Laurus Energy finds clean coal solution?


Emma Ritch
Houston, Texas-based Laurus Energy says it has the technology to cheaply convert North America's biggest asset into energy. Three-year-old Laurus came out of stealth mode this week, announcing it raised $8.5 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures in April to build a business around underground coal gasification (UCG) technology licensed from Ergo Exergy Technologies. Laurus Energy's exclusive rights for the North American market give it access to technology already in use in South Africa, India and Australia—technology unlike any other being... Read More »

Are government subsidies going to save recycling?


Emma Ritch
The value of materials recovered in the recycling process is plummeting alongside oil and other commodities. Since favorable economics are credited with driving the recycling push of recent years (as opposed to eco-conscious consumers), the future of recycling is now in question. The New York Times reports that the price of tin is down from $327 a ton earlier this year to about $5. Mixed paper is down from $100 a ton to $20 to $25. Glass is an exception,... Read More »

Murky waters for commercial ocean fertilization projects


Emma Ritch
The governing body for ocean-fertilization projects issued a resolution today impeding the prospect for commercially driven experiments in the foreseeable future. The London Convention and Protocol (LCP) said "that, given the present state of knowledge, ocean fertilization activities other than legitimate scientific research should not be allowed." The resolution cleared up confusion amongst scientists this year as to whether research-driven projects would be permitted, but it stopped short of a mentioning commercial projects, as originally pursued by San Francisco's Climos.... Read More »

Envirofit ramps clean-cooking line for India


Emma Ritch
The demand for clean cooking in India has prompted Fort Collins, Colo.-based Envirofit International to increase its 2009 production of biomass stoves. The 'cookstoves' reduce toxic emissions by as much as 80 percent, use 50 percent less fuel and reduce cooking cycle time by 40 percent, according to Envirofit, a 501(c)3 nonprofit backed by the Shell Foundation, a charity established by the Shell Group in 2000. The stoves sell for Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000 ($10 to $40 USD). Since... Read More »

Bird brains


Emma Ritch
Our feathered friends can breathe a sigh of relief. Unless of course they plan to fly anywhere. A new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology shows that wind turbines don’t scare away farmland bird populations. The research is being touted as proof that wind farms are safe for birds, and that wind should now be adopted as a major source of renewable energy in Europe. But that overgeneralization of the study’s findings is dangerous. The fact that birds... Read More »

Game-changing day for jet biofuels


Emma Ritch
The aviation industry has taken a significant step in the adoption of biofuels, industry leaders said today. The newly created Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group requires its members to use biofuels produced from nonfood sources and with minimal environmental impact. Founders include Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) subsidiary UOP, as well as the commercial airlines that account for 15 percent of commercial jet-fuel use: Air France, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cargolux, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM,... Read More »

White roofs could lower global emissions


Emma Ritch
Changing the color of roofs and pavement worldwide could potentially offset nearly a year’s worth of global CO2 emissions, according to a study released this week at the Conference on Climate Change in Sacramento, Calif. Painting a single 1,000 square-foot dark roof white would reduce carbon emissions by 10 metric tons, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists Hashem Akbari and Surabi Menon and California Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld. And changing the color of roofs and pavement in 100 of... Read More »

Meat is sacred?


Emma Ritch
The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did the unthinkable this week. Rajendra Pachauri suggested people scale back on their consumption of meat, in part by eliminating it from their diet for one day a week. Pachauri’s logic was that nearly 20 percent of greenhouse emissions are caused by meat production, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. But a firestorm has erupted in response, with London’s mayor calling the suggestion “bull” and saying “the whole proposition... Read More »