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Saturday, May 13, 2006

NZ firm makes bio-diesel from sewage

A New Zealand company has successfully turned sewage into modern-day gold.

Marlborough-based Aquaflow Bionomic yesterday announced it had produced its first sample of bio-diesel fuel from algae in sewage ponds.

It is believed to be the world's first commercial production of bio-diesel from "wild" algae outside the laboratory - and the company expects to be producing at the rate of at least one million litres of the fuel each year from Blenheim by April.

To date, algae-derived fuel has only been tested under controlled conditions with specially grown algae crops, said spokesman Barrie Leay.

Aquaflow's algae, however, were derived from excess pond discharge from the Marlborough District Council's sewage treatment works. Algae take most chemicals out of sewage, but having too many of them taints the water and produces a foul smell.

Creating fuel from the algae removes the problem while producing useful clean water, said Mr Leay. The clean water can then be used for stock food, irrigation and, if treated properly, for human consumption.

Mr Leay said the process could also benefit dairy farmers and food processors as the algae also thrive in those industries' waste streams.

And unlike some bio-fuel sources which require crops to be specially grown - using more land, fuel, chemicals and fertilisers - the algae already exist extensively.

To get the fuel, the algae are processed into a pulp before lipid oils are extracted to be turned into bio-diesel.

Friday, May 05, 2006

OLED limits stretched

Osram Opto-Semiconductors, Inc. has successfully demonstrated a white organic light emitting diode (OLED) with a record efficiency of 25 lumens per watt, the highest known efficiency achieved to date for a polymer-based white OLED. The 25 LPW cool-white-emitting device was produced by applying a standard external inorganic phosphor to Osram's record-breaking blue-emitting phosphorescent polymer device with a peak luminous efficacy of 14 LPW.

White LED's overtake CFL efficacy

Novel chip design and the balance of multiple interrelated design parameters have enabled Cree, Inc.'s Santa Barbara Technology Center to demonstrate white LEDs with efficacies greater than 65 lumens per watt at 350 mA. The results are particularly significant because they were achieved with a pre-production prototype chip using the same package used in Cree's commercially available XLamp® 7090 high power LED, rather than a laboratory device XLamp® 7090 high power LED
This achievement is based on improved output of the primary blue emitting chip, which was combined with acommercially available yellow phosphor. The results are on par with some compact fluorescent lighting systems and up to 10 times as efficient as incandescent sources.

Cree's achievement is part of a three-year project focused on demonstrating that existing white LED technology could be successfully scaled up (in terms of electrical input/optical output power) to levels suitable for general illumination applications, with superior energy efficiency. This goal requires significant improvements in such diverse areas as chip efficiency, optical design, and thermal management.

The holy grail of LED lighting has been the core efficacy metric beating other white lighting systems. This is hapenning and is a matter of time before the technology is commoditized. We are predicting the the efficacy with go up to more than 90 lm/W by the end of 2007.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ford Launches CCP

Ford Motor Company and TerraPass have announced "Greener Miles, a program offering Ford vehicle owners the opportunity to offset the climate impact of their driving through the support of projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Through Greener Miles drivers can calculate the amount of CO2 emissions they generate in one year of driving by visiting terrapass. Customers then have the opportunity to purchase an offset that supports the production of renewable clean energy from wind or dairy farm methane. This pilot program gives customers a simple way to be voluntary, active participants in addressing the challenges of climate change.

Read more here