recent links on the subject will be found here.





(Original post: September 1st, 2010)

I have updated my Environment & Technology web page again, with new sections on microgeneration, recycling and green jobs, as well as a few other things.

Visitors to the page will discover that it is more about solutions and good things happening than about problems (although it doesn't ignore the problems). If you are interested in investing in green technology and other green developments, which is a smart thing to be doing right now, you will find a lot of ideas to follow up.

Although the page is quite large, you will hopefully find that it is easy to navigate. I have tried to make the page rich in high quality links, so that what you see on the page are just the tips of many interesting icebergs, so to speak.

If you visit it and really like the page, then please share it anywhere you think it would help the environment - thank you!

I am sure that the page could be further improved. Any suggestions would be really welcome.




It baffles some environmentalists that many people (by no means all of them living in the U.S.A.) feel no connection between their use of electric appliances and the size of their electricity bills (and still less any connection to their effect on the world around us).

It's not really surprising. If I ruled the world (happily for both me and you, this is not the case) then I would decree that every everyone should ride one of those generator bikes connected to a 100W light bulb for about 10 minutes, generating enough electricity to keep the bulb well lit. If you have done this yourself, or pedalled on one of those fancy exercise bikes that monitor the power you are generating, you will know that generating 100W isn't particularly difficult, but you will certainly feel the work involved after 10 minutes - and that's the important thing.

Now imagine hooking up 7 of those bulbs, and trying again (this time to generate 700W). You would actually be trying to generate nearly 1 horsepower, which (unless you were a horse) you would probably find somewhat difficult!

100W is a good number to have in mind, since you can feel it with your leg muscles. You can roast a chicken in a couple of hours with a 100W light bulb if you place the light bulb and the chicken in a well-insulated box. Since you probably don't want to roast a chicken with a light bulb, you can replace it with a 20W low-energy bulb that doesn't waste 80W on heat (and your electricity bills). There are still an awful lot of old-fashioned light bulbs burning on this planet...


The Open University and the BBC's Bang Goes The Theory took this idea of connecting people to the power of their appliances a lot further. They built a "Human Power Station" that had enough generator bikes (over 80) to power a typical house. They hooked it up to a purpose-built studio house, installed a normal family in the house, and told the family to carry out their normal daily routines. The family knew this was an experiment, but had no idea what the experiment actually was.

The film "The Human Power Station" shows the result, as the family used various appliances throughout the day. The whole film is no longer available on-line, but if you click the above image you can still see the clip of what happened when the father used the 8 KW electric power shower (equivalent to 80 100W light bulbs).

(My apologies on behalf of the idiot who mis-titled the video clip "The Human Power Shower", instead of "The Human Power Station")

The film was effective and entertaining, even if you didn't need to watch the whole hour to get the idea.

Since watching it I do things like switching off our super-fast (3,000W) kettle as soon as it boils, without waiting another 20 seconds or so for the automatic cut-out. This is because I have a mental image of 3,000W being equivalent to 150 low-energy light bulbs, which would illuminate a good part of the large apartment block in which we live.

Food for thought, anyway...

If you like this...

[How much electricity does my stuff use?]

From my web site:

[The Negawatt Revolution]
[The Smart Grid]

(Original post: October 8th, 2009)

From the page:

In a recent New York Times business trend piece, the small but growing movement to transform -- or at least disguise -- these ugly but crucial energy ducklings into aesthetically conforming swans is explored.

Most notable are SRS Solé Power Tiles from SRS Energy. The company is working with California's U.S. Tile to create tiles with embedded solar cells that mimic traditional tile roofing in Southern California and the Southeast. At a demo home in California (pictured below), a homeowner replaced terra cotta tiles on a portion of his roof -- about 300-square feet -- with Solé Tiles in about four hours. As a result, the homeowner's roof will generate about 2,400 kilowatt-hours of juice a year and his roof isn't festooned with bulky black squares that scream to neighbors and passersby, I have photovoltaics!


Whatever the commercial problems, the world will get to this one day. A great find from my friend Sandy.



If you like this...

[My environment and technology page]


Possibly the most untapped source of energy saving is the heat pump (familiar to most people in the form of an air conditioner or a refrigerator, but it applies to heating as well as to cooling).

Many people don't realize that it can be cheaper to move heat than to generate it. Even "cold" water (by which I mean water we wouldn't necessarily want to swim in!) contains heat that can be moved (by refrigerating a river, say, in the case of a conveniently situated concert hall - the river becomes slightly colder and the concert hall becomes hotter).

The popularity of this concept has been steadily growing for domestic housing, as well as for large commercial buildings.

You can do a neat experiment at home to demonstrate one of the main methods of moving heat, used in a conventional refrigerator or air conditioner. Just blow on the back of your hand with your mouth wide open. It doesn't matter how hard you blow, the air will feel warm - yes? Now blow on the back of your hand through pursed lips. It doesn't matter how gently you blow, the air will feel (and is) cooler. That's refrigeration (well, adiabatic cooling to be precise) in action.

(I invented that simple experiment to explain one reason why aircraft piston engines need "carb heat".)


There are now many domestic heating systems that refrigerate the ground (or water in the ground), moving heat from the ground into your house. If the conditions are right, it is cheaper to do this than to generate the heat.

If you're interested, see here.

BTW: I was prompted into writing this by a nice message from oilhand99, who is interested in this kind of thing. Thanks, Ben!


[Many applications of heat pump technology - save money and help the environment!]

and if you like this kind of thing...

[Solid state refrigeration (for small applications at present, e.g. water chillers and electronic components)]
[My environment page]



"If you've ever wished you could bottle moonlight to illuminate your room at night, the Moon Jar is your answer. A spin-off of the extremely popular `Sun Jar' lamp by Tobias Wong, the Moon Jar is a frosted mason jar with a solar panel and an LED light inside. Put it on your windowsill to soak up the sun rays during the day, and at night the Moon Jar will illuminate your room with a soft cool glow -- no cords or electricity required! If you aren't a fan of blue light, try out the Sun Jar, which is exactly the same design, except with a warm yellow LED light instead of blue."

What a great idea! Thanks to my friend blueaquarose for finding this one for me!