Ditch those paper towels for Bambooee!

Bambooee is a versatile, durable alternative to paper towels that can save you money

Americans use more than 580 pounds of paper per person every year – enough to build a 12-foot high wall from San Francisco to New York!

Every day, 3,000 tons of paper towels are sent to American landfills.

The folks who created Bambooee hope to help change our paper addiction.

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Spring into the Growing Season

With Earth Day and Spring finally here, many of us are scurrying to get our gardens ready for planting.

If you’re looking for chemical-free organic products, Growers Secret has what you need.

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Waste-to-Energy – a growing envirnomental solution

Waste-to-Energy (WTE) – a highly efficient way to create energy (electricity and/or heat) by utilizing a variety of waste products – is becoming a growing trend around the country.
A rising US trend - waste-to-energy facilities

A rising US trend - waste-to-energy facilities

I’ve written several blog posts about this successful and fascinating process.

There are 89 Waste-to-Energy facilities scattered across the U.S. Yet in the past several days I’ve read about a number of others either under construction or on the drawing boards.

Seems that stimulus money is being put to good use. From biomass and WTE projects in Virginia to an Organics-to-Energy Biogas Facility in San Jose, California, states are recognizing that turning what once was trash into electricity is a solid investment in energy independence.

In these challenging economic times, its heartening to see some city and state governments stepping forward with vision, willing to stick their necks out to create a better future.

Florida City opens innovative wastewater to energy Facility

Back in August of last year, I wrote about plans in Sanford, Florida, to open a plant to convert wastewater sludge into renewable green energy http://tinyurl.com/ltg2b5 by utilizing a biomass gassifier.

The plant is now open and the northern Floridia city has signed a 20-year contract with Houston-based MaxWest Environmental Systems to operate the system. The city will pay MaxWest $258,000 a year for the power it produces over the course of the contract.

With an anticipated savings of $9 million over the 20-year contract, more utilities are taking a hard look at this promising technology. MaxWest is working with eight other Florida municipalities to set up similar gasifiers.

From Biomass to Fish Food: A Unique Way to Feed the World

What do forest conservation and fish food have in common?

TimberFish Technologies, LLC, a company in New York state, has created a unique technology to produce contaminate-free fish via a forest-based feed production system.

This addresses a global problem, says Dr. Jere Northrop, TimberFish’s inventor and CEO.

This would be a real benefit to the aquaculture system, says Northrop, most of which run on a “flow through” system, creating fish waste treatment issues. TimberFish proprietary microbial biomass technology utilizes recirculation to clean up the water. The fish waste runs through plant material, which takes the waste out, converts it back into microbes, then into feed.

“(This) recycling system uses the energy of plants to drive the process,” says Northrop.

TimberFish’s process would selectively harvest forest material, chip the wood, then put it into water. Wood is full of natural microbes that degrade wood. The fish waste becomes a food source for the microbes.

Wood is composed of 2 elements, explained Northrop – cellulose and lignan.

The microbes break down the cellulose. The result is high energy lignan, a complex compound present in streaks of wood.

When dried, the lignan can be burned, converting it into energy.

By harvesting 1,000 lbs of wood or biomass from the forest, then converting half that into fish feed, the rest would be converted to produce energy, heat, liquid fuel, or other combustion alternatives.

The process would produce enough energy to take care of all its needs. The rest could potentially be put into a commercial electrical grid for use as a regional energy district.

“By being able to produce fish from forests,” said Northrop, “we provide an economic incentive to restore the forest”

This is a way to produce food that doesn’t have the polluting or environmental problems that modern agriculture does, says Northrup. And this environmentally-friendly system could sequester large amounts of carbon.

“You can literally reverse global warming with this kind of technology,” Northrop said.

They currently have a small demonstration system running in western New York.

“It’s going to take governments, companies and individuals to see (this system’s) widespread implementation,” says Aaron Resnick, President of TimberFish.

They’re currently pursuing investors, licensees and/or joint ventures with existing fish farm aquaculture to partner with them to set up a production system.

Resnick and Northrop expect to have some form of production system up and running within a year.

“We think the potential is enormous,” he says. “We’ll literally create a new food source to feed our increasing population w/ high quality, non-polluted food”

For more information on this amazing technology, see www.timberfishtech.com.

Innovation and Creative Thinking Part 2

Universities are exploring different energy solutions. Common algae is being synthesized to create oil for biofuel. According to the National Algae Association, algae’s “a promising source of renewable oil that can be used for a variety of fuels (biofuel, hydrogen, jet fuel, bio gasoline).”
 
According to Pure Energy Systems Wiki  www.peswiki.com neutral algae biofuel is non-toxic, biodegrades quickly” and is capable of producing 30 times more oil per acre than crops used for biofuels! Though still too expensive for commercial viabitily, in 2006 megacorporation Chevron began a five-year biofuel research alliance with U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory to explore algae’s use. Called the “crop of the future”, UC Berkeley is working with International Energy of Canada to produce hydrogen from algae.

 

Another unusual energy source is popping up across the country. The town of Sanford, Florida is building a plant to convert wastewater biosolids into synthetic gas (syngas). Sludge from wastewater treatment will be converted, using a biomass gassifier, into renewable “green” energy. The town thus saves on disposal transportation charges and pricey purchases of natural gas.

According to Paul Moore, Sanford Utility Director, “Sanford will save $9,000,000 over the 20-year life of our contractwww.greenenergy/blog.com. With such substantial anticipated savings, places like San Diego, Elmont, NY, and Alameda County (in the San Francisco Bay area) are scrambling to take advantage of this outstanding technology. Adding to the appeal, large systems can produce extra energy that would then be sold back to utility companies. 

 

Creative solutions like these have deep roots in our country’s history. It’s said that when Henry Ford visited Thomas Edison one day, he found it hard to push the front gate open at Edison’s yard. Chiding the great inventor about his rusty gate, Edison replied Ford had just pumped a gallon of water out of the well.

This waste-to-energy technology is a fast growing movement. Its roots go back to the 1980’s, and include southern Massachusetts’ SEMASS (Southern Energy of Massachusetts), whose gigantic resource recovery facility reclaims recyclable materials from waste and generates energy.

These innovative energy solutions – green algae and human waste – are born out of creative thinking. What else does the future hold? Perhaps your imagination has the next great idea.