Spray-on LED’s on wallpaper could be in our future

Walt Disney said : “if you can dream it, you can do it.”

Researcher and doctoral graduate Gul Armin wrote his thesis on how it’s possible to grow white LEDs, made from zinc oxide and a conducting polymer, directly on paper. He also shows how they can be printed onto wallpaper.

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Two companies caught by EPA trying to export hazardous discarded electronics to Vietnam

Two recycling companies were caught by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency trying to illegally export e-waste to Vietnam.

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Top green columns of 2010 (Part 1)

Now that 2011 has begun, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the most memorable columns as a way to say goodbye to the old and ring in the new.

This is the first of a two-part homage to my top picks of 2010, with a few update

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From e-waste to road signs?

Green road signsAn Austin, Texas company has created a line of eco-friendly road signage – from discarded electronic waste!

To learn more about Image Microsystems’  innovative green product, check out http://3.ly/PEO.

Solar panels to be micro-sized in the near future

The products including some sort of solar charger continues to grow – from backpacks to clothing. Now the technology is progressing so that we may soon see solar cells that are thinner than human hair!

Future solar cells could be microsized, making them more efficient and less costly

Future solar cells could be microsized, making them more efficient and less costly

Sandia National Laboratories have been developing glitter-sized photovoltaic cells made from crystalline silicon that are fabricated using microelectronic and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) techniques. Measuring around 14 to 20 micrometers thick and 0.25 to 1 millimeter across, these cells are expected to be cheaper and more efficient that current solar cells.

Sandia’s lead investigator Greg Nielson said  these cells would be wrapped around unusual shapes for building-integrated solar, tents and possibly  clothing. The latter would  allow consumers to walk around and charge up simultaneously. Hunters, hikers or military personnel in the field would be able to recharge batteries for phones, cameras and other electronic devices as they walk or rest.

Inverters, intelligent controls and storage would be built in at the chip level. It’s thought these amazing cells will be mass produced sometime in the future.

Cisco cuts net 40% greenhouse gas emissions

CiscoIn several previous posts I’ve poked at corporations that boasted cuts in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when they’ve been only around 2 to 5 percent. This time, however, one company has cuts that are substantial.

Cisco Systems has succeeded in cutting their net emissions by 40 percent, compared against 2007. These figures include  what’s termed Scope 1 direct emissions from Cisco-owned or controlled sources), Scope 2 (emissions from Cisco’s energy purchases) and Scope 3 (emissions from Cisco’s  business air travel ( both corporate wide and worldwide).

According to Darrel Stickler of Cisco’s Sustainable Business Practices, few companies include Scope 3 of any type in an absolute reduction goal. 


Cisco's sustainability practices have produced a 40% GHG reduction

Cisco's sustainability practices have produced a 40% GHG reduction

This success comes as part of Cisco’s overall sustainability practices, as reported in their fifth annual corporate social responsibility report. To achieve this reduction, Cisco focused on implementing energy efficiency programs, reducing air travel and various efforts that include their purchase and use of renewable energy.

Cisco continues to work on further reductions. These include:

  • eliminating harmful chemicals from their products
  • developing a closed-loop reverse supply chain where they recover, reuse or recycle over n 99 percent of their  returned electronic equipment in major markets worldwide
  • reducing water consumption

Cisco has also launched two programs to help businesses reduce their GHG emissions – their Smart Grid business unit that helps  utility companies optimize power supply and demand, and their Energy Wise program that helps customers monitor and control their IP-enabled equipment to reduce energy costs and their carbon footprint.

Way to go Cisco! Now let’s see who wants to play “i can do better than you” on this one!

Activeion taps water to clean



Activeion Pro uses tap water to clean and sanitize hard surfaces

Activeion Pro uses tap water to clean and sanitize hard surfaces

Water. We drink it, bathe in it, swim in it. We even fight over it. But use it to clean?

Activeion Pro (as in active ion) is a hand-held sprayer. With its ec-H2O (electronic converted water) technology, its electrical charge “activates” tap water, converting it into a multi-purpose general cleaner. Acting like a magnet, the activated water attracts and loosens dirt from a variety of surfaces for easy cleaning, leaving no residue.

Introduced last February and verified by the Environmental Protection Agency and an independent laboratory, this chemical-free cleaning system eliminates 99 percent of bacteria and organisms including e-coli, salmonella and the MRSA virus from hard non-porous surfaces. It cleans stains, dirt and oils from carpet (including pet stains), floors, glass, countertops and marble. It even sanitizes dishes.

Trying it on my car, I was stunned how well it worked! And I loved that it saved gallons of water!

“(This is) like the iPod of clean,” says Todd Schaeffer, Vice President and General Manager of Minnesota-based Activeion Cleaning Solutions LLC.

Before using, plug the charger into the bottle. Initial charging takes two to three hours (second time was under an hour). When the light turns green, unplug and clean!

The bottle holds its charge for two to three weeks, Schaeffer says. That translates to two to three days for commercial use in airports, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and convention centers.

Every bottle holds a surprise. When sprayed, the inside flashes bright green!

That tells you the water’s ionized, said Schaeffer. The technology constantly measures the water’s bacteria level, controlling it to give you a good clean product.

Water has the ability to conduct electricity, given enough energy to activate it. For the first time Activeion’s patented technology combines positive and negative water streams to work together, creating an effective general cleaner.

Spray surfaces thoroughly with Activeion Pro, then wipe with a clean cloth, preferably a microfiber cloth. Wipe down within 45 seconds or the water reverts back to its natural state. Accidentally spray yourself? No worries. It’s just water.

Activeion has many benefits, particularly environmental ones. It easily replaces some standard household cleaners, particularly for glass, windows and stainless steel, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the production, packaging, transportation, use, fumes and disposal of harsh household chemicals. A study showed that switching to just one Activeion Pro for general commercial cleaning is equivalent to saving 93 gallons of gasoline and two barrels of oil!

Activeion isn’t a heavy de-greaser. While I found it doesn’t clean everything, it cleans many things well, meaning fewer chemicals in the house and money savings at the grocery store. It’s also one of the only cleaners without a chemical-related health warning label.

Beware using filtered or distilled water. A home RO system could also interfere with this. The Activeion needs minerals to work well.

But, says Schaeffer, “if the green light is on, it’s working!”

At $299, Activeion Pro isn’t inexpensive. But it’s easy and it works. It’s available online or at 866 950-4667.