Improving Biofuels for a Greener World

An increasing number of people are becoming aware of the immense potential of the alternative fuels. We know that the challenges posed by fossil fuels make biofuels an extremely important replacement. While traditional fuels continue to make up 80% of today’s energy, the list of risks and harm they produce is endless. This is where biofuels come in.

According to many, one of the most promising types of renewable fuel available at the moment is the algae-derived one. It can be used to produce biodiesel, bioethanol as well as biogas. The improvements in production processes of these biofuels are implemented to increase their viability. This article discusses various ways to achieve this goal.

Biomass Pretreatment

The pretreatment process is responsible for maximising the release of sugars, to which yeast is added for production of bioethanol and microorganisms are added to produce biogas.

By improving the efficiency of the algae pretreatment, the extraction of biofuels could be made smoother and more efficient.

There are many different types of methods available for pretreatment of biomass such as mechanical pretreatment or steam explosion pretreatment. But different factors need to be considered in order to choose the method that is most advantageous.

Fermentation

By using bacteria instead of yeast for production of bioethanol, the efficiency of fermentation process is expected to increase greatly. This can be attributed to the fact that bacterial fermentation requires much less time as compared to the traditional yeast fermentation, hence decreasing the time required for completion of the process.

However, this theory is currently still being tested which is why it is not a widely accepted option for now. One of the main concerns is that while bacteria may require less time for fermentation, it might not provide the same yield as yeast.

Advancements in Gasification

Up till now, there has been a strong emphasis on the usage of small-scale power generated biogas. This biogas can be used for commercial and domestic purposes via downgraft gasification technology. While this technology is promising, it may require huge investments for various processes like sizing and densification. Despite these concerns, such advancements are surely exciting for the field of biofuels.

Vehicle Technology

Over the past few decades, a number of innovative technologies have been introduced in an attempt to eliminate fossil fuels usage in favor of a greener future. Several advancements have been seen for instance in the form of solar vehicles and carbon-neutral technologies.

Biofuels continue to be an attractive alternative to fossil fuels for driving vehicles. Many cars designed after the year 2000 already have the ability to run on a bioethanol mix or biodiesel.

Apart from cars, other modes of transportation such as shipping and aviation are also likely to provide greater opportunities for biofuels in the future.

So it is quite evident that biofuels are indeed a promising alternative to the traditional fossil fuels. Future advancements will make these biofuels much more efficient while boosting their viability as a carbon-neutral type of fuel.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 6, 2018 at 7:03 am

Categories: Energy   Tags:

Funding Your Summer Holiday With your Old Tech

We all like to go on holiday, and whether you take your vacation at home or away, domestic or abroad, your old tech can help fund your holiday, whilst also clearing out the cupboards and drawers of unused consumer technology.

All too often we keep hold of tech long after we need to, with new releases dominating our attention. The old tech is stored away, “just in case” or because we haven’t quite transferred all of our information off of it. But often we will never use these again, the batteries will degrade and will become useless, eventually throwing away a (seemingly) useless piece of equipment.

However, a better idea is recycling the item as soon as you can after replacing it with a newer version. If it still works, then there will still be value in it and with summer just around the corner, any amount of old tech from your drawers can result in enough to get away.

The guide created by Compare and Recycle explains just how it easy to get away by recycling your old tech.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 6, 2018 at 6:55 am

Categories: Eco Friendly   Tags:

How to Switch to an Eco Friendly E-Commerce Business

If you own an e-commerce business, reducing the adverse effects your operations have on the environment might be the least of your priorities – and it might be because you think that going green will take a toll on your business.

But, the good news is going green will actually save you more and ensure business success in the long run particularly when the awareness of consumers on the importance of sustainable living becomes more evident.

What’s even better is that while making the switch may seem difficult at first, there are several steps you can take to start with your new initiative. In this infographic, Green Courier, a leading courier company in London, presents the many ways you can make the switch into a green e-commerce business.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 6, 2018 at 6:48 am

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

How to turn your car into an eco friendly vehicle

Climate change and global warming has put the whole world on high alert, becoming two of the most pressing issues of society today that transcends political agendas and diplomatic relations between countries. Because it affects the state of the planet that we live in, many have led efforts to aid and minimize human contribution to the worsening of the state of the Earth, calling for an overhaul in our lifestyles and the products that we use, among others.

