--- On Wed, 7/15/09, EcoGeek <ecogeek@...> wrote:
From: EcoGeek <ecogeek@...>
Subject: EcoGeek News: Solar Ships, Solar Blimps and Hydrogen from Urine
Date: Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 6:59 PM
This week's news includes an alternative formulation for automotive tires that uses orange oil in place of petroleum and an alternative method for more efficiently extracting hydrogen using urine.
Tires Made from Orange Oil Instead of Petroleum
Tire maker Yokohama has begun selling a new type of tire made mainly from orange oil instead of petroleum. The substitution plus the use of natural rubber allows the tires to be 80 percent petroleum-free. The concept for the Super E-spec was introduced by the company a year ago and won the Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice Award in 2008. Beyond just replacing petroleum with a renewable resource, the new tire model has also shown a 20 percent reduction in rolling resistance, which can improve fuel economy by about 4 percent
French Students Make Solar Blimp
A group of students from technical high schools and engineering schools in France have built a solar blimp that will cross the English Channel by the end of the summer. The students made the craft through Projet Sol'R, an initiative by engineers from INSA Lyon and ESSEC Business School.
Pickens Walks Away from World's Largest Wind Farm
After months of delays due to financing difficulties, T. Boone Pickens is walking away from a plan to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle. While money played a large part in the decision, the nail in the coffin came from an announcement that $5 million worth of new transmission lines for wind energy in Texas were not going to be built anywhere near the planned site of the wind farm.
Solar-Powered Cargo Ship Debuts in Long Beach
A cargo ship equipped with 328 solar panels is currently docked at the Port of Long Beach, California as a demonstration project by the port, Toyota and shipping company NYK Line. The ship is the first cargo ship to use the sun's power for more than just small electrical applications. The ship, the M/V Auriga Leader, will gather about 10 percent of its electricity needs from the solar panels. While solar panels have been applied to large ships like this before, this is the first example where the solar energy goes directly to the ship's electrical grid. The ship's thrusters, hydraulics and steering gear will all receive power from the sun's rays.
New Definition for Biofuels: Using Urine to Produce Hydrogen
Hydorgen seems like a logical choice for fuel - it's energy dense and emits only water upon combustion - but upon closer examination we see that it's extremely expensive to make from water, so all the hydrogen in production today is made from fossil fuels. But Gerardine Botte at Ohio University has figured out an easy and efficient way to break the bonds in urea to produce hydrogen. The process consumes roughly one quarter of the energy needed to electrolyze water. And, yes, the world has a fairly plentiful (and renewable) supply of urea. Maybe not enough to power all our cars, but it's a start.
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