Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative Set to Power Third World

March 16, 2008 - 10:09:02 PM

Shawn Frayne us proof positive that real wealth (as Bucky Fuller often reminded us) is know-how and the most valuable and plentiful renewable energy source in the world is appropriately focused and applied human creativity and ingenuity. If you really need a shot of hope these days, don't look to Washington and politicians. Instead look for people like Shawn and the other winners of Popular Mechanics "Breakthrough Awards". They are the individuals who are searching for real solutions to the critical problems facing humanity.

The windbelt technology developed by Shawn Frayne has the potential for complementing utility-scale wind technology with units that can be economically scaled to individual and community applications. Does it work? We won't know for sure until some units are up and running which hopefully will be soon. The most important thing, I believe, is simply that people like Shawn are focusing their energy and considerable talents on things that matter. (Greg Watson 12 Degrees of Freedom)


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Whale Inspired Wind Mills

March 07, 2008 - 09:27:13 AM

"WhalePower, based in Toronto, Ontario, is testing this wind-turbine blade at a wind-testing facility in Prince Edward Island. The bumps, or "tubercles," on the blade's leading edge reduce noise, increase its stability, and enable it to capture more energy from the wind."
Credit: WhalePower

Mimicking the bumps on humpback-whale fins could lead to more efficient wind turbines. By Tyler Hamilton

via:MIT Technology Review

Marine scientists have long suspected that humpback whales' incredible agility comes from the bumps on the leading edges of their flippers. Now Harvard University researchers have come up with a mathematical model that helps explain this hydrodynamic edge. The work gives theoretical weight to a growing body of empirical evidence that similar bumps could lead to more-stable airplane designs, submarines with greater agility, and turbine blades that can capture more energy from the wind and water.  READ MORE »

Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

March 07, 2008 - 08:49:56 AM

"The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. We believe that social entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems and crises.  READ MORE »

Challenges of the 21st Century from an Engineering Perspective

February 16, 2008 - 08:32:12 PM


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) today announced the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. A diverse committee of experts from around the world, convened at the request of the U.S. National Science Foundation, revealed 14 challenges that, if met, would improve how we live.

"Tremendous advances in quality of life have come from improved technology in areas such as farming and manufacturing," said committee member and Google co-founder Larry Page. "If we focus our effort on the important grand challenges of our age, we can hugely improve the future."

The panel, some of the most accomplished engineers and scientists of their generation, was established in 2006 and met several times to discuss and develop the list of challenges. Through an interactive Web site, the effort received worldwide input from prominent engineers and scientists, as well as from the general public, over a one-year period. The panel's conclusions were reviewed by more than 50 subject-matter experts.

The final choices fall into four themes that are essential for humanity to flourish -- sustainability, health, reducing vulnerability, and joy of living.  READ MORE »

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Leading Wall Street Banks Establish The Carbon Principles

February 12, 2008 - 07:57:14 PM

Guidelines to strengthen environmental and economic risk management in the financing and construction of electricity generation

The Rainforest Action Network, among others, offers a critique of what they feel are the principle's strengths and weaknesses.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)
February 04, 2008

NEW YORK – Three of the world's leading financial institutions today announced the formation of The Carbon Principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the United States. These Principles are the result of a nine-month intensive effort to create an approach to evaluating and addressing carbon risks in the financing of electric power projects. The need for these Principles is driven by the risks faced by the power industry as utilities, independent producers, regulators, lenders and investors deal with the uncertainties around regional and national climate change policy.

The Principles were developed in partnership by Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and in consultation with leading power companies American Electric Power, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, NRG Energy, PSEG, Sempra and Southern Company. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental non-governmental organizations, also advised on the creation of the Principles.

This effort is the first time a group of banks has come together and consulted with power companies and environmental groups to develop a process for understanding carbon risk around power sector investments needed to meet future economic growth and the needs of consumers for reliable and affordable energy. The consortium has developed an Enhanced Diligence framework to help lenders better understand and evaluate the potential carbon risks associated with coal plant investments.  READ MORE »

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The Virgin Earth Challenge

February 12, 2008 - 07:21:19 PM

 APPhoto: AP

The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.


OBJECTIVE: To encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects.

Today [ 9/2/2007], Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize – The Virgin Earth Challenge – in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth’s climate.

Sir Richard also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges - all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard (see Editors notes for biographies).  READ MORE »

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