According to multiple studies, one of the biggest contributing factor to the multiplying environmental issues that are threatening the world are brought about by cars. Its carbon emissions, which is one of the most prominent and common element in most cars, is seen as one of the most prolific factors for the exacerbating conditions today.

Over the years and after countless studies about the best solution for this part of the problem, car manufacturers have offered one of the best-suited keys to reduce the hazardous impacts that these vehicles have on the environment: hybrid and electric cars. But while it may be the best answer to this difficult situation, there’s also the fact that hybrid and electric cars are undoubtedly more expensive than their carbon-emitting counterparts.

But if you’re still looking to play a part in the betterment of the condition of the world without needing to fork out an exorbitant amount of cash to switch to a hybrid, here are the nine proven ways you can make your car eco-friendlier regardless of its make or model, as seen in this infographic by Global Tint UK.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - June 6, 2018 at 6:31 am

Categories: Eco Travel   Tags:

How Does Construction Impact the Environment and How to Make It Greener?

After years of doom and gloom, construction industry is undergoing a resurgence in growth. This time around, there is even bigger concern for the impact that boom will have on the environment. Across the globe, we see construction companies and contractors wreaking havoc on the natural habitat and spending resources like there is no tomorrow. The good news is that winds of change are sweeping across, but we are still advancing at a sluggish pace in many areas. This is simply not acceptable, not if we want to ensure better and greener future for everyone.

A pollution behemoth

The construction industry is using millions of tons of material and producing a staggering amount of waste and air pollution. The sector in U.S. alone accounts for 160 million of non-industrial waste every year and the amount of emissions is growing. To make it worse, the negative effects also encompass climate change and drinking water pollution. Let us also not forget that according to some estimates, construction industry devours 40% of the global energy use.

The problem is largely in products used in contraction projects, such as chemicals on site, diesel trucks, and non-recyclable materials. Concrete, aluminum, and steel are particularly damaging as they have “embodied energy content” and are responsible for the lion’s share of CO2 emissions. Current policies and practices of reducing pollutants and omissions are ineffective for the most part. Therefore, one the first changes must come in the form of tighter rules and regulation.

It should be noted that countries like Australia are moving away from traditional, government intervention model. They are transitioning towards innovative models of sustainable procurement. It encourages private, public, and third-sector organizations to work together and leave a positive legacy to community. Many contractors and dependable home builders in Sydney and other major cities are awakening to this new reality. Situation in regional and remote communities is improving as well.

Turning a new leaf

And yet, that is not enough. Materials need to be used to minimize the environmental footprint. Sustainability must be engraved into every building block and design concept, right from the get-go.  Adhering to EPA’s principle of “protecting the environment comes first” is not really optional. So, businesses must make an effort to fully incorporate eco-friendliness into contractor orientation process. Some of the crucial rules are related to erosion and sediment controls, as well as soil stabilization.

Along the similar lines, putting the pollution prevention measures in place is paramount. These mechanisms mitigate the impact of chemicals in construction processes. Their goal is to ensure that pollutants are discharged correctly and safely from all equipment used on sites, including vehicles. Moreover, notice that some discharges are prohibited. These instances involve wastewater from washout of concrete and discharge from fossil fuels and oils.

Rise of green building

The lodestar everyone needs to follow is green building. This sector is growing rapidly and shifting the urban landscape of today. It encompasses a set of best practices that promote the use of recyclable and environmentally-friendly materials. Furthermore, green buildings are designed to keep operating costs and energy requirements low. They also use renewable and clean energy sources, such as solar power. One of the most daring innovations is the concept of passive and zero-net buildings.

The latter one completely eliminates grid dependency and even generates a surplus of green power. This only goes to show what is possible to achieve with clear vision, commitment, and ingenuity. And hopefully, this is just the beginning. More stunning changes are on the horizon, such as wooden skyscrapers. Once policy-makers come on board with the agenda, we can make strides towards this green frontier. There are many more hurdles to overcome, but at least we are moving in the right direction.

A fresh restart

If there was ever any doubt, today the situation is as clear as a day. We must stop laying waste to the environment in order to expand our residential and industrial areas in a new way. Everyone stands to benefit from transformation— businesses, governments, inhabitants, and Mother Nature. So, it is high time for conduction industry to embrace suitability and energy-efficiency as foundations for residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes. We need nothing short of a revolution, complete pivot to green building.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 26, 2018 at 6:30 am

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

Rainwater Harvesting Best Practices

If you are looking to improve the way you collect rainwater, make sure to come up with a water budget. This must include the average rainfall in your area, the size of the roof catchment area, the area for the rainwater storage tank or barrel, and the number of litres of water you use for gardening and household chores (excluding bathing, dishwashing, and the laundry). Of course, you should also take into account your current financial situation, as rainwater harvesting components can be quite costly, especially if they are made by reputed manufacturers.

  1. Once you have done the above, you must then gather the needed equipment. The first one you need to obtain is the water tank or barrel. Choose one that fits in the part of the property where you think it must be situated. Also, choose one that can keep the stored water clean and safe for a long time.

Next, choose and obtain a pump system that will distribute water to different parts of your house or office, if necessary. Purchase the rest of the parts needed for your rainwater harvesting system at this point.

  1. Assemble the system. Set up the tank, preferably on a flat, raised, and durable platform under the gutters. This way, you can access the outlet or spigot at the bottom when you need to use the stored rainwater.

If the barrel or tank that you purchased does not come with a filter, have a mesh screen attached at the top of the barrel. This will serve to filter incoming rainwater. You have two choices for mesh screens; you can use a fine mesh or you can use layers of mesh.

If you would like to maximise the use of collected rainwater, however, you should get a filter that is specifically designed for collecting rainwater.

  1. Of course, it’s important that you check the surface of the roof. Provided that the roof that will be used for your rainwater harvesting system is made of (non-toxic) materials such as clay tiles, cement tiles, glazed tiles, or steel sheets, proceed with checking if there is dirt and if there are withered leaves and bird droppings on their surfaces. If there really is dirt on the roof, make sure to clean its surface before the rain comes.

Of course, use another roof or replace the roof if it is painted or if it is made of asphalt shingles.

  1. Keep in mind that stagnant water is a perfect breeding area for mosquitoes and other insects, so make sure to seal all openings. Leaks should also be sealed. Not only do they deprive you of rainwater you can use for your chores, leaks also cause water to pool somewhere else. Pooled water is not only a great breeding ground for insects, it also causes accidents.
  1. Like all home and office essentials, proper maintenance of your rainwater harvesting system is important. Rain heads, gutters, barrels, tanks, and water diverters need to be cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. You can do this task yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you.

Rainwater harvesting is a practice that helps you save a significant amount of money on water bills. If you wish to start your own home or office system, make sure to consult with your local government first. Some areas have laws against rainwater harvesting.


Bio:

Rey Carlos Rosales works as a rainwater harvesting consultant for Rainwater Tanks Direct. Outside of work, he plays video games, reads books, watches movies, and plays with cats and dogs. For rainwater storage tank options, check out Rainwater Tanks Direct: http://www.rainwatertanksdirect.com.au/.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 23, 2018 at 6:55 am

Categories: Eco Friendly   Tags:

Water Stewardship: Concepts for a More Sustainable Future

Water matters. Not just to the broader economy, but also to companies whose products and services impact our global economy and climate. Water issues are now taking a far greater and more prominent position in the global economy.

As growing pressure emerges on our planet’s most precious resource, businesses have turned their attention and focus on the importance of water stewardship. Smarter business means understanding the risks posed by water scarcity and pollution. Taking action requires businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.

Encouraging good water stewardship means incorporating sustainable water management if businesses are to continue operating, and for people to keep on living. Here are three approaches to corporate water stewardship.

1. Understanding the importance of a changing water world

When examining the role of companies in the context of water stewardship, consider these trends as highlighted by World Wildlife Fund:

  • In the next 40 years, the human population will exponentially increase by 2.5 billion. This will increase humanity’s water footprint, increasing costs for infrastructure.
  • Rising incomes will result in changes in consumption patterns. Higher consumption of food and other resources will require collective action to ensure there is enough food and resources to meet demand.
  • Global climate change will have a greater impact on weather variability. Snow and ice will carry less freshwater storage, more extreme events will lead to changes in ecosystems. These will have undeniable effects on water management practices, particularly in environments that support life and livelihoods dependent on freshwater.

Already, it is estimated that 4 billion people worldwide face economic water shortage, leading to inadequate sanitation. A lack of access to clean, potable water has resulted in many being exposed to water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhoea, among other water-related illnesses.

The global nature of our changing water world means coordinated action is required across governments, sectors of society, and enterprises to ensure water security for all, and sustainable water resources and infrastructure.

2. Business engagement with water management

The implications of freshwater supply challenges, from societal, environmental, and investment perspectives, means water stewardship should be a top priority. Current water issues, both regionally and locally, mean businesses will soon face, if they have not already done so, serious water problems. Water risks for companies will have strategic and profound impacts on brand value and its profitability.

Business engagement must go beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR). Achieving accessible and sustainable flows to clean, potable water is a core business issue that is strategic to long-term opportunities for growth and profit. As water is material from a production standpoint, businesses must highlight the importance of good water stewardship to c-suite executives, shareholders, and investors.

The highly varied possibilities of water scarcity-related risks mean businesses must provide an exhaustive evaluation of water-related risks and corporate water usage performance. This can provide interpretive guidance for companies to actively manage water risks.

3. The role of leadership in water stewardship

Becoming a proven global leader of good water stewardship is critical from a business perspective in addressing pressing problems surrounding water management and sustainability. The evolving role of business in a global economy has impacted how society is incentivized to engage in water sustainability practices. Indeed, establishing good water stewardship and environmental responsibility must be demonstrated from a leadership position.

While a significant amount of work has already resulted in many technological and scientific breakthroughs in addressing sustainable water stewardship, business leaders must build on this work and demonstrate sustainable water management to bring substantial, long-term and all-encompassing change.

A collaborative approach, focusing on cross-sector and cross-industry involvement will be key in tackling sustainable challenges in the years to come. Addressing further issues surrounding sustainable water stewardship must come from an authoritative standpoint. Initiatives that discuss innovative solutions to water management must be proposed and discussed among senior policy-makers and business leaders.

The enormous influence of those in leadership positions is critical in starting a dialogue that will translate into meaningful and widespread collective action.

A call to action

The stewardship role goes beyond those within the private sector. Using agents to create a local-to-global approach will be critical in advancing the dialogue on how the global society addresses freshwater shortage issues and meets general water-related challenges.

Only engagement through collective effort will lead to better, more efficient and sustainable water resource management for the benefit and survival of everyone.


AUTHOR BIO

Patrick Randall is the Vice President of National Sales at Hepure Technologies. He holds a BS in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from CSUS. He has been working in the environmental and bioremediation space since graduating in 1986.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 22, 2018 at 6:11 am

Categories: Conservation   Tags:

Responsible Cable Recycling

As consumer technology becomes more advanced with every passing year — whether it’s the latest smartphone model or an ultra-high-definition streaming media player — it’s easy to become fixated on having the latest gadget on the market every time something is released. Yet with so many people standing in line outside tech retailers to wait for a product release or camping out in front of a superstore for Black Friday, the question of what happens to the devices those gadgets replace looms large. It’s because of the accelerated nature of consumer technology that unwanted electronics — or e-waste — is one of the biggest environmental concerns society faces today, with nearly 50 million tons of unwanted electronics expected to be generated worldwide in 2018.

E-waste is a particularly thorny problem from an ecological standpoint because it doesn’t simply take space in landfills like other types of waste. The rare metals and hazardous materials used to manufacture many electronics can pollute the ground and water supplies if disposed of improperly. Although many of these materials can be recycled, that recycling frequently takes place in impoverished nations where safety standards often are non-existent. Using acid to dissolve circuit boards and reclaim metals, for example, can result in toxic mercury being released into the environment — in turn, potentially causing illness.

A big contributor to the e-waste problem, ironically, is one of the smallest components of any electronic device — the cords. Just about every new device we purchase comes with a charging cord or another type of connection cable or both. These often are made with the same hazardous materials as the devices to which they are connected. Nonetheless, because they’re not as large, they tend to be overlooked when recycling e-waste. Being more sustainable and responsible when it comes to e-waste means not forgetting about cords and cables.

The accompanying guide created by Cable Leader lists some of the best ideas for recycling cables and cords from your electronic devices. Pay attention to it, and this important element of sustainability won’t be lost in the rush for the next tech product.

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 22, 2018 at 5:59 am

Categories: Recycling   Tags:

Waterproofing and Energy Preserving House Renovation Techniques

In order to adapt to the ever-changing environment, you have to be flexible. This means that you should always consider novel ways to renovate your home, especially now when we are facing a rapidly deteriorating biosphere and volatile climate conditions. If your own home is ripe for a building project, here are some waterproofing and energy preserving house renovation techniques that are bound to pay off in the long run.

Waterproofing

It starts off with shadow-sums added to your monthly utility bills, and before you know it, you realize the foundation of your house is filled with cracks and they are seeping precious, clean water from the broken pipes. Make sure you hire professionals who can add waterproof coating to both the toilet and the kitchen area. This is where most of the water-related problems tend to occur, and they can stay invisible for a long time, slowly deteriorating the integrity of your walls, and even concrete. While you are at it, look for brand new water conserving fixtures – like low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets. They are the most viable solutions for you when it comes to both waterproofing and preserving resources – with lower bills as the additional benefit.

The gardening matters

If you have a sizeable backyard, it is certainly prudent to allocate a certain portion of space to a garden in which you can grow your organic produce. In this case, you’ll have to think about reasonable water expenditure, as well as ecologically viable gardening methods. Adding a cistern for rainwater harvesting, which is dedicated to the garden, can truly help out, as you won’t have to spend precious tap water on watering crops. In addition, you can add another cistern which is encased with additional layer of protection through solid bunding and collect compost in it. Without getting into nitty-gritty of it, you can even connect this compost cistern with an outhouse. You get the picture.

Insulation is a life saver

Did you know that at least 50% of your home’s energy consumption (or loss) can be easily attributed to heating and cooling processes? Older homes are especially prone to such financially unsustainable states, so you seriously have to consider proper, solid insulation. Insulation foam is probably the most viable solution when it comes to time and money invested – just find the one that is called – Icynene. The spray foam is elegant, easy to apply and it is solid, however, you need to vacate the premises and hire professionals who will wear appropriate protection gear throughout the process. Of course, since lowering toxic environmental impact is intrinsically connected to energy preservation, you’ll be happy to know there are different kinds of this insolent, and some of the newer generation spray foams are definitely environmentally friendly – like the aforementioned Icynene.

Refurbish with energy stars

Products evolve fast in the competitive market, and the trendiest new attribute most big-name companies have latched onto is “energy efficient”. This bodes well for your energy preserving refurbishing tendencies as you can easily find affordable energy efficient appliances and update your entire household. It is actually rather simple – all you have to do is look for the energy start label on any random piece of equipment that piques your interest. Such products had to be vetted by environmental protection agencies, so you can safely purchase them without thinking it is some sort of superficial marketing ploy.

Renovating your home with cutting-edge green techniques and adding environmentally sensitive facilities to your lot sure sounds like a big investment. In truth, without sugarcoating it, depending on the way you approach these renovations, they can cost you quite a dime, but always bear in mind the fact that you are investing into your future and that many of these new additions to your home can save you a fortune on utility bills as the years roll by.

1 comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 22, 2018 at 5:52 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Top 10 polluted areas in the UK

It’s easy to forget sometimes that the air we breathe isn’t pure oxygen. It contains thousands of different chemicals including nitrogen oxide (NOx).

Depending on where you live in the UK you could be breathing in much higher levels of NOx than other areas.

Transport is one of the biggest contributors of nitrogen oxide, which is created when fuel is burned at high temperatures.

The health effects of nitrogen oxide can be deadly, and it contributes to thousands of premature deaths across the UK each year. In order to tackle the problem, the government is introducing measures to cut air pollution levels.

In London for example, a toxicity charge of £10 has been brought in for older vehicles that emit higher emissions. This is on top of the existing congestion charge of £11.50 per day.

Electric vehicles could be the answer to cutting the UKs NOx emissions and making the air we breathe cleaner and safer. Many people aren’t sure how electric cars work and are hesitant to make the switch, but many manufacturers are investing in the future of electric transport options and so should we.

To see just how bad the UK’s air pollution problem is Confused.com created an infographic to highlight the top 10 polluted areas in the UK.

UK Air Pollution

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - May 22, 2018 at 5:43 am

Categories: Issues   Tags:

« Previous PageNext Page »

Pin It on Pinterest