14

90,000 Homes To Be Powered By Chicken Manure

The world’s largest biomass power plant running exclusively on chicken manure has opened in the Netherlands. The power plant will deliver renewable electricity to 90,000 households. It has a capacity of 36.5 megawatts, and will generate more than 270 million kWh of electricity per year.

8

$3 Billion Solar Power Deal Signed By California Utility

Pacific Gas & Electric today will announce a deal to buy as much as 900 megawatts of electricity. It will be enough to power 540,000 California homes each year, and involve the construction of five solar power plants during the next decade. The company to build the solar-thermal power plants in the Mojave Desert is BrightSource Energy.

11

Solar Balloons Get $21 Million In Funding

They look like foil party balloons, but they are actually very efficient solar concentrators. These solar “balloons” were developed by a company called Cool Earth, based in California, and it has just received $21 million dollars in investor funding. The company is now planning to build a 10-megawatt plant of solar balloons in the next couple years. This power plant …

17

Storing Solar Power In Molten Salt

Solar power is a truly efficient source of energy, but it tends to fluctuate, and, as you might know, it turns off at night. One clever way to alleviate this intermittence is to store solar energy in the form of heat using molten salt. An aerospace company, Hamilton Sundstra, has created a venture called SolarReserve, and it plans to have …

1

553 Megawatts of Solar To Power 400,000 Homes

It’s the largest single commitment to buy solar power. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has entered into a renewable energy agreement with Solel to purchase renewable energy from the Mojave Solar Park, to be constructed in California’s Mojave Desert. The project will deliver 553 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of powering 400,000 homes, to PG&E’s customers in northern …

17

German Town Will Soon Use 100% Renewable Power

There’s a small town in Germany called Dardesheim, that relies almost entirely on renewable sources for its energy needs. The town’s goal is to use 100% renewable power, and become known as German’s “Town of Renewable Energies”. Dardesheim already has some huge wind turbines in place, and many solar roofs installed. Last year they installed an amazing 62 megawatts of …

1

Blueberries Used To Capture Solar Power

We just reported on the breakthrough in solar dyes in New Zealand. Now, researchers in Italy have discovered that blueberries have natural pigments that absorb sunlight extremely well. Apparently, dark-colored berries outperform most other plant species when it comes to spectral absorption of sunlight. The blueberry pigment, called, anthocyanine, can be used to make dye-sensitized solar cells, which require no …

4

11 MW Solar Tower Complex Opens in Spain

Europe’s first concentrated tower open recently near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville. The 11 megawatt plant took four years to build — it was created by a Spanish energy company, Solucar. The tower project is called “PS10” and it uses 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats. Each of the mirrors has a surface measuring 1,290 square feet that …

1

Delaware May Become Home To The Largest Wind Park In The U.S.

Delaware may become home to the largest wind power plant in the United States. A wind energy developer, Bluewater Wind, hopes to build a 600-megawatt wind park in the waters just off Delaware’s coast. The wind park would power 130,000 homes for over 20 years, at price cheaper than coal or gas, according to Bluewater Wind’s founder Peter Mandelstam. His …

1

Major Solar Power Plants Opens In Portugal

One of the world’s largest solar energy plants, covering the hills of a valley dotted with olive groves in southern Portugal, started delivering electricity to about 8,000 homes on Wednesday. The solar panels, which are raised around 2 meters off the ground, cover an area of 60 hectares (150 acres) and produce 11 megawatts of electricity in one of Europe’s …

3

Optimal: Natural Linen Sheets by Area Simone

We recently discovered these 100% natural linen sheets by Area Simone. Linen, which comes from the flax plant, is an optimal material for making sheets. Like hemp, linen does not require pesticides to grow. By contrast, 25% of all pesticides used in the world are sprayed on cotton. Linen is also 2 to 3 times stronger than cotton, has no …

3

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers

Self-watering container gardens are an efficient method of growing. You can go on vacation and not have to worry that your tomatoes will be wilted when you get back. Ed Smith, the author of Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers, became fascinated with the possibilities of self-watering containers and began testing dozens of vegetables in various containers, experimenting with nutrients, soil …

1

Self-Rejuvenating Prehistoric Plant

This plant, the Club Moss (Selaginella Lepidophylla), has been around for 290 million years. It pre-dates the dinosaurs, and survived through their destruction, it also made it through the ice age and continues to thrive to this day in the 21st century. It can dry up and hibernate for as long as 50 years at a time. During this time …

11

Most Efficient Filtering Plant: Boston Fern

The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) — it’s the plant that’s the most efficient at removing formaldehyde (the most common indoor air pollutant). See our post on How To Grow Fresh Air for more information.

1

How To Grow Fresh Air

Author B.C. Wolverton originally began his research to investigate creating a breathable environment for a NASA lunar habitat. What came of that research was the discovery that houseplants are the most efficient filters of common pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene. (See our list of the top plants for cleaning the air). In this well laid-out book, Wolverton presents …

5

Natural Indigo Jeans: Metaefficient?

Originally, jeans were dyed with the color of the actual indigo plant. Today, natural indigo jeans can’t be considered metaefficient because they are expensive and only available as a kind of designer jean. Notwithstanding this, people admire these jeans because of their distinctive, deeply hued appearance. The story behind them is interesting too. There are at least three companies making …

Clumping Bamboos: The Ones To Grow

Many people are reluctant to plant bamboo because they are afraid it will spread like wildfire and have the entire neighborhood up in arms against them. But there’s a simple solution to this problem — plant the right kind of bamboo — the “clumping” kind. The invasive kind is the “running” bamboo which probably should never touch foot in your …

1

Plants Good For Formaldehyde Removal

Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii) Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Philodendron Selloum