Cooling the Cloud: Binghamton PhD Student Sets Sights on Improving Data-Center Efficiency

Read the full story from Binghampton University.

Data centers — large clusters of servers that power cloud computing operations, e-commerce and more — are one of the largest and fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the United States.

The industry has been shifting from open-air cooling of these facilities to increasingly complex systems that segregate hot air from cold air. When it comes to cost savings, there are definite advantages to the aisle containment systems, which have been estimated to save 30 percent of cooling energy — but it’s not yet clear how they increase the risk of overheating, or how to design them for greatest safety and optimum energy efficiency.

That’s what Husam Alissa, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, is trying to determine at Binghamton University’s state-of-the-art Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2).


Bringing energy efficiency to the middle class

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Pay As You Save (PAYS) is a financing intervention that hopes to address the rural middle-income market by enabling utility customers to purchase and install cost-effective energy-efficiency upgrades without upfront payment, personal loans or property liens. PAYS was one of four interventions that won the Finance for Resilience (FiRe) prize at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit 2015.

Waste to watts: How to get power from plastics

Read/watch the full story in GreenBiz.

Let’s face it: Even the most diligent home recycler ends up putting some plastic items in with the rest of the garbage. That plastic ends up in a garbage truck, and if we’re lucky, in a landfill. In the worst case, that plastic makes its way to streams, rivers, lakes and oceans where it harms wildlife.

On the mainstage at GreenBiz Forum 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona, Dow Chemical COmpany’s global sustainability leader, Jeff Wooster, talked about a new program that aims to turn unrecycled plastics into energy in the form of liquid fuel.

In the program, consumers put unrecyclable plastics into a purple plastic bag (called an “Energy Bag”) and throw the purple bag into their recycle bin. At the recycler’s sorting facility, workers pull the purple bags off the line to be transported to one of Dow’s plants. The plants then break down the plastics, converting them into a synthetic crude that can be processed into fuels like gasoline or diesel.

Senators introduce bill to establish national RES program

Read the full story in Biomass Magazine.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M, has introduced legislation that aims to establish a national renewable electricity standard (RES). The bill would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Esterification of glycerol over a solid acid biochar catalyst derived from waste biomass

N. Lingaiah, Mahammad Rafi J., Rajashekar A, Srinivas M, BVSK Rao and Prasad B N R. (2015). “Esterification of glycerol over a solid acid biochar catalyst derived from waste biomass.” RSC Advances online ahead of print. DOI: 10.1039/C5RA06613A

Abstract: Karanja seed shells were subjected to pyrolysis in inert atmosphere at different temperatures to prepare biochar. The biochar was characterized by X-ray diffraction, FT-infra red, Laser Raman, thermo gravimetric analysis, CHNS-elemental analysis, BET surface area and temperature programmed desorption of ammonia. These biochar carbon catalysts were used as catalysts without any functionalization/treatment for the esterification of glycerol with acetic acid. Carbonization at 400 oC led to the formation of biochar with more number of strong acidic sites. High temperature carbonization amorphous carbon composed of aromatic carbon sheets oriented in a considerably random fashion. The biochar obtained at 400 oC exhibited highest glycerol esterification activity. The catalytic activity of the biochar was explained based on its properties derived from different characterization methods. The biochar catalyst can be reusable with consistent activity.