Day: July 13, 2011

P2Rx Lean and Environment Webinar: 10 Steps to Sustainability

This month's free Lean and Environment Webinar will be held Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at 3:00 pm EDT, 2:00 CDT, 1:00 MDT, and 12:00 PDT.

During March's well-received webinar entitled "Lean and Green: through Roadmaps and DfE Training" presented by Pamela J. Gordon of Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI Environment), Jesse Kevan of Tellabs, and Glenn Pohly of Symmetricom, participants particularly valued the insights on gaining corporate executive buy-in for sustainability roadmaps and Design-for-Environment training.  For July's webinar, we've invited Pamela back with another of her clients - Rajat Srivastava, Vice President at Blue Coat Systems Inc., to present 10 steps to successful corporate-wide sustainability plans, discuss five challenges during implementation, and posing how corporate-wide sustainability programs transform corporations.

Length:  Of the 1 hour overall (noon to 1pm Pacific Time), about 45-50 minutes are available for Pam and Rajat's portion - including Q&A.

Technical details:  People will link to:   and Call 877-531-0114; meeting room number is *1576220* - be sure to hit the "*" key before AND after the room number

The Lean and Environment Work Group conducts free monthly webinars about applying the latest tools and techniques for protecting the environment by increasing process efficiency. The monthly webinars often include speakers from industry, government, university, nonprofits, and consulting groups with practical tips and techniques. The group also works together to discuss how to promote Lean on the policy level as a technique for environmental improvement.

Monthly meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month.

The workgroup is a partnership between the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, the Zero Waste Network, and the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center. Its purpose is to demonstrate the profitability of incorporating sustainable business practices into operations.

Plant-powered plastics

Read the full story at Science News for Kids.

Plastic is everywhere: in sneakers, straws and sandwich wrappers, to name a few. But the handy material’s strength is also its weakness – plastic’s durability means it lingers on land and at sea. Scientists are exploring using plants in plastic for more Earth-friendly materials.

Write a Song about Science

The 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival is looking for theme songs! Submit either a song geared toward kids under 10 or a song for middle and high school students that will get them excited about science and engineering.

  • Learn more about how you can submit a song.
  • For inspiration, listen to the jingles from last year’s finalists.
  • Plan on visiting Society for Science & the Public’s booth at the festival, which will be held in Washington, DC from April 27-29, 2012.

Available and Emerging Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

View/download the publication.

This document provides information on control techniques and measures that are available to mitigate GHG emissions from the municipal solid waste landfill sector at this time.

Because the primary GHG emitted by the municipal solid waste landfill industry are methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), the control technologies and measures presented in this document focus on these pollutants. While a large number of available technologies are discussed here, this paper does not necessarily represent all potentially available technologies or measures that that may be considered for any given source for the purposes of reducing its GHG emissions. For example, controls that are applied to other industrial source categories with exhaust streams similar to the municipal solid waste sector may be available through “technology transfer” or new technologies may be developed for use in this sector.

Biofuels: Challenges to the Transportation, Sale, and Use of Intermediate Ethanol Blends

Via The RFF Library Blog.

Government Accountability Office

U.S. transportation relies largely on oil for fuel. Biofuels can be an alternative to oil and are produced from renewable sources, like corn. In 2005, Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires transportation fuel to contain 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022…Use of intermediate blends, such as E15 (15 percent ethanol), would increase the amount of ethanol used in transportation fuel to meet the RFS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently allowed E15 for use with certain automobiles. GAO was asked to examine (1) challenges, if any, to transporting additional ethanol to meet the RFS, (2) challenges, if any, to selling intermediate blends, and (3) studies on the effects of intermediate blends in automobiles and nonroad engines…

EPA Opens Public Comment on Secondary Air Standards for Nitrogen and Sulfur Oxides

After a careful review of the best available science, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing secondary air quality standards to protect the environment from nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). Today’s proposal builds on EPA efforts already underway to reduce NOx and SOx emissions.

EPA has made significant progress in developing a multi-pollutant standard that would protect vulnerable ecosystems, including streams and lakes. To ensure any updated standard is effective, EPA is planning to conduct a field pilot program to collect and analyze additional data and information.
In the meantime, EPA is proposing to set an additional secondary standard for each pollutant. The new standards would be identical to the public health standards that the agency strengthened last year. These standards reduce the amount of NOx and SOx in the air and the harmful effects that the pollutants have on sensitive lakes and streams. EPA is also proposing to retain the existing secondary standards for each pollutant.

EPA is already taking a number of steps to reduce NOx and SOx emissions, including the recently announced Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This new rule will cut millions of tons of these pollutants from power plants each year.

Nitrogen oxides are emitted from an array of sources, including vehicles, power plants, off-road equipment, and agricultural sources. Sulfur oxides are emitted from fossil fuel combustion by power plants, large industries, and mobile sources, and from some industrial processes.

EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register and will issue a final rule by March 2012.

More information:

DOE Offers Conditional Commitment for a $105 Million Loan Guarantee for First-of-its-Kind Cellulosic Bio-Refinery in Iowa

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant.  Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, LLC, will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year and will be located in Emmetsburg, Iowa.  POET estimates the project will generate approximately 200 jobs during construction and 40 permanent jobs at the plant.  POET estimates the project will also bring approximately $14 million in new revenue to area farmers.

“This project will help decrease our dependence on oil, create jobs and aid our transition to clean, renewable energy that is produced here at home,” said Secretary Chu.  “The innovations used in this project are another example of how we are seizing the opportunity to create new economic opportunities to win the clean energy future.”

“Projects like the one we are announcing today show that our investments in next generation biofuels are paying off,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Project LIBERTY will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year, create over 200 jobs, and generate millions of dollars in revenue for the local economy. This project is an important step in the Obama Administration’s effort to break our nation’s unsustainable dependence on foreign oil and move toward a clean energy economy.”

“POET has given this initiative the very apt name Project Liberty, and it is appropriate that this announcement comes so close to Independence Day,” said Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “This is all about decreasing American’s dependence on oil from unstable and often hostile foreign sources.  And this pioneering facility will kick-start a major domestic industry producing advanced biofuels from plentiful feedstocks like crop residues, native grasses and woody materials, creating thousands of jobs in rural America.  I thank Secretary Chu and the Department for their commitment to accelerating America’s transition from dependence on imported oil to greater reliance on to clean, domestically produced biofuels.”

Unlike many conventional corn ethanol plants, Project LIBERTY will use corncobs, leaves and husks – sources provided by local farmers – that do not compete with feed grains.  The project’s innovative process uses enzymatic hydrolysis to convert waste into ethanol and will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and POET’s adjacent grain-based ethanol plant.  Project LIBERTY will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline annually and fulfill more than 25 percent of the projected 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirement for biomass-based cellulosic ethanol.  POET plans to replicate their unique process at 27 of their other corn ethanol facilities, which would have a projected combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.  The company estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will be sourced with U.S. content.

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office administers three separate programs:  the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.   The loan guarantee programs support the deployment of commercial technologies along with innovative technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions, while ATVM supports the development of advanced vehicle technologies.  Under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $38 billion to support 41 clean energy projects across the U.S.  DOE has issued conditional commitments or loan guarantees to support numerous projects, including several of the world’s largest solar generation facilities, three geothermal projects, the world’s largest wind farm, and the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  For more information, please visit the Loan Programs Office.


Inkjet printing solar panels: cheap and almost green

Read the full story from PBS. Tip of the Illini cap to Rudy Leon for the link.

In the race to find renewable energy options, solar energy is one the easiest and least environmentally taxing ways to harness energy, requiring minimal time and infrastructure compared to other energy sources like coal, oil or even wind. But what continues to keep solar panels from blanketing more roofs, particularly in the U.S., is cost.

As much energy is spent researching ways to bring the cost of solar down as to create new, innovative technologies. One of the most promising trends began several years ago and has just entered a new phase of innovation — inkjet printing for solar panels. Researchers have combined the speed and low waste of using inkjet printers with newer, and much cheaper, non-silicon solar cells. It’s a move that, if it proves to be mass scalable, could reduce production waste by 90 percent, eliminate the need for ultra-pricey silicon and make even thinner solar films a viable replacement for the large and heavy traditional panels.

Will urban bike sharing work in the U.S.?

Read the full story from SmartPlanet.

Urban bike-sharing initiatives are not new. They have existed for years, to varying degrees of success, in many cities in Europe and Canada, and have recently taken off in countries like Australia and China. But while bike sharing has had some success in a few American cities in recent years, the practice has never been widespread in the U.S.

Green Jobs Outnumber Fossil Fuel Jobs — and Are Growing Steadily

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Do you remember the heady days of the stimulus program, with all the talk of green jobs and “shovel-ready” projects?

Those days seem long gone (though they’re likely to be back in the public consciousness as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding ends at the end of the year) — but green jobs and the businesses that create them are here to stay.

A new report, “Sizing the Clean Economy,” was published today by The Brookings Institute and Battelle and offers what they bill as a first-ever look at current green jobs figures, including the number of jobs and how much they contribute to the economy.

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