Last week had a range of eco-friendly stories ranging from solar AC to a huge break through in internal combustion engine efficiency. Read on for a glimpse at the stories that caught our attention last week.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison built a new internal combustion engine that could reduce fuel consumption in cars by 30% and 20% in heavy trucking. The break through is mixing two fuels and very precisely controlling the injection and timing to maximize combustion which also reduces pollution. Using this technique they have built the heavy duty diesel engine that achieves about 55% efficiency (up from 40-45%). The engine can also adjust to optimize efficiency based on the load the truck is carrying. The smaller engine is schedule to be unveiled this fall. This is really exciting, especially since this can be done with minimal additional cost, something the auto manufacturers and consumers will really appreciate.
Tragedy can often be the turning point for real and meaningful change. In the article (with video) Leilani Münter draws a comparison between the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf Coast with the death of racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. who died on the last lap of the Daytona 500. After his death NASCAR made meaningful changes that have resulted in numerous lives being saved in the sport of racing. Hopefully, we too leverage the Gulf Coast tragedy to make meaningful changes to the extraction, processing and eventual consumption of fossil fuels that will save lives and the environment in the future.
Solar Air Conditioning is in many people’s minds the holy grail of solar energy. During the hottest days of the summer is when the electrical load is the highest because of the all the electric chillers and air conditioning units trying to keep homes and businesses comfortable. That also happens to be the time when the sun is at its peak. Many approaches have been tried for solar AC including a new one deployed recently in Dubai that leverages salt and water instead of ammonia. Read the article for more details and for a reflection on various solar AC attempts over time.
Our friends over at TerraCycle, the ones that sponsored our great LunchBox Giveaway, are at it again with a new school curriculum to teach kids of all ages about the entire lifecycle (material cycle) of products. Check it out.
Other interesting articles that didn’t make this week’s list:
- TreeHugger: Biodynamic Wine: One California Vineyard Doing it Right (Slideshow)
- Ask Pablo: Is A Freezer Chest The Environmentally Friendly Choice